☕ Cover Shot: President Donald J. Trump participates in a virtual Fox News Town Hall with interviewer Bill Hemmer Tuesday, March 24, 2020, in the Rose Garden of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
Good Morning. Here’s what you need to know to start the day, along with perspective from both sides for calmer coffee conversations with your family, friends, colleagues, and co-workers. Plus, a bit of good news: An Australian zoo has begun streaming its animals – but it’s a keeper who’s proved most popular.
📰 TOP STORY
Open By Easter: President Trump on Tuesday said he hopes to have the country “opened up” by Easter — Sunday, April 12 — his most concrete goal to date for easing off restrictions meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Why it matters: His decision to set a specific date came after days of discussion among advisers, but the truncated time frame breaks with public health experts and some lawmakers who have said containing the virus should take precedence. Here’s how it’s playing:
A Link From the Left: Jack Shafer writes for POLITICO that “If the president is serious about lifting coronavirus restrictions, he and his White House team can go first. Trump could go big and bold, temporarily relocating White House operations and personnel to the hottest coronavirus spot in the country, New York City. He could move his Resolute desk into his Trump Tower office and could instruct his White House staff to patronize food carts and restaurants, take the subway and buses to work. Trump should also order his entire family to break out of their life-support cocoons to take jobs as cashiers, delivery men, nursing home janitors, bus drivers, EMT assistants and other positions that require regular contact with potentially infected people.”
A Read From the Right: Rob Arnott points out on RealClearPolitics that “The health of the economy is not as important as the health of the citizenry. However, the two are interconnected. You can’t crush the economy without exacting a human toll. In a 2018 academic article, Taiwanese researchers Yu-Hui Lin and Wen-Yi Chen showed a link between unemployment and suicide, one that may linger for two to three years after the job market has improved. These findings suggest that even a short, sharp recession has lasting consequences. In rough terms, they postulate that each 1% rise in unemployment leads to one additional suicide per 100,000 people and a rise in divorces of up to 1%. If unemployment jumps by 5% in the current shutdown of the U.S. economy, that would translate into some 16,500 additional suicides and up to 3 million divorces. The human toll is very real.”
Flag This: Reality check from Reuters: “A US president has limited power to order citizens back to their places of employment, or cities to reopen government buildings, transportation, or local businesses. Under the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, state governments have the power to police citizens and regulate public welfare. In the country’s early years, it was up to state and local authorities to lead the response to the yellow fever epidemic, not the federal government. Additionally, a US president cannot override state-mandated “shelter in place” orders. Big Picture: disaster response and aid is typically state-led and federally supported.”
🦅 US NEWS
Anyone Leaving New York Area Should Self-Isolate for 14 Days
Trump administration officials urged anyone leaving the New York metro area to self-isolate for 14 days to avoid spreading the coronavirus to other parts of the country. Why it matters: 60% of all new virus cases in the U.S. were coming from New York. With more than 25,000 cases, New York has emerged as the epicenter of the crisis nationwide with the highest and fastest rate of infection
- A Link From the Left: Cuomo on FEMA Sending 400 Ventilators to New York: ‘I Need 30,000!’ Emma Tucker, Daily Beast
- A Read From the Right: Trump cites report Cuomo passed on chance to buy 16,000 ventilators in 2015 Andrew O’Reilly, Fox News
Guns, Groceries, and News: What Sells in a Pandemic—and Doesn’t
U.S. household consumption patterns have gone haywire during the early stages of the global coronavirus health crisis, the Wall Street Journal writes. Why it matters: Consumers are a critical engine of the global economy, providing more than two-thirds of demand for all U.S. economic output, in addition to demand for production and jobs at major U.S. trading partners including China and Mexico. Instead of spending time and money on hotels, restaurants, airlines and other travel Americans are turning to online news sites, spending money on groceries, and loading up on firearms. More below:
- News Clues: News consumption has skyrocketed in the US, but are advertising dollars following? Sara Fischer, Axios
- A Run on Guns: Gun sales on the rise as coronavirus concerns spread Luke Barr, ABC News
🌎 US NEWS
One-Fifth of The World Ordered to Shutdown
Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered a “complete” lockdown for India’s 1.3 billion people on Tuesday, and pledged $2 billion to bolster the country’s beleaguered health care system. Why it matters: The move puts nearly one-fifth of the world’s population under lockdown. Big picture: India is home to about one-third of the global slum population, with an average of one in six city residents living in these extremely crowded areas. Estimates for the reproductive ratio of COVID-19 is somewhere between two and three. It would be about 20% more in the case of India’s slum population. Keep Reading.
