The Presidential Daily Brief

Important

  1. COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Begins, EU Cases Surge

    As coronavirus infections elsewhere topped 87,000, surpassing China's 80,860 cases, governments are taking different approaches to slowing its spread. Germany has closed its borders with five neighbors as European infections mount, the U.S. is moving closer to a nationwide shutdown and the Philippine island of Luzon is under strict quarantine. Meanwhile, the U.K. is seeing a backlash for what critics say is a dangerously slow response.

    What about a vaccine? While companies and researchers around the world are racing to develop one, as well as treatments, a Massachusetts biotech firm is launching human immunization trials today in Seattle.

  2. Fed reserve shutterstock 300108776 (1)

    Fed Slashes Rates, Stock Selloff Resumes

    Sunday the U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates to near zero to boost the nation's financial health, but it did little to calm global investors' coronavirus-infected economic fears. Markets in Asia and Europe were sharply lower today, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng index losing 3.7 percent and an Australian benchmark plunging a record 9.7 percent. U.S. markets are expected to follow, as futures indexes triggered a trading freeze by dropping 5 percent.

    What else is being done? The Fed pledged to buy $700 billion in Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities, as well as make it cheaper for banks to secure emergency loans.

    OZY asks if corporations can fix health care.

  3. Biden Vows to Pick Female Running Mate

    In the Democratic race's first one-on-one debate, former Vice President Joe Biden promised to make his own VP a woman — and Sen. Bernie Sanders said "in all likelihood" he'd do the same. Sanders spent much of Sunday's Washington, D.C., matchup assailing Biden's record as a senator, including his opposition to free college tuition and his support for the Iraq War. As the rivals faced off without a live audience due to coronavirus concerns, Biden pledged to mobilize troops to fight the pandemic.

    Is this race still on? Biden has an overwhelming advantage, but OZY political columnist and former White House communications director Jennifer Psaki believes "the end will be messy."

  4. Arab, Jewish MPs Unite Against Netanyahu

    In 24 hours, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went from looking like he'd survived an inconclusive March 2 election to suffering a rout. On Sunday, the president chose Netanyahu's rival, Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz, to form a government. Gantz secured the requisite 61 votes thanks to unprecedented support from all 15 members of an Arab parliamentary bloc — despite his reputation as anti-Arab — along with ultranationalist Jewish legislators.

    What caused Netanyahu's downfall? In short, coronavirus: He shuttered courts where he faced corruption proceedings and sought to employ the domestic intelligence service to identify Israelis to quarantine.

  5. Also Important...

    A court in Yokohama, Japan, has sentenced a 30-year-old to death by hanging for fatally stabbing 19 disabled people at a care facility where he worked. Authorities in Australia have charged a man with assault after a Sunday supermarket brawl as shoppers stockpiled supplies. And amid a Swiss investigation into financial irregularities, Spain’s King Felipe VI has renounced his personal inheritance from his father and stripped his predecessor of his annual stipend.

    #OZYfact: Some 60,000 migrants have been displaced since the U.S. began its Remain in Mexico policy early last year. Read more on OZY.

    Coronavirus alert: South Asia could be the next big hot spot.

Intriguing

  1. Bars, Restaurants Shuttered Against Virus

    You may have to drink alone. Across the recently infected Western world, bars, cafes and other gathering places were closed to limit human — and thus viral — contact. France started as Sunday began, closing its cafés and restaurants, cultural touchstones that even operated through World War II. Berlin's vaunted nightlife ground to a halt, with bars, clubs and yes, brothels, ordered shut. And Ireland will mark St. Patrick's Day with its taps idle tomorrow.

    Is the U.S. following suit? Saying "hours count," Washington Gov. Jay Inslee joined California, Ohio, Illinois and Massachusetts in ordering bars and restaurants closed.

    OZY advises on sanity in confinement.

  2. Hoarders Forced to Donate Hand Sanitizer

    Can they wipe their slate clean? Confronted with a price-gouging investigation, two Tennessee brothers who'd aimed to cash in on the COVID-19 pandemic have donated their 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer to a church and first responders. The two were featured in a New York Times article lamenting having "nowhere to sell" their stockpile of gel and antibacterial wipes after Amazon, where they'd listed items for up to $70, cracked down on such practices.

    Will this save them? That's unclear, as the state attorney general has promised "aggressive action" to stop gouging.

  3. Report: US Tried to Poach German Vaccine

    The fevered race to develop a coronavirus vaccine just got ugly. Coinciding with today's start of human trials in Seattle was a report that U.S. officials tried to poach a vaccine in development. At a March 2 White House meeting, President Donald Trump reportedly offered "large sums of money" to get German-based CureVac to move its operations stateside — prompting counteroffers from Berlin.

    What's wrong with that? Newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported that if the U.S. acquired CureVac's vaccine, which it hopes to test this summer, it would be exclusively for use in the United States.

  4. Celebs to Young Fans: This Ain't No Party

    "Don't turn a blind eye." That's what Ariana Grande urged about social distancing and the coronavirus, joining the ranks of celebrities asking their youthful fans to be more responsible. "I'm seeing lots of get-togethers and hangs and parties still happening," noted pop queen Taylor Swift, adding that young, healthy people shouldn't assume they won't spread contagion to those who are older and more vulnerable.

    Are celebs setting a good example? America's Got Talent judge Heidi Klum is, saying she's keeping apart from her musician husband, Tom Kaulitz, until his test comes back.

    OZY recommends quarantine cuisine.

  5. Our Guide for the Frustrated Sports Fan

    It's insane, even without March Madness. The suspensions of nearly every major sporting event this side of the Olympics (still scheduled) have seemingly ruled out sports as a comfort in these dark times. But team OZY's got you covered. We've tracked down sports that are (as of this writing) still happening, from Australian pro basketball to Japanese sumo matches to Russian hockey, and we've got links to feed your viewing obsession.

    And if those get cancelled? There are still more options, from classic March Madness action starring Michael Jordan to a documentary going back to the birth of English soccer.