4.2.2020

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Need to Know
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Nearing 1 Million Cases
A grim milestone is within reach as the world creeps closer to passing 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases. More than 932,000 cases with 42,600 deaths have been reported as of this morning; the US accounts for almost a quarter of the cases and about 10% of the deaths. You can track real-time updates here.

US markets took another bruising, one day after closing out the worst quarter in their history. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 974 points (-4.4%), with the S&P 500 (-4.4%) and Nasdaq (-4.4%) following suit. The performance follows President Trump's comments that the next two weeks will be "very painful," a signal the economic shutdown may last longer than expected. 

New York, the center of the country's outbreak, saw the number of deaths double over three days to more than 1,900. Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Florida directed or expanded some form of stay-at-home orders, joining more than 40 other states with varying levels of restrictions. The different orders can be confusing and vary by state; see what you can and can't do here.

Separately, reports said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House's top adviser on the pandemic, has beefed up personal security in response to personal threats.

Overseas, India's strict lockdown of its nearly 1.3 billion residents has led to millions of migrant workers trudging hundreds of miles home (see photos). In Brazil, where President Jair Bolsonaro has downplayed the threat, the first case in remote stretches of the Amazon rainforest was reported.

Cats can be infected by the virus, new research says, but occurrences are rare and pets are unlikely to accelerate the virus' spread. We've posted this story on our coronavirus resource page, along with a look at how the nation's do-it-yourself community is crowdsourcing solutions to a critical shortage of medical supplies.

If you haven't checked out the page, it has all of the best resources that you've seen here (and much more). You can find it here.
Intel Says China Suppressed Death Toll
US intelligence agencies believe China has concealed the true number of coronavirus cases and deaths, according to reports yesterday. The claims, part of an assessment delivered to the White House last week, allege systemic underreporting as part of a propaganda campaign by the Chinese government. China publicly reports just over 82,300 cases and 3,300 deaths, with more cases said to be originating from foreign visitors than Chinese citizens. Meanwhile, the US stands at more than 216,700 cases and 5,100 deaths, with White House models predicting between 100,000-250,000 deaths - or two orders of magnitude more deaths per capita than reported by China. The allegations coincide with reports that Chinese propaganda has taken an aggressive stance toward the West, praising Chinese leadership in minimizing deaths and even suggesting the virus did not originate in the country.

Residents from Wuhan, where the virus first emerged, have questioned the totals themselves, saying the incinerators have been "working around the clock."
Rhodesian Man Fossil Dated
Scientists have answered a long-standing question about the age of a fossilized skull found in 1921 in what is now Zambia, concluding its owner walked the Earth between 275,000-375,000 years ago. Many scientists had believed the Rhodesian Man, the most significant ancient human fossil ever discovered at the time, to be over 500,000 years old. The findings challenge the theory that the Rhodesian Man was the last common ancestor between Homo sapiens - the forebearers of modern humans - and Neanderthals, who lived in Eurasia until about 40,000 years ago. Instead, it appears both species coexisted in Africa well into the Middle Stone Age, likely interbreeding with each other and a third species known as Homo naledi.

Explore the human family tree with this interactive graphic
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Save money in uncertain times.
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Working from home comes with a whole new set of challenges. On the one hand, you're not being pestered every five minutes for approval to use the company card for a new stapler. On the other hand, purchases keep coming in for juicers and massage chairs to "help improve Terry-from-marketing's home office productivity."

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In the Know
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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
> The Walt Disney Co. to donate 100,000 face masks, 270 tons of food to coronavirus relief efforts (More) | Comcast, NBCUniversal execs to donate salaries to relief charities; Comcast commits $500M to continue to pay employees (More)
> Adam Schlesinger, Grammy and Emmy Award-winning singer-songwriter, dies at 52 from COVID-19 (More) | Master ballet teacher Wilhelm Burmann dies at age 80 after testing positive for the coronavirus (More)
> Wimbledon, originally scheduled to begin June 29, is canceled for first time since World War II; all professional tennis events also canceled through July 13 (More)
Science & Technology
> New study finds 80% of coronavirus cases that need intensive care involve patients with at least one underlying condition (More)
> Researchers find evidence the rainforests grew in Antarctica approximately 90 million years ago (More)
> NASA receives more than 12,000 applications for next class of astronauts, the second-largest ever; eventual missions could include returning to the moon and helping lay groundwork for crewed trip to Mars (More)
Business & Markets
> T-Mobile and Sprint complete $23B merger, forming the third-largest US wireless carrier (More)
> Federal Trade Commission files complaint aimed to force Altria (maker of Marlboro and other tobacco brands) to divest stake in electronic cigarette maker Juul (More)
> Whiting Petroleum files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to restructure, amid the downturn in oil prices from Saudi-Russia price war (More)
Politics & World Affairs
> Pakistan court overturns conviction of Omar Saeed Sheikh in 2002 killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl; Sheikh could be released from prison within days (More)
> Election 2020: West Virginia becomes latest state to postpone its primary elections to June 9; roughly half of states haven't held primaries with the Democratic convention scheduled for July 13 (More)
> More than 4,000 pounds of drugs, valued at nearly $30M, seized in tunnel running between Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego (More)
In-Depth
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The Godfather of Fake News
BBC | Anisa Subedar. Meet Christopher Blair, one of the world's most prolific creators of disinformation. Unconstrained by reality, spinning up hordes of online readers into a frenzy is the easy part; the most difficult part of his day is choosing whom to target. (Read)
Death and Panic  
Truly*Adventurous | Alexandra Coria. A look at how the outbreak of a mysterious disease at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia terrified the country and sparked an around-the-clock race to identify its cause. (Read)
 
 
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Etcetera
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How far does the blast from a sneeze actually go? You don't want to know.
Love knows no quarantine for this octogenarian couple.
Since April Fools' Day was canceled, read about famous hoaxes in recent memory.

From our partners: Here's a way to turn your network into net worth. Make introductions and earn $650 a pop. #Ad
Ranking the least helpful TV characters of the century.
Explosive gender reveal party sparks 10-acre fire in Florida.
The Getty Museum challenges fans to recreate famous artworks at home.
Actor Samuel L. Jackson gently reminds fans to stay at home.
"What's the big deal?" ask superyacht owners.
Clickbait: When your boss doesn't know how to video conference and turns into a potato.
Historybook: Juan Ponce de León is first European in Florida (1513); Singer Marvin Gaye born (1939); Rita Johnston becomes first female premier of a Canadian province (1991); RIP Pope John Paul II (2005); RIP Winnie Mandela, activist and ex-wife of Nelson Mandela (2018).
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"I stand defiant, tall and strong."
- Winnie Mandela
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