The Presidential Daily Brief

Important

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    Trump Disavows Georgia's Eager Reopening

    After haranguing governors for continuing their lockdowns, President Donald Trump said Wednesday he told Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp "that I disagree, strongly, with his decision to open certain facilities." Kemp is allowing many establishments, from gyms to massage parlors, to reopen Friday. Trump argued that those businesses could "wait a little bit longer." Meanwhile, in Germany, where some restrictions are also being lifted amid comparatively low death rates, Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that while "we have won time," it was "still the beginning" of the pandemic. Global cases have surpassed 2.6 million, with 184,000 deaths.

    Follow OZY's pandemic coverage.

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    House to Vote on Stimulus — in Person

    It's for a good cause, at least. But Americans are wondering why, if they can have meetings from home, is Congress risking contagion during a pandemic? In keeping with the president's call for returning to work, Republican leaders are insisting on having lawmakers and staff converge on the Capitol — while the rest of Washington remains on lockdown — to pass a $484 billion coronavirus relief bill today. House leaders couldn't agree on allowing passage by unanimous consent, which would let most lawmakers avoid gathering in person. Many politicians are also sending mixed messages, appearing for photo ops unmasked.

  3. Study Pegs China Infections Four Times Higher

    While China reported no deaths from COVID-19 today — and just 30 new infections — a study from Hong Kong University estimates that the country's total number may be about four times higher than official figures. That's due to China's definitions of coronavirus cases changing repeatedly since the beginning of the outbreak. Beijing has already confessed that the death toll in Wuhan was far higher than originally reported. The country also announced a $30 million donation to the World Health Organization, on top of $20 million last month, after the U.S. cut its funding.

    This OZY True Story explores racism against Asians.

  4. US, Iran Renew Tensions Over Satellite

    As both nations are beset by the pandemic, their military rivalry has been boosted by the launch of the Islamic Republic's first military satellite. Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps announced Wednesday that its Noor satellite had reached orbit 264 miles above Earth. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded that "Iran needs to be held accountable" for violating a 2015 U.N. Security Council resolution — but that resolution was linked to the nuclear deal the U.S. abandoned. President Trump, meanwhile, said he'd ordered the Navy to "shoot down and destroy" Iranian gunboats that harass American ships.

  5. Also Important...

    At least six people were killed yesterday by storms that blew through Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana. Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman has shocked many by declaring that it's time to reopen the city's famous Strip. And the mayor of South Korea's second-largest city, Busan, has resigned after admitting "unnecessary physical contact" with a female subordinate.

    Coronavirus update: Some of Britain's social distancing rules will remain in effect for the rest of 2020, the country's chief medical adviser has said.

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Intriguing

  1. Malaria Drug's Star Falls Quickly

    It was a panacea, but not the good kind. Hydroxychloroquine, praised in a French study and at the White House podium, has lost its shine as a potential COVID-19 treatment. But not before Veterans Affairs doctors observed more deaths among those treated with it. White House virologist Dr. Rick Bright also said he was demoted for not pushing it — a move he called putting "cronyism ahead of science." Observers say the biggest sign that the drug and its cousin chloroquine have fallen from favor is that Fox News' positive coverage of them has gone silent.

  2. Now House Cats Are Becoming Infected

    Luckily, distancing is their thing. While we knew cats could contract the coronavirus after five tigers and three lions in the Bronx Zoo tested positive, few people beyond Joe Exotic need to worry about snuggling with those kitties. But ordinary folk may be alarmed that two domestic cats in New York became the first American pets to test positive Wednesday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reassured that pets don't play a significant role in spreading the virus, but said as a precaution owners shouldn't let them roam.

    OZY introduces you to activists saving pets from war zones.

  3. COVID-19's Fatal Clotting Complication

    Doctors around the world are reporting blood coagulation in coronavirus patients that's causing embolisms, heart attacks and, in Broadway actor Nick Cordero's case, the loss of a leg. It's another deadly effect of a virus that can damage "almost anything," said one expert, including the heart, kidney and brain. But like so much about this disease, the reason is elusive, and even patients on anticoagulants have suffered clots. Some scientists hypothesize that blood problems could explain many bizarre and confusing complications of COVID-19, and some doctors are considering preventive blood thinners for even patients with mild symptoms.

  4. 'Shark Tank' Star Denies Mask Profiteering

    Daymond John is denying a Miami Herald report that he offered to sell 1 million coronavirus-blocking N95 masks to Florida for $7 million — a markup of more than 300 percent. A state official said the Shark Tank entrepreneur told him he had "connections with factories in China." But John claims he was simply "serving as an intermediary," and that he established an escrow account to protect the state against fraud. The deal fell apart last week, and is now one of many cases being scrutinized by mask manufacturer 3M in an effort to prevent price gouging.

    Read OZY's feature about a Shark Tank success.

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    Can VR Defeat the Quarterback Draft Curse?

    As the NFL draft begins today, it's expected that unless the top QB pick's name is Manning, he won't win a Super Bowl. But maybe teams just need better data: Several innovators have devised virtual reality systems that evaluate not just physical talent, but how well a prospect learns, OZY reports. Former Broncos scouting director Ted Sundquist, for example, has developed Sports VTS QBSIM, which simulates game play while a headset-wearing quarterback actually hurls a football. Filling the pivotal position is "barely a science," the company's CEO admits, but VR might make it more so.