Aug 29, 2017

How tech companies are helping the Harvey response

LM Otero / AP

Tech companies are kicking into gear to help residents dealing with Harvey to make communication easier. Here's what they're doing:

  • Comcast opened about 53,000 Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots around Houston to help people keep connected online even if they're not customers.
  • The four national wireless carriers (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile) are offering free calls and sometimes data for those in the path of Harvey.
  • Facebook activated its "Safety Check" feature to allow affected users to check in with their networks.
  • Google has deployed a Google map focused on road closures, traffic incidents, and shelters in the area.
  • Uber is offering free rides to/from shelters in affected areas.
  • Users on Snapchat have been posting and learning from one another about updates on power outages. Snap told Fast Company it saw an uptick in usage over the weekend.

Donation efforts…Amazon and Whole Foods are matching donations made through Amazon to the Red Cross, up to $1 million.Microsoft announced it is giving an "initial" $100,000 grant to the Red Cross.Facebook is now matching every dollar raised on Facebook up to $1 million for the Center for Disaster Philanthropy's Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund, which supports local recovery and rebuilding efforts.Apple has a button on iTunes allowing users to make donations to Red Cross.Red Cross is and short codes to help make donating easier.

Go deeper

Minneapolis unrest as hundreds protest death of George Floyd

Tear gas is fired as police clash with protesters demonstrating against the death of George Floyd outside the 3rd Precinct Police Precinct in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Tuesday. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Minneapolis police used tear gas during clashes with protesters demanding justice Tuesday night for George Floyd, an African American who died in police custody, according to multiple news reports.

Driving the news: The FBI is investigating Floyd's death after video emerged of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on his neck for several minutes, ignoring protests that he couldn't breathe. Hundreds of protesters attended the demonstration at the intersection where Floyd died, per the Guardian.

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced plans Tuesday to make wearing face coverings mandatory statewide for most people over the age of 10 when inside public places like retailers, on public transportation and government buildings. He announced the measure, effective Friday, as coronavirus case numbers increased to 39,342.

By the numbers: More than 98,900 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 384,900 Americans have recovered and more than 14.9 million tests have been conducted.

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Japan is preparing a second coronavirus stimulus package worth $1.1 trillion, or about 40% of the country's gross domestic product, Reuters first reported Tuesday night.

Zoom in: The new measure will be funded by government bonds and will include "a raft of loan guarantees and private sector contributions," per Bloomberg.