Coronavirus spreads, Boeing setback, secret Davos rankings

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Day 2 of Davos: Carrie Lam and Volodymyr Zelensky. Hong Kong’s chief will continue her charm offensive, while Ukraine’s president delivers a public address. Also on today’s docket: Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan, Iraqi president Barham Salih, and artist and entrepreneur Stay up to date on all things Davos with a special edition of the Quartz Daily Brief.

WHO holds an emergency meeting. The World Health Organization has called on experts to decide whether the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak is an international emergency—a rating only given five times before. If WHO sounds the alarm, it will be able to issue recommendations and solicit external funds and assistance.

India’s supreme court will hear anti-CAA pleas. The Indian Union Muslim League, among others, will ask the court to strike down a citizenship law that has been largely viewed as anti-Muslim and inspired widespread protests. Some of the pleas will go one step farther by urging for a stay on the act until the court has made its decision.

While you were sleeping

Boeing warned the 737 Max won’t fly until mid-2020. Regulators stressed that there’s “no timeframe” for the beleaguered jet’s return to flight, but Boeing told customers it now expects to be airborne in June or July. Shares fell about 5% on the news that the saga would drag on months longer than expected.

The US impeachment trial started its engines… Democrats scored a victory when senate majority leader Mitch McConnell made some key procedural changes; a debate ensued about the rules of engagement; and senators were warned that they had to remain silent or face imprisonment.

…while Trump boasted about the US economy at Davos. After dismissing impeachment as a “hoax,” the US president took to the stage at the World Economic Forum to claim credit for stock market highs and unemployment lows. Meanwhile, climate activist Greta Thunberg alluded to a Trump plan by saying that tree-planting is great, but it won’t be enough. Keep up with the latest with Quartz’s Davos Daily Brief.

The US has its first case of the Wuhan coronavirus. The American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that one male traveler from Wuhan is in isolation at a hospital in Everett, Washington. Anyone flying from Wuhan to Atlanta and Chicago will now be screened for the virus upon arrival.

Uber started experimenting with letting drivers set their own fares. A test program will allow some drivers in small California towns to charge between 10% and 500% of Uber’s standard rate. The move may strengthen the company’s argument that drivers are not employees.

Quartz membership

“When you play a game you are taking on a problem that doesn’t exist and trying to solve it.” Professor and game designer Ian Bogost shares his thoughts on the problems gaming can help solve—and the problems the gaming industry itself faces—in an interview with Quartz contributor Mary Pilon.

Quartz daily obsession

There’s more to mannequins than you might imagine. The lifeless forms have upended the retail labor market, shape-shifted to keep up with evolving beauty trends, and trained generations of doctors and rescuers to save lives. One even dominated New York City’s social scene in the 1930s. Strike a pose with the Quartz Daily Obsession.

Matters of debate

Banning facial recognition misses the point. It’s just one of the many tools that governments and corporations use to spy on people.

Transport costs should factor into a city’s affordability. Sprawling suburbs’ cheap housing belies the cost of interminable commutes in private cars.

Free shipping is a lie. Forced to give consumers a perk they’re irrationally obsessed with, retailers just raise prices to make up the difference.

Surprising discoveries

Davos secretly ranks delegates by importance. Virtually all attendees are placed somewhere between levels 1–7.

Just one device can make your entire home “smart.” Enhancing your electrical panel can manage energy consumption across your appliances and devices.

Direct-to-consumer orthodontia is now a thing. Its rise in the US over the past decade is a practical—if not entirely risk-free—solution to terrible dental insurance.

A new living, microscopic robot can eavesdrop on a cellular level… It’s made of frog cells, and might further our understanding of how cells interact.

…while a harpoon-wielding robot is tackling Florida’s lionfish problem. The remotely-operated vehicle is a better alternative to diving humans.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, mail order false teeth, and a level 1 Davos invitation to Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our app on iOS or Android, and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Susan Howson and Nicolás Rivero.