As the world continues to grapple with COVID-19, the US is having a serious conversation about leadership.
Let's hear it.
The Trump admin has faced criticism for the delay in coronavirus testing. Last week, President Trump refused to take responsibility for the testing shortfalls, instead blaming the previous admin. But on Friday, he also announced plans for drive-thru testing and a partnership with Google to create a website that helps Americans determine whether and how to get tested. Although a pilot version will be available in one area today, it's not clear when there will be a national rollout. But that's not all.
The CDC is now recommending that events and gatherings with over 50 people (think: concerts, sporting events, weddings) be canceled or rescheduled for the next eight weeks. And Trump extended last week's Europe travel ban to include the UK and Ireland starting tonight at midnight. Meanwhile, there were massive crowds at more than a dozen airports as Americans rushed to return home. And yesterday, the Fed cut interest rates for the second time since the beginning of the outbreak. This time, the rates were cut down to near zero...the biggest drop since the 2008 financial crisis. (Here's what that could mean for your debt, savings, and more.) COVID-19 has become the main topic of discussion from the dinner table to the debate stage.
Oh right, there was a debate last night.
Yes. Last night, former VP Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) faced off for the 11th Dem debate. There was no live audience, and the event was moved from Phoenix, AZ to Washington, DC because of COVID-19 concerns. It went a little something like this...
Sanders…said the pandemic is exposing major flaws in the existing US health care system. And that his Medicare for All plan could apparently make treatments and testing for coronavirus-infected patients free.
Biden…pointed out that Italy's single-payer health care system hasn't helped the country battle the virus. And that if he were president, he'd roll out a "major, major, major bailout package" to help people impacted, as well as make treatment for the coronavirus free. He'd also call on the military to help hospitals by building beds and tents. And he committed to a female veep if he wins the nomination.
What happens next?
It's unclear. Two states postponed their primaries, but it remains to be seen how this could continue to affect the election process.
As the US transitions to social distancing, many spent the weekend at home. There is a serious economic and emotional cost here that bears acknowledging – especially for those who don't have safety nets and parents who are expected to work without child care. And it's why many are looking to our leaders to tell the truth, provide solutions, and answers. But leadership also happens at the community and personal level. And it is now on all of us to take personal, proactive measures (like social distancing) to help slow the spread of the virus
FLATTEN THE CURVE
You may (or may not) have heard about it. Now let's talk about what it actually means…
Flattening the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic refers to slowing down the spread of the virus over time in the hopes of preventing a huge spike in infections all at once. A large, sudden increase in the number of infections could lead to a greater number of people needing hospital treatment – which could overwhelm hospital resources and staff. One of the ways we can help flatten the curve is by....
Practicing social distancing: The CDC defines it as staying at least six feet away from another person and avoiding mass gatherings. Meaning limiting your exposure to other people. Unlike being in isolation or quarantine, social distancing doesn't mean you can never leave the house (think: you can still go for a run or walk outside, and go grocery shopping). But experts warn against any unnecessary gatherings and encourage people to do things like working from home and limiting their social activity.
Skimm More: Want to understand more about this pandemic? We Skimm'd it for you here.
What's saying 'let's keep it moving, people'...
Israel. After three failed elections for prime minister in less than a year (think: neither candidate won the majority), Israel's gov is giving the political stalemate the boot. Reminder: the fight for the PM role has been between incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his political rival, former army chief Benny Gantz. But yesterday, Gantz won endorsements from 61 lawmakers, giving him a narrow majority in Parliament. Today, Israel's president is set to formally ask him to form a government. He has up to six weeks to do so.
Postponed: Due to concerns around COVID-19, Netanyahu's corruption trial – scheduled to begin tomorrow – was pushed back to May. Netanyahu, the country's longest-serving PM and first to be indicted while in office, still faces charges of bribery and fraud, among other things.
The NFL. Over the weekend, NFL players approved a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement. The deal expands the NFL's regular season from 16 to 17 games (as early as 2021) and the playoffs will include 14 teams instead of 12 (starting with this year's season). As a result, the preseason will be shorter. Also in the deal: higher minimum salaries for the players, better benefits for current and retired players, and reduced penalties for players who test positive for marijuana.
Simone Biles. Over the weekend, USA Gymnastics took to Twitter to wish the Olympic gold medalist a happy birthday. But Biles wasn't having it and called on the org to "do the right thing" and open an independent investigation into Larry Nassar's history of sexual abuse.
Add Donald Glover.