Trump impeached again, WHO in Wuhan, safe mealworms

Trump impeached again, WHO in Wuhan, safe mealworms

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

The US House impeached Donald Trump for inciting the Capitol insurrection. Ten Republicans joined Democrats to  impeach the president for a historic second time, but the Senate won’t be called back for a trial before Joe Biden takes office. Meanwhile, Airbnb cancelled all bookings in Washington for inauguration week.

Twitter’s CEO said he took no pride from banning Trump. Jack Dorsey said it was necessary because of threats to physical safety, and he reiterated his call for a decentralized standard for social media that isn’t controlled by a single entity. New York City said it is also cutting ties with the Trump Organization.

France hears a landmark climate case. A Paris court will consider a complaint brought by NGOs, and backed by two million citizens in an online petition, over the government’s inaction on climate change.

China has a record-high trade surplus. Exports in December rose 18.1% year-on-year, while imports rose 6.5%, beating forecasts. The data reinforces the nation’s record as the planet’s best performing economy.

The US banned cotton and tomato products from Xinjiang… The order is Washington’s latest effort to pressure China over its repression of Uyghurs in the northwestern region.

…while Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu are safe from an investment ban. The three tech giants have been left off a US blacklist, but a new executive order will ban Americans from investing in a list of 35 Chinese companies.

Affirm’s IPO got affirmation. Shares of the fintech company, started by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, closed nearly 100% higher on their first day of trading, as the boom in tech listings thunders on.

What to watch for

World Health Organization team members will arrive in China today on a trip to investigate the origins of Covid-19 and its journey from animals to humans. Many hope the trip, which has been negotiated with Beijing for months, will shed more light on a pandemic that has killed nearly 2 million people. Meanwhile, China is battling a resurgence in cases, and today reported the first Covid-19 death in months.

Jane Li recaps what we knew about Covid-19 this time a year ago:

Dec. 30, 2019: Wuhan health authorities inform hospitals about an unusual kind of pneumonia that appears linked to a local seafood market.

Dec. 31: Wuhan health authorities issue a statement about 27 cases of “unknown pneumonia.” The WHO country office spots the statement and seeks more information.

Jan. 4, 2020: The WHO issues its first public communication on the new virus, in a tweet.

Jan. 9: The WHO says China determined this is a new form of coronavirus.

Jan. 11: A 61-year-old man is the first to die of the disease. And China shares a preliminary genetic sequence of the new virus.

Jan. 13: The first overseas Covid-19 case is confirmed in Thailand.

Jan. 20: China confirms the virus transmits between humans.

Jan. 23: The first Covid-19 lockdown is imposed on Wuhan and three other cities.

Charting the most popular shows

Netflix and Disney each enjoyed success with new original shows in 2020, from Tiger King to The Mandalorian. But no series was nearly as popular as one that hasn’t had a new episode in eight years.

A chart showing the most popular TV series on US streaming services in 2020.

Most data suggest that new original shows and movies are what entice consumers to sign up for a streaming service, while older, library titles (which are often licensed from other companies) like The Office are what keep users subscribed in between splashy new releases. But when Michael Scott and co. depart Netflix for NBCUniversal’s Peacock, any sudden uptick in new subscribers could poke holes in that theory, as Adam Epstein explains.

In case you’re wondering, Friends fans, the Nielsen data only included Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and Amazon, so HBO Max shows could conceivably have won out. Could you be any more relieved?

So your startup didn’t survive 2020…

Five entrepreneurs who shut down businesses in the last year have advice.

  • Be brutally honest. Know when it’s time to throw in the towel completely instead of a last-ditch pivot.
  • Mourn if you need to. Your venture was something about which you cared deeply—and your friends and family know this.
  • Lean on your network. You now have a whole new level of experience which could make you perfect for a role at another company.
  • There are many paths to glory. Founding a company isn’t the only way to achieve success and acclaim.
  • Try again. This doesn’t have to be the last the entrepreneurial world sees of you.

✦ Give yourself a little gift for making it through a difficult year—whether or not your company still exists. Try a Quartz membership free for seven days.

Surprising discoveries

The EU’s food safety agency said worms are safe to eat. Dried yellow mealworms got the regulators’ thumbs up.

An Elon Musk tweet sent mixed Signals. Shares of tech company Signal Advance soared after the Tesla founder lauded the similarly named messaging app.

Walt Disney World exiles Covid-19-positive guests to Fort Wilderness. The resort’s standalone cabins ensure those infected are isolated from others.

Bystanders may be less likely to do CPR in the pandemic. Instructors worry the fear of infection could result in a decline in the lifesaving tactic.

Brown tree snakes are doing a brand new dance now. They figured out how to climb a pole using “lasso locomotion.”

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, new snake moves, and magical quarantine locations to Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our iOS app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Mary Hui, Jane Li, Tripti Lahiri, Liz Webber, Susan Howson, and John Detrixhe.