4.9.2020

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Need to Know
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Cautious Optimism in the US
One of the primary models for estimating total deaths and hospital capacity significantly revised its outlook yesterday, lowering the projected average death count to just over 60,000 (with a range of 30,000-130,000). The model had originally forecasted a widely cited estimate of 100,000-240,000 total deaths in the US. The update also projects the number of new cases to peak April 12, four days earlier than previously estimated. Experts pointed to better-than-expected results from social distancing efforts - which have been notoriously difficult to model - but warned the situation could worsen if restrictions are loosened.

We've posted the model, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), on our coronavirus resource page

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also expressed optimism that new cases in the state were slowing down, despite reporting 779 deaths, its highest single-day total so far. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti required customers at grocery stories and essential businesses to use facemasks, while California secured a monthly supply of nearly 200 million masks.

Not all the news is positive as the impact of a monthslong economic shutdown begins to reveal itself. Millions have lined up at food banks and donation centers, straining the country's charitable system. Early data show a significant racial disparity in COVID-19 deaths, and this morning's jobs report may show up to 7 million newly unemployed workers, bringing the three-week total to 17 million.

As of this morning, the US had reported more than 430,000 cases with almost 15,000 deaths (real-time map).

Have you heard the term "cytokine storm"? Some doctors think it may be why patients with severe cases of COVID-19 suddenly crash. We've posted a look at the effect on our resource page, along with a study on which animals are likely to contract the virus, and a piece examining whether you can be reinfected.
Sanders Drops Out
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) suspended his bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, paving the way for former Vice President Joe Biden to face President Trump in the general election. Biden has surged to a nearly insurmountable delegate lead after lackluster finishes in the first four primary contests, with Sanders saying his path to the nomination was "virtually impossible" on a call with supporters yesterday. The announcement avoids a protracted primary of the type that marred the 2016 race, when Sanders stayed in the campaign even as his prospects became increasingly untenable (Sanders accused party leadership of promoting Hillary Clinton's candidacy). Due to delayed primaries, Biden won't formally clinch the nomination until June, and the party's convention - historically a showcase for the nominee - has been delayed until Aug. 17-20. Current national polling has Biden with an edge over Trump, though analysts expect the race to be very competitive as the election nears.
US Suicide Rates Soar
Suicide rates for Americans have risen by an estimated 35% over the past two decades, according to a new analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data revealed that while the number of deaths by suicide rose 10.5 to 14.2 deaths per 100,000 people since 1999, the vast majority of the increase came after 2006. The study also revealed a stark gender gap; male suicides were almost four times higher (22.8) than female (6.2), though the suicide rate for females rose by 55% over the time period, compared to 28% for males (see data). Suicide rates were higher across the board for rural areas, with the male suicide rate reaching 31 deaths per 100,000 people. The analysis did not provide a breakout by race, though previous studies have found non-Hispanic whites outpace other racial and ethnic groups except Native American and Alaska Native populations. 
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In the Know
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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
> NYC Broadway shows extend shutdown until at least June 7 (More) | Creative Arts Agency, one of the country’s largest talent agencies, announces pay cuts across the board due to global pandemic (More)
> Linda Tripp, whistleblower and key figure in President Clinton impeachment scandal, dies at 70 (More)
> Former “Friends” star Lisa Kudrow joins cast of “Space Force,” a Netflix comedy from Steve Carell and “The Office” cocreator Greg Daniels (More) | “Tiger King” pulled in 34 million viewers in its first 10 days, just behind the Netflix record set by season three of “Stranger Things” (More)
Science & Technology
> First rigorous experimentation of coronavirus transmission in animals shows virus replicates poorly in dogs, pigs, chickens, and ducks, but well in ferrets and cats; cats appear prone to airborne infection (More)
> Researchers restore mobility and sensation of touch in stroke-afflicted rats using reprogrammed human skin cells (More)
> New techniques allow researchers to cool molecules down to just slightly above absolute zero, allowing control over the molecules' quantum behavior (More)
Business & Markets
> US stock markets up (S&P 500 +3.4%, Dow +3.4%, Nasdaq +2.6%) as optimism for pandemic peak builds (More)
> Google bans the use of videoconferencing platform Zoom for employees, citing security vulnerabilities (More) | Use of Google's own Meet platform has surged since January, currently adding 2 million new users per day (More)
> Industry sources say roughly one-third of US apartment renters didn’t pay April rent in first week of month (More)
Politics & World Affairs
> Saudi Arabia announces a cease-fire with Iran-backed Houthi rebels in war-torn Yemen, the first step toward direct peace talks in over five years (More)
> Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) to divest from all individual stock ownership after backlash over coronavirus sell-off (More)
> Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to try and pass additional $250B in small business support today (More)
In-Depth
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Gone Overnight
Slate | Christina Cauterucci. Independent restaurants have been stretched to the limit during the coronavirus outbreak as states across the country ordered closures with no clear end in sight. The story of Washington, DC's popular Thamee restaurant captures the struggle and fear at the ground level. (Read)
The Highland Park Drug Ring
D Magazine | Peter Simek. How did a mother of 10 and a former SWAT sniper get pulled into an extensive Dallas drug ring? The answer lies in the power of fentanyl, the powerful opioid sweeping across North Texas. (Read)
 
 
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Etcetera
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How the coronavirus will change how we use the internet.
The most popular items bought online during lockdown.
Bob Dylan finally notches a No. 1 Billboard hit

From our partners: Is your company safe from cyber attacks? Here's why cybersecurity is more important than ever. #Ad
The ultimate guide to armchair traveling
Peek inside rapper Drake's eye-popping Toronto mansion.
Supervillian arrested for licking $2,000 in groceries.
Online jokesters take advantage of Queen Elizabeth's green screen outfit.
Nacho the penguin meets the seals.
Clickbait: Plague doctors had terrible bedside manner.
Historybook: RIP Francis Bacon (1626); Gen. Robert E. Lee surrenders to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, ending the Civil War (1865); Hugh Hefner born (1926); RIP architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1959); HBD “Sex and the City” actress and activist Cynthia Nixon (1966).
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