New reported cases per day – Washington Post, May 18, 2020 / Image: Washington Post


Oil and European shares are on the rise this morning, with the easing of lockdown restrictions across the globe boosting market sentiment.

The Detroit Three – Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler – will reopen their plants today with new precautions in place. Apple announced plans to reopen 25 stores in the U.S. with requirements for customers to submit a temperature check, report Covid-19 symptoms, and wear a mask before entering.

A follow-up on guidelines from a Harvard Global Health Institute analysis shows that most states are not implementing the recommended number of tests to control the outbreak while they reopen. A survey of state leaders by the Washington Post identified at least 12 states where governments have enough testing capacity, but few requests for tests.  

As Texas businesses reopen, the state’s Department of Health on Saturday reported its largest single-day increase in new Covid-19 cases. Even so, U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar said his department is not seeing spikes where places have begun to reopen, noting it will take time to identify and report new cases. In Georgia, state officials are in hot water for publishing a case count chart that erroneously showed a stark decline in cases even as they remained steady. 

News organizations across the country this weekend posted videos and images of long lines outside of local food banks, a recent occurrence that a Texas publication deemed a “ normal sight.”  In Los Angeles, Latinos disproportionately shoulder the burden of being deemed “essential” in many low-paying jobs, facing a dual risk of infection and financial insecurity. 

Doctors are taking a closer look at a rare inflammatory reaction to the virus in children that can be severe. A former FDA official called the illness “deeply concerning” due to the unknown number of children who have been infected with the coronavirus, which affects how physicians respond. 

Patrons returning to a reopened Maryland bar got playful with social distancing over the weekend, using inflatable inner tubes on wheels to maintain the recommended 6 feet.

What We Need Right Now Is Christmas – Bloomberg – 5/18/2020
There’s been a growing movement to use the mood-boosting power of the holidays to leaven some of the pandemic-induced gloom. Scrape social media for hashtags such as #christmasinmarch and #christmaslights, for instance; they helped nudge Americans to string up some off-season decorations. They festooned their homes, hoping to unleash some holiday sparkle; such companies as Anheuser-Busch followed the lead.

Zillow restarts home-buying business, showing confidence in real estate amid ongoing pandemic – GeekWire – 5/18/2020
In a press release, Zillow touts Zillow Offers as a “convenient option to sell without showings or open houses and the ability to close the transaction digitally.” The company is following safety protocols, such as additional cleaning regimens for for-sale homes, virtual tours, and recommending customers wear masks and gloves during in-home tours.

Life as a Covid-19 contact tracer: sleuthing, stress, going off-script – STAT – 5/18/2020
The task involves a good deal of detective work, profound humility, and tact. It also involves cold-calling people who may be irritated to hear from you. “When you get a random call with someone affiliated with the public health school and she knows personal information about you, but is missing crucial information, that can seem both intrusive and callous,” said Bender, who is the daughter of a physician.

Quarantine Is a Weirdly Good Time for Animation – Wired – 5/17/2020
“There are a lot of newsmakers sitting at home who can, by pressing a button, hop on and do a live interview with us,” Fried says. “We can get guests from anywhere. We can take talent from anywhere in the world as long as they have a good internet connection, and a lot of people are looking for work right now because live-action shows have pressed pause.”

How coronavirus changed what we search for online – World Economic Forum – 5/18/2020
And while the global languages of search may differ, many of the concerns are similar. Google’s EMEA director of insights Lucy Sinclair outlined some of these, including how financial security has remained top of people’s minds. There are increased searches for ‘unemployment benefit’ (‘prestación por desempleo’) in Spain, ‘furlough claim’ in the United Kingdom, ‘unemployment grant’ in South Africa and ‘job centre’ (‘urząd pracy’) in Poland.


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

WHO African Region @WHOAFRO 18 May The first ever virtual World Health Assembly is underway. We call on governments to commit to achieving #HealthForAll, including the world’s most vulnerable people, & call for solidarity in the #COVID19 response. Watch live @WHO. #WHA73

Maha Siddiqui @SiddiquiMaha 17 May The World Health Assembly begins its virtual meeting today. Full story on what the #COVID 19 response resolution co-sponsored by #India says regarding #China, without mentioning its name & the @WHO’s accountability

Priti Patnaik @pretpat 18 May Like many others, I’ll be live tweeting on the first ever virtual .@WHO World Health Assembly #WHA73 today. A test for international cooperation among countries, at a time when nations are in the throes of short-sighted nationalism. Politics meets health meets trade

ADM Brett P. Giroir @HHS_ASH 18 May Today I am honored to participate in the virtual #WHA73 as a US Delegate and the US Rep to the WHO Executive Board. There is no more important time to improve #WHO global health security capabilities as we battle #COVID19

Yahoo Singapore @YahooSG 18 May Diplomats said China and the US are likely to join the consensus for an independent evaluation during a virtual meeting of the World Health Assembly, the WHO’s decision-making body.


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