COVID-19 Crisis: The Name of the [Reopening] Game is Testing
Abby Long is the Senior Managing Editor at PMG.
Happy Monday. Let’s jump in.
In this briefing:
Weekend in review
Good reads to start your week
The week ahead
Before heading into the weekend, President Trump laid out his plan for “Opening Up America Again,” which essentially calls on governors and local officials to decide things for themselves.
As a result, two stories absolutely dominated the headlines:
Social unrests and demonstrations
Commentary around the circumstances for opening
People are getting restless. After jobless claims reached new heights and conflicting reports about the dangers of the coronavirus continue to circulate online, people across several states (as well as the rest of the world) took to the streets to protest social distancing and stay-at-home measures, urging officials to reopen Main Street and the rest of the world. In an unusual twist, President Trump tweeted in support of protests against the government, calling to “liberate” states under lockdown.
The name of the [reopening] game is testing. From The Wall Street Journal,
“Testing workers for COVID-19 could prevent the virus’s spread and boost confidence about coming back to work…”
And that seems to be the consensus. Throughout the weekend, report after report detailed that testing en masse — both for the virus and antibodies — is critical to the economy restarting, businesses enabling workers to come back to work, and consumers feeling confident and safe enough to leave their homes. Seemingly everyone is pitching in to solve these challenges.
Today, Facebook released its county-by-county maps that display aggregate data of people opting to share their symptoms and diagnosis. In an op-ed for The Washington Post, Mark Zuckerberg shares that in contrast to past global pandemics, “we have a new superpower: the ability to gather and share data for good.” Amazon is taking a different approach with plans to rapidly develop its own coronavirus tests and testing facilities in order to get workers back to work — comfortably and confidently. From the blog post announcement on how the process would work,
“Those who test positive could be quarantined and cared for, and everyone who tests negative could re-enter the economy with confidence… Unfortunately, today we live in a world of scarcity where COVID-19 testing is heavily rationed.”
In the meantime, Congress is nearing a deal on $310B additional relief after running out of funds from the initial stimulus bill, and Shake Shack will be returning its $10M federal stimulus loan and Disney furloughs over 100k employees.
On a more lighthearted note, both the “One World: Together at Home” broadcast and John Krasinski’s Some Good News #Prom2020 were held over the weekend. The “One World: Together at Home” broadcast was in partnership with Global Citizen and Pepsi and raised $128M in coronavirus relief, featuring performances by Taylor Swift, The Rolling Stones, and Beyoncé, to name a few. The concert was virtually everywhere and made to go viral with GIFs, short clips, and celebrity videos and soundbites at the ready and available across every platform. Some Good News’ #Prom2020 was also a huge success, featuring live performances by Billie Eilish, Chance the Rapper, and the Jonas Brothers.
There’s plenty of commentary about what is happening in the world, but these few caught our attention over the weekend.
It’s Time to Build by Andreesen Horowitz
The NBA and Microsoft by Stratechery’s Ben Thompson
Esports and the Dangers of Serving at the Pleasure of a King by Matthew Ball
In addition to some states attempting to open back up, there’s quite a bit to look forward to this week.
Boeing employees head back to work as production resumes in Washington state
Facebook releases its gaming livestream app to rival Twitch
Tech earnings (IBM, Netflix, and Snap) begin and corporate earnings continue
The NFL draft and sports leagues try to return to play
50th anniversary of Earth Day and Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday.
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Let’s have a great week.