Covid-19 cases surpasses 500,000 worldwide
There were 510,108 recorded covid-19 infections globally on Thursday, double the number compared to a week ago, according to Johns Hopkins University in the US. (The figure had surpassed 532,000 by Friday morning.) The death toll has surpassed 24,000. Sources: CNBC, France 24 and The Guardian.
US now coronavirus epicentre
The number of confirmed cases in the US (85,991 on Friday at 6:30am) surpassed those in China (81,782) and Italy (80,589). There were 5,000 cases in the US ten days ago. The largest concentration is in New York state. At least 1,200 Americans have died from the disease. Sources: Associated Press, BBC, CNBC, Deutsche Welle, The Guardian and NPR.
Record US unemployment claims
Nearly 3.3m Americans filed for unemployment insurance last week. That is more than ten times higher than the previous week and five times more than the former weekly record set in 1982. Sources: BBC, Financial Times and NPR.
Macron warns Schengen agreement at stake
Emmanuel Macron, the French president, warned fellow EU leaders that the lack of European solidarity risked “the death” of the Schengen border-free bloc, per Reuters. The comment came as European leaders clashed over so-called “corona bonds” and other joint recovery efforts during a five-and-a-half hour videoconference, per the Financial Times, The Guardian and Politico.
Gantz and Netanyahu reach deal
The Israeli opposition leader Benny Gantz was voted in as speaker of parliament, paving the way for the formation of an “emergency” unity government led by the indicted prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Sources: BBC, The Guardian, Haaretz, NPR and Reuters.
Designer firm to make medical kit
Ralph Lauren said it would be the latest fashion brand to start manufacturing medical masks and isolation gowns in the US. Its charitable arm said it was donating $10m to help fight the global pandemic. Sources: BBC, CNBC, GQ and The Hill.
Shares in wrong Zoom suspended
The US Securities and Trading Commission paused trading in Zoom Technologies after many investors confused it with Zoom Video Communications. Zoom Technologies, whose ticker symbol is ZOOM, is a small Chinese maker of communications equipment. Zoom Video Communications, whose ticker symbol is ZM, is the videoconferencing provider that has seen demand spike with the boom in teleworking. Zoom Technologies will start trading again on 9 April. Sources: Bloomberg, CNBC, Financial Times and Seeking Alpha.
Wework says it has enough cash for turnaround
The troubled shared office operator Wework said it had $4.4bn left on its books, but told investors that was enough to survive the coronavirus crisis. Sources: CNBC, Financial Times and Reuters.
Automakers planning to restart US production
Ford, Fiat Chrysler, Honda and Toyota said they could reopen some North American plants as soon as 6 April. Unions expressed scepticism. GM said it had no plans to restart production. Sources: Associated Press, CNBC, Reuters and Seeking Alpha.
Virus survival time
The coronavirus that causes covid-19 could live on certain surfaces longer than previously thought. Elements of the virus were detected on the “Diamond Princess” cruise ship 17 days after passengers disembarked, per CNBC and MIT Technology Review. Previous tests found it could survive between 4 hours and 3 days.
McDonald’s coronavirus branding
To mark the closure of in-restaurant dining, McDonald’s Brazilian operation modified its “M” logo on social media, so that its two golden arches were separated, in line with social distancing. Critics called it opportunistic. Sources: Ad Age, New York Post and Today.
Online activities and events
Cinema: Catch up on Luxembourg films. Facebook group: The Luxembourg Expats Covid Community. Gardening: Create indoor planters. Local cultural performances: Live aus der Stuff. Music: The Social Distancing Festival. Wellness: Streaming yoga classes.
Here are 10 (non-coronavirus) science & technology stories you may have missed
Health: A controversial paper suggests that methylmercury may not be the cause of a mass poisoning in Japan in the 1950s and 1960s, per Science magazine. Health: A paper has linked smoke from Australia’s bush fires to an increase in emergency room admissions and deaths, per Nature. Animals: Vampire bats bond with hungry roost-mates by sharing regurgitated blood in a sort of “French kiss” per the BBC. Ocean pollution: Turtles apparently eat plastic waste because it smells good, per The Economist. Ikaria wariootia: Researchers have found a 555m year old fossil “about half the size of a grain of rice” that they reckon is an early relative of humans and nearly all animals, per and The Guardian. Online privacy: Facebook developed, but not release, facial recognition software “that allowed users to scan peoples’ faces and identify them,” per Vice Motherboard. Online privacy: The latest version of Apple’s Safari browser automatically blocks third-party cookies by default, per The Verge. Online scams: Fake dating app are doing a roaring trade in India, per Quartz. Top level domains: Sark, one of the Channel Islands, may finally get its own two-letter internet country code after a 21 year bureaucratic battle, per The Register. Mobility: The German startup Lilium has now raised more than $340m and aims to launch its electric aircraft taxi service “as early as 2025,” per Techcrunch.
Please don’t jam emergency hotlines with stupid questions…
… because they are in France, per the AFP.
The Independent, Self and WebMD have tips on keeping your hands moisturised during this period of heavy handwashing.
Grooming at home
GQ has a guide for guys who want to cut their own hair.
Today’s breakfast briefing was written by Aaron Grunwald