The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Trump Drops 'Quarantine' Threat for Hot Spot NYC

    After saying he was considering a 'quarantine' of the New York metro area, President Donald Trump instead opted Saturday night to issue a travel advisory. The Centers for Disease Control urged New York, Connecticut and New Jersey resident to forgo "nonessential domestic travel for 14 days" after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the president's initial proposal "a declaration of war on states."

    How bad have things gotten? Within the city limits, a record 222 people died in 24 hours ending Saturday at 4 p.m., bringing the total to 672 among some 30,000 infections — a fourth of confirmed U.S. cases.

  2. Global Toll Passes 30,0000, with 10,000 in Italy

    A third of the worldwide death toll is in Italy, which added 889 fatalities to reach a world-leading 10,023 Saturday. It's followed by Spain, China, Iran and France. Rapidly catching up is the United States, now above 2,200 deaths and recording the world's most cases. Worldwide, confirmed infections are near 670,000 with almost a fifth in the U.S.

    Is there any reason for hope? While many East Asian nations, including COVID-19's birthplace, China, seem to have outbreaks under control, researchers say Italy has seen an "apparent reduction in the infection curve" since March 20.

    OZY reports on Sweden's alarmingly relaxed attitude toward the pandemic.

  3. Trump Enacts Relief, Slams GM Over Ventilators

    Ending a week in which the U.S., passing 100,000 known SARS-CoV-2 infections, eclipsed even China's total, President Donald Trump signed a $2 trillion pandemic relief bill Friday while invoking wartime powers to commandeer industrial production. Days after praising corporations' voluntary efforts, Trump blasted General Motors for trying to "rip off" Washington, charging too much for manufacturing too few life-saving ventilators. He also questioned pandemic epicenter New York State's call for 30,000 of them, suggesting major hospitals normally have just two.

    How many are needed? Some 200 U.S. cities indicated they needed an additional 139,000 ventilators, 28.5 million face masks and 7.9 million test kits.

    Follow OZY's coverage at Coronavirus Central.

  4. Can Germany Maintain Its Low Death Rate?

    Germany is one of the top five nations for coronavirus infections, yet its death rate is almost as low as that of South Korea, which has been praised for its containment. But Germany’s curve is far from flat: The growing number of cases — approximately 60,000 as of Friday — resembles the increase seen in Italy, where COVID-19’s toll is the deadliest. Some say that's because Germany is testing more, and its patients tend to be younger than Italy’s.

    What are its plans? The Federal Ministry of the Interior has a strategy paper that seeks to aggressively test while controversially using phone data to track those exposed.

  5. NATO May Be Fighting Its Final Battle

    Even as it celebrated the accession of its 30th member, North Macedonia, on Friday, NATO was struggling. On Tuesday, the trans-Atlantic alliance members' foreign ministers will teleconference on fighting the coronavirus as members turn inward to ward off a death toll that could rival major wars. Meanwhile, writes defense analyst Elisabeth Braw, adversaries Russia and China are "producing a barrage of coronavirus disinformation" aimed at dividing the allies while NATO's cancelled a military exercise involving 20,000 U.S. soldiers.

    Is NATO finished? That's uncertain, and its main foil, Russia, has also cancelled war games on its western border to focus on the pandemic.

    OZY looks at who's filling the vacuum.

  6. Climate change protest shutterstock 1406456162

    Russia Is Lighting a Fire for Climate Change

    After joining the Paris climate agreement last September, Russia, the world’s fourth-largest greenhouse gas emitter, has a new climate plan. But the country’s new policies reportedly won’t decrease greenhouse gas emissions until 2050. In fact, emissions could even increase under scenarios in the plan, which relies on inflated economic growth estimates that, if not met, would amount to “reductions” from 1990 emission levels.

    Why does it matter? In its 2018 report, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has predicted that for civilization as we know it to continue, emissions will need to reach net zero by 2050.

    OZY’s Special Briefing looks at Brazil’s beefy climate win.

  7. Also Important...

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has tested positive for the coronavirus, told Britons in a letter that "things will get worse before they get better." Panamanian authorities have allowed two Dutch cruise ships to transit the Panama Canal after initially barring them because of coronavirus-infected passengers. And a new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows former Vice President Joe Biden's lead against President Trump narrowing to 49-47 percent.

    In the week ahead: Tuesday is Equal Pay Day, when the average female worker's salary catches up to its male counterpart's 2019 earnings. This week U.S. lawmakers are expected to work on legislation that would protect Americans from damage to their credit rating from unpaid coronavirus-era medical bills. And on that day, Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, will step down as senior British royals.

    Coronavirus update: Global cases exceeded 700,000 today, with some 149,000 patients having recovered.


  1. After Millions of Americans Die, What Then?

    America should not have been caught unawares by the pandemic. Prominent individuals and health organizations implored people to prepare immediately, but their warnings were ignored. Now U.S. cases outnumber those of any other nation, with some 2.2 million deaths predicted, warns science journalist Ed Yong. All elements, from mask-making to testing to pharmaceutical development, must move at a breakneck pace to provide a chance of averting catastrophic results.

    How will the aftermath look? It depends. If the lesson is one of interdependence rather than isolationism, Yong writes, the U.S. could be ready for the next pandemic.

    OZY examines Scandinavia's pandemic response.

  2. Make Masks for Desperate Medics

    This is war. In the 1940s, as the United States’ enemies ran amok, Americans collected scrap metal and sacrificed silk stockings for bombers and parachutes. Today the main line of defense — microbe-blocking masks — against an invisible foe is thinning. So citizens and businesses are again mobilizing to fill that gap, OZY reports. Groups like Mask Crusaders are matching stockpiles with hospitals, many of which are stitching their own makeshift masks and recruiting citizens to do the same.

    How can people help? If you have a sewing machine, check online for what your local hospitals will accept, watch a legit tutorial (no bra masks) and get to work.

  3. At the Gates of the Grocery Apocalypse

    There was a time when Karleigh Frisbie Brogan concealed her supermarket job, when friends would wonder, “You still work there?” But now the occasional writing instructor is thanked for her service in a place where agitated, demanding, possibly coronavirus-carrying customers make each workday “feel like Black Friday during the Black Death.”

    Why doesn’t she quit? Even though Brogan vows to her husband every day that she’ll leave her job, she stays for the same reason she believes some customers shop: Her work is the last vestige of normalcy she can cling to.

    Clip this OZY lockdown shopping list.

  4. An Invisible Case of COVID-19

    New York Times Magazine Deputy Editor Jessica Lustig’s life turned when her husband began suffering from COVID-19 on March 12. Now she cares for him around the clock, keeping him isolated and constantly washing up in the heart of New York — a city initially unaffected by the virus. Her middle-aged, asthmatic partner continues to shiver, sweat and even cough up blood at home, seeing doctors mainly via video calls.

    What is Lustig learning? She feels as if she’s “in a time warp,” with passersby unaware that in an all-too-certain future, “this will be them.”

  5. Not Coming to a Theater Near You

    In the war between cinemas and streaming services, the at-home on-demand platforms have received a leg up with the pandemic. Streaming is expected to surge across the world as lockdowns continue and new releases move online. Universal has led the charge, but distributors are furious, noting that other major studios have chosen to delay releases.

    Are cinemas done for? For consumers, a Netflix subscription is cheaper than a trip to the big screen, but studios won’t give up the blockbusters so easily.

    Check out OZY’s feature about the party app that parents are discovering.