Good morning. Quarantine has made it easy to get lost down a random internet rabbit hole every once in a while. This lockdown, our editors have explored the creation of Scotch whisky, how to build a deck, tornadoes vs. hurricanes, and … well, some things are better left unsaid.
Anyways. What random thing have you learned about this quarantine? Drop us a reply.
“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
The Path To Reopening
Nearly every governor in the U.S. has mandated a statewide lockdown since late March in an effort to flatten the curve of coronavirus infections and hospitalizations. These lockdown orders are temporary, with the ultimate decision on when to lift restrictions and reopen the economy in the hands of each state’s individual governor (the University of Washington compiled predictions for when each individual state will open – check it out).
Keeping An Open Mind Several states have made plans to ease some or most of their restrictions in place in the coming weeks, including Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina (who are all a part of the recently formed coalition of southern states).
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis last Friday allowed some beaches in the northern part of the state to reopen, though his stay-at-home order is not set to expire until April 30.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp earlier this week announced that barbershops, gyms, and other businesses that include close contact will be able to reopen starting this Friday.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster on Monday allowed some businesses previously deemed nonessential, such as bookshops, department stores, and music shops, to reopen their doors.
Look To The West On the other hand, members of the coalition of western states (California, Oregon, and Washington) are taking a more cautious approach to reopening their economies.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order – first implemented March 19 – is still in place indefinitely. Newsom has laid out six key indicators that will guide the state’s thinking for when and how to start the reopening process.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s executive order to stay-at-home likewise doesn’t have an end date. Brown recently outlined a plan to let certain businesses reopen in the state’s eastern and southern areas, which have been relatively unaffected.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday laid out a detailed plan for the conditions required for the state to begin reopening the economy, and indicated that his stay-at-home order will likely be extended beyond its May 4 expiration date.
What do the polls say? There have been several recent national polls to gauge public sentiment on reopening the economy. A couple highlights:
72% of U.S. adults think people should stay at home ‘until the doctors and public health officials say it is safe,’ according to a Reuters/Ipsos survey of over 4,400 Americans.
58% of respondents were more concerned about reopening the economy too quickly compared to how the economy is affected by the stay-at-home orders (NBC News/WSJ poll).
So… what are people saying?
Coronavirus lockdown protests risk your health and slow the reopening of U.S. economy
Questions about the rating system we use? Learn more
Share Today’s Dose of Discussion
Global cases rose to nearly 2.64 million yesterday with more than 177,400 deaths. The number of confirmed U.S. cases rose to more than 849,000 with 47,663 confirmed deaths.
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stittunveiled a plan to begin reopening the state in three phases.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomoannounced the creation of a “tracing army” with the help of former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose foundation donated $10.5 million to the cause.
Spanish officialssaid the current ban that prevents children from leaving their homes will be lifted starting this Sunday.
Germany on Wednesday gave the go ahead for BioNTech to begin human trials on a potential vaccine, while the UK’s Oxford University will begin similar trials on its vaccine candidate today.
President Trump yesterday said his administration will begin the process of reopening national parks.
Iran & The U.S.
Iran on Wednesday announced a successful launch of the country’s first-ever military reconnaissance satellite. Earlier that morning, President Trump tweeted that he had instructed the Navy to shoot down any Iranian boats that harass U.S. ships, though Naval officials say they have received no new orders.
More: Last week, the Navy reported Iranian vessels were conducting “dangerous and harassing approaches” of U.S. ships.
The trial of two Syrian defectors on charges of crimes against humanity, including torture and sexual assault, begins today in a German court. One of the defendants is a former high-ranking intelligence officer under Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and is accused of overseeing the torture of more than 4,000 prisoners and at least 58 deaths.
More: The ongoing multi-sided Syrian Civil War began in March 2011, and is currently the second-deadliest war of the 21st century.
Tyson Foods on Wednesday suspended operations at its largest pork plant, just days after the world’s largest pork producer, Smithfield Foods, closed three of its plants.
Private equity firm Sycamore Partners has filed a lawsuit seeking to back out of its deal to purchase a 55% controlling share of Victoria’s Secret for $525 million.
Delta in Q1 2020 posted its first quarterly loss in five years, and forecasted a 90% year-over-year decrease in revenue for the second quarter.
Magic Leap will lay off about half its staff (~1,000 people), while Endeavor and LendingClub both announced they would cut roughly a third of their workforce (2,500 & 460 employees, respectively).
Expedia is reportedly in advanced talks with two private equity firms to secure a $1 billion investment.
Jio Goes Geo
Facebook has announced a $5.7 billion investment in Jio Platforms Limited, the digital arm of Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries run by billionaire Mukesh Ambani. Jio Platforms owns a number of different telecommunications brands, which includes India’s number one mobile carrier – both by revenue and subscriber base.
More: In unrelated news, the social media giant released a map of the U.S. showing the proportion of people experiencing COVID-19 symptoms after surveying more than one million people.
Even More: Also on Wednesday, Facebook said it will begin to display the location of so-called “high-reach” FB pages and IG accounts on each post they share in an effort to combat overseas influence.
Reach For The Stars
SpaceX on Wednesday successfully launched sixty Starlink satellites into orbit, bringing their total number in the sky up to 422. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the company reportedly still hopes to offer their Starlink internet service later this year in the U.S. and Canada, with a global launch planned for sometime next year.
More: Take a peek at this image of more than a dozen Starlink satellites, captured by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station last week.
Lovers Without Borders
Karsten Hansen, 89, and Inga Rasmussen, 85, have been together for two years, ever since an unlikely run-in blossomed into romance. However, they both reside on opposite sides of the German-Denmark border, which has been closed for over a month due to coronavirus.
The octogenarian couple has managed to avoid letting the physical barrier dampen their relationship. Each day, Karsten bikes to the German side of the border – while Inga drives to the Danish side – and the two meet up to chat, joke, and drink while maintaining a safe distance.
Read All About It
Nonprofit Little Free Libraries promotes reading as a community by setting up public bookcases in neighborhoods across the country. With the coronavirus outbreak across America, their bookcases have taken on a whole new purpose.
The organization recently devised a map – based on emails they received from more than a hundred communities – that shows which of its bookcases has been transformed into a sharing box filled with food and other essential goods.
Fantastic Snakes And Where To Find Them
While some people look forward to a relaxing retirement, the seven elderly ladies that make up the “Fantastic Grandmas” prefer to occupy their time scuba diving for venomous snakes in the Pacific Ocean.
The only volunteer research group at the University of Caledonia (located on an island west of Australia), the Fantastic Grandmas have documented 262 different species of underwater snakes since their expeditions began in 2017.
🐠 Golden Coral… the Florida Aquarium has successfully reproduced ridged cactus coral for the first time in human history.
🐍 Parselmouths Only… researchers in India have recently identified a new species of pit viper and named it Trimeresurus salazar – after Salazar Slytherin from the Harry Potter series.
🍏 Poison Apple… a mobile security forensics team recently discovered a bug in Apple Mail that may have left over half a billion iPhones vulnerable to hackers for years – Apple has said a fix is ready and will roll out in an upcoming update.
A Walk In The Park
What is the most-visited national park in the U.S.?
A) Great Smoky Mountains B) Yosemite C) Grand Canyon D) Yellowstone
(keep scrolling for the answer)
Get Your FREE Stuff
Step 1. Use the button below or copy your unique referral link
Straddling the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been America’s most-visited national park since 1979, with more than 12.5 million visitors in 2019.