The Presidential Daily Brief

Important

  1. Governors Beg for Help as Another 6.6M Lose Jobs

    As the global pandemic nears 1 million cases — a fifth of them American — governors begged for supplies from a dwindling federal emergency stockpile. More places, including Florida, ordered residents indoors, while Los Angeles asked those who venture out to cover their faces with whatever they can scrounge. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose state has lost 2,300 to COVID-19, urged other governors to act now to prevent a similar fate. Meanwhile, another 6.6 million Americans were reported to have claimed unemployment benefits last week.

    What's not being done? Although his phone call to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis appeared to prompt the state's lockdown, President Donald Trump says he's not ordering nationwide restrictions.

    Follow OZY coverage at Coronavirus Central.

  2. Still-Swinging Markets Await Jobless Report

    Asian and European markets were mixed this morning as Wall Street, its futures inching up after Wednesday's latest sell-off, anxiously awaited today's coronavirus-ravaged U.S. unemployment figures. Markets seem tuned to COVID-19, including Japan's Nikkei index, which dropped 1.37 percent at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's resistance to a lockdown. Instead, he pledged to send cloth masks to citizens, an effort being derided as "Abenomasks," playing off of his "Abenomics" financial policies.

    How are investors calling the shots? For many, it's amateur epidemiology: monitoring coronavirus's spread and mortality rates — and guessing when and where the pandemic will peak.

    OZY looks at investors' breakfast drink of champions.

  3. Stricken Cruise Ships, Carrier Find Ports

    "We have to help the people. They're in big trouble." So said President Trump of the fate of thousands of passengers on two COVID-19-stricken ships that were shooed away from South American ports. Trump said medics would board the Holland America ships, which are due to dock in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, today, despite Gov. DeSantis' earlier refusal. They'll take passengers ashore, where Canadian and British citizens will be delivered to national authorities.

    Are military vessels affected? Aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is set to dock Friday in U.S. territory Guam to unload nearly 3,000 sailors, though local leaders there call it a "dangerous request."

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    Court Frees Men Convicted in Pearl Beheading

    The Sindh High Court in Pakistan has commuted the death sentence of British-born Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh to seven years in prison, ruling that he'd helped kidnap — but wasn't involved in beheading — Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002. Having already served 18 years awaiting the outcome of an appeal, Sheikh will be freed "in a few days," his lawyer said. Three other men convicted in the crime have been acquitted and released.

    So who did it? Even fellow journalists had doubts about the convictions, especially after accused 9/11 organizer Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, held at Guantánamo Bay, admitted to the murder.

  5. Also Important...

    Doctors are discovering that some acute COVID-19 cases, especially in otherwise healthy younger patients, could stem from a "cytokine storm," an overaggressive immune response that drugs may be able to mitigate. Researchers in Australia are starting animal trials for two potential coronavirus vaccines. And the U.S. Treasury Department says it will send $1,200 stimulus checks to retirees even if they don't typically file tax returns.

    We heard you! We asked what the most difficult part of social distancing is for you, and Sheryl S. said it's explaining isolation to her dementia-suffering mother in assisted living: "Some days she becomes very disoriented, and she cries ... I'm not sure how long she can hold on."

    Coronavirus update: The European Union says it will provide $109.6 billion to nations worst impacted by the virus, such as Italy.

Intriguing

  1. Fauci Threats Prompt Armed Security

    It's a deadly contagion. As the medical face of America's desperate pandemic battle — and a rare voice in the administration challenging President Trump's misstatements — Dr. Anthony Fauci has many enemies. After personal threats and mounting right-wing conspiracy theories, the Department of Health and Human Services has assigned the renowned immunologist, who's advised presidents since 1984, his own armed guards.

    Does everyone hate him? No, the 79-year-old, who rose to prominence fighting to bring HIV/AIDS under control, also needs security to protect him from his many fans.

    OZY's Butterfly Effect reports on the Dutch response to the virus.

  2. Russia's Ready-or-Not Coronavirus Paradox

    It's understandable to doubt the Kremlin's comparatively hopeful, but tightly controlled reports of the coronavirus's spread within its borders. But Russia does have a major weapon in this war: 8.2 hospital beds per 1,000 people, nearly three times America's capacity, OZY reports. The World Bank also claims Russia's got more doctors and ventilators, so it would seem that Moscow is safe saying the threat is "under control" without risking a tragic retraction.

    What's the rub? The country's health system is chronically underfunded, and experts doubt there are enough specialists to operate those ventilators.

  3. Duterte on Lockdown Violators: 'Shoot Them'

    Some might question whether lockdown scofflaws have a death wish. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has settled that, authorizing police and the military to use deadly force against them. "If anyone creates trouble ... shoot them dead." The president's vow came after residents of Manila's Quezon City slum held a protest, claiming they hadn't received any food or supplies since the lockdown began two weeks ago.

    How else is Duterte inspiring his people? As only he can: Saying medical workers who don't survive are "so lucky. They died for their country."

    OZY examines how the virus could enable despots.

  4. SpaceX Bans Zoom for Employees

    Are they oversharing? Elon Musk's SpaceX, citing "significant privacy and security concerns," has barred employees from using the videoconferencing app Zoom. Although its name has become a verb as those locked down around the world have sought to stay connected to colleagues, friends and family, Zoom has come under FBI scrutiny after online sleuths found the software was vulnerable to hackers.

    What could happen? Security experts say webcams and mics can be hijacked and passwords can be stolen — in addition to reports of "Zoombombing," in which people crash meetings.

  5. Wimbledon Canceled for First Time Since WWII

    COVID-19 has claimed another iconic sporting event as Wimbledon officials announced Wednesday that the summer tournament, the pinnacle of pro tennis, would not happen in 2020. The decision came after organizers met for two days, saying they were holding "the highest regard for public health and the wellbeing" of participants.

    How have players reacted? Roger Federer, who's won eight times at London's All England Club, simply tweeted, "Devastated" — while defending women's champ Simona Halep said, "We are going through something bigger than tennis."

    OZY helps sports fans get their fix during lockdown.