Welcome back to Axios World. I hope you’re doing things that make you happy during what has been a worrying week.
Situational awareness: “U.S. retaliatory strikes underway in Iraq following deadly attack on U.S., British troops,” Reuters reports.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
The world was not prepared for a pandemic. When one struck, international coordination broke down rather than ramping up.
Why it matters: The lack of preparedness has left countries, including the U.S., scrambling to craft a response once the novel coronavirus had already reached their shores. The dearth of global coordination could both exacerbate the crisis and make it more difficult to recover from.
Driving the news: President Trump's decision to shut down travel from Europe last night blindsided the EU, which responded with a terse statement noting the lack of "consultation."
The U.S., meanwhile, has been slow to adopt best practices from countries like South Korea, particularly around testing.
Flashback: When Ebola was ravaging West Africa in 2014, the U.S. led a global effort to contain it there and prevent a global pandemic.
The big picture: That's particularly concerning given this virus won't truly be contained anywhere until it's contained everywhere, says Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations.
The bottom line: "It’s just shocking that here in this country, we dealt with it so badly that we’re not in a position to help ourselves, and we’re not in a position to help others," Haass says.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
China wants to show its citizens and the world that it is on course for victory in the "people's war" against the virus.
Driving the news: A government medical adviser said today that the outbreak had passed its peak, two days after President Xi Jinping made his first visit to Wuhan.
What to watch: China's propaganda machine is whirring into gear with the message that Beijing's decisive response bought the world precious time.
The flipside: National security adviser Robert O’Brien claims an initial cover-up of the coronavirus in China “cost the world community two months” and exacerbated the global outbreak.
The bottom line: In the face of a global crisis, the world’s two most powerful countries are pointing fingers at one another.
Worth noting: Chinese propaganda has centered on another reality-defying narrative, Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian writes: that the outbreak may not have started in China at all.
Go deeper: Read Bethany's piece
Bolsonaro (L) at dinner with Trump at Mar-a-Lago, March 7. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's press secretary tested positive for coronavirus today, five days after taking part in meetings with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago.
Zoom in: Fabio Wajngarten, the aide, was photographed with Trump on Saturday.
A far-right populist, Bolsonaro had dismissed the alarm around the virus as a "fantasy" spread by the media as recently as Tuesday.
North of the border ... Justin Trudeau is self-isolating after his wife returned from the U.K. with mild symptoms. She is being tested for the coronavirus.
1. French President Emmanuel Macron announced the closure of all schools and universities today, saying his country was “only at the start of the epidemic that is accelerating and worsening everywhere in Europe.”
2. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson declined to take such steps today, but he gave a sober address and warned, "many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time."
3. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for a temporary national unity government to combat the virus following last week's inconclusive elections.
4. El Salvador has declared a 21-day coronavirus quarantine despite the fact that it has no known cases thus far.
5. Deaths in Italy topped 1,000 as the country entered into a nationwide lockdown, with all shops closed except those selling food, medicine or other essentials.
“U.S. defense officials said Thursday that an attack on a base in Iraq that killed two U.S. troops was carried out by Iranian-backed militia groups and that the military is waiting for President Trump to decide how to respond,” per the Washington Post.
“Let me be clear: The United States will not tolerate attacks against our people, our interests or our allies. All options are on the table as we work with our partners to bring the perpetrators to justice and maintain deterrence.”— Defense Secretary Mark Esper
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
The fate of countries around the world lies in a very few individual politicians' hands — more so than at any other time in half a century or more, Axios' Felix Salmon writes:
The spread of the novel coronavirus is similarly a function of decisive action by heads of state, or the lack thereof.
Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde. Photos via Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images
Russia's parliament approved constitutional amendments backed by President Vladimir Putin that, among other changes, could allow him to remain in power until 2036 by resetting his presidential tenure after his current term ends in 2024.
The state of play: The question of what will happen at the end of Putin's current term has loomed over Russia, leading him to propose sweeping constitutional changes earlier this year.
Between the lines: Dmitri Trenin, director of Carnegie Moscow, tells Axios that the news has been met with "a lot of confusion."
Where things stand: Russia's Kremlin-compliant constitutional court must approve the changes before they go before the Russian people in a national referendum on April 22.
Go deeper: 20 Years of Putin: From KGB to Kremlin
Sometimes a headline says it all ("Everyone at home"), in Salerno, Italy. Photo: Ivan Romano/Getty Images
"During the past year, obviously, we have had moments of crisis. A lot of that is fantasy. And coronavirus, which is not all the mainstream media makes it out to be."— Jair Bolsonaro, on Tuesday
"Bolsonaro is being monitored and tested for coronavirus."— Reuters, Thursday