Our quarantined lives are looking just as over-scheduled. For a few days last week, no one had anywhere to be, writes Annabelle Timsit. But with more and more virtual engagements—Netflix parties and even weddings—the pendulum has already swung back.
When you first started isolating at home (for most of you, sometime last week), did you think you would pick up a hobby? Study for the GRE or GMAT? Spend time meditating or journaling or doing yoga every day? It's become clear in the last few days that the introspective and productive period some of
When you first started isolating at home (for most of you, sometime last week), did you think you would pick up a hobby? Study for the GRE or GMAT? Spend time meditating or journaling or doing yoga every day? It's become clear in the last few days that the introspective and productive period some of us were imagining we would have during this crisis is going to be really hard to achieve. Why? Because we are over-scheduling our virtual lives with the same zeal as we over-schedule our normal lives. Who has any time left in between the daily Zoom happy hours, spontaneous FaceTime calls from friends, and virtual meditation classes?
The second quarter started as the first one ended... bad for markets. Major US stock indexes fell by around 4.5% on Wednesday after several government officials laid out gloomy scenarios for the weeks and months ahead.Business Insider
China reportedly downplayed its outbreak. Bloomberg News reports that the US intelligence community has found that the Chinese government has underreported its coronavirus case and death totals.CNBC
SoftBank bailed on its WeWork bailout. The Japanese conglomerate's $3 billion rescue package has reportedly been taken off the table. Leaving the future of WeWork in doubt, and ousted founder Adam Neumann much less wealthy.Yahoo Finance
A letter from the editor
A note to Quartz readers during the pandemic. Our mission has always been to help our readers understand and adapt to unprecedented change. Editor-in-chief Katherine Bell writes that great global journalism—the kind of reporting and analysis Quartz is committed to bringing you every day—is more needed than ever.Quartz
Tracking the pandemic
Earth will see 50,000 Covid-19 deaths within days. The World Health Organization warned of continued “rapid escalation and global spread” as international tallies near one million confirmed coronavirus cases.CNBC
Zimbabwe looks within to beat Covid-19. The country’s universities are manufacturing masks, gloves and hand sanitizers.Quartz Africa
Asia’s largest slum recorded its first Covid-19 death. There is little chance of effective social distancing in densely-populated Dharavi, Mumbai, although the municipal authority is attempting to seal off the affected area. The 56-year-old coronavirus patient stayed on Dr Baliga Nagar Jasmine Mill Road.India Today
Nurses are in an increasingly tight spot. “There is no plan at all”—hospital staff are battling coronavirus with limited protective gear and no support system.Quartz
How Taiwan is tracking 55,000 people under home quarantine in real time. The country, which acted early and has kept Covid-19 cases low, has set up a monitoring system described as a “digital fence” that uses cellular signals on mobile phones to keep people inside.Quartz
If I had $1 for every time a government in history has said “we will relinquish this power after the crisis is averted”. COVID-19 is a serious health safety threat, but governments around the world are using the opportunity to make huge land-grabs around invasion of privacy and control of their local
If I had $1 for every time a government in history has said “we will relinquish this power after the crisis is averted”. COVID-19 is a serious health safety threat, but governments around the world are using the opportunity to make huge land-grabs around invasion of privacy and control of their local economies. The US government swooped in and forced multiple industries to re-tool privately owned factories to make supplies for circulation by the federal gov., Taiwan’s government is tracking citizens in a modern day version of George Orwell’s 1984 telescreen, and citizens across the world are applauding the changes and asking for more.
Strong democracies do, in fact, release restrictions after the threat is over (think US, UK, Canada, etc after WWII). But certainly authoritarian regimes will take advantage (eg repressive regimes claiming “terrorist crackdowns”). The key is an informed and empowered electorate supported by a strong
Strong democracies do, in fact, release restrictions after the threat is over (think US, UK, Canada, etc after WWII). But certainly authoritarian regimes will take advantage (eg repressive regimes claiming “terrorist crackdowns”). The key is an informed and empowered electorate supported by a strong press that is not being demonized.
Cats can be infected, not so much dogs. Don’t despair, cat owners. There’s no real evidence yet that you can pick up coronavirus from your feline.Nature
Interesting that cats may be a potential vector for Covid-19, but not dogs. Considering that our proximity to animals is largely what causes pandemics, it's important to understand how they may play a role in harboring new viruses.
World vs. coronavirus
China is leveraging the coronavirus crisis for diplomatic gains. The country is going to be a major global force in whatever the world looks like a year from now, “and they’re going to be trying to leverage the crisis to their own strategic advantage,” says an expert on China, Eyck Freymann. ✦Quartz
Globalization brought us Covid-19—and the tools to fight it. The world faces daunting choices, but solutions are unlikely to come if every country stands on its own. This week’s field guide examines the long-term consequences of the pandemic on work, education, diplomacy, globalization, climate change, and more. ✦Quartz
COVID-19 is a huge reminder of how interconnected our world is, even despite increased protectionism we've seen of late in policy and trade. The effects of the virus on any particular company or industry may be difficult to predict, but how companies plan, respond and communicate to their stakeholders is proving to be critical.