Slow and Steady: China Begins Lockdown Lift
Today lockdown measures will be lifted across cities in Hubei province China, of which Wuhan is the capital. Then, on April 8, China will lift the lockdown on Wuhan, the city at the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. Residents with a green “QR code” will be able to leave the city and the province and people from other parts of China will be allowed to enter Hubei and Wuhan if they can produce similar identification. Why this matters: the world is literally holding its breath to see if there is a second wave of infections in Hubei. Reliable data will be hard to come by, but here’s how we will know. Pollution statistics for China showed drastic decreases during the quarantines while people stayed at home. If pollution increases as people head back to work and stay that way, it will be a good indication that the virus has been somewhat beaten back. Despite China’s censorship and overall handling of this pandemic, the world does not want to see a second wave.
🗞️ BIZ, SPORTS, & TECH
Best Day for the Dow Since 1933
US stocks rebounded Tuesday thanks to investor optimism that lawmakers were close to finalizing a deal on a giant stimulus package to aid American businesses and workers. In fact, it was a blockbuster day on Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 2,112 points, or more than 11%, registering its best day since 1933. That being said, a flash reading of manufacturing and service activity fell in March to 40.5, down from 49.6 in February. According to the Wall Street Journal, this is the “sharpest drop since 2009 and a sign that the US is likely already in a recession.” Comparable data in Germany, the United Kingdom, and the Eurozone painted a similar picture.
Olympics Canceled, Surprising Precisely Zero People
Yesterday, the International Olympic Committee announced that the Olympic and Paralympic Games, scheduled to start on July 24 in Tokyo, will be postponed. A wave of 33 million visitors were expected to visit Tokyo, bringing with them an estimated $2 billion in tourism revenue. Japan and the city of Tokyo invested $1 billion in a stadium for the Games and another $6 billion in other preparations. Japanese companies chipped in too, bringing the total budget for the Olympics to $12.6 billion. The delay means media giants like Comcast and Discovery will miss out on at least a billion dollars.
The Bandwidth Boys
YouTube announced that it will reduce streaming quality not just for Europe, but for the entire world. As more people are forced to work from home, the Google-owned company is aiming to reduce the strain on broadband networks. Netflix is also throttling bitrates in the EU as are Apple and Amazon. Interestingly enough, streaming service Disney+ launched in most European countries yesterday, with the exception of France, due to a request from the government to hold off for 14 days. While it certainly appears to be an ideal time to launch the service as people are confined to their homes, Disney also decided to reduce its picture quality which could lead to mixed initial reviews.
📢 PRESENTED BY: THE STREET SHEET
Did you know that Goldman Sachs is projecting jobless claims could surpass 2 million this week? Or that “Zoom” is now worth more than airlines like United and American? If you missed these tidbits in the Street Sheet this past weekend be sure to sign up here. In these volatile times, the Sunday newsletter cuts through the noise to bring you only what you need to know about the world of business and finance. Click here to get started.
🗳️ FLAG POLLS
General Election: Trump vs. Biden, Tuesday, March 24
Source: Monmouth, Biden 48, Trump 45, Biden +3
2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination, Tuesday, March 24
Source: Morning Consult Biden 60, Sanders 36, Biden +24
Weekly Flag Poll from Tag The Flag
Is the United States doing a better or worse job than other countries of handling the coronavirus pandemic? Responses: 1,071. Click to vote
On This Day in 1911: In one of the darkest moments of America’s industrial history, the Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory in New York City burns down, killing 146 workers. Why it matters: The tragedy led to the development of a series of laws and regulations that better protected the safety of factory workers.
What to Stream: Classics for Comfort (The New Yorker)
Why you can smell rain (The Conversation)
The 40 Greatest Family Games (Slate)
The Long Read: Should Congress demand America’s youth give a year of service to their country? Answer