The Presidential Daily Brief

Important

  1. U.S. Faces Frightening COVID-19 Figures

    President Donald Trump warned of a "very painful two weeks" ahead yesterday as public health experts said up to 240,000 Americans could ultimately die despite the social distancing measures currently in place. Trump's tone marked a departure from his weeks of downplaying the outbreak, though he insisted his administration has handled the crisis well. Meanwhile, scientists are collaborating across borders on drugs and vaccines while cash-strapped companies are scrambling for credit.

    Could coronavirus change politics? Trump would be wise to appoint a Democrat as Health and Human Services chief to project a unified front, OZY suggests — a strategically savvy move that seems unlikely for now.

  2. census 2020 form shutterstock 790714156

    Census Day Arrives Amid Closed Doors

    America's down for the count. April 1 was meant to kick off the once-in-a-decade survey with rallies, parties and public events urging folks to stand up and be counted. Then coronavirus happened. Still, the Census Bureau says it's "laser-focused" on getting the job done by the Dec. 31 deadline. But its plan to hire 500,000 workers has been delayed, along with head counts of the homeless and people living in group homes.

    How are officials spreading the word? In addition to texting and calling, they're pumping out digital and TV spots to reach shut-in households.

    Check out OZY's feature about the nuclear family potentially dying out.

  3. venezuela protest flag shutterstock 747177115

    Venezuela to America: No Thanks

    The crisis-racked Venezuelan government has roundly rejected an offer by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to drop sanctions in exchange for a political transition. It follows a similar proposal by opposition leader Juan Guaidó, and envisages both him and President Nicolás Maduro stepping down to make way for a five-person council. Parliamentary and presidential elections would come 6-12 months later.

    How could such a proposal succeed? It would likely need to guarantee Maduro's safety, as well as win backing from skeptical parties like Russia and China.

  4. markets trading shutterstock 377247718

    Markets Sink as Gloomy Quarter Ends

    U.S. futures, as well as most stocks in Europe and Asia, fell today as the worst quarter for global markets since 2008 drew to a close. Japan’s Nikkei 225 dropped 4.5 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 600 — which posted its largest quarterly loss since 2002 — dipped 2.9 percent. And futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 fell 2.6 percent.

    What's the short-term outlook? Despite yesterday's promising data indicating a rebound in Chinese manufacturing, analysts say most producers worldwide are facing "even more weakness" as lockdowns continue.

    Check out OZY's tips on investing in coronavirus, Warren Buffet-style.

  5. Also Important...

    Russia has reportedly sent a plane full of medical supplies to the United States. Saudi Arabia's government has encouraged Muslims around the world to put off their plans for Hajj. And a magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck Idaho yesterday.

    Coronavirus Update: As of early Wednesday, 180 countries and regions have reported nearly 874,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 43,000 deaths.

    Speak up! What was your coronavirus testing experience like? Let us know by replying to this email — and we’ll feature the most interesting answers right here later in the week.

Intriguing

  1. Don't Mention COVID-19 in This Country

    According to the precious few independent journalists operating in Turkmenistan, authorities in the repressive Central Asian nation are hauling away anyone who talks about coronavirus in public. State media has banned the word, and official brochures on disease prevention no longer mention it. Perhaps unsurprisingly, not a single case has been reported there — though officials have locked up the capital Ashgabat anyway.

    Is Turkmenistan in trouble? Besides bordering hard-hit Iran, it also relies heavily on selling natural gas to economically struggling China.

    Read this OZY story about Turkmenistan's lavish government spending.

  2. This Doctor Could Stop the Next Pandemic

    He's on the path-ogen to success. For nearly a decade, Indian Canadian doctor Suresh Neethirajan has tinkered away on a device that instantly detects avian flu strains in poultry. Suddenly, his scientific focus has become a matter of urgent global concern. The 39-year-old's nanotechnology-powered tests use treated cotton thread to indicate the presence or absence of coronavirus, OZY reports. They'll cost around $5 each when they hit the market.

    How beneficial could these tests be? If they’re modified for humans, they could usher in a shift in virus containment from a "reactive to a proactive approach," Neethirajan believes.

  3. Thousands of Cruise Passengers Stuck at Sea

    With much of the world locked up, some 8,000 passengers reportedly remain stranded aboard nine cruise ships. The vast majority are on several vessels operated by Carnival Corporation, which estimated Tuesday that they might need to wait another month before disembarking. Much of the recent focus has fallen on the Florida-bound MS Zaandam: Denied entry by several countries, it's carrying four dead passengers and around 200 who've been infected with COVID-19.

    How's Carnival faring financially? It's scrambling for $6 billion in equity and debt — double its net income from 2019.

  4. Dolly Parton Will Read Bedtime Stories

    Starting tomorrow, the country music legend will take to YouTube once a week to read a children's book from her Imagination Library donation program. Good Night Dolly is designed to be "a welcome distraction during a time of unrest," and will take place over a 10-week period. She'll kick off the readings with the Watty Piper classic The Little Engine That Could.

    Why children's books? Parton, who's penned two picture books herself, has a long history with children's literacy efforts, and her nonprofit has given away 130 million books to kids since it launched in 1995.

    Don't miss OZY's Immodest Proposal for killing off Mother Goose.

  5. nflshutterstock 205708939

    Can the NFL Save Its Season?

    There's a major catch. Five months out, the league's general counsel told reporters yesterday that pro football is still on track for later this year. "That's our expectation," said Jeff Pash, though he also conceded that nothing's guaranteed. The draft will proceed as planned April 23, while the spring league meeting remains set for May 19.

    What if coronavirus is still a problem? While the NFL's keen on showing advertisers the show will go on, some say it might need to settle for playing in empty stadiums — or shortening the season.

    Read OZY's True Story about how a punter changed pro football forever.