Mar 8, 2020

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

🌐 Today is International Women's Day. 👭

  • Your phone sprang ahead.
  • Today's Smart Brevity™ count: 1,130 words ... 4 minutes.

🚨 Breaking: Sen. Kamala Harris tweeted a video endorsing Joe Biden today, just over three months after ending her race for the Democratic nomination. Go deeper.

  • The Rev. Jesse Jackson also endorsed Bernie Sanders. Go deeper.
1 big thing: What to expect next

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

There are lots of scary coronavirus scenarios that are pure speculation. But we don't need to go down that road: There are already enough grim changes to daily life that we know are coming.

  • Here's what to expect in the weeks and even months ahead, narrated by managing editor David Nather:

More cases: As testing improves, the number of new cases may seem like an explosion because we are more likely to be catching cases that we previously would have missed, health care editor Sam Baker reports.

  • More deaths that don't fit the pattern. At a White House press conference Feb. 29, Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health noted that most deaths will be in the high-risk groups — senior citizens and people already in bad health. But every once in a while, he said, "you're going to see a 25-year-old person, who looks otherwise well, that's going to get seriously ill."

More isolation: Austin's South by Southwest festival was the latest huge event to be spiked — and it won't be the last. This week's AFL-CIO Presidential Forum, a major energy conference, a Federal Reserve event, the Milken Institute Global Conference and others have been called off or postponed.

  • More school closures: A Seattle-area district closed its schools. As more cases are discovered, expect other schools to shut down.
  • More disruption to religious services.
  • More remote work: Companies, including Starbucks, are moving shareholder meetings online, Courtenay Brown reports.

More economic interruption:

  • More home cooking: More people stocking up. And takeout delivery could suffer as fears grow of contamination among food-prep workers who can't take sick days, managing editor Jennifer Kingson notes.
  • More flight cancellations: But the industry recovered quickly after 9/11 and the 2003 SARS epidemic, as Axios' Joann Muller reported.
  • More movie industry losses: It's not just that you'll have to wait longer to see that new James Bond film. The whole industry is bracing to lose billions of dollars, as Sara Fischer reported.

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2. Women underrepresented in global boardrooms
Source: MSCI All-Country World Index (3,046 publicly-traded companies based in 46 countries). Chart: Axios Visuals

Female representation on corporate boards around the world has doubled in the last decade. But board members — who play a big role in corporate decision-making and earn big money for their labors — are still much more likely to be male, markets reporter Courtenay Brown writes.

  • Why it matters: Today is International Women's Day, and — despite unprecedented pressure from shareholders and others to diversify boardrooms — the prospects for gender parity there are bleak.
  • Researchers say it could take another 25 years before there are just as many women as men in boardrooms worldwide.

Between the lines: Last year saw the biggest annual gain in global board seats held by women since 2009. California's boardroom law — which mandates that all California-based companies must have at least one female director — deserves part of the credit.

  • Outside the U.S., a number of countries, like Belgium, Norway and France, require that companies have a certain number of women on boards.
  • Shareholder pressure may also be pushing companies to act faster.

There's progress outside of the corporate world:

  • Take the Federal Reserve. One of the most influential economic policy bodies in the world has taken a lot of flak for being too white and too male. But now, per a Reuters analysis, white men hold fewer than half the board seats at the Fed's 12 regional banks for the first time in its 107-year history.
  • Christine Lagarde became the first woman to head Europe's central bank last year, and Ursula von Leyen is the first to lead the European Commission.

The bottom line: While all-male boards are becoming more rare, they're still dominated by men.

  • The typical S&P 500 board seats four men for every woman, according to Bank of America.

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3. 🧀 Tonight: "Axios on HBO" in Oshkosh
Photo: Axios on HBO

Tonight on "Axios on HBO" (6 p.m. ET/PT) ... Super newsy episode: Jim VandeHei returns to a bar of his youth to mix it up with Don Jr. before a hopped-up audience of Trump supporters in Oshkosh, Wisc. — a swing town in 2020's marquee battleground.

  • Jim grills Don about Russia, the GOP and elite media. The son reveals that his dad told him to cool it on Twitter. Don replied: "I learned it by watching you!"

See a clip.

4. Pic du jour
Photo: Ross D. Franklin

Goodyear Stadium in Arizona provides pens and autograph cards for Cleveland Indians players before a spring training game against the Chicago Cubs.

  • It's an attempt to minimize players' contact with fans amid virus fears.

The autograph — an occasional annoyance for players, a forever memento for fans — is an endangered species this spring, per USA Today.

  • The Phillies are having players pre-sign baseballs and photo cards in the clubhouse: "Security personnel will be available to assist players in the distribution of these pre-signed items."
5. Coronavirus quick catch-up
In an extraordinary measure to discourage crowds, Pope Francis skipped his Sunday appearance at a Vatican palazzo window and spoke on tape. Photo: Andrew Medichini/AP

🇮🇹 "Italy announced a sweeping quarantine Sunday for its northern regions, igniting travel chaos as it restricted the movements of 16 million people — more than one quarter of its population — in a bid to halt the relentless march of the new coronavirus across Europe." (AP)

🚢 "The Grand Princess cruise ship that has been stranded off the California coast for four days ... will dock at the Port of Oakland, the ship’s captain announced ... to the 3,500 passengers and crew members." (S.F. Chronicle)

🇬🇧 Ministers in the U.K., with one-fifth the population of the U.S., "are preparing for a potential coronavirus death toll as high as 100,000 as they try to brace the country for months of upheaval without spreading panic." (The Sunday Times)

Courtesy N.Y. Post

🇺🇸 New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency, as he announced a statewide total of 76 cases. (Press release)

  • D.C. area: Organizers of the CPAC conservative conference said a person who attended the event at National Harbor, Md., in late February had been infected ... D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said a man in his 50s was the city's first case ... A Marine was hospitalized with the virus in Fairfax County, Va. (WashPost)
6. Dem turnout surges in suburbs

Joe Biden is benefiting from strong turnout in suburban counties, from northern Virginia to southern California, that fueled Democrats' 2018 wave, AP reports.

  • In several key counties, turnout has exceeded that of four years ago:
Graphic: AP
7. Tweet du jour

Yesterday was the 55th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Ala..

  • In 1965, state troopers attacked civil-rights marchers who were crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in support of voting rights for African Americans.

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who turned 80 last month, tweets:

8. 1 twin thing
Photo: Will Heath/NBC via Getty Images)

Elizabeth Warren as herself — and Kate McKinnon as Elizabeth Warren — during the "Ingraham Angle Coronavirus Cold Open" on "Saturday Night Live."

Mike Allen

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