A number of mega-banks will report their first-quarter earnings this week, which could give us a more accurate picture of just how badly the Covid-19 crisis has hit the financial sector. Here's what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.
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The novel coronavirus has infected at least 1.85 million people around the globe. In India, Russia and Thailand, cases are surging, prompting new lockdown measures and social tension. In the US, more than half a million people have been infected, and 22,000 have died. For the first time history, all 50 states are under a disaster declaration at the same time. Despite this dire milestone, President Trump still really wants to open the country back up by May 1, but ultimately, that decision lies with state governors. Some, like Arkansas' Asa Hutchinson, are defending lax coronavirus restrictions while others, like New Mexico's Michelle Lujan Grisham, say they'll do what's best for their state -- which could mean extending their lockdown timelines. Finally, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is out of the hospital and will continue his Covid-19 recovery from home. He profusely thanked the hospital and healthcare workers who aided him, personally naming several and saying "I owe them my life." Follow here for the latest updates.
China has tightened restrictions on academic research of the coronavirus in what appears to be an attempt to control the narrative of the virus' origins. Under the new policy, all academic papers on Covid-19 will be subject to extra vetting before being submitted for publication. Studies on the origin of the virus will receive even more scrutiny and must be approved by central government officials, according to now-deleted posts by two Chinese universities. Several published studies on the origins of the virus, like when human-to-human spread first started, have raised questions over the official government account of the outbreak. Though scientists across the world agree the virus originated in China, some Chinese officials have tried to cast doubt on when, where and how the virus first appeared in the country.
Saudi Arabia and Russia have struck a deal with other major oil producing nations to slash oil production by 9.7 million barrels a day in an attempt to stabilize the roiling oil market. The group is known as OPEC+, and their attempts will hopefully lift the market out of an 18-year low over the next few months. The historic production cuts would take place in May and June, and then production would steadily ramp up until the agreement expires in April 2022. The announcement boosted oil prices a little to begin the week, but analysts say the agreement -- or any agreement, for that matter -- can't fix the lack of global demand or close major gaps in the market caused by the coronavirus crisis.
4. Election 2020
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has established Election Day as a state holiday and set into motion other voting rights expansions. The freshly signed legislation removes the requirement that voters show a photo ID prior to casting a ballot and extends early voting to 45 days before an election. Virginia's not the first state to give people the day off so they can go vote -- Election Day is a civic holiday in Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky and New York -- but it is the latest in a line of decisions made by states to expand voting rights. Several states have expanded their absentee voting allowances and some have even called for full mail-in voting amid the coronavirus crisis. And, of course, it's a major topic of negotiation for the next coronavirus stimulus bill.
5. Small business
Democrats and Republicans are locking horns over a new round of funding for an emergency small business loan program. Last week, Senate Democrats blocked a Republican attempt to add $251 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program, demanding that the small business support include additional money for states and hospitals, which they argue are suffering just as much. Republicans refused, saying the program will run out of funds soon while programs helping states and hospitals have not even begun to hand out money. While top Dem leaders say they hope to pursue bipartisan talks in the coming week, White House officials say it is unlikely they'll open the coffers for the Democrats' demands.
From drive-in services to Zoom communion, Easter worshipers got creative this weekend
The only time when car horn honks have been church-appropriate.
The next batch of emojis will be delayed because of coronavirus
Luckily we have enough scared, nervous faces to choose from to get us through.
Olympic gymnast Simone Biles crushed the viral "handstand challenge"
People around the world are dressing up to take out the trash and do other mundane household tasks
Burning Man is going to be an online event this year
Spare a thought for the neighbors of anyone ...uh... virtually attending Burning Man.
FOR YOUR SNACK BREAK
What are people buying this week?
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon and other retail leaders walked through the weekly buying "phases" of the pandemic so far. Week 1, everybody was buying sanitizers and disinfectants. Week 2 was, of course, toilet paper. Weeks 3 and 4 were spiral hams and baking yeast, thanks to Easter. We're in week 5 now. Can you guess what people are picking up? Hint: You can't eat it.
That's the maximum fine NYPD officers can charge people who violate New York City's social distancing rules. Other cities are implementing similar fines, but some are finding it hard to actually patrol and enforce such regulations.
"Houston, we've had a problem."
Astronaut James Lovell Jr. uttered these immortal words 50 years ago today when an explosion aboard Apollo 13 cut short the third US lunar landing mission in 1970. The three-man crew survived the infamous incident. Listen to intriguing audio from the Apollo 13 mission here.
Severe weather heads north in the US
More than 39 million people are under the threat of severe weather as a spate of deadly storms is expected to head up the east coast through the Carolinas today, then into Virginia and beyond. At least seven people in Mississippi and five people in Georgia have died as a result of the storms.
It's a new week. A new day. A new opportunity to take care of each other, like these father emperor penguins take care of their newly-hatched young. (Click here to view)