“Three graphs that show a global slowdown in COVID-19 deaths” The Conversation, April 7, 2020 / Image: Danny Dorling/Kirsten McClure

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

Stocks are poised this morning for their second straight day of gains following some optimistic developments around the world, including a reduction of anticipated coronavirus cases in a forecasting model used by the White House. Still, public health experts warn that Americans must not assume the disease is under control. 

Doctors have sounded the alarm for indigenous communities in Brazil, which they say risk being “ wiped out” by the coronavirus. The pandemic has yet to strike Latin America with full force, but many countries’ health systems are already overwhelmed. In France, authorities warned the country has not yet reached its peak. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who tested positive for COVID-19, spent the night in the ICU but is in stable condition.

Scientists at the University of Göttingen estimate that the true number of infected people worldwide may have already reached the “tens of millions.” Their report argues that only 6% of SARS-CoV-2 infections around the world have been discovered. The discrepancy could serve as evidence that Italy’s and Spain’s death rates are not higher, but that fewer people were tested for the virus, skewing their reporting rates.

Two former FDA authorities are working on a plan with lawmakers to restart the economy, which they say relies on comprehensive testing and monitoring of the disease. The American funeral industry has begun to experience a bottleneck , prompting solemn preparations such as a request to the Pentagon for additional body bags and plans for temporary morgues. Farmers say that quarantines and delays in visas for their migrant workers could lead to more disruption of the food supply industry. Auto-insurer Allstate said the company will pay back a portion of customers’ monthly premiums as they stay at home and off the roads.

Walmart is facing a lawsuit from the family of an employee who died after contracting COVID-19. The lawsuit argues that the store exposed its workforce to infection by allowing employees with coronavirus symptoms to continue working.

In addition to Kroger and other grocers, Walmart is among the retailers that implemented one-way aisles in its stores to reduce close contact among shoppers.

Celebrities are experiencing a new level of scrutiny under quarantine. While some fans appreciate a new aspect of “humanism” revealed via social media, others say those posts highlight a disparity in how the rich and poor are experiencing the pandemic. Emily Blunt and John Krasinski have created an online presence with a YouTube series that focuses on positive stories. This week, they gathered the entire cast of Hamilton to sing for a 9-year-old girl who missed the show because of cancellations. 

The Virus Gives AI a Chance to Prove It Can Be a Force for Good – Bloomberg Quint – 4/7/2020
The pandemic is opening up a massive opportunity for the tech industry, while it shines a light on calls for more scrutiny of AI innovations being developed faster than regulators are able to devise rules to protect citizens’ rights. The quick introduction of AI tools to fight the virus is being done in the name of the greater social good, but it raises important questions around accuracy, bias, discrimination, safety, and privacy.

Coronavirus: does the amount of virus you are exposed to determine how sick you’ll get? – The Conversation – 4/7/2020
Once a patient is infected, it is relatively straightforward to measure how much virus they are making – a value known as the “viral load”. This is because the standard international test for coronavirus is quantitative. Instead of just a positive or a negative result, diagnostic teams also get a number from zero to 40.

Should We All Have Been Wearing Masks From the Start? – Fair Observer – 4/7/2020
What, then, accounts for the reticence on the part of those who should have known better to advise everyone to wear face masks? One reason stands out: the utter unpreparedness of most advanced liberal capitalist countries in the face of the crisis.

WhatsApp tightens message forwarding restrictions to combat coronavirus misinformation – CNBC – 4/7/2020
The Facebook-owned messaging app is expanding on global measures it put in place last year which restricted the number of times people could pass on frequently forwarded messages to five chats at once. The company has now reduced the amount of chats to which users can share frequently forwarded content to just one at a time.

Coronavirus is a once in a lifetime chance to reshape how we travel – Fast Company – 4/7/2020
This will have profound long term effects. While trips to see friends and family should be relatively unaffected, other travel will significantly change. In particular, business trips by air and long-distance rail journeys are vulnerable to being replaced by videoconferencing, and we may see less commuting as people and organizations get more used to remote working.

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

To view each social media post, click on the date link within the post. 

Harvard Health @HarvardHealth 6 Apr Will warm weather stop the outbreak of #COVID19? The experts at #HarvardHealth are answering common questions about the coronavirus. https://bit.ly/2w7U7ec  #HarvardHealth

KRON4 News @kron4news 7 Apr California will see fewer deaths and hospitalizations due to the coronavirus pandemic than previously projected

Andrew Freedman @afreedma 6 Apr Fascinating look into the burgeoning, disorganized and vital world of disease modeling, with apt analogy made to weather forecasting. ⁦via @thewanreport⁩ ⁦@Carolynyjohnson⁩

MIT Technology Review @techreview 6 Apr Early research suggests the coronavirus pandemic could ease up in summer. But that may not be enough.

New Scientist @newscientist 6 Apr With all the unknowns about #covid19, any numbers you hear about death tolls or how long restrictions will last should be taken not just with a pinch of salt but with a sack of it

CONTENT FACTS

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