Axios

In photos: Food banks demand surges amid coronavirus crisis

People wait on line standing in squares six-feet apart at the Nourish Pierce County food bank at the Mountain View Lutheran Church on in Edgewood, Washington. on Saturday. Photo: Karen Ducey/Getty Images

There's an upsurge in demand for food banks across the U.S. because of the impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Why it matters: Feeding America, the largest network of food banks in the U.S., projects a $1.4 billion shortfall over the next six months. "School closures, rising unemployment and rising poverty due to quarantine and stay-at-home orders will disproportionately impact people already at risk of hunger and could result in an estimated additional 17.1 million people experiencing food insecurity, an increase of 46%," the nonprofit said in a statement.

U.S. nearly empties medical supplies stockpile to fight coronavirus

The Intensive Care Unit of MedStar St. Mary's Hospital on April 8 in Leonardtown, Maryland. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The federal government is in the process of deploying 90% of its stockpiled medical equipment to fight the coronavirus pandemic, Health and Human Services spokesperson Katie McKeogh told Axios Wednesday night.

Why it matters: These shipments aren't enough to meet current demands from states, who are bracing for staggered surges in hospital resource demand through May.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates: Daily death toll exceeds 2,000

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 2,000 people for the second day in a row, and it's infected more than 431,000 others, per Johns Hopkins data.

Where it stands: More than 14,700 people have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. — including over 4,500 in New York. The state's death toll surged to its highest one-day total on Wednesday — beating the previous day's record. 779 people died in New York in 24 hours. The state has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health

The pandemic and pollution

New York City's skyline on a smoggy day in May 2019. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

COVID-19 is underscoring the connection between air pollution and dire outcomes from respiratory diseases.

Why it matters: Old-fashioned air pollution is almost certainly the single biggest environmental health threat, contributing to the deaths of some 7 million people a year according to the WHO, making it comparable to deaths from smoking.

Go deeperArrow7 hours ago - Health

Scoop: Trump administration plan to provide millions of free face masks fizzled

Photo: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Top Trump administration officials had been developing a plan to give cloth masks to huge numbers of Americans, but the idea lost traction amid heavy internal skepticism.

The big picture: The scale of this undertaking would have been extraordinary, mobilizing an enormous public-private partnership to deliver protective cloth masks to millions of people — in one iteration of the idea, maybe even to every American.

Go deeperArrow9 hours ago - Health

Saudi Arabia announces Yemen ceasefire

Houthi fighters take cover. Photo: Stringer/Getty Images

The Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen has announced a two-week ceasefire in support of a UN-led peace initiative, AP reports.

Why it matters: There's little to show for five years of war in Yemen beyond one of the world's most dire humanitarian crises, which would only deepen in the event of a coronavirus outbreak. Sources told Reuters the virus was a driving factor behind the ceasefire, which could pave the war for peace talks in the coming days.

Go deeperArrow9 hours ago - World

The coronavirus pandemic threatens low-wage jobs

As many as one-third of U.S. jobs may be vulnerable as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and it will disproportionately displace low-income workers that do not have the financial cushion to absorb the economic blow.

Why it matters: The dire economic ramifications of the national shut-down stand to devastate those that can least afford it. Nearly 10 million Americans have filed for unemployment claims in recent weeks.

Coronavirus prompting historic drop in air travel and jet fuel demand

Air travel — and the jet fuel powering it — are plummeting alongside most other parts of our modern economy as vast swaths of the world shut down to fight the coronavirus.

The big picture: Data that has newly become available shows the dramatic impact of global shutdowns, which will reverberate across the livelihoods of people working in these sectors.

Go deeperArrow11 hours ago - Health

Fed temporarily lifts Wells Fargo's growth restrictions

Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve said Wednesday it will temporarily lift Wells Fargo’s growth restriction put in place following the bank’s customer abuse scandals.

