May 19, 2020

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Happy Tuesday! Situational awareness: Bull riding may be the first pro sport to welcome fans, with live crowds planned for a July 10-12 championship in Sioux Falls, S.D.

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1 big thing: Summer camps vs. virus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Summer camps around the country have begun announcing cancellations, a bleak sign for the months ahead, Axios' Erica Pandey reports.

  • Why it matters: They're a lifeline for parents trying to cope with the pandemic's exhausting double whammy of working from home with schools closed.
  • "One big thing that’s shifted for us is thinking about camp less as a recreational summer activity and more as a necessary child care function," a director at a North Carolina day camp told Axios.

CDC guidelines say camps shouldn't open if their home states aren't open, or if they aren't able to screen kids and counselors for symptoms and exposure.

  • If camps do pass those requirements, the CDC and American Camp Association recommend they practice social distancing, require masks and check temperatures frequently.

Camps from coast to coast are making changes. For instance, Barrie School — a private school in Silver Spring, Md., that runs a summer camp — is dotting its 45-acre grounds with hand-washing and sanitizing stations.

  • Some planned activities, such as day trips, have to be canceled because kids can't social distance on buses, director Dan Hayden says.

Several camps are facing steep cost increases:

  • The North Carolina camp is doubling its staff so it can divide campers into 10-person groups that will stay together for the summer.
  • The camp is also halving pool capacities and doing away with high-contact activities like basketball and soccer.
  • It's also reducing the day's schedule from five activities to four to add in time for hand-washing.

And camp might go virtual:

  • Camp Supernow — founded after the coronavirus crisis began — is offering two-week sessions of Zoom camp starting in June.
  • Kids will be sorted into virtual cabins to participate in activities like talent shows or backyard scavenger hunts.

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2. Axios-Ipsos poll: America re-engages
Data: Axios/Ipsos surveys. The first survey was April 10-13; 1,098 adults were interviewed. The second was May 15-18; 1,009 adults were interviewed. Chart: Axios Visuals

Locked-down Americans are socializing more — making playdates for their kids, visiting elderly relatives, and even grabbing a haircut, Axios' Margaret Talev writes from the new installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

  • Why it matters: People still perceive social interaction as risky, but are being drawn out anyway, craving creature comforts and the company of loved ones.

Responses (1,009 adults; margin of error: ±3.3 percentage points) break down along partisan and regional lines:

  • In keeping with state reopenings, Southerners are three times as likely to have gone out for a haircut in the last week (9%) as Northeasterners (3%).
  • Southerners (16%) are twice as likely as Northeasterners (8%) to have gone out to eat in the past week.
  • Parents in the South (41%) and Midwest (38%) are more than twice as likely as parents in the Northeast (17%) to have let their children play with other kids.

Overall, 15% of respondents say they visited elderly relatives in the last week, the highest share in nine weeks.

  • That share rises to 23% among those aged 50-64.

Between the lines: Americans see it as safer to re-engage with people they know than with society overall.

  • But there's a widening gulf: Republicans see less risk with both sets of interactions than Democrats.

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3. "I take a pill every day"

During a meeting with restaurant executives, President Trump tells reporters he is taking zinc and hydroxychloroquine. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump stunned reporters yesterday by casually dropping the news that he's taking hydroxychloroquine (unproven against the coronavirus; FDA "cautions against use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for COVID-19 outside of the hospital setting or a clinical trial due to risk of heart rhythm problems"):

  • Trump: "[A] lot of good things have come out about the hydroxy. ... You’d be surprised at how many people are taking it, especially the frontline workers — before you catch it. ... I happen to be taking it."
  • Q: "You’re taking hydroxychloroquine?"
  • Trump: "I’m taking it — hydroxychloroquine."
  • Q: "Right now?"
  • Trump: "Right now. Yeah. A couple of weeks ago, I started taking it. ... Because I think it’s good. I’ve heard a lot of good stories. And if it’s not good, I’ll tell you right — you know, I’m not going to get hurt by it." ...
  • Q: "Did the White House doctor recommend that you take that?"
  • Trump: "A White House doctor — didn’t recommend — no, I asked him, 'What do you think?' He said, 'Well, if you’d like it.' I said, 'Yeah, I’d like it. I’d like to take it.'"
  • The president added: "I was just waiting to see your eyes light up when I said this, but — you know, when I announced this. But, yeah, I have taken it for about a week and a half now, and I’m still here."

