🌿 Good Monday morning. It's 4/20, the unofficial weed holiday, but AP's Mike Blood reports a bummer:
Smart Brevity™ count: 1,378 words ... 5½ minutes.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
There's consensus about a handful of obvious essentials, like hospitals and grocery stores. But others have become controversial:
The backstory: The federal government released guidance on what industries could remain open, though it's left to states — and sometimes cities — to decide who is allowed to operate and who isn't.
Between the lines: The inconsistencies have created opportunity for businesses, which are flexing lobbying muscle with governors.
What to watch: The definition of "essential" is likely to become even more contentious as states and local areas begin the process of opening back up.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
The coronavirus is pounding doctors' business models, meaning that some will have to sell their practices to bigger groups or close their doors for good, reports Bob Herman, who covers the business of health care for Axios.
Loans and bailout money are helping some doctors stay afloat.
What's next: Hospitals, insurance companies and private equity firms — which were rapidly buying practices before the pandemic — will view financially distressed practices as a golden opportunity, especially if the doctors are valuable sources of referrals.
Reality check: Study after study after study has shown that prices soar when physician practices are acquired — often through more aggressive billing or through hospital "facility fees" getting tacked on.
Facebook today unveils county-by-county maps of people with coronavirus symptoms, and says they'll be updated daily throughout the crisis.
Mark Zuckerberg tells Axios: "Since experiencing symptoms is a precursor to going to the hospital or becoming more seriously ill, these maps could be an important tool for governments and public health officials to make decisions on how to allocate scarce resources like ventilators and PPE, and eventually when it's safe to start reopening society."
Zuckerberg writes today in a Washington Post op-ed that, in contrast to past global pandemics, "we have a new superpower: the ability to gather and share data for good."
At yesterday's briefing, President Trump showed off the intimidating swab used for coronavirus testing.
The pandemic is creating a temporary oasis of cleaner skies and waters, but at immense health and economic costs, Amy Harder reports in a visually driven edition of her weekly energy column, Harder Line, created with Axios Visuals colleagues Naema Ahmed and Sarah Grillo.
These glimpses of a cleaner planet illustrate the challenge of cleaning it up for the long haul.
The bottom line: Even this massive global economic shutdown shows how drastic change is still not aggressive enough to sufficiently tackle emissions as much as scientists say is needed.
Marc Andreessen, a tech pioneer who is cofounder and general partner at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, is out with a rare window into his thinking, "It's Time to Build," arguing that Western institutions' failure to prepare for the coronavirus pandemic "will reverberate for the rest of the decade":
In the U.S., we don’t even have the ability to get federal bailout money to the people and businesses that need it. ...
Medical equipment and financial conduits involve no rocket science whatsoever. At least therapies and vaccines are hard! Making masks and transferring money are not hard. We could have these things but we chose not to — specifically we chose not to have the mechanisms, the factories, the systems to make these things. We chose not to *build*.
You don’t just see this smug complacency, this satisfaction with the status quo and the unwillingness to build, in the pandemic, or in health care generally. You see it throughout Western life, and specifically throughout American life.
The takeaway: "Every step of the way, to everyone around us, we should be asking the question, what are you building?"
"Short sellers have revived their wagers against the stock market in recent weeks, taking their most aggressive positions in [four] years," the Wall Street Journal's Karen Langley reports (subscription).
Why it matters: "[W]ith the potential for additional declines ahead, many investors have decided that the ability to hedge their portfolios — or simply bet on a selloff — is wise."
At least 16 people were killed, including a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, in "a rampage in rural Nova Scotia that is the worst mass shooting in Canadian history," reports The Globe and Mail.
A police chief called the crime seemingly "very random in nature," but added that "the role the current pandemic crisis had, if any, in the rampage will be examined during the investigation."
Supporters of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro protest social-distancing measures in Santos, Brazil. Photo: Felipe Beltrame/NurPhoto via Getty Images
"As more than half the people in the world hunker down under some form of enforced confinement, stirrings of political and social unrest are pointing to a new, potentially turbulent phase in the global effort to stem the coronavirus pandemic," the WashPost's Liz Sly reports from Beirut.
The avatar of Axios' Shane Savitsky fishes during a starlit night on his "Animal Crossing" island. Photo: Shane Savitsky/Axios
Nintendo's "Animal Crossing: New Horizons" has become a form of "coronavirus therapy" for many, writes Annmarie Fertoli for a Wall Street Journal A-hed.
💰 It's proving lucrative for Nintendo. Its console, the Switch, is out of stock at retailers across the country, and "third-party sellers were offering it on Amazon at a markup of several hundred dollars."
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