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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
In the beginning, we thought we would just miss out on a few weeks of spring. Now it’s becoming clear that a large chunk — if not all — of summer will also be lost to the coronavirus pandemic.
The big picture: Even as some states take steps to open up their economies, huge parts of our lives will stay shuttered well through August and possibly beyond.
Education: The lost summer could turn into a lost year academically.
Businesses: Summer is a make-or-break period for many small businesses in tourist-reliant areas. Summer vacations are as vital to the hospitality industry as Black Friday is to retail.
Families: The strain on families on all levels will have a cumulative effect.
Work routines: Virtual work fatigue is setting in, and by September, our patience, routines and willpower will be frayed and weak.
What to watch: Summer also brings some level of complacency risk when it comes to COVID-19.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
Public health officials and local governments are trying to aggressively ramp up contact tracing to track the spread of COVID-19 in their communities, Axios' Margaret Harding McGill and I report.
Why it matters: Identifying who has come in contact with people infected with the disease is critical to isolating the coronavirus while also allowing some semblance of daily life to resume.
Between the lines: State and city budgets are being hammered, making it harder to find the resources to hire and train people to contact trace or acquire needed technologies.
State and county public health officials are ramping up tracing efforts now that testing availability is improving — since tracing only works with widespread testing.
"For every case, we have an average of about 20 people to contact. ... So if you have 100 cases, you've got 2,000 contacts you've got to handle for that day because you know the next day you'll have maybe another 100–150 cases."— Umair Shah, executive director of Harris County Public Health
Illustration: Sarah Grillo, Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Other countries are relying on tech to varying degrees to augment contact tracing, allowing people to be notified when they come in contact with someone who tests positive.
In the U.S., the most likely scenario for widespread, tech-enabled contact tracing lies with work done by Google and Apple.
Yes, but: Nearly 3 in 5 Americans say they are unable or unwilling to participate in the Google-Apple initiative, according to a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll.
What to watch: It may also take a public service campaign featuring trusted voices to encourage Americans to opt in.
An empty street in San Francisco. Photo: Liu Guanguan/China News Service via Getty Images.
Nearly one-third of Americans — and 39% of urban dwellers — are considering moving to a less densely populated area because of the novel coronavirus outbreak, according to a Harris Poll survey released Thursday.
"Space now means something more than square feet. Already beset by high rents and clogged streets, the virus is now forcing urbanites to consider social distancing as a lifestyle."— Harris Poll CEO John Gerzema
Urban residents (43%) were more likely than suburban (26%) and rural (21%) residents to report having recently browsed real estate websites for homes or apartments to rent or buy, per the survey of 2,050 U.S. adults.
Between the lines: It's not yet clear how the pandemic will reshape cities in the long run, but experts say it will accelerate trends already underway.
Reality check: People tend to stay put in an economic downturn, so a recession could discourage people from picking up and moving, even if they've thought about it.
3.8 million people filed for unemployment last week, the Labor Department announced Thursday.
Between the lines: State labor departments have been overwhelmed by the rush of people seeking unemployment benefits.
Tables are marked off at J. Christopher's restaurant that now offers dine-in service in Decatur, Georgia. Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images
As restaurants in some areas begin reopening their doors, their performance will provide a first big test of Americans' readiness to resume life outside their homes.
Why it matters: Restaurants play a major role in just about every downtown core, shopping district and office hub. But that doesn't mean people will be ready to slide into a booth right away.
Driving the news: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis yesterday announced restaurants can reopen on Monday at 25% indoor seating capacity.
By the numbers: Restaurants employ about 15.6 million workers, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics — and the industry saw its largest employment drop on record when restaurants suddenly closed last month, according to the National Restaurant Association.
What's happening: Restaurants using takeout apps will benefit.
What to watch: "Consumers are going to be on the hunt for value," said Fogertey in a recent Goldman Sachs webinar — which means that fast-food joints and low-priced eateries will recover fastest.
Americans are starting to drive again, but still staying away from public transit (Axios)
"Cancel the Rent" could be just the beginning (CityLab)
The travel industry is going local (Economist)
How to restart national economies during the coronavirus crisis (McKinsey)
Reopening California will be an arduous task, and it won't be quick (LA Times)
Pandemic flattens the sharing economy (Axios)
Screenshot from LiftUpLouisville
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has always wanted his city to have a song. Now it has one.
He tapped Teddy Abrams, the music director for the Louisville Orchestra, to rally the city’s musicians to write a song. Abrams enlisted more than 30 local artists — ranging from rappers, jazz, bluegrass and indie rock musicians — to help compose and perform the song from their homes.
History lesson: The Louisville Orchestra was founded in 1937 after a flood devastated the city. Abrams said there's a collective sense of responsibility to continue that civic history of creative work.
What’s next: “We really want this to become a global phenomenon where cities build a song quilt — a way of making music that reaches deep into our communities,” he said.