Feb 12, 2020

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 471 words, a 2-minute read.

Situational awareness: President Trump railed against prosecutors for treating Roger Stone "horribly," but declined to confirm whether he's considering a pardon. Go deeper.

1 big thing: "Reassuring" news on coronavirus

Security guards hold the curtain for a cyclist to pass through a disinfectant spray in order to return home to a residential complex in Tianjin, China. Photo: Chinatopix via AP

We have good news about the coronavirus, if the Chinese are telling the truth.

  • The number of new Chinese cases dropped for a second straight day, the AP reports, with roughly half the number of new cases as this time last week.
  • The head of emergencies for the World Health Organization called it “way too early to try to predict the beginning of the end,” but said the stabilization is "very reassuring."
Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkinsthe CDC and China’s NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The big picture: Economic aftershocks are still rippling through the global economy.

  • In China: Worries are beginning to grow about stimulus efforts, Axios' Dion Rabouin reports, and migrant workers will be most negatively affected by the travel limits by local governments, Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian notes.
  • In the U.S.: The travel industry thinks coronavirus could cost more than SARS, with an estimated "$5.8 billion in airfare and domestic spending this year."
  • In Europe: The Mobile World Congress has been canceled, and manufacturers are increasingly worried about their supply chains. "I’m calling China every day," Daimler's CEO said at a news conference.

Between the lines: China has been praised for its genuinely ambitious response to this crisis, particularly in the midst of flu season, but...

  • The Chinese government silenced doctors who initially raised alarms on the epidemic, the N.Y. Times reports.
  • "Many people [say the WHO] ... gave too much weight to China’s concerns that [declaring a global health emergency] would damage its economy and its leadership’s image," the WSJ reports.

The bottom line: “I’m going to be optimistic that that is a sign their aggressive efforts have been effective, but I really do think it’s too soon to say that for sure not having hands on the data ourselves," the CDC’s Nancy Messonnier said today.

Bonus: Pic du jour

Photo: Ameer Al Mohammedaw/picture alliance via Getty Images

Iraqi security forces remove concrete barriers blocking the Sinak Bridge in Baghdad, which was closed alongside with other bridges and squares due to the eruption of anti-government demonstrations in October.

2. What you missed
  1. Multiple signs are currently pointing toward a U.S. drawdown in Afghanistan. Go deeper.
  2. Essential will shut down: The mobile phone maker was founded by Android co-founder Andy Rubin. Go deeper.
  3. Scoop: Meditation app maker Headspace has raised $53 million in new equity funding and another $40 million in debt. Go deeper.
  4. Labor strikes and lockouts caused the most work stoppages last year since 2004. Go deeper.
  5. 🎧 Axios' Pro Rata podcast features Greg Miller, the Washington Post reporter who revealed that a communications tech company used by dozens of countries was secretly owned by the CIA. Listen here.
3. 1 fun thing

Overwatch League Grand Finals at Barclays Center, Brooklyn, in 2018. Photo: Mary Altaffer/AP

The Overwatch League opened its third season with sold-out matches hosted by franchises in New York and Dallas, the first of 52 events spanning three continents, the AP reports.

  • Fans spent well over $100 for two-day passes that featured teams from New York, Boston, London and Paris.

Why it matters: No professional league — esports or otherwise — has taken on such an arduous regular-season schedule, the AP notes.

Go deeper.