Why it matters: One of the nation's biggest lenders said the Fed's asset cap prevented it from lending more to struggling small businesses as part of the government's aid package. Now Wells Fargo says it will reopen its application process and lend to a broader set of business owners.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 11 hours ago - Economy & Business

Sen. Kelly Loeffler liquidates stocks after uproar over coronavirus sell-off

Sen. Kelly Loeffler. Photo: Madnel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and her husband Jeffrey Sprecher are liquidating their stock portfolio and moving holdings into exchange traded funds (ETFs) after coming under fire for purchasing and selling roughly $1.4 million in stock just before the market crashed in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: Loeffler, who faces a competitive reelection fight in November, is one of several senators under fire for selling shares shortly after a private briefing on the coronavirus — sparking accusations of insider trading.

Sanders: "While this campaign is coming to an end, our movement is not"

Addressing his supporters via livestream after suspending his campaign, Bernie Sanders congratulated Joe Biden on his presumptive victory in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary while making clear that his fight for progressive ideas will not end with his candidacy.

What he's saying: "While this campaign is coming to an end, our movement is not. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reminded us that 'the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.' The fight for justice is what our campaign has been about. The fight for justice is what our movement remains about."

Bernie Sanders suspends presidential campaign

Photo: ANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders announced Wednesday that he is suspending his presidential campaign.

The big picture: It's an end to the campaign of the leading progressive in the race — and the candidate who seemed to be the clear front-runner for the Democratic nomination just a few months ago. It also makes Biden the presumptive Democratic nominee four months before the party's convention in Milwaukee.

Indians look to Taiwan amid China's coronavirus missteps

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Many Indians are angry at China and the World Health Organization for their perceived mishandling of the coronavirus. The efficiency and transparency of Taiwan's response to the epidemic, in contrast, has made it a topic of renewed sympathy and interest in India.

Why it matters: The coronavirus crisis is showcasing Taiwan's democratic system of governance on an international stage, the biggest soft power win for the country in years.

Go deeperArrow14 hours ago - World

Fauci: U.S. "starting to see glimmers of hope" in new coronavirus cases

The U.S. is starting to see "glimmers of hope" when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic, despite recent increases in the rate of reported deaths due to the illness, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Fox News.

The big picture: Fauci said deaths generally lag behind the number of new cases and hospitalizations. The latter two indicators are what's "fueling the outbreak," Fauci said. He pointed to stabilizing or decreasing numbers of key indicators in New York as a sign that "we should start to see the beginning of a turnaround," after this week.

Go deeperArrow15 hours ago - Health

Big Tech's summer internships go digital

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The major tech companies are scrambling to craft digital options for this year's summer intern class, as businesses remain shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: Internships serve as key learning opportunities for students, but are also critical for the recruiting and diversity efforts of the Big Tech companies who compete fiercely for college talent.

Scoop: Staples refuses to pay landlords for April rents

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Staples recently informed landlords that it will not pay April rents for its U.S. stores, even though the locations remain open, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Commercial landlords are stuck in a tightening vise, forgiving or deferring payments from shuttered tenants while still needing to meet their own mortgage obligations.

EIA forecasts U.S. oil boom will reverse amid coronavirus disruption

Data: EIA; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Pain in the U.S. oil patch from the coronavirus outbreak is no longer on the horizon. It's here, and several new reports and data points show how quickly it's happening.

Driving the news: The Energy Information Administration yesterday released a sharp downward revision to its U.S. crude oil production forecast.

UFC wants to host fight on tribal land to avoid coronavirus restrictions

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In an attempt to skirt federal and state guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic, the UFC plans to hold its April 18 pay-per-view event on tribal land in California, per multiple reports.

The state of play: Even as the rest of the sports world hits pause, UFC president Dana White has remained adamant that fights must go on, and appears to have settled for a shutdown casino in a state with the fourth-most confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Go deeperArrow16 hours ago - Sports

Ivanka Trump plans focus on coronavirus recovery for small businesses

Ivanka Trump speaks at yesterday's White House videoconference with bank and credit card executives. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Ivanka Trump personally lobbied top bank executives to line up the $1.5 billion in commitments to small business that were announced yesterday at a videoconference among the bank executives and President Trump — stoking competitive juices among the execs to drive up their commitments.

