Oct 9, 2018

Seventh NYC driver of 2018 commits suicide

Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

A seventh suicide this year among New York's professional drivers puts new pressure on the city to help resolve a financial crisis in the industry.

The big picture: Uber is the most visible face of the new "gig economy," the rise of freelance work with often irregular pay and no benefits. Given forecasts of the continued expansion of gig work, numerous experts have raised the issue of regulating it as a public policy priority, for instance by requiring portable benefits.

In a ceremony yesterday, fellow drivers and others remembered Fausta Luna, an Uber driver who jumped in front of a subway train and died on Sept. 26. Luna was deeply in debt, write the NY Post's Danielle Furfaro and Amanda Woods.

  • In August, amid a saturation of cabs, black limousines and ride-hailing vehicles, the New York City Council halted its issuance of new for-hire licenses. It is also studying a minimum wage for drivers.
  • The move, following the suicides of six drivers, was the first by any U.S. city.
  • Since 2011, when Uber launched in NYC, the number of licensed for-hire vehicles in the city has almost tripled to about 112,000.

Uber has favored portable benefits but fought caps on the number of drivers.

  • In a statement, an Uber spokesman told Axios, "We are devastated by this news and our deepest sympathies go to Mr. Luna’s family and loved ones during this difficult time.”

Go deeper

LATAM Airlines files for U.S. chapter 11 bankruptcy

A LATAM air attendant aboard one of the company's planes in March. Photo: Kike Calvo/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

LATAM Airlines Group SA said in a statement early Tuesday the firm and its affiliates in in the United States, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S.

Why it matters: Latam is Latin America's largest airline and its shareholders include Delta Air Lines. CEO Roberto Alvo noted in the statement the coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the airline industry.

Novavax starts human trials for coronavirus vaccine

Novavax's Nita Patel with a computer model showing the protein structure of a potential coronavirus vaccine at the lab in Gaithersburg, Maryland in March. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Novavax began clinical trials of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus in Australia on Tuesday, per a statement from the Maryland-based biotechnology firm.

The state of play: 131 volunteers in the Australian cities of Melbourne and Brisbane will undergo injections as part of the study, the company’s research chief Gregory Glenn said during a briefing, per Australian Associated Press.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 5,495,061 — Total deaths: 346,232 — Total recoveries — 2,231,738Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 1,662,302 — Total deaths: 98,220 — Total recoveries: 379,157 — Total tested: 14,604,942Map.
  3. World: Italy reports lowest number of new cases since February — Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths on Monday for the first time since March 21 — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: New York stock exchange to reopen its floor on Tuesday — White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy