4.7.2020

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Need to Know
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Johnson Moved to ICU
United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson was moved to intensive care as symptoms from COVID-19 worsened, British officials said yesterday. The news demonstrates how suddenly the illness can escalate; Johnson announced he had tested positive 10 days ago, working through the week until being hospitalized Sunday in what was said to be a precautionary measure. According to reports, he had been given oxygen but had not been put on a ventilator. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has been deputized to act in Johnson's stead while he receives care.

Back in the US, confirmed cases of the coronavirus passed 368,000, with 10,993 total deaths as of this morning (real-time stats). Officials in New York, the country's current epicenter, struck a cautiously optimistic tone, reporting new deaths had stayed flat for two days while the number of new hospitalizations had fallen.

US markets boomed yesterday, riding reports that cases may be beginning to slow in key regions. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1,627 (7.7%), followed by the S&P 500 (7.0%) and the Nasdaq (7.3%).  

Overseas, Japan, which had avoided a large-scale outbreak so far, is set to declare a state of emergency for Tokyo and surrounding regions after cases in the capital spiked to more than 1,000. Spain and Italy, which lead the world in COVID-19 deaths, have seen the number of new cases flatten and begin to drop amid nationwide lockdowns. Some Asian countries like Singapore and South Korea had controlled their outbreaks but are seeing cases rise again from foreign visitors. 

A review of purchasing contracts by The Associated Press released yesterday found the federal government waited almost two months to begin stockpiling key medical equipment. Orders weren't placed until mid-March, despite experts warning a January ban on travelers from China would only slow the virus's arrival in the US. 

Our team of PhDs is curating the best and most useful COVID-19 material from across the internet on our coronavirus resource page. We've just posted a look at the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine that has sparked debate within the White House, a great breakdown of the coronavirus genome, and much more.
Wisconsin Forges Ahead
Wisconsin will hold in-person primary and general elections today after the state's Supreme Court blocked a last-minute effort to delay voting. It will be the first in-person voting in the 2020 presidential primary since March 17, with 15 states plus Puerto Rico having postponed or canceled elections over coronavirus fears. The controversial outcome is the result of a struggle between Gov. Tony Evers (D) and the Republican-controlled state legislature. Evers has called for mail-in ballots to be proactively sent to every resident with a return date of May 26, but lawmakers have called the plan infeasible and have argued voting is an essential function. Election officials worry the process could veer toward disaster; more than 1.2 million mail-in ballots have been requested (the state record is 819,000) and many polling stations are severely understaffed, prompting Evers to call in the National Guard to staff polls.

Models project the outbreak in Wisconsin peaking April 17, and the state has reported 2,449 cases with 78 deaths as of this morning. 
Chernobyl Forest Fire
Officials in Ukraine reported spiking radiation levels near Chernobyl yesterday following a forest fire that burned through parts of the region's restricted area over the weekend. Home to the worst nuclear disaster in history, many parts of the 1,000-square-mile exclusion zone contain soil and plants with residual radioactive contamination that can be kicked up into the atmosphere when a fire burns through. Radiation measurements taken by emergency responders were up to 16 times levels typical for the exclusion zone, which themselves are two to three times higher than what is considered safe exposure. Though largely unpopulated, about 200 people still live in the area, and fires can be a common occurrence as residents clear brush and debris; in this case, the suspect identified by police said he burned grass "for fun," and failed to extinguish the blaze.
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There are things we each look back on and think, “How did I get it so wrong?” Like back when we wore multiple polo shirts and popped all the collars. We're more than happy to leave that in the past.
 
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In the Know
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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
> The Open golf championship, also known as the British Open, officially canceled, while the Masters is delayed to Nov. 12-15 (More) | Upcoming NFL Draft (April 23-25) will be conducted virtually (More)
> Global Citizen and World Health Organization team up for charity concert curated by Lady Gaga; "One World: Together At Home" to air April 18 (8pm ET), will feature performances by Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, and more (More)
> Baseball legend and Hall of Famer Al Kaline dies at 85 (More) | Bobby Mitchell, Pro Football Hall of Famer and civil rights advocate, dies at 84 (More)
Science & Technology
> Facebook to roll out Data for Good tools to help researchers examine how well preventative measures like social distancing help blunt the spread of COVID-19 (More)
> Leftover carbon isotopes from atomic bomb tests allow scientists to determine the age of whale sharks; data suggest species may live up to 150 years old (More)
> Scientists make first step forward in decoding the genome of ocean microbes; tiny organisms play critical role in global ecosystem, including 50% of world's oxygen, but remain understudied (More)
Business & Markets
> Homeshare giant Airbnb raises $1B in a mix of debt and equity from private equity firms Silver Lake and Sixth Street Partners (More)
> JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon releases annual letter stating he sees a “bad recession” this year, firm may also suspend dividend (More)
> Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen estimates US unemployment could currently be more than 13% and moving upward (More)
Politics & World Affairs
> Sex abuse charges against former Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell overturned by Australia's High Court; Pell is the highest-ranking Catholic official to be accused of such crimes (More)
> Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly apologizes for speech to the crew of USS Theodore Roosevelt in which he criticized former Capt. Brett Crozier; Crozier was fired after a letter pleading for COVID-19 support leaked to the public (More)
> Trump administration labels Russian Imperialist Movement as a foreign terrorist organization, the first time the US has placed the designation on a white supremacist group (More)
In-Depth
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The Quest for a Pandemic Pill 
New Yorker | Matthew Hutson. Inside the search for an antiviral pill - or at least a handful of pills - as powerful as penicillin is for bacterial infections. The ambitious quest may be the only surefire way to prepare the world for the next pandemic. (Read)
'When Can We Really Rest?'
California Sunday | Nadja Drost. Bridging North and South America, the roadless Darién Gap is considered one of the most dangerous regions in the world. But even drug traffickers, venomous snakes, and jaguars haven't stopped thousands of migrants from attempting the journey in an effort to reach the US. (Read)
 
 
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Etcetera
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Stuck inside? Here are images of spring from around the world.
Here's how you can see tonight's supermoon, the biggest and brightest of the year.
Ranking America's friendliest cities.

From our partners: There’s finally a way to get the best wines from around the world delivered to your door.
Incredibly excited dolphins meet a sloth for the first time.
Nikon is offering free photography classes for the month of April.
The original cast of "Hamilton" reunites on Zoom for a birthday sing-along.
This robot dog learned to walk by imitating a real dog.
World War II veteran recovers from COVID-19 just in time for his 104th birthday.
Clickbait: It's the penguin weigh-in you didn't know you needed
Historybook: English poet William Wordsworth born (1770); Jazz singer Billie Holiday born (1915); RIP Ford Motor Co. founder Henry Ford (1947); WHO established (1948); US breaks diplomatic ties with Iran during Iran hostage crisis (1980).
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