The world’s financial health
The real test for US food supply chains is on the way. Three-quarters of one of America's largest farming unions agree that operators aren’t adequately protecting fieldworkers. Without meaningful measures, US food security could be at risk.Quartz
Absolutely nothing can keep people off cruise ships, apparently. Reservations for cruises in 2021 are actually rising, despite heavy coverage of coronavirus-infected ships. However, some of the bookings are rescheduled canceled trips.Quartz
Restaurants asked for $325 billion in federal support. US restaurant industry leaders told the White House it could lose half of its workforce—some 7 million employees—and $225 billion due to lower sales and restaurant closures.Reuters
America’s smallest banks are being enlisted to rescue jobs. An immense lending program of loans largely provided by smaller institutions is meant to go live as soon as Friday.Quartz
Do essential gig workers finally have the upper hand? The fight isn’t new, but the heightened demand for delivery workers has given them more bargaining power.Quartz
How do you know if layoffs are the right choice? Restaurateur Danny Meyer let go 2,000 employees—80% of his staff—last week. He explains why the tough decision was better than the alternative.Masters of Scale
If you’ve had to fire someone amid the Covid crisis — or might be on the chopping block yourself—you gotta check out this interview with restaurateur and Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer who had to axe +90%. Pain, reality, compassion, hope.
Our new reality
The pandemic has put global protest movements on hold. 2019 was dubbed the “year of protest,” but global lockdowns have flipped that script for 2020. Nevertheless, new forms of demonstrations persist.Quartz
Abortion access is now up to the states. The pandemic is raising a discussion on whether abortion is an elective or essential medical service. A Texas case may force US Supreme Court justices working from home to rule on abortion rights amidst a health crisis.Quartz
Sure, it feels like the whole world has changed in mere weeks. But there's one issue in the US that the people reliably can't agree upon—access to abortion—and the language of the pro-choice movement is now being used to prove this is an elective, therefore non-essential, procedure.
The pandemic could open the path for mass detentions. The US Department of Justice has reportedly sought an expansion of its authority that would allow indefinite detention without trial. States are also flirting with emergency powers that contravene basic rights.Quartz
Driving habits are changing. A Quartz analysis of US driver data from INRIX shows it’s not just faster drive times. In some cities, commuters have drastically changed their driving patterns.Quartz
The exodus of the wealthy from cities reveals the problems with individualism. It's hard to make people act in the interests of the greater good. It all comes down to one question: In a crisis situation, to whom do you owe the greatest responsibility—yourself and your loved ones, or the wider population?Quartz
I like to use an analogy to help people grasp population health. Public health treats society is a bit like medicine treats the human body. Institutions are a bit like organs; people are a bit like cells. Cells are living systems in their own right- they’re the smallest of such systems, just as humans
I like to use an analogy to help people grasp population health. Public health treats society is a bit like medicine treats the human body. Institutions are a bit like organs; people are a bit like cells. Cells are living systems in their own right- they’re the smallest of such systems, just as humans are the smallest component of society. Ideally, we want every cell to flourish- healthy, down to the last drop. But your health, the overall system’s health, is more than the sum of your cells. Cells are actually pre-programmed to die before they can become unhealthy contributors- a process called apoptosis.
Obviously, this does not imply we should scale apoptosis to the human level. Unlike doctors, our ultimate aim and moral imperative is the health of the individual parts- the health of the whole is a secondary objective. Like doctors, though, we have to consider the health of each “level” in deciding how to help. And, like doctors, we understand that the parts cannot survive long without a healthy whole.
I would contend, then, that the moral dilemma between individualism and collectivism is a false dichotomy borne of incomplete information and short-sightedness. To use an extreme example, cancer is just your own cells with their pre-programmed altruism switched off. In the short term, this works great for them. They aren’t even “causing” harm. They simply soak up resources so quickly that other cells can’t compete. They “allow” harm.
Even cancer, though, brings about its own demise by causing the demise of its “society of cells”- the person. Likewise, individuals cannot long act in self-interest at the expense of collective good without harm, allowed or caused, coming full circle.
Something on the lighter side
The coronavirus hasn’t dimmed Marie Kondo’s joy. The tidying guru appeared to be adapting to the quarantine better than most of us when she recently appeared on a Zoom call with Quartz.Quartz at Work
J.K. Rowling hopes Harry Potter can help quarantined families. The author launched the Harry Potter at Home online platform, featuring free digital and audio versions of the first book in the series as well as extra educational material.AP NEWS
In other news
Ethiopia has postponed its national elections. The government’s suspension of the August 29 vote delays what prime minister Abiy Ahmed promised Ethiopia: The country’s first free and fair elections.Quartz
We’re obsessed with auctions
Auctions are ancient. Selling off goods to the highest bidder dates back thousands of years, and has been used to find buyers for Roman emperorships, Nobel prizes, and celebrity kidney stones. But throughout its history, the practice has also been intimately bound up with the trade of human beings. As auctions step into the digital age, their revenues show no sign of slowing down.Quartz
“Think outside the box” by Avery, age 9, remote co-worker of Quartz Director of Accounting & Tax Ashley Akbork
Indian economy was rolling down a hill. With Covid-19, it’s falling off a cliffQuartz India
Covid-19 outbreak could be Indian pharma’s big opportunity in AfricaQuartz India
The UN is partnering with China’s biggest surveillance software companyQuartz
Locked out Indians are abandoning their pets on the streets—helpless, scared, and hungryQuartz India
The IITs are stepping up to help India battle coronavirusQuartz India
“Make us count”: Taiwanese and Iranian Americans are fighting for recognition in the 2020 censusQuartz
Marie Kondo’s strategy for finding joy at home during the coronavirus quarantineQuartz at Work
Ethiopia has postponed its national elections over coronavirus fearsQuartz Africa
Despite coronavirus outbreaks, cruise ship bookings are up for 2021Quartz
Coronavirus has crippled global protest movementsQuartz