Coronavirus spreads, “The Crown” viewers, 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.

The 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. Cases have been confirmed in several countries, including the US, while nine people have died from the virus in the Chinese region where the outbreak began.

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

A message from the Saudi crown prince likely hacked Jeff Bezos’s phone. The Amazon founder was on WhatsApp with Mohammed bin Salman in 2018, when he received an unsolicited file, after which data was sucked out of his phone. The hack occurred months before the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, raising fresh questions about the role of the future Saudi king in the murder. Saudi Arabia dismissed the report.

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.

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.

More than 70 million households have watched The Crown. Netflix revealed the numbers for its acclaimed royal drama along with a subscriber update that showed growth has hit a wall in the US, where it faces competition from new streaming services like Disney+.

Honda and Toyota are recalling over 6 million vehicles. The Toyota move involves 3.4 million vehicles globally whose airbags may not inflate in case of a crash, while the Honda recall for 2.7 million cars in the US and Canada is due to the possibility of injury from airbags.

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.

China’s political system has low immunity to viruses. A system built around censorship has difficulty commanding the trust needed to fight an outbreak.

Surprising discoveries

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

A French history textbook said the CIA probably “orchestrated” 9/11. The publisher apologized after schoolteachers spotted the conspiracy theory.

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 accurate textbooks to Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our app on iOS or Android, and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Tripti Lahiri and edited by Amanat Khullar.