Jan 17, 2019

Microsoft pledges $500 million to build affordable housing in Seattle

Satya Nadella. Photo: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Microsoft is pledging $500 million to the Seattle region to address affordable housing issues, the New York Times reported and Microsoft confirmed in a blog post.

Why it matters: This kind of move from such an industry powerhouse will spur debate over what kind of responsibilities fall on companies to find "solutions for those who have not benefited from the industry's fortunes," per the Times. A report from December said the Seattle region needs 156,000 more affordable housing units and will need 84,000 more by 2040 if growth continues.

"The tech sector needs to contribute more to the communities in which they operate," said Brad Smith, Microsoft president and chief legal officer, at a gathering of editors at the company’s headquarters this week. "Explosive economic growth that came to tech hubs, such as Seattle and Northern California, put major strain on the cities’ infrastructure, such as education, transportation, and in particular, housing."

  • "We recognize that jobs came but housing wasn’t built for the people who started to fill them," Smith added. "It’s forced out of the community the school teacher, the nurses, the first responders, many of the people who work at tech companies themselves. What it’s required them to do is live farther away and spend more of their day commuting. It has undermined the health of the communities in which our companies are prospering."

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 838,061 — Total deaths: 41,261 — Total recoveries: 174,115.
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U.S. coronavirus updates: White House studies models projecting virus peak

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

The White House and other institutions are observing several models to better understand and prepare cities for when the coronavirus is expected to peak in the U.S.

The state of play: The coronavirus is expected to peak in the U.S. in two weeks, but many states like Virginia and Maryland will see their individual peaks well after that, according to a model by the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes two-minute antibody testing kit to detect coronavirus

Currently, it takes days to produce results from testing kits. Photo: Sergei Malgavko\TASS via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency approval Tuesday for a serological testing kit produced by Bodysphere Inc. that can detect a positive or negative result for COVID-19 in two minutes.

Why it matters: Access to testing has improved in the U.S. thanks to commercial labs, but the average wait time for a patient's results is four to five days — with some reports of it taking more than a week.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health