“How the US stacks up to other countries in confirmed coronavirus cases” Vox, May 4, 2020 / Source: Data: COVID Tracking Project, news reports, government websites; Chart: Vox

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

Following initial remarks from President Donald Trump that the coronavirus task force would begin to “ wind down,” Trump this morning said in a series of tweets that the task force will continue working “indefinitely.” The response comes after a swift backlash from lawmakers who said it is too early to dismantle the task force.

A federal public health official who was ousted from his directorial position has filed an extensive whistleblower complaint that accuses  the Trump administration of ignoring early warnings of the virus. 

U.S. private payrolls dropped by 20 million in April, an “unprecedented” job loss that experts say underestimates the real damage done during lockdowns. The U.S. service sector –  accounting for two-thirds of American jobs – has contracted for the first time in 10 years. Airbnb will lay off 25 percent of its workforce, joining the ranks of large hotel chains such as Marriott and HIlton, which furloughed thousands of workers along with industry players such as Expedia Group and Booking Holdings.

More than half of Americans working from home said in an IBM survey that they hope to continue doing so, while 70 percent said they would at least like the option.

The European Commission has forecasted a 7 percent shrink in its economy and a reduction in inflation, affecting the economies in Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal the most. Even so, German and Italian authorities have suggested their residents may be able to go on summer vacations if the pandemic remains under control. Greek authorities say that following a successful early lockdown, they hope to reopen the country to tourists as early as July. 

In a study that reveals numerous genetic mutations of the virus, researchers in London say it was likely transmitted “extensively” around the world in late 2019. Scientists in California argue in a paper that the coronavirus has mutated into a more contagious strain that now dominates most of the globe. However other infectious disease experts say the paper, which is not yet peer-reviewed, draws “ rather sweeping conclusions.” 

Sales of canned cocktails have increased during the pandemic, pointing to consumers’ desire for options that are normally satisfied at a bar or restaurant. While sales of all types of alcohol are up, spirits have seen the largest bump. 

Mounting promises on Covid-19 vaccines are fueling false expectations – STAT – 5/6/2020
Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy, is worried people aren’t preparing for the possibility of a fall wave of infections — which some experts fear will be bigger than what we’ve seen so far — because they expect a vaccine will be at hand.

We got an early look at the UK’s COVID-19 contact-tracing app — here’s how it works – Business Insider – 5/6/2020
The trial is being rolled out on the Isle of Wight, an island off the south coast of England with roughly 141,000 people living on it, and is supposed to start rolling out to the rest of Britain through May. […] The app has been the subject of debate from cybersecurity and privacy experts, especially since the UK has opted to build its app without using the specialized contact-tracing API from Apple and Google so that it can more easily analyse user data.

The pandemic has been an impetus for innovation – Fortune – 5/6/2020
In our new survey of Fortune 500 CEOs, we asked the CEOs whether the crisis would 1) accelerate their technological transformation, 2) slow their technological transformation, or 3) have no significant effect. The result was surprisingly lopsided: 63% said “accelerate,” while only 6% said “slow.”

The lessons the 1980 Olympics can teach athletes today – The Independent – 5/6/2020
Some of them never made it to another games, others even left Olympic disciplines for largely unfulfilled tilts at other sports. So spare a thought for this year’s crop of Olympians and Paralympians who only a handful of weeks ago had their dreams ripped asunder when Tokyo 2020 was inevitably postponed in the face of this global pandemic.

This Playwright Wrote His Fastest Selling Work Yet: A Covid-19 Comedy – Wall Street Journal – 5/6/2020
The play, titled “10 Ways to Survive Life in a Quarantine,” was written in four days and centers on students stuck at home during the coronavirus lockdown. It has been licensed by amateur theater producers 170 times. Because stages have gone dark in recent months, “10 Ways” is designed to be performed by teenagers live via videoconference and includes a series of vignettes about students. No sets, costumes or stage crew are required.

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

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

Earth Day Network @Earth Day Network 6 May If you, too, have a freezer full of food waste, or a heart full of guilt, we are with you. But even in a pandemic, there are ways to cut your waste. Here’s how

TIME @TIME 6 May For the last two weekends in a row, community organizer Molly Page has led a group of about two dozen volunteers to a rural Idaho farm on an unusual rescue mission: saving potatoes

Riverford @Riverford 6 May Supply of surplus food for charities like @wasteknotuk have dramatically decreased because of coronavirus, while the need has shot up, writes @JessLatchford. It’s challenging times, but there are long term lessons to be learnt. Read on #WickedLeeks

Darla Mercado, CFP® 🇵🇷🇵🇪 @Darla Mercado, CFP® 🇵🇷🇵🇪 6 May “Overeating, boredom, self-medication: How grocery bills skyrocket even as food becomes scarcer” via @jill_cornfield

Jason Lynch @Jason Lynch 6 May “We’re the new sports” says David Zaslav of Discovey’s Food Network, HGTV and Cooking Channels during the pandemic.

CONTENT FACTS

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