Everything You Need to Know, In a Single Daily Email.

5.21.2020

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Need to Know
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NYC Tackles Nursing Home Deaths
New York City, once the US epicenter of the coronavirus, announced yesterday it would offer free coronavirus tests at its 169 nursing homes while providing backup for any staff members who test positive. The move is one of the most aggressive to date to blunt the decimating impact of the virus on long-term care facilities, which account for nearly one-third of COVID-19 deaths in the US despite making up less than 1% of the population. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released detailed guidelines for reopening businesses and services at the federal and state levels. The document comes as all 50 states have now at least partially loosened restrictions. This infographic allows side-by-side comparison of daily cases with current reopening status in each state.

President Trump threatened to withhold funding to Michigan and Nevada after they announced plans to support mail-in voting for upcoming elections, citing the risk of voter fraud. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) said all voters will receive ballot applications to request voting by mail in the November election. In Nevada, ballots were sent by mail for June primary elections.
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Finally, some experts believe the key to curbing exponential growth of coronavirus cases lies in avoiding mass gatherings, with hundreds of people in the same place at once. Such superspreader events may have been the prime driver behind an explosion in hospitalizations early on in the pandemic. 

The US has reported 1.55 million cases, with 93,439 deaths, as of this morning. Deaths rose 1.6% since yesterday morning; see the moving three-day average here

Have more questions? Check out our expert-curated coronavirus resource page.
Michigan Floods as Dams Fail
More than 10,000 people were evacuated as water rushed into towns in Central Michigan yesterday following the failure of two dams. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) said floodwaters could reach as deep as 9 feet in downtown Midland, a town with about 42,000 residents. The area's Tittabawassee River crested at 38 feet, 4 feet above the previous record and 14 feet above flood level. 

The surge came after the Edenville Dam, 20 miles north of Midland, catastrophically failed (before and after pictures here), followed by the downstream Sanford Dam. The owner of the Edenville structure had been cited in 2018 for failing to make safety upgrades. The floodwaters are threatening Dow Chemical's world headquarters, as well as a toxic cleanup site managed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

See aerial photos here.
US Birth Rates Continue to Fall
The number of US births fell just under 3.75 million in 2019, a 1% drop from 2018, according to preliminary data from the CDC released yesterday. The number was the lowest reported in 35 years, and the total fertility rate—the average number of children per woman over their lifetime—fell to 1.705, a record low for the country. Researchers noted that figure was again below replacement level, or 2.1, the rate at which the US population will, on average, replace itself. 

The data reflected the ongoing shift toward later childbirth, with the birth rate for women aged 40-44 rising 3% per year since 1985, despite the overall drop. Separately, teenage births fell 5% from 2018 to a new historic low. Explore more of the data here

Fertility rates across the world have dropped steadily; the global population is projected to stop growing by the end of the century at current rates. 

Editor's note: Helping reverse the trend is Stacey T., a frequent 1440 reader (and this editor's sisterwho gave birth to a healthy baby girl yesterday. Congrats! 
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In the Know
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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
> New analysis says COVID-19 pandemic responsible for 890,000 lost lobs in the film and entertainment industry (More) | NCAA votes to allow football and basketball players to resume workouts June 1 (More)
> Former WWE star Shad Gaspard’s body found on Los Angeles' Venice Beach several days after he was pulled into ocean by a rip current; Gaspard was 39 (More)
> Unnamed NFL player files lawsuit against United Airlines alleging he was sexually assaulted and harassed by a passenger during a flight (More)
Science & Technology
> Federal court rules salvage firm can cut into the Titanic shipwreck to retrieve the wireless telegraph that sent distress signals as ship was sinking; federal agencies contend the expedition is prohibited by international agreement (More)
> Apple and Google release contact tracing app that notifies users when they've been around other users who later test positive for the coronavirus (More)
> Radiocarbon dating, the most common method to determine the age of a specimen containing organic material, scheduled for recalibration based on a range of new data; could have implications for previously dated archaeological finds (More)
Business & Markets
> US stock markets up (S&P 500 +1.5%, Dow +1.7%, Nasdaq +2.1%) as investor pandemic sentiment improves; Amazon and Facebook at all-time highs (More)
> McDonald’s workers in 20 cities strike over working conditions, five employees filed lawsuit this week regarding worker safety (More)
> L Brands, owner of Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret, sees 37% quarterly revenue decrease over last year (More) | Expedia sees Q1 bookings drop 39% (More)
Politics & World Affairs
> At least 24 dead as Tropical Cyclone Amphan hits India and Bangladesh; storm surge pushed water 15 miles inland (More) | See photos here (More)
> Supreme Court temporarily blocks House Democrats' access to redacted Robert Mueller probe documents while lower court decision is appealed (More) | Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen released from jail over coronavirus concerns, will serve remainder of sentence from home (More)
> US officials arrest former Green Beret and his son for helping ex-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn escape trial in Japan; Ghosn escaped a detention center in December, fleeing to Lebanon (More)
In-Depth
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How the Pandemic Will Change Healthcare
STAT | Lev Facher. Across many industries, the coronavirus is acting more as an accelerator than a disruptor, speeding the adoption of existing innovations. From the structure of long-term care to the role of nurses, here is how the healthcare industry might evolve. (Read)
Hunt for the Ghost Particle
Gizmodo | Ryan Mandelbaum. Seemingly arcane to outside observers, the field of particle physics represents humanity's drive to understand the fundamental structure of nature. Here's why the US is betting it all on the elusive neutrino, the most abundant—and most difficult to detect—particle of them all. (Read)
 
 
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Etcetera
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All the different ways to draw the coronavirus.
New Zealand touts a four-day workweek to rebuild post-pandemic.
A 99-year-old veteran does laps to raise millions for healthcare workers.

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The San Diego Zoo says hello to its first pygmy hippo calf in 30 years
Take a virtual tour of Amsterdam's Vincent van Gogh museum.
Astronomers get an early glimpse into an ancient galaxy.
Let this simulator randomly cobble together a children's poem for you
Brood IX cicadas are about to emerge in three states after 17 years.
Clickbait: Mississippi governor hit with a cheeky prank
Historybook: American Red Cross is founded (1881); Amelia Earhart is first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic (1932); RIP social worker Jane Addams (1935); HBD actor Mr. T (1952); Rapper Notorious B.I.G. born (1972).
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