The Presidential Daily Brief

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  1. WHO Expert Says Lockdowns Aren't Enough

    Absent "strong public health measures," widespread lockdowns will offer only a temporary defense against the spread of the coronavirus, a World Health Organization official said today. Authorities need to track the infected, "isolate them, find their contacts and isolate them," Mike Ryan, who heads the agency's Health Emergencies Program, told the BBC. Without those measures, "the disease will jump back up" once lockdowns are lifted.

    How bad has it gotten? Globally, reports today surpassed 300,000 cases -- 21,000 in the U.S. -- and 13,000 deaths, as American manufacturers are pledging to ease shortages of respirators, masks and hand sanitizer.

  2. Boris Johnson Urges Mother's Day Distance

    The British prime minister urged millions of Britons to cancel today's mother's day visits to avoid any chance of infecting vulnerable, older people with the coronavirus. In his Mothering Day message, he warned of "very stark" numbers that put Britain perhaps two weeks behind Italy, the world's hardest-hit nation with nearly 5,000 deaths. So far, there have been 233 deaths in the U.K., where known cases have exceeded 5,000.

    What else is being done? The National Health Service is writing 1.5 million Britons facing the highest risk of death to stay home, while pubs, restaurants and gyms have been ordered shut.

  3. 1 in 5 Americans Ordered Inside, Pence Staffer Infected

    Following California's lockdown lead, New York, Illinois, New Jersey and Connecticut are imposing movement restrictions in a desperate bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Illinois' Friday "stay at home" order was the strictest, and schools in 45 states have been closed. Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence announced that one of his staff was infected, marking the first White House case.

    What's the latest outlook? With worldwide deaths passing 11,000 among 275,000 cases, one expert in Illinois warned that "the healthy and optimistic among us will doom the vulnerable" if they take restrictions lightly.

    Find all of our coverage at OZY's Coronavirus Central.

  4. Will World Leaders Have a Viral Video Chat?

    A little unity couldn’t hurt. Saudi Arabia has called for a virtual summit of the world’s 20 richest nations this week. The goal is to agree on a strategy to battle the deadly coronavirus and its economic fallout. But right now, Riyadh is fighting a price war with Moscow that helped spark Wall Street sell-offs while damaging the low-margin U.S. shale oil industry.

    Is that a deal-breaker? It could be, but some observers suggest that Trump could leverage summit attendance to force the Saudis to re-tighten oil supplies.

    OZY outlines Russia’s interest in U.S. shale.

  5. The Sanders Revolution Fizzes Out

    Joe Biden’s huge wins the last three Tuesdays didn’t surprise rival Bernie Sanders. If anything, it proves his point, Sanders says. Establishment Democrats are closing ranks against his policies and their supporters. The Vermont senator proved detractors wrong with early wins thanks to a diverse coalition of supporters, but Biden’s reborn juggernaut has all but ended Sanders' progressive revolution.

    Can he continue his campaign? Most indications suggest no, with Sanders giving the appearance of a candidate about to bow out, although how gracefully remains to be seen.

    OZY lays out Sander’s possible exit strategy.

  6. Investing in the Time of Coronavirus

    As with the Joseph Heller's iconic Catch-22 novel, being unbalanced won't save you from today's crashing markets or virtually guaranteed recession. OZY columnist and fund manager Alonzo Garza writes that markets are now starting to resemble those of 1929, 1987 and 2008, with major indexes compounding weeks of steep drops with more declines exceeding 4 percent on Friday.

    What should individual investors do? Keep investments diverse, while taking solace in the fact that even the savviest investors are anxious. Plus, understand that even after the devastating 1918 Spanish flu, the world recovered.

  7. Also Important...

    Australia, with some 1,300 coronavirus cases, has ordered public gathering places such as pubs and cinemas shut down tomorrow. Korea has again fired two short-range missiles into the sea off of its east coast. And country music legend Kenny Rogers, who famously sang "The Gambler," has died at age 81, reportedly of natural causes.

    In the week ahead: Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia plans to hold its presidential election Sunday. Monday is the 10th anniversary of Obamacare, reportedly as popular as ever. Major League Baseball's regular season was scheduled to begin Thursday, but has been postponed by the pandemic.

    Coronavirus update: Spain has become Europe's second nation to surpass 1,000 COVID-19 deaths.

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  1. US Doctors and Nurses Need Masks. Now

    “Hopefully it doesn’t kill me.” That’s what one Oregon nurse practitioner said of working without the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention–recommended N95 respirator masks. Medics are pleading online — #GetMePPE — for the personal protective equipment their facilities are already running out of. They’ve been spraying masks with disinfectant and reusing them until they fall apart. Facing much higher viral exposure than patients, many medical professionals will become sick. In Italy, more than 2,600 health workers have been infected.

    Is help coming? The military promises 5 million masks and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence says the government is providing 35 million, but one estimate says at least 1.7 billion are needed.

  2. Why Won’t Mom and Dad Take This Seriously?

    They won’t listen. Journalist EJ Dickson found she isn’t alone in her frustration with the recklessness of her baby boomer parents, who have been going to concerts and pizza joints despite her admonishments. She even found a survey showing only 43 percent of boomers were concerned about getting infected, notwithstanding their elevated COVID-19 risk. Most Gen Xers and millennials surveyed did care, casting doubt on assumptions that low risk equals aloofness.

    What can be done? Tough love, Dickson writes. It seems that some boomers will come around just to keep their kids happy.

    OZY explores homelessness among retirees.

  3. Bejing Struggles to Return to Normal

    Life has changed in China, the country in the vanguard of battling the coronavirus pandemic. Nowadays, workers must pass temperature checks just to enter the few workplaces still operating, although some joke about the free medical attention. But when building owners shut off heat for fear of pipes spreading the virus, there isn’t much humor left in the frigid city, observes Agence France-Presse Beijing Bureau Chief Patrick Baert.

    Is Beijing returning to normal? Fear still rules in the megacity, keeping many citizens housebound while authorities enforce social distancing restrictions.

    OZY's Special Briefing explores how the virus threatens civil liberties.

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    The Girls’ Bathroom That Launched a Movement

    A week after a female student sued Berkeley High School in California over its handling of sexual assault reporting, a whisper campaign started — in the girls’ restroom. “Bathroom graffiti,” as the principal called it, cautioned potential victims of “Boys to watch out 4.” The warnings launched a support group, and a movement to compel school administrators to take action against what the girls allege was predation by some of the school’s most popular male students.

    Is this happening elsewhere? Federal stats show K-12 sexual violence reports rising 277 percent from 2011 to 2016, and now the U.S. Department of Education is trying to shift regulations to protect the accused.

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    Diary of a Reality Show Survivalist

    Alaskan Blair Braverman says appearing on Discovery’s Naked and Afraid, aside from a panicked emergency call for help, was for real. Real elephants lumbered along mere feet from the campsite she shared with her disrobed partner, a real scorpion attacked her and real hyenas surrounded them at night. And Braverman certainly didn’t expect to sing Beatles songs, expensive to broadcast, while going to the bathroom to try to maintain privacy.

    How did it turn out? Unable to withstand the South African heat, Braverman quit on Day 14, but said she still enjoyed the chance to endure both the wilderness and reality TV.

    Use OZY’s guide to free viewing during lockdown.