Aug 31, 2017

Houston's tech community wants to help

AP Photo/LM Otero

Blair Garrou, co-founder of Houston-based venture capital firm Mercury Fund, is helping to mobilize the area's investment and tech community in response to Harvey.

First things first: The most immediate need, of course, is money. Garrou and several tech groups yesterday launched a website called Entrepreneurs for Houston, which suggests donations be made to the Harvey Relief Fund, set up by Mayor Sylvester Turner specifically to help those without flood insurance (i.e., most Houstonites).

Tech help: Houston's development community has been working on ways to help. One particularly involved local group has been Sketch City, which holds regular meet-ups focused on civic technology. In fact, it did one about nine months ago on flood response, and this week has developed and rolled out a suite of chat-bots whereby Houstinites can text a number and receive information on shelters (including which one is closest, take pets, have grief counselors, etc.). Sketch City and others like co-working space Station Houston are expected to become, in Garrou's words, the "command posts to develop tech solutions for Houston's flood victims, community leaders and first responders."

Personnel impact: Only one Mercury Fund employee has been flooded out, as most of the team lives on the relative highlands near Rice University. But travel outside of their neighborhoods has been difficult — they don't have boats — so they've "been trying to help from our laptops."

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 679,977 — Total deaths: 31,734 — Total recoveries: 145,625.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 124,686 — Total deaths: 2,191 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: Trump announces new travel advisories for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, but rules out quarantine enforcement. Per CDC, those residents should "refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days," with the exception of critical infrastructure industry workers.
  4. State updates: Alaska issues a stay-at-home order — New York tries to nearly triple hospital capacity in less than a month and moved presidential primary to June 23. Some Midwestern swing voters who backed Trump's initial handling of the virus balk at call for U.S. to be "opened up" by Easter.
  5. World updates: In Spain, over 1,400 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  6. 🚀 Space updates: OneWeb filed for bankruptcy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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

The year of the protest meets the year of the lockdown

Hong Kong demonstrators protest a government ban on face masks in October. Photo by Laurel Chor/Getty Images

The year of the mass uprising has collided with the year of the coronavirus lockdown, leaving protest movements around the world stalled. 

The big picture: The enduring images of 2019 are of protest — from Hong Kong to Khartoum, across the Middle East and through much of Latin America. Seemingly overnight, though, social distancing has made such mass demonstrations almost unthinkable.

Go deeperArrow1 hour ago - World

Coronavirus updates: Global death toll tops 30,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 30,000 people around the world — with Italy reporting over 10,000 deaths, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: The number of deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. surpassed 2,000 on Saturday. The United States leads the world in confirmed coronavirus infections — more than 124,000 by early Sunday. The number of those recovered from the virus in the U.S. passed the 1,000-mark on Saturday evening.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Health