Coronavirus hack allegations, earnings insight, judgy neighbors

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

The FBI accused China of hacking US coronavirus research. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation said that it’s investigating Chinese state-affiliated cyberattacks on research and data related to vaccines, treatments, and testing.

Taiwan might emerge from the pandemic stronger than before. The country’s effective pandemic response has won it international support, which may help further its decades-long quest to be included in international institutions like the UN and the World Health Organization.

The US Huawei ban will last another year. President Donald Trump extended his executive order barring US businesses from using telecommunications equipment made by companies, like Huawei, that are designated a national security threat.

India’s offering small businesses a $60 billion credit line. The loan guarantees will also be extended to shadow banks and power companies. The government wants to help 4.5 million businesses get collateral-free bank loans by October.

WHO warned Covid-19 “may never go away.” A World Health Organization emergencies expert said the novel coronavirus could become endemic like HIV, and called the race to find a vaccine a “massive moonshot.”

Earning a second look

Recent earnings reports are telling us a lot about how companies are adapting—or not—to a changing economic landscape.

📱 Smartphone gamers trying to beat the quarantine blues helped push Tencent’s revenue up 26%

🚢 The CEO of Maersk—the world’s biggest shipping company—told investors that he expects to see business demand fall by up to 25% this quarter.

🎮 Sony’s operating profit plummeted 57%, but the PlayStation 5 is still due for a 2020 holiday release.

💊, which reports on Friday, was rated a “buy” by Mizuho Securities thanks to the potential for online pharmacy sales.

Charting (and judging) our neighbors 

The coronavirus might prevent Americans from socializing with their neighbors, but it can’t stop them from throwing shade. The Kaiser Family Foundation recently surveyed more than 1,000 adults living in the US about their experiences with coronavirus and social-distancing, and they were not pleased with their neighbors’ efforts.

Chart: Most people in the US think they are better at social-distancing than their neighbors

The vast majority—84%—said their lives had been disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak. Still, 80% felt that social-distancing and shelter-in-place guidelines were worthwhile to prevent further spread of the virus. If only everyone were as excellent at it as they are (only 11% of people graded themselves poorly).

Quartz members, let’s play a quick game     

True or false: Zoom is the only conferencing system that exists.

OK, that one was easy. There are plenty of virtual tools out there that serve a variety of needs, and if this is going to be our new reality for awhile, we might as well get it right. Quartz’s Amrita Khalid and Anne Quito consulted experts to help match system to function, as part of our field guide on virtual conferencing (✦ both are Quartz member exclusives). Let’s see how you do.

What conference system do experts recommend for the following?

  1. Impromptu virtual chats
  2. When you just can’t let go of using a whiteboard
  3. If you’re looking for the “department store of communication software”
  4. If you’re obsessed with tracking your fitness metrics
  5. When you’re in the mood to watch a benefit concert (more on these below)
  6. If you want to take your trivia team to the next level

Answers: 1. Google Meet, 2. Microsoft Teams, 3. Skype, 4. Trainerize, 5. Twitch, 6. Jackbox Games 

✦ Get access to these articles and a lot more when you become a Quartz member (try a seven-day free trial). ✦

We’re obsessed with benefit concerts

Are they for the greater good, or just good PR? Benefit concerts have generated some of the best live performances of all time, a slew of enduringly cringey songs, and—maybe—some money for charity. Critics point out that their massive overheads siphon away cash that could have gone directly to the cause, but, as evidenced by last month’s “One World: Together at Home” concert series, the benefit show is here to stay. Don’t wait—give your attention to the Quartz Daily Obsession NOW.

You asked about 

Will VPNs impact Covid-19 tracking? – K

We asked Quartz tech reporter Amrita Khalid to do some digging on whether someone using a virtual private network for work or personal privacy reasons might cause a rift in the contact tracing continuum.

“It’s unlikely,” she said. “VPNs encrypt your ISP address, but won’t prevent many apps from picking up your location with GPS. The same goes for if your contact-tracing app is Bluetooth-based. Bluetooth technology is not impacted by VPNs, since it deals with building local networking connections rather than internet traffic, noted Heikki Nousiainen, CTO at cloud services company Aiven, in an email to Quartz.”

✉️ Do you have a burning question about how coronavirus is changing the world?

Surprising discoveries

Enterprising crude investors really did store oil in “swimming pools.” Not to mention fuel bladders.

South Koreans broke social distancing guidelines for Chanel bags. An impending price hike on the designer goods induced some to line up at 5am.

Dogs have moody teenage years, too. Canines between five and eight months have more fraught relationships with their parents and are less responsive to carers.

Crime scene cleaners are doing better than ever. Deep cleaning is popular during a pandemic.

Scientists got a new peek behind Jupiter’s gassy atmosphere. A new detailed picture of the planet combines observations of three major imaging systems—Juno, Hubble, and Gemini.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, oil pool floaties, and fancy bags 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 Jenni Avins, Liz Webber, and Susan Howson.