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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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On Wednesday August 12, @Work author Erica Pandey hosted a conversation on how the coronavirus has accelerated a nationwide shift to e-commerce, featuring Ellevest CEO Sallie Krawcheck and Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen.

Rodney McMullen discussed how grocery stores have adjusted to changing times and leaned more on contactless options — like online ordering with curbside delivery — to meet customers' needs.

  • On a hybrid shopping experience for customers: "One of the things that we've found is customers that use us online also like to come into our stores. That's one of the reasons why it's important to have a totally seamless experience where customers can do whatever's easiest for them at that particular point in time. From our view, part of this [shift to online shopping] will be permanent.
  • How coronavirus has changed trends in grocery shopping: "When people shop, the basket sizes are significantly bigger when you look at today versus before the pandemic. The other thing that's causing some of [the larger basket sizes] is families have moved back in together. I know a lot of kids have moved back with their parents."

Sallie Krawcheck discussed the financial industry, focusing on how women are being impacted by COVID-19 in their places of work and in their approach to finances.

  • How gender inequities can be amplified by remote work: "Women are a greater share of essential workers and are losing their jobs at a greater rate. And it's a problem at the most subtle level — women are finding all of the micro-inequities of the workplace. It's hard to get a word in edgewise in a meeting. Questions like 'how do I get my point of view heard?' are being really amplified in a Zoom era."
  • On the future role of in-person financial advising and transactions: "[Finance] is going digital first...The argument that you're not going to have the same relationship [with your financial advisor] if you don't meet in person isn't right."

Axios co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei hosted a View from the Top segment with
Okta CEO Todd McKinnon who discussed how brick-and-mortar businesses have shifted to e-commerce as a result of the pandemic.

  • "Companies [are] realizing that we're in this pandemic world for a long time. So they really have to have their digital strategies put together...When you can't go to the hardware store, the hardware store has to get online. And that's happening now."

Thank you Okta for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Updated Dec 1, 2020 - Axios Events

Watch: COVID-19 and the AIDS Fight

Axios' Mike Allen, Niala Boodhoo and Caitlin Owens hosted a conversation on the global response to two pandemics — AIDS and COVID-19, featuring Every Mother Counts founder Christy Turlington Burns, Churches Health Association of Zambia Head of Advocacy Yoram Siame and ONE Campaign President and CEO Gayle E. Smith.

Christy Turlington Burns discussed maternal health in the U.S. and the impact of COVID-19, highlighting how the risk of complications during pregnancy is especially high for Black and Indigenous women.

  • On the role of midwives and doulas in maternity care: "There are very few states in the country that adequately support these types of health care workers who we know make a huge difference in the impact of childbirth for any woman, let alone a woman who may have a chronic health condition or be marginalized."

Yoram Siame unpacked Zambia's fight against COVID-19 and the country's investment in public health safety.

  • On COVID-19's impact on Zambia: "Zambia is a landlocked country, which means that we depend on our neighbors for most of the goods and services. And when those countries go into lockdown, it means that our supply is cut off. And this has a big impact on economic activity."
  • How COVID-19 presents a challenge for treating existing diseases: "We are living in an environment where we don't have the number of health workers that we need. COVID-19 means that this literal human resource is shared between us and issues like HIV, TB, malaria, and non-communicable diseases like cancer, which are not going away."

Gayle E. Smith discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic has diverted resources from efforts to care for patients with AIDS and HIV and malaria, and the challenges of fighting two epidemics.

  • On the unique bipartisan support for fighting AIDS: "There's a fair amount of division floating around Washington, so to know that ending this epidemic...is still a priority and still a place where Democrats and Republicans have shown that they can work together is encouraging."

Donate to (RED) and help fight both pandemics.

Thank you Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

Buffett eyes slow U.S. progress, but says "never bet against America"

Warren Buffett in New York City in 2017. Photo: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

Warren Buffett called progress in America "slow, uneven and often discouraging," but retained his long-term optimism in the country, in his closely watched annual shareholder letter released Saturday morning.

Why it matters: It breaks months of uncharacteristic silence from the 90-year-old billionaire Berkshire Hathaway CEO — as the fragile economy coped with the pandemic and the U.S. saw a contentious presidential election.

Restaurant software meets the pandemic moment

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Food delivery companies have predictably done well during the pandemic. But restaurant software providers are also having a moment as eateries race to handle the avalanche of online orders resulting from severe in-person dining restrictions.

Driving the news: Olo filed last week for an IPO and Toast is rumored to be preparing to do the same very soon.