Jun 25, 2020

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 542 words, a 2-minute read.

1 big thing: America's reopening grinds to a halt

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

America's great economic reopening is hitting a major snag, just like the public health experts warned.

Why it matters: Confirmed case counts are soaring to the point where Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is pausing the state's reopening and canceling elective surgeries to stockpile PPE.

  • The number of Texans hospitalized with COVID-19 has tripled since Memorial Day, the Texas Tribune reports.
  • The state still has plenty of hospital beds, but hospital officials are rushing to add more capacity and shift patients around.

The big picture: Face masks are essential to slowing the coronavirus' spread, but they have become politicized in recent months.

  • Wearing face masks "could result in a large reduction in risk of infection," according to a recent review of 172 studies, Axios Science editor Alison Snyder and Eileen Drage O'Reilly report.
  • But conservatives who prize individual autonomy over social responsibility experience "a massive pushback of psychological resistance" when presented with mask mandates, psychology professor Steven Taylor told Axios Future editor Bryan Walsh.
  • This is partly a failure by public health experts. CDC guidance has flip-flopped on wearing masks during the pandemic, and white lies meant to preserve PPE for health workers has backfired big time.
  • 🚨The CDC now thinks the realistic estimate of cases could be as high as 23 million — 10x the current tally — because of asymptomatic carriers.

Between the lines: Unlike the mass confusion of mid-March, Americans now have a reasonable sense of what to do in a pandemic.

  • If you're at risk, stay home.
  • If you're not at risk and won't stay at home, put on a mask and wash your hands, don't socialize indoors and stay 6 feet apart.

The bottom line: This round of outbreaks may be concentrated among young people, but at a certain level of spread, the older folks could get it too.

  • "We have consistently underestimated this virus," Ashish Jha of Harvard reminded the AP.

Go deeper: CDC expands list of who's most at risk

2. Pic du jour
Photo: Nicholas Pfosi/Reuters

A memorial to George Floyd in Minneapolis.

  • Floyd was killed one month ago, today.
3. Catch up quick
Data: St. Louis Fed; Chart: Axios Visuals
  1. Another 1.5 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week. Go deeper.
  2. A new platform launched today to connect Black founders and a select group of top-tier venture capitalists. Go deeper.
  3. Australia and New Zealand will host the 2023 Women's World Cup. Go deeper.
  4. Disney will rebrand the popular ride Splash Mountain at its theme parks in Florida and California because of its connection to the racist 1946 film, "Song of the South."
  5. Former GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina will vote for Joe Biden over President Trump in the 2020 presidential election. Go deeper.

Bonus: 🎧 Re:Cap podcast — Behind the Black-owned bookstore boom. Listen here.

4. 1 film thing

Janelle Monáe, left, and London Boyce in a scene from "Antebellum." Photo: Matt Kennedy/Lionsgate via AP

“Antebellum,” set to be released Aug. 21, plucks the legacy of American slavery out of the past and places it squarely in the present, AP reports.

  • The film stars Janelle Monáe as a Black author who finds herself trapped in a pre-abolition past.

Between the lines: At times, “Antebellum” uses graphically violent depictions of the inhumane treatment of enslaved people.

  • "Some within today’s culture are triggered by art, when that is precisely what art is meant to do," said director Gerard Bush.
  • "We would much prefer you be triggered in a theater and activated to take meaningful, positive action — than all of us continuing to live in an open-air shooting gallery every time we leave our homes."
Mike Allen