news·4 min read

Daily Skimm: COVID-19: Closing Down, Russian President Putin, and Homeschooling 

COVID-19 Closings
Getty Images
Mar 17, 2020


The Story

Businesses are putting up 'closed' signs to curb the COVID-19 outbreak.

This is getting serious.

It's important to stay safe. Countries from all over the world are trying to do their part to stop the spread of the coronavirus. In the US, closings are happening in a variety of areas...

Social spaces…as in, several states (including New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut) are closing bars, restaurants, and other businesses. And have implemented an 8pm nightly curfew – the latest effort to enforce social distancing as coronavirus cases continue to increase. Retailers are also joining in the fight, with some reducing store hours and others temporarily closing up shop. And today, nearly 7 million people across California's Bay Area (including San Francisco) are under lockdown. in, Ohio canceled its primary today to protect poll workers and voters from the virus. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court said yesterday that it's postponing oral arguments scheduled through early next month. President Trump also suggested a pause on most social activities for 15 days and asked Americans not to gather in groups of more than 10.

The in, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 3,000 points before markets closed yesterday – its second-worst day in the index's history. The Fed's emergency weekend interest rate cut has not calmed the markets. Now, economists are warning of a recession. Here's what you need you to know. in, Canada announced it's closing off its borders to most non-citizens. And the EU – now considered the new epicenter of the pandemic – is planning to restrict all non-essential travel from foreigners into the bloc for 30 days. In the US, airlines are asking for a $50 billion bailout. US airports are also apparently seeking a $10 billion bailout.

What's the gov doing about this?

Trump says he has the airlines' backs. But it may be the least of the US's problems as hospitals could race running out of key supplies like respirators and ventilators. Yesterday, Trump urged states not to wait on the federal gov for help and to restock on their own if they can.


COVID-19 has affected millions of peoples' daily lives and has rattled economies and industries worldwide. There's no end date to the outbreak, which Trump warns could last for months.


Yesterday, researchers started testing a potential COVID-19 vaccine on volunteers. Here's what you need to know:

Phase 1 clinical trial

Researchers are testing the vaccine on 45 healthy men and women between the ages of 18 and 55 in Seattle, WA – one area where COVID-19 cases have surged. The volunteers will receive two doses about a month apart. And will be monitored for a year. US health agencies paired up with biotech company Moderna Inc to fast-track the vaccine. And while it was created in record time, a top health official says a vaccine won't be available for at least 12 months, while researchers make sure it's safe and effective.

  • Breaking it down: The potential vaccine contains genetic material created in a lab. It'll tell cells in the body to create a specific virus protein (the same one found in the coronavirus). The hope is that the protein will trigger an immune response in the body.


While the coronavirus has everyone's attention…

Russian President Vladimir Putin is making power moves. Yesterday, the country's high court approved constitutional changes that could let him stay in power, longer. Putin's been in a leadership role since 1999 – twice as PM and three other times as president. His current term is up in 2024 – but a lawmaker proposed letting him run again, and potentially stay president until 2036. Putin's response: 'why nyet?' Now that the high court gave its blessing, voters hit the polls next month to decide whether to give it the green light.

  • Da long game: If it passes, Putin could be on track to become modern Russia's longest-ruling leader, surpassing Joseph Stalin.

What's taken a big bite from the Apple…

France. Yesterday, the country's antitrust regulator delivered a $1.2 billion fine to Apple – France's biggest antitrust fine, ever. The reason: regulators say the tech giant had a deal with two wholesalers (who are also being fined) to control prices on products like iPads. And that this prevented distributors (think: retailers and resellers) from competing. Apple is appealing the ruling.

  • Déjà vu: This is the second time the country has fined the tech giant this year. Last month, French authorities hit Apple with a multi-million dollar fine for allegedly slowing down older iPhones.

What we all need in our step right now…

Spring. For the first time since 1896, spring starts earlier this year (save the date: Thursday, March 19). We can thank the vernal equinox – when the sun is exactly above the equator – for apparently happening nearly 18 hours early. Fun fact: Equinox is Latin for "equal night." The spring and fall equinox are the only two days this year where there will be approximately 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness anywhere on Earth.

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