The Presidential Daily Brief

Important

  1. Global Deaths Pass 20,000 as WHO Disputes 'Immunity'

    The coronavirus pandemic is known to have claimed more than 200,000 lives, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers. Other tragic milestones were also reached Saturday: Britain's COVID-19 deaths surpassed 20,000, while reported infections around the world are closing in on 3 million. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization warned governmental authorities not to issue "immunity passports" as Chile has announced, as there's no evidence that people who have recovered from the disease are protected from new infections. Even so, the U.S., India, Belgium and Greece are the latest among nations where movement restrictions intended to limit the contagion's spread are loosening.

  2. Kim Jong Un Reported in 'Vegetative State'

    Japanese media are reporting that the 36-year-old North Korean dictator is in a "vegetative state" after a botched stent procedure on his heart. Speculation on Kim Jong Un's health has followed his absence at the birthday celebration of his grandfather and national founder earlier this month, while a team of Chinese doctors reportedly assisted with Kim's care. Now world leaders need to consider what a leaderless, nuclear-armed North Korea might represent. In the event of Kim's death, little sister Kim Yo Jong is seen as a likely successor, in spite of a strong patriarchal hierarchy.

    OZY explores North Korea’s economic future.

  3. Many States Reopening as US Deaths Top 50,000

    It's time to get back to business. Or is it? That's the worldwide dilemma that's particularly acute for U.S. governors, many of whom have imposed economically crushing lockdown orders that expire this week in the face of a national COVID-19 death toll that passed 50,000 yesterday. Some states have already begun. On Friday, Georgia allowed the reopening of spas and other businesses that involve personal contact — something even President Donald Trump, who's encouraged reopening, disagreed with. But patrons are encouraged to continue social distancing, even in places like theaters, which can reopen in in the Peach State on Monday.

  4. Warnings Counter Trump's Toxic 'Sarcasm'

    Don't try this ... anywhere. President Trump fought off widespread alarm Friday, saying he was "sarcastically" suggesting injecting disinfectant to treat the coronavirus Thursday. But that didn't prevent 100 Maryland emergency hotline queries regarding the toxic cleaning staple, and disinfectant maker Lysol joined authorities across the country in issuing a warning that its signature product shouldn't be ingested. Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration warned that two antimalarial drugs Trump has touted, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine — which have yielded negative results in America, France and Brazil — shouldn't be used outside of a clinical setting.

    Follow OZY's comprehensive pandemic coverage.

  5. Will Europe Hate Germany Even More?

    Before COVID-19, before the refugee crisis, there was Europe’s currency, debt and fiscal reform crisis. Greek protesters depicted German Chancellor Angela Merkel wearing a swastika, and other financially pressed southern European nations chafed under the boot of Berlin’s demand for financial responsibility. A similar dynamic is playing out with the pandemic: While Italy’s and Spain’s deaths have sped past 20,000 each, the wealthier Germany has had a quarter as many. And with an economic stimulus being negotiated, Germany is once again holding back, leading observers to wonder whether the coronavirus may be the last straw for the eurozone, if not the European Union itself.

  6. Also Important...

    U.S. doctors are seeing a highly unusual incidence of strokes in COVID-19 patients in their 30s and 40s. After six weeks of lockdown, Spain, with nearly 23,000 pandemic deaths, is allowing children supervised play outside. And despite reports that he's still symptomatic, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to return to work Monday.

    In the week ahead: Advocates of Florida ex-felons' right to vote are to begin a trial Monday to prevent the state from disenfranchising those who haven't paid all fines and restitution. Wednesday is the 75th anniversary of American troops liberating the Dachau concentration camp near Munich. And many major oil producers will begin cutting output Friday to stabilize prices.

    Coronavirus update: For the 10th day, China has reported no new deaths.

Intriguing

  1. If the Virus Doesn’t Get Them, the Trolls Will

    For many Russian coronavirus patients first comes the illness, then the doxxing and trolling. Information about confirmed cases, including phone numbers, addresses and photos, are flooding social media sites. Those targeted believe the details could only have come from the very people designated to help, including health and interior ministries and law enforcement. Social media platforms claim to remove harassing posts, but victims say they have received death threats against themselves and their families and fear that once the pandemic and lockdowns pass, digital attacks may beget very real risks to their safety.

    OZY takes a look at Russia's preparedness.

  2. Startling Antibody Studies May Be Junk

    Two California surveys using antibody tests recently found that coronavirus infections were dozens of times higher than officially reported. The numbers shocked not only the nation but also experts. As Columbia University statistician Andrew Gelman puts it, researchers who tested in the Bay Area hot spot of Santa Clara County “owe us all an apology.” For starters, the antibody test used had a rate of false positives that could account for 100 percent of coronavirus cases it found. While the results convinced many of the severity of the pandemic, it also minimized COVID-19’s death rate, potentially prompting others to disregard virus-prevention measures.

  3. getty images 1125539757

    Journalists in Kashmir Pay the Price

    Just as the press was moving from covering India-imposed lockdowns in Kashmir to the fight against the pandemic, authorities have begun taking action against any reporting that challenges the government narrative, OZY reports. Two journalists — a freelance photographer and a seasoned author and commentator — have been charged under an anti-terrorism law, while a senior reporter with India’s second-largest national daily has been questioned and charged for filing a story without official approval. The “terrorized” journalists say they’re communicating their plight to the rest of the world, hoping, as one said, that “memory will win” and “censorship won’t.”

  4. Where 'Theft' Is a Term of Art

    If a multimillion-dollar art sale occurs in a warehouse, did it really happen? That’s the essence of the case against Inigo Philbrick, a wunderkind in the high-stakes world of auctions where priceless creative works go on the block. For oligarchs, these seeming masterpieces are the perfect investment vehicles, as transactions are unbeknownst to regulators, concluded with an email and a JPEG of the work in question, which sometimes remains stored and unseen. But collectors have gone to court on two continents, accusing the at-large Philbrick of selling the same work to multiple well-heeled and trusting buyers.

    OZY visits a pandemic art museum.

  5. Is Race a Factor in Jalen Hurts' Draft Results?

    It was the Year of the Black Quarterback, with Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson leading the way with a unanimous MVP. That should have changed the environment in which Jackson was the 32nd pick in the 2018 NFL draft, despite winning a Heisman Trophy, sportswriter Carron Phillips lamented last week. On Friday, Oklahoma’s Black phenom Jalen Hurts, with a 38-4 starting record and 80 touchdowns, was chosen 52nd overall — questioned as a wasted pick by some — to play backup to the Philadelphia Eagles' well-paid and popular Carson Wentz. One consolation? Another Wentz replacement won the 2018 Super Bowl .

    OZY remembers one NBA star’s impossible gridiron dream.