5.20.2020

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Need to Know
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America (Partially) Reopened
The gradual reopening of America reaches an early milestone today, as Connecticut becomes the last state to loosen at least some of the restrictions put in place to protect against the spread of the coronavirus. The news means all 50 states will have partially reopened ahead of the coming Memorial Day weekend, though nearly all will require some form of social distancing. 

While some states recover from outbreaks, the virus appears to be accelerating in others. At least 13 states saw a week-over-week rise in cases, led by Tennessee (33%), Louisiana (25%), and Texas (22%). Sixteen states have seen cases drop by 10% over the past week, while the remainder of states fall somewhere in between. This infographic allows side-by-side comparison of daily cases with current reopening status.

The University of Notre Dame announced yesterday it would welcome students back to campus two weeks early and cancel fall break, becoming one of the first major universities to reveal its plans for the upcoming semester. The school plans to implement testing, contact tracing, and case isolation strategies to prevent outbreaks. 

As the US, Europe, and East Asia begin to reopen, the virus appears to be picking up steam in other parts of the world. Russia and Brazil became the countries with the second- and third-highest number of reported cases. In Russia, which has reported just 2,837 deaths from more than 300,000 cases, officials have been accused of misreporting deaths to keep figures low. 

Separately, a new study found daily average carbon emissions worldwide have dropped by 17% amid the pandemic. The drop, likely the biggest on record, has led to emissions equal to those last observed in 2006. 

Finally, an antibody study performed in Los Angeles County in mid-April estimates between 2.5% and 7% of adults have contracted the virus at some point. The figures imply there were 40 unidentified cases for every confirmed case (at the time of the study), while also suggesting the population is far away from achieving herd immunity, which would require around 60% of people having developed immunity to the virus. 

The US has reported 1.53 million cases, with 91,938 deaths, as of this morning. Deaths rose 1.5% since yesterday morning; see the three-day moving average here.

Have more questions? Check out our expert-curated coronavirus resource page.
Super Cyclone Slams India
Nearly 7 million people are under evacuation in low-lying areas of India and Bangladesh as Tropical Cyclone Amphan made landfall overnight, just south of the Indian city of Kolkata. The storm reached sustained winds of 165 mph Monday night—equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane—making it the most powerful storm ever recorded in the Bay of Bengal. Though slightly weakened, the system hit the coast with torrential rainfall and 115 mph winds, with a potential storm surge of 10 feet high in some places.

Amphan (pronounced "UM-PHUN") is expected to pass over Kolkata and move into Bangladesh later today, reaching Bhutan and the Eastern Himalayas tomorrow as a tropical depression (see trajectory). 

Check out this primer for everything you ever wanted to know about cyclones, hurricanes, and typhoons, all of which are the same type of weather phenomenon. 
Macron Loses Majority
French President Emmanuel Macron's political party, La République En Marche, lost its outright control of the country's parliament yesterday after seven members defected to form a new party. The decision found the center-left governing party with 288 seats, one short of an absolute majority. Macron is likely to form a governing coalition with two other parties that hold a combined 56 seats. 

The departing lawmakers said they sought greater emphasis on environmental policies and issues affecting social inequality. The latter has broadly manifested the country's yearslong "yellow vest" protests, as well as a paralyzing strike over Macron's proposed pension reforms. 

Macron, up for reelection in 2022, has seen his ratings boosted by public approval of his handling of the coronavirus. 
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Fit and focused at home.
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In the Know
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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
> Joe Rogan, one of the world’s most popular podcasters with 190 million downloads per month, signs deal to stream exclusively with Spotify (More) | Spotify, LeBron James, and HBO among 2020 Webby Award winners, which honors the best in internet content (More)
> Annie Glenn, communication disorders advocate and wife of late astronaut and senator John Glenn, dies at 100 due to COVID-19 complications (More)
> Belmont Stakes, one-third of horse racing’s Triple Crown, to be held June 20 without spectators and at a shorter distance (More) | Bull riding event in South Dakota (July 10-12) may be first US professional sporting event with fans in attendance (More)
Science & Technology
> Israeli archaeologists uncover a "puzzling" 2,000-year-old complex roughly 20 feet beneath the modern Western Wall plaza (More)
> At least a dozen research supercomputers across Europe shut down after hackers attempt to gain control to mine cryptocurrency (More) | What is mining, and why do you need powerful computers to do it? (More)
> Corkscrew-like laser may allow more efficient optical communication; prototype tool rapidly switches circular polarization, allowing information to be stored in the light's orbital angular momentum (More)
Business & Markets
> Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell answer questions before Senate Banking Committee regarding economic response to pandemic (More) | Congressional Budget Office projects US GDP will decrease 38% annualized in second quarter (More)
> Johnson & Johnson to suspend sales of baby powder; company currently faces more than 16,000 lawsuits from talc-based products (More)
> Walmart earnings soar amid pandemic as online sales jump 74%; the retail giant has hired 200,000 workers since March (More)
Politics & World Affairs
> Major flooding in the Midwest forces evacuations in some parts of Michigan as dams break; 10 states were under flood watches or warnings through yesterday (More)
Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff in landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade, says she was paid to adopt an anti-abortion stance following the 1973 Supreme Court ruling; deathbed confession was reportedly captured in upcoming documentary set to air Friday on FX (More)
> Senate Intelligence Committee approves nomination of Rep. John Ratcliffe (R, TX-4) as director of national security, heads to full Senate vote (More)
Trigger, thought, action, consequence.
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Etcetera
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Bicycle sales are surging amid the pandemic.
The world's fastest-growing (and declining) retail brands.
Watch bears catch salmon with this livestream of Alaska's Brooks Falls.

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Former NBA star Magic Johnson is providing $100M in small business loans.
This massive crashing wave is the world's largest anamorphic illusion
AI generates real-sounding words that don't exist, with faux definitions (just keep hitting refresh).
Candid photo captures two penguins comforting each other at night.
This restaurant will put you in a bumper table to aid social distancing
Clickbait: Police need your help identifying this watermelon.
Historybook: Christopher Columbus dies (1506); Charles Lindbergh makes first nonstop flight across the Atlantic (1927); HBD singer-songwriter Cher (1946); First photograph from space sent from Hubble Space Telescope (1990).
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