Sep 30, 2017

Good news: 10 things humanity is getting right

Illustration: Robert Harrison / Axios

Devastating hurricanes, Nazi and KKK parades, melting ice sheets, ISIS, and threats of nuclear war — We are daily bombarded with bad news. It's hard to believe Barack Obama's claim that "now is the greatest time to be alive." And yet, we were able to find 10 pieces of important, good news to prove we as humans are at least getting a few things right.

Why it matters: We all need some good news now and then.

  1. We're wealthier than ever before. Despite growing income inequality and the various gender and race gaps in our society, Americans overall are wealthier than they ever have been, including African Americans and Hispanics. There are more rich people and fewer poor people.
  2. We're beating cancer. While there are still life-altering side effects from chemotherapy, and some forms of cancer have low survival rates, researchers have reported a continued decline in overall cancer death rates due to screening, prevention and new treatments.
  3. Teen pregnancies are down by 51% from ten years ago, an extraordinarily fast social change compared to adult smoking, which took 40 years to reduce by half. Experts attribute the phenomenon to better use of birth control, as teenage girls were found to be just as likely to be sexually active in 2007 as 2012.
  4. Oil independence: The U.S.'s dependence on foreign oil continues to decrease, with even fewer imports in 2016, a new 30 year low.
  5. The hole in the earth's ozone layer is on the mend with the help of the 1987 Montreal Protocol, which helped phase out ozone-destroying chemicals.
  6. In galaxies far, far away, astronomers say we are entering a new era where we can both see with optical telescopes and hear with detectors like LIGO events occurring deep in space. A little closer to home, Elon Musk announced plans to start colonizing Mars as early as 2024 and sending cargo to the planet in 5 years.
  7. Women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive cars for the first time in June 2018.
  8. In Houston we witnessed citizens going out of their way in boats and jetskis to rescue those stuck in the floods after Hurricane Harvey.
  9. The five living former presidents, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush and Jimmy Carter have banded together to raise money to aid Hurricane relief efforts in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Island. You can follow their lead to address the suffering in Puerto Rico. Donate here, here or here to help.
  10. A sunny forecast: To top it all off, most Americans will get to enjoy beautiful weather this weekend with only a few expected showers, according to the Weather Channel.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 5,463,392 — Total deaths: 344,503 — Total recoveries — 2,195,325Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 1,653,904 — Total deaths: 97,948 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: Italy reports lowest number of new cases since February — Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths on Monday for the first time since March 21 — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: New York stock exchange to reopen its floor on Tuesday — White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Italy reports lowest number of new coronavirus cases since February

Italy’s aerobatic team Frecce Tricolori fly over Milan in Duomo Square on May 25. Photo: Francesco Prandoni/Getty Images

The Italian government reported 300 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, the lowest daily increase since Feb. 29.

Why it matters: Italy, the first country in Europe to implement a nationwide lockdown after emerging as a hotspot in March, appears to have finally weathered its coronavirus outbreak. Italy has reported nearly 33,000 total deaths, the third-highest total behind the U.S. and U.K.

Joe Biden makes first public appearance in over two months

Photo: Oliver Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden made his first in-person appearance in over two months on Monday to honor Memorial Day by laying a wreath at a Delaware veterans park, AP reports.

Why it matters: Biden, the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee, has taken the unprecedented step of campaigning from his home during the coronavirus pandemic, ever since canceling a rally in Cleveland on March 10.