Update: Trump's physician later issued this statement:

The White House
4. Pictures of America

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Above, San Francisco opened a temporary tent encampment for the homeless.

Below, ABC's Jonathan Karl (author of "Front Row at the Trump Show") and Reuters' Jeff Mason cover a meeting in the White House Cabinet Room.

Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times via Getty Images
5. Deep media cuts continue

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Over 500 people in the U.S. news media were laid off last week, Axios' Sara Fischer and Scott Rosenberg write.

  • Layoffs at Vice (155 people), Quartz (80 people), The Economist (90 people), Condé Nast (100 people) and furloughs at BuzzFeed News (68) and Condé Nast (another 100) were posted last week.
  • Hundreds more are expected in coming months.

Our thought bubble: The digital era blew up the old business model of the news industry, and it has spent 25 years searching for a new one.

  • But instead of finding a lasting solution, the industry took a long ride on a pendulum swinging between ad revenue and subscription income. It bet heavily on the first during flush times and rushed wildly to the second when recessions hit.
  • That pendulum now feels like a wrecking ball.

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6. A Fortune 500 first
Courtesy FORTUNE

37 female CEOs lead FORTUNE 500 companies — the most ever — up from 33 last year.

  • Walmart leads the list for the eighth year in a row; Amazon jumps to No. 2, its highest spot ever.
  • 17 companies made their debut, including Uber (No. 228), the new Fox Corp. (No. 280), and Science Applications International (No.466).
  • New York State is home to the most companies (54), followed by California (53), and Texas (50).

The top 10 on the 66th annual list (ranked by revenue for 2019 fiscal year):

  1. Walmart
  2. Amazon
  3. ExxonMobil 
  4. Apple
  5. CVS Health
  6. Berkshire Hathaway
  7. UnitedHealth Group
  8. McKesson
  9. AT&T
  10. AmerisourceBergen (pharmaceutical distributor)

See the list.

7. Vaccine shows promise in human test

Screenshot via CNBC

"The first coronavirus vaccine to be tested in people appears to be safe and able to stimulate an immune response against the infection, the manufacturer, Moderna, announced," the N.Y. Times reports in the paper's lead print story.

  • "The preliminary findings, in the first eight people who each received two doses of the experimental vaccine, must now be repeated in far larger tests in hundreds and then thousands of people."
Screenshot via CNBC
8. ✈️ How flying is changing: Raise your hand

Air France is one of several carriers "boarding passengers seated at the back of the aircraft first, to limit traffic jams in the aisle," the Wall Street Journal reports.

  • "Ryanair, Europe’s budget carrier, is requiring passengers to raise their hand and seek permission to use the bathroom."
9. Spine and joint procedures take dive
Adapted from Strata Decision Technology. Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Hospitals and outpatient offices have canceled elective procedures and surgeries en masse to prepare for the coronavirus, Axios health care business reporter Bob Herman writes.

  • The most pronounced drops have come in eye, spine and joint replacement surgeries.

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10. 1 smile to go: Once shunned, now hot

Photo: Alex Pantling/Getty Images

A golf pushcart "is essentially a piece of metal with a few wheels attached that makes lugging a bag of clubs around a golf course slightly easier," the Wall Street Journal's Andrew Beaton writes (subscription).

  • But with courses banning caddies and carts to fight the virus, collapsible pushcarts are suddenly "one of the unlikeliest products being hoarded during the pandemic."

Warehouses and retailers are out of 'em, "and there even is pushcart price gouging."

Mike Allen

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