The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. US Confirms Over 1 Million COVID-19 Cases

    The U.S. not only has more confirmed coronavirus cases than any other country on the planet, but it surpassed 1 million cases Tuesday — approximately one-third of the global total. American fatalities, meanwhile, have topped the number of U.S. deaths in the Vietnam War. On Twitter, President Donald Trump attributed the enormous number of cases to good testing. He promised the U.S. will soon be conducting 5 million tests per day, though the White House official in charge of testing said "there is absolutely no way on Earth" that can happen.

    Check out all OZY's coronavirus coverage here.

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    Virus Ravages Brazil, Bolsonaro Investigated

    "So what? I'm sorry, but what do you want me to do?" That's what President Jair Bolsonaro asked reporters questioning him about Brazil's spiking coronavirus deaths, which hit a record 474 in one 24-hour period this week. Meanwhile, the country's Supreme Court authorized an investigation into Bolsonaro's alleged attempts to manipulate police — though the president has just named a family friend to lead the investigation. Polls show Brazilians are evenly split on impeachment, which toppled Bolsonaro's predecessor Dilma Rousseff four years ago, even as a third of the public continues to wholeheartedly support the president.

  3. Top Dems Stand by Biden Despite Accusations

    Hillary Clinton endorsed presumptive nominee Joe Biden yesterday — one of many prominent women in the Democratic Party to stand by him despite an allegation of sexual assault brought by a former staffer. Tara Reade's claim that Biden assaulted her in 1993 has been vehemently denied by the Biden campaign, but in recent days several people have come forward saying Reade told them about the incident decades ago. Still, champions for women in politics including potential VP candidate Stacey Abrams are standing by Biden in his upcoming race against President Trump, who has himself been accused of rape.

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    Trump Orders Meat Producers Not to Close

    After more than a dozen high-profile plant closures due to outbreaks of coronavirus — and mounting concerns about food shortages — President Trump issued an executive order that meat producers must keep working. This week, U.S. pork production was reduced by about 20 percent, and beef production by 10 percent. The Labor Department said it would help defend plant owners from legal action over workers being put at risk during the course of business, though it isn't planning to legally compel employees to show up to work.

    Read OZY's dossier on how the virus is shaking food supply chains.

  5. Also Important...

    Yesterday U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visited coronavirus patients at the Mayo Clinic without wearing a mask, despite facility regulations. Independent Michigan Rep. Justin Amash says he's launching an exploratory committee for a presidential run. And British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's fiancée has given birth to a baby boy.

    Coronavirus update: Anti-vax groups are spreading conspiracy theories and disinformation about COVID-19 vaccines before they even exist.

    Listen up! OZY's back with a brand new podcast. Tracing history's many twists, turns and unintended consequences, Flashback introduces you to the disastrous turning points, dangerous ideas and crazy coincidences that the history books never told you about. Subscribe now so you'll be the first to catch episode one on May 6, and as a special treat, check out our exclusive mini-episode about how Isaac Newton discovered gravity while social distancing during the Great Plague.


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    Kentucky Gov's Name and Shame Backfires

    He's for real. On Monday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear berated people filing for unemployment under fake names, who he said were slowing down the process at a time when 24 percent of the state's workforce has made jobless claims. Specifically he ridiculed an application under the name of late rap legend Tupac Shakur — but it turns out 46-year-old Tupac Shakur, a cook in Lexington, really was waiting on his check. Beshear later called Shakur personally to apologize, and the state is now processing his claim.

  2. Would You Throw a Zoom Wedding?

    It's definitely BYOB. With no other options during coronavirus lockdowns, many are turning to digital solutions like Zoom weddings and Houseparty cocktail hours to celebrate their milestones, OZY reports. Virtual events soared by more than 1000 percent in March, according to one company. And those throwing Zoom weddings and birthdays are finding some actual advantages, like higher turnouts and lower price tags — aside from the fact that it's currently the only option.

    Remote Possibilities

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    Asteroid Whizzes by Earth Today

    Not now, asteroid! A space rock dubbed 1998 OR2 zooms past Earth today, just 3.9 million miles away — the closest this particular rock will fly by us until 2079. Scientists had joked that early photos of the asteroid made it look like it was wearing a face mask, even though 3.9 million miles, roughly 16 times the distance between the Earth and the moon, is definitely adequate social distancing. While the 1.5-mile-wide asteroid isn't expected to hit us this time, scientists caution that small orbital changes can alter its trajectory over many years.

  4. Oscars 2021 to Allow Streaming-Only Movies

    The show must go on. While the Academy Awards have strict rules about film eligibility — movies must run for at least a week in an L.A. theater — the pandemic has thrown that out the window. So next year's event will allow films that planned a theatrical release but ended up coming out via streaming instead. And once theaters reopen, showings in a handful of major cities across the U.S. will also count. The reforms are temporary, but the Academy noted the pandemic is shifting quickly and more rules could change.

    Explore the story of the first person to refuse an Oscar.

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    NCAA Considers Athlete Endorsements

    A working group within the NCAA has suggested changes to its rules forbidding college athletes from making money off endorsements, ESPN reports. Its proposed alterations would allow athletes to hire agents for marketing purposes including modeling apparel (as long as no school logos are shown) and endorsing products (as long as they align with school values). The NCAA, which has long resisted athlete endorsements to differentiate itself from pro sports and preserve tax breaks, will now review the proposal — but may not actually vote on it for several months.

    Check out OZY's deep dive into the NCAA's history.