May 9, 2018

Airbnb partnership is reminder of Puerto Rico's crisis

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky and Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló (both far left). Photo: Airbnb

Airbnb announced a partnership with Puerto Rico Wednesday: The company will roll out its Experiences service there (through which hosts can arrange activities that guests can book), will donate its fees to a disaster relief organization, and help with tourism marketing.

Why it matters: The move provides a stark reminder of the territory's still precarious situation post-Hurricane Maria, which critics have blamed on an inadequate federal response to the disaster. Meanwhile, Airbnb hosts in Puerto Rico have earned $17 million since October, according to the company.

"We don’t have the right to vote or the right of representation,” Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Rosselló said about the territory's status during a press event at Airbnb's San Francisco headquarters. "We need to ask ourselves if it’s OK to have two tiers of citizenship, and my answer is no."

  • Last June, Puerto Ricans overwhelmingly voted in favor of becoming a U.S. state, but any move in that direction would require Congress to act first.

Be smart: While it's great PR for Airbnb, this partnership could also provide ammo for the "no bailouts, the private sector can handle things" crowd. But $17 million is a drop in the bucket compared to the billions of dollars Puerto Rico needs to straighten out its debt crisis, fix its power grid, and begin to grow again. Airbnb's donations of its fees will only last three months.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 a.m. ET: 859,796 — Total deaths: 42,332 — Total recoveries: 178,300.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 2 a.m. ET: 189,618 — Total deaths: 4,079 — Total recoveries: 7,109.
  3. Business updates: Should you pay your rent or mortgage during the coronavirus pandemic? Find out if you are protected under the CARES Act.
  4. Public health updates: More than 400 long-term care facilities across the U.S. report patients with coronavirus — Older adults and people with underlying health conditions are more at risk, new data shows.
  5. Federal government latest: President Trump said the next two weeks would be "very painful," with projections indicating the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans.
  6. Coronavirus in custody: Inmates in all U.S. federal prisons are set to enter a 14-day quarantine on April 1. A federal judge on Tuesday ordered U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to release 10 detained immigrants who are at risk of contracting COVID-19 while in confinement.
  7. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Captain of nuclear aircraft carrier docked in Guam pleaded with the U.S. Navy for more resources after more than 100 members of his crew tested positive.
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NYC races to build field hospitals as coronavirus death toll tops 1,000

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announces at the USTA Bille Jean King tennis center that the venue will be transformed into a 350-bed temporary hospital. Photo: Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told a news conference Tuesday of plans to triple hospital bed numbers to combat the novel coronavirus by transforming facilities into makeshift hospitals — including U.S. Open tennis courts.

The big picture: The city now accounts for a quarter of all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. — more than 1,000 as of Wednesday morning. De Blasio said the city had "about 20,000 working hospital beds in our major hospitals" before the outbreak. "We now need to, in just the next weeks ... produce three times that number," he said.

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U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll tops 4,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 4,000 people in the U.S. — with over 1,000 deaths reported in New York City alone, per Johns Hopkins data. The number of deaths are still much lower than those reported in Italy, Spain and China.

Of note: Hours earlier, President Trump noted it's "going to be a very painful two weeks," with projections indicating the novel coronavirus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans — even with strict social distancing guidelines in place. "They are going to be facing a war zone," he said of medical workers.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health