WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
While U.S. stock-index futures edged higher, global stocks fell amid fear of a second wave of coronavirus cases. Britain’s economy contracted by 2% in the first three months of 2020– the steepest quarterly drop since 2008. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell spoke of the economy Wednesday, saying a stronger fiscal policy response might be necessary.
China is renewing lockdown restrictions after new coronavirus clusters were found in cities hundreds of miles apart. Wuhan, with six newly-reported cases, previously lifted its lockdown on April 8.
Dr. Anthony Fauci emphasized widespread testing will be necessary while easing lockdown restrictions Tuesday while testifying remotely in front of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. He warned of a spike in outbreaks if the country were to open up prematurely.
Dr. Fauci’s comment regarding when to reopen schools elicited concern from some Republicans, who want to resume commerce at some level as early as this spring. U.S. Senator Rand Paul questioned Dr. Fauci’s ability to make pandemic-related decisions. Tucker Carlson on his Fox News program Tuesday night reinforced the Senator’s comments, denouncing Dr. Fauci’s influence as an unelected government official.
California’s state university system announced Tuesday it is cancelling in-person classes for the fall semester. As coronavirus threatens the future of returning to class, fewer students are applying for college financial aid , pointing to a possible drop in enrollment. High schools and colleges worry this could mean students have discarded college from their fall plans.
House Democrats released their latest stimulus bill outline Tuesday, consisting of $3T in additional economic relief. The legislation earmarks spending for governments, direct payments to Americans, and hazard pay. The House chamber plans to vote on the bill as soon as Friday, though Republicans are unlikely to approve. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said they have not yet felt the “ urgency of acting immediately.”
MIT engineering professor and composer, Markus Buehler, developed a method to model proteins through music, creating concerts from the coronavirus. His compositions have been choreographed and performed in Poland.
NAVIGATING THE PANDEMIC
Companies Start Reaping Billions in Tax Breaks to Ride Out Economic Slump – Wall Street Journal – 5/13/2020
So far, more than 50 publicly traded companies have disclosed tax savings and deferrals totaling at least $2.8 billion, according to securities filings. Money is also going to private companies that don’t report earnings. […] The tax breaks, enacted in March, are a crucial piece of the government’s attempt to prop up businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, alongside Federal Reserve lending and the Small Business Administration’s loan-forgiveness program.
To save their neighborhood small businesses, people are rebelling against delivery apps – Washington Post – 5/13/2020
To help local businesses, many of which are on the edge of going under, some people here are going out of their way to call restaurants instead of using fee-charging delivery apps. They’re hiring gig workers directly, finding local businesses selling things they usually get on Amazon, and cutting out the tech middlemen whenever possible
Smart cameras will soon check if you’re social distancing and wearing a mask – Fast Company – 5/13/2020
Imagine pulling up to a supermarket and seeing a big red number on a digital sign outside. Instead of enticing you to come inside with sale prices or specials, this sign is estimating the amount of distance between people inside, suggesting that you stay away until the store is less crowded. Far-fetched as it may seem, at least three companies are now racing to build surveillance systems that could make this scenario possible during the coronavirus pandemic.
Scanning for answers to a pandemic – Gates Notes – 5/13/2020
As a surveillance program, SCAN’s goal isn’t to test every person or serve as a replacement for medical care. Instead, SCAN is testing a sample of people in the Seattle region, including those who are healthy as well as those who are feeling sick.
Investigating the coronavirus: Journalists fight the ‘infodemic’ – ICIJ – 5/12/2020
The internet is awash in bogus treatments, fake miracle cures and other falsehoods about the COVID-19 pandemic. Journalists around the world are scrambling to keep up. “The problem of disinformation has never been as serious as today,” said Sara Menafra, Rome-bureau chief for Open, an Italian digital media outlet.
WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING
To view each social media post, click on the date link within the post.
NPR @NPR 12 May Despite early warnings about supply shortages, the federal government took months to ramp up production of swabs — a key component most COVID-19 tests need to get started.
MIT Technology Review @techreview 13 May Four prominent researchers believe The US can test millions of people a day with a little innovation, enabling it to reopen its economy safely.
Nature @nature 13 May People infected by the new coronavirus make antibodies against several of the virus’s proteins — a finding that could lead to more effective vaccines and more sensitive tests to determine who has already been infected and might now be immune.
Pew Research Center @pewresearch 13 May A majority of Americans (61%) say the federal government is mostly (40%) or entirely (21%) responsible in making sure there are enough COVID-19 tests available to the public. 37% say this responsibility falls on the state government.
David Frum @davidfrum 13 May As of May 6, about 20,000 US prisoners had tested positive for COVID. That’s certainly a huge undercount, since most states are barely testing incarcerated people. At least 300 prisoners have died. Petitions for early release of prisoners have mostly been rejected. Mostly.
Turbine Labs has tracked 83,417 media articles and blogs over the last 24 hours and 2,946,957 social media posts over the last 24 hours.