The state of play: Ivanka, who has had workforce development in her portfolio going back to 2017, plans an increasing emphasis on small businesses in the weeks ahead as they navigate the rescue bill’s Payroll Protection Program, sources tell me.

Public transit's death spiral

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Public transit systems across the country are experiencing a painful trifecta: Ridership has collapsed, funding streams are squeezed, and mass transit won't bounce back from the pandemic nearly as fast as other modes of transportation.

Why it matters: Transit agencies could see an annual shortfall of as much as $38 billion due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to TransitCenter. At the same time, they're more important than ever, with more than 36% of essential workers relying on public transportation to get to work.

Go deeperArrow20 hours ago - Health

Wisconsin may be the start of the 2020 election wars

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Wisconsin voters braving lines in face masks — after a last-minute Supreme Court ruling against extending the absentee deadline — could foreshadow a nationwide legal struggle over how to conduct elections during the coronavirus outbreak, election experts say.

Why it matters: "It's a harbinger of what's to come in the next skirmishes in the voting wars" from now through November, Richard Hasen, a professor and national election law expert at the University of California, Irvine, told Axios.

New York's coronavirus curve may be close to flattening

A coronavirus patient in Queens. Photo: Kena Betancur/Getty Images

There's some hope the wave of coronavirus cases in New York City, the hardest-hit area of the country, is starting to plateau.

The big picture: Deaths keep rising, but hospitalizations, intensive care unit admissions and intubations have mostly been stagnant or declining in recent days.

Go deeperArrow20 hours ago - Health

New Zealand sets sights on coronavirus elimination after 2 weeks of lockdown

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gives a coronavirus media update at the New Zealand Parliament. Photo: Mark Mitchell - Pool/Getty Images

New Zealand has flattened the curve of novel coronavirus cases after two weeks of lockdown and the next phase is to "squash it," professor Shaun Hendy, who heads a scientific body advising the government on COVID-19, told Axios.

Why it matters: The country imposed 14 days ago some of the toughest restrictions in the world in response to the pandemic, despite confirming only 102 cases and no deaths at the time.

Go deeperArrow21 hours ago - Health

Tariff worries hit record high amid coronavirus outbreak

Concern about President Trump's tariffs on U.S imports grew to record high levels among Americans last month, particularly as more lost their jobs and concern about the novel coronavirus increased.

Driving the news: About seven in 10 people said they were at least somewhat concerned about tariffs in March, according to the latest survey from CivicScience provided first to Axios.

African Americans are disproportionately dying from coronavirus

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams at a Coronavirus Task Force Press news briefing. Photo: Michael Brochstein/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams has highlighted the disproportionate impact the novel coronavirus is having on African American communities, telling CBS Tuesday "many black Americans are at higher risk for COVID."

Driving the news: Several states and cities have reported that African Americans are dying from the virus at higher rates than any other racial demographic. Not all agencies have released a breakdown of data, but the virus is spiking in cities with large African American populations, including New York, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee and New Orleans.

Go deeperArrowApr 8, 2020 - Health

Wisconsin won't be declaring a winner tonight

A Wisconsin poll worker wearing PPE guides people through a line outside of a polling place. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Polls for Wisconsin's primary elections closed at 9pm ET Tuesday, but results won't be released until April 13 due to a back-and-forth on absentee voting amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The big picture: Democratic Gov. Tony Evers attempted to delay the state's election in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 in polling places. The Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned his order Monday and said the election must be held on Tuesday as originally scheduled.

Trump hits WHO on coronavirus: "They should've known"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump claimed at a press briefing on Tuesday that the World Health Organization "probably" knew about the dangers of the novel coronavirus pandemic months before the agency sounded the alarm.

The big picture: The WHO declared COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern on Jan. 30 — 9 days after the CDC confirmed the first case in the U.S. and 10 days after South Korea announced its first case. Chinese officials told the WHO's China office about cases of COVID-19 on Dec. 31.

Go deeperArrowApr 8, 2020 - Health