The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Have We Flattened the Curve?

    With the number of coronavirus infections nearing 1.5 million worldwide, many are scrambling for signs of optimism. They might be encouraged by hard-hit places like Italy, Spain and New York City, where infections and fatalities are starting to level off. But cases are also spiking in India and Japan. And even where the curve's been noticeably flattened, such as in California, researchers warn against painting "a rosy picture about reopening society."

    When can we go back to normal? Any return to business as usual will be gradual and guided by extreme vigilance, with experts saying, "We'll have to experiment."

  2. It's Trump vs. Biden After Sanders Withdraws

    Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who rallied progressive voters to move the Democratic Party leftward in 2016 and again this year, dropped his presidential bid Wednesday, leaving former Vice President Joe Biden to face President Donald Trump in November. Biden had defeated Sanders in key state primaries to amass a nearly insurmountable delegate lead. In conceding, Sanders called his rival a "very decent man."

    How does this change things? While it indicates Democrats were wary of Sanders' "revolution," he pledged to keep pushing for universal health care — now especially resonant — and workers' rights.

    OZY envisions the senator's next step.

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    Saudi Coalition Declares Cease-fire in Yemen

    There's a new war to fight. The Saudi-led coalition that's battled Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen since 2015 has announced a unilateral cease-fire. The move, taking effect today, is intended to both prevent a coronavirus outbreak among Yemen's war-ravaged population, and allow Houthi leaders to join U.N.-organized peace negotiations. Last month the U.N. called for a pause in all global conflicts to curb the spread of COVID-19.

    Are those the only reasons? The decision may have been influenced by Riyadh's own outbreak, where some 3,000 people are infected, including 150 members of the royal family.

    OZY examines Russia's coronavirus paradox.

  4. New Relief Efforts Fracture in Washington

    As legislators spar over relief packages, the White House is reportedly creating a second coronavirus task force to deal with the pandemic's economic impact. Likely to include the Treasury secretary and presidential economic advisors, it would aim to reopen the country for business by the end of April. It could also, along with presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner's "shadow task force," further muddle messages about the pandemic.

    How is Congress taking care of business? Democrats are pushing back on Republicans' $250 billion small business relief bill, saying it won't pass in the House without food aid and assistance for hospitals and local governments.

  5. Also Important...

    New research shows that the first coronavirus carriers arrived in New York from Europe in mid-February, weeks before the first confirmed case. Linda Tripp, the confidante who taped Monica Lewinsky's conversations, launching a scandal that led to President Bill Clinton's impeachment, has died of cancer at age 70. And China is working to contain a new coronavirus outbreak — imported from Russia.

    Coronavirus update: As the U.K.'s death toll approaches 7,100, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is said to be responding to treatment and in stable condition.

    We're casting! OZY's TV show in partnership with the Oprah Winfrey Network, Black Women OWN the Conversation, is casting for a special episode about how Black women have been affected by COVID-19. Has the virus affected your life? Email us at TODAY with your name, phone, city and short story.


  1. New Zealand Is Crushing the Curve

    "We must go hard and we must go early." That what New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said three weeks ago, and today that strategy seems to be paying off in human lives. Aggressive testing has found around 1,200 cases, but the country's seen just one death after a strict lockdown that prohibits even swimming. Plus police say they've dealt with 367 rule violators, prosecuting 45.

    How does that compare to other countries? An international think tank studying pandemic responses found New Zealand to be the third-safest, behind Israel and Singapore.

    OZY examines Kiwis' response to terror.

  2. Airline Staff Sewing Masks for at-Risk Crews

    They're securing their own masks before helping others. The union representing cabin crew announced that 100 American Airlines flight attendants have tested positive for coronavirus, with one fatality. Some crew members are reporting shortages of protective gear like gloves and disinfectant wipes, and the airline is just starting to provide masks. Flight attendants say they've only recently been allowed to bring their own, which must be in neutral colors.

    Where are they getting them? At American's Dallas/Fort Worth hub, workers have a bank of sewing machines to stitch together fabric, hair bands and pipe cleaners into face coverings for their colleagues.

  3. Utah, Idaho and Nevada Should Be Worried

    As horrible as New York's death toll is, its medical establishment is among the nation's most robust. But that's not the case out west, OZY has found. Utah, Idaho and Nevada lag behind the national average of 2.4 hospital beds and three doctors per 1,000 people. "It could be a disaster," says the data analyst who studied the states' preparedness and found that nine of the worst off are in the West, including Texas and Arizona.

    Which states are best prepared? West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York — a grim indication that doctors and beds can't fight COVID-19 alone.

  4. White House 'Tiger King' Query Stirs Ire

    Can we talk about Tiger King? When killing time under lockdown, sure. But at a White House press briefing about COVID-19? New York Post correspondent Steven Nelson couldn't resist asking President Trump if he might pardon Joe Exotic, the big cat breeder who claims to be unfairly imprisoned for a scheme to murder his animal-rights crusading nemesis. Social media users immediately slammed Nelson, noting that thousands are dying in the paper's hometown.

    What did Trump say? He said he'd "take a look," but turned the tables: "Are you recommending a pardon? As a reporter, you're not allowed to do that."

  5. Coach Gets Schooled After Noose Tweet

    Recently hired Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach raised some red flags at his new school with a tweeted cartoon depicting a woman knitting a noose for her husband during self-quarantine. Now defensive tackle Fabien Lovett plans to transfer, with his father explaining he wasn't comfortable with "a guy like that" in charge.

    What now? The Bulldogs' new skipper has apologized, and the school says it'll help Leach "expand his cultural awareness of Mississippi" and its history of brutal lynching.

    OZY looks back at how Mark Twain addressed racist violence.