4.8.2020

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Need to Know
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Wuhan Lockdown Lifted
Chinese officials ended a monthslong quarantine of Wuhan yesterday, the city where the coronavirus first emerged, letting nearly 11 million residents begin the long road back to normalcy. The decision is largely symbolic given that the vast majority of the 1.5 million confirmed cases have come outside China, but represents a glimmer of hope as other governments await a turning point in their own outbreaks. Publicly reported cases in China have flattened out around 83,000, with 3,335 deaths. If you missed the report on China's alleged undercounting, we've posted it on our resource page

In the US, officials struck an optimistic tone, saying that total deaths may fall short of projections as social distancing measures were more effective than anticipated. The statements came despite New York notching one of its highest one-day death tolls at 731, though new hospitalizations continue to fall. The US has reported nearly 400,000 cases and more than 12,900 deaths - about 40% of them in New York state - as of this morning.

In Congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is eyeing a $250B package for small businesses that would supplement the original $386B provided in the recent $2T stimulus package, targeting a Friday vote.

Overseas, United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to spend a second night in intensive care. Aides say he is receiving oxygen support but is not on a ventilator and is in stable condition.

In the search for treatments, Canada is preparing to launch the largest clinical COVID-19 trial to date, examining whether antibody-rich blood plasma from recovered patients can help reverse symptoms in severe cases.  
 
Conspiracy theories and fake news about COVID-19 have swamped the internet. We've posted a handy infographic breaking down the worst (and most ridiculous) myths out there, along with a guide to all the global lockdowns currently in effect. Our resource page is curated by PhD experts - if you haven't visited, check it out here.
Acting Navy Secretary Resigns
Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly submitted his resignation yesterday, one day after a speech to the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt in which he criticized its former captain became public. It's the latest twist in a story that began in late March, when dozens of crew members tested positive for the coronavirus while the ship was at sea. Capt. Brett Crozier, stepping outside standard reporting procedures, emailed a plea (read here) for the crew to be evacuated; the letter was subsequently leaked to the press. Modly alleges he gave Crozier  ($$, FP) his personal phone number prior to the email being sent, and Crozier has been criticized after the fact for allowing sensitive information on the ship's status to enter the public realm. However, Modly's Monday speech drew swift backlash after he called the crew's former captain "stupid" and suggested Crozier knew the memo would likely be leaked.

You can listen to the audio of Modly's speech here.
Long Lines in Wisconsin
Wisconsin voters braved hourslong lines and fears of the coronavirus to vote in the state's primary and local general elections yesterday. The state was the first to hold in-person voting since stay-at-home orders were put in place; Gov. Tony Evers (D) had attempted to delay voting or fully switch to mail-in ballots, but was rebuffed by the state Legislature; a last-minute executive order canceling in-person voting was overturned by the state Supreme Court. A court order prevents results from being released before Monday, the deadline for more than 1.2 million mail-in ballots that had been requested - almost than 50% more than the state's previous record. Joe Biden leads Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) by a healthy margin in the state and has a commanding lead in pledged delegate count, but delays in other primaries mean the Democratic nomination won't be formally decided until at least June 2.

See photos from polling stations around the state here.
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Time to double down?
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In the Know
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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
> Two-time Grammy-winning singer-songwriter John Prine dies from COVID-19 at age 73 (More) | Hal Willner, TV and film music producer, dies at 64 from COVID-19 (More) | Disney chairman Bob Iger says company working on precautionary measures for when theme parks reopen, including temperature checks at the entrance (More)
> Russia and Qatar deny Justice Department allegations they bribed FIFA execs to secure votes for 2018, 2022 World Cups (More)
> Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu wins second straight John Wooden Award for best female collegiate basketball player of the year (More) | Dayton’s Obi Toppin wins Wooden Award as best male player (More)
Science & Technology
> WhatsApp limits forwarding of viral messages in attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19 misinformation among users (More) | Preliminary data show racial disparities in the number of COVID-19 deaths (More)
> Study finds a common skin protein can switch on itch-associated nerve cells; findings suggest a route to blocking some types of itch allergies (More)
> Event Horizon Telescope reveals most detailed images ever of near-light speed particle jets emanating from a quasar, a supermassive black hole surrounded by gas discs (More) | How the brightest objects in the universe work (More)
Business & Markets
> Family of Chicago-area Walmart employee who died from COVID-19 sues company for failing to notify workers after several employees began showing symptoms (More)
> Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey pledges $1B in Square stock to charity to fight pandemic (More)
> US stock markets down slightly (S&P 500 -0.1%, Dow -0.2%, Nasdaq -0.3%) in relatively calm trading day (More) | US mortgage forbearance requests growing rapidly as homeowners seek relief amid pandemic (More)
Politics & World Affairs
> President Trump directs EPA Inspector General Sean O’Donnell to act as Pentagon Inspector General in addition to current duties; move effectively removes current Pentagon watchdog chief Glenn Fine from stimulus oversight panel (More)
> Tropical Cyclone Harold slams the tiny pacific island nation of Vanuatu with winds equivalent to a Category 4 hurricane, grazes Fiji as it heads out to sea (More) | See photos (More)
> White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham to return to work for Melania Trump as chief of staff; Kayleigh McEnany to move from Trump reelection campaign to take over role (More)
The recent market sell-off.
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Warren Buffet recommends we “be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.” Makes sense, right? Invest in companies that are undervalued at the moment and have the real potential for growth ahead of them.

Well now may be your chance. Global markets have taken a hit, but The Motley Fool can help guide you through this new investment landscape (just like they did with their loyal subscribers in the 2008 Great Recession). Today, their most recent "double-down alert" is available to members of their Stock Advisor service. Become one now.
 
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Etcetera
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Jewish families are gearing up for a virtual Passover.
In Naples, solidarity baskets are helping feed the homeless.
Scientists turn the coronavirus genome into music. (w/audio)

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Uber Eats reveals the most popular takeout orders in 35 states.
A fascinating visualization of how highways divide cities.
This AI generator will turn you into a Renaissance masterpiece
Missed last night's pink supermoon? See photos here.
With lockdown keeping visitors at bay, pandas are finally getting busy.
Clickbait: Researchers uncover one of the earliest uses of the f-word.
Historybook: HBD actress Robin Wright (1966); RIP Pablo Picasso (1973); Hank Aaron breaks Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record (1974); Frank Robinson becomes first African American to manage a major league baseball team (1975); RIP Margaret Thatcher (2013).
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