3.31.2020

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Need to Know
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Coronavirus Cripples New York
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New York soared past 66,000 yesterday, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned the state's medical system was at risk of being overrun. More than 1,200 deaths have been reported in the state, and the total cases surpass that of every country except China, Germany, and Spain. Anticipating patient overflow, health officials erected a massive field hospital in New York City's Central Park, while the USNS Comfort docked in Manhattan (see photos). The ship will provide 1,000 hospital beds to help with non-coronavirus cases crowded out from the city's medical centers. 

Take a peek inside Brooklyn's Mount Sinai hospital here.

Officials in Arizona, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC, all issued stay-at-home orders yesterday in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The Virginia order is currently slated to last through June 10, one of the longest in the country. The four states join almost 30 other states that have enacted some level of restrictions, with mounting pressure on holdouts to take more aggressive action.

What you can and can't do varies by state and can be confusing; see a breakdown here.

Macy's, one of the nation's largest retailers, said it would furlough the vast majority of its 130,000 employees while maintaining health coverage through May. Kohl's (122,000 employees) and Gap (129,000 employees) followed with similar announcements. 

The administration's coronavirus response coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, estimated yesterday the US could ultimately see 100,000-200,000 deaths from the coronavirus, though projections are fluid and subject to change. The US currently has 164,610 cases, with 3,170 deaths, as of this morning (real-time map).
 
In positive news, the government inked deals with Johnson & Johnson and Moderna to rapidly produce vaccines once an effective treatment has been identified, though experts say a suitable vaccine may not be available until 2021.

A projection showing the outbreak peaking in the US around April 15 from the Institute for Health and Metrics and Evaluation has been added to our coronavirus resource page, along with a story on how a Houston grocery chain foresaw and prepared for the crisis. Check out these expert-curated resources here.
Van Gogh Work Stolen
An artwork from famed master painter Vincent van Gogh was stolen in an overnight raid from a Dutch museum, authorities reported yesterday. The thieves were able to simply smash through the glass front door of the Singer Laren museum outside Amsterdam, which was closed amid the coronavirus outbreak. Officials did not provide an estimated value for the piece, "The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring 1884" (see here), though the artist's works typically sell for millions when auctioned. Van Gogh's paintings are also top targets for thieves. His 1887 work "Poppy Flowers" - which was stolen, recovered, and stolen again - is estimated to be worth up to $55M and is one of the most famous unrecovered stolen paintings. Authorities have opened a criminal investigation into Monday's theft.

If art heists are your thing, we recommend this 2019 interview with Stéphane Breitwieser, one of the world's most prolific art thieves. 
Fuel Efficiency Rollback
The Trump administration is set to relax Obama-era fuel economy standards for automakers, sources said yesterday. The change marks the second overhaul of one of the previous administration's climate policy cornerstones, which aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by increasing the average miles per gallon of vehicles sold in the US. The new rule would require the average fuel economy of automakers' fleets to rise to 40 mpg by 2025 instead of 54.5 mpg, or an increase of 1.5% per year compared to 5% under the old rules. Electric vehicle production may be significantly impacted by the change, as automakers used electric and zero-emission vehicles to drop the averages across their fleets. The decision follows a move by the administration to revoke California's ability to set its own auto emission standards, which the state has challenged in court.
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In the Know
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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
> Facebook pledges $100M to news industry during pandemic; $25M will fund grants for local news and $75M will support marketing for worldwide news organizations (More) | Lionel Messi and his FC Barcelona teammates to take 70% pay cut amid pandemic (More)
> Expo 2020 Dubai, originally scheduled to open October 2020, to be postponed a year due to the coronavirus; 139 nations were due to participate (More)
> NCAA grants extra year of eligibility to college athletes whose seasons were canceled due to the coronavirus; doesn't apply to sports such as basketball where only the postseason was lost (More) | Release date for ESPN's anticipated Michael Jordan documentary moved up to April 19 (More)
Science & Technology
> Whistleblower alleges Saudi Arabia tracks its citizens' movements in the US by exploiting flaws in the global mobile phone network (More)
> Largest recorded ozone hole opens up over the Arctic, driven by a change in global wind patterns that encourage chemical reactions in the atmosphere; scientists expect the hole to break up naturally in coming weeks (More)
Engineers develop "heart attack on a chip," a microfluidic device with live cells that mimics a human heart, allowing for rapid testing of new drugs (More)
Business & Markets
> US stock markets up (S&P 500 +3.4%, Dow +3.2%, Nasdaq +3.6%) led by surge in healthcare stocks (More) | Oil prices continue to plunge as Saudi Arabia increases exports (More)
> Some Instacart and Amazon workers went on strike yesterday afternoon amid pandemic working conditions; Whole Foods workers plan “sickout” today (More)
> Ford and GE Healthcare partner to build 50,000 ventilators by early July, would create 30,000 per month going forward (More)
Politics & World Affairs
> Spain passes China in total confirmed coronavirus cases, behind just the US and Italy, with more than 87,000 cases; Italy passes China in total deaths with more than 11,500 (More)
> Reports say the Justice Department is probing allegations that Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) dumped stocks ahead of market slide after confidential January briefing on potential impact of the coronavirus; other  (More)
> Islamic State members escape, seize partial control of jail in northeast Syria following prison riot; facility is overseen by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (More)
In-Depth
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How We Must Respond
TED | Bill Gates. With more than 2 million views, the tech giant and philanthropist discusses what medical advancements show the most promise and what it will take to endure the coronavirus crisis. (Read)
From Bats to Human Lungs
New Yorker | Carolyn Kormann. Scientists think the ancestor of SARS-CoV-2, along with hundreds of other coronavirus strains, coevolved with bats over thousands of years. Here's a look at how much - and how little - we know about how the virus jumped from animals to humans. (Read)
 
 
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Etcetera
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The quarantine has created a new divide between rich and poor. ($$, NYT)
The 10 best virtual museum tours from across the world.
... meanwhile, the internet is restaging famous paintings.
The most scenic drive in every US state.
A towel used by Kobe Bryant at his farewell speech sells for $30K at auction.
The popularity of Netflix's "Tiger King" revives interest in a 1997 cold case.
Researchers uncover a forgotten Nazi camp on British soil.
Calculate how much toilet paper you'll need when you go to restock.
Clickbait: Astrophysicist gets magnets stuck up nose while inventing coronavirus device.
Historybook: Eiffel Tower opens in Paris (1889); Workers’ rights leader Cesar Chavez born (1927); RIP American track legend Jesse Owens (1980); Singer-songwriter Selena murdered (1995); Rapper Nipsey Hussle murdered (2019).
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