#55
single distill image banner
deepnews logo

Deepnews Digest #55

The Open Question

Editor: Christopher Brennan
It may not be the light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s a tunnel with a little more room to move around. This week’s Digest focuses on debates around reopening economies and easing COVID-19 lockdowns, a question that brings small bits of hope but also worries about how to keep the virus under control. This list gathered by the Deepnews Scoring Model looks into issues of testing, jobs, cooperation or the lack thereof, and hard choices for leaders.


Editor’s Note: Thank you as always for reading the Deepnews Digest, which I hope you find useful as a way of getting a well-rounded view of the news. I am always open to suggestions on topics, so feel free to let me know what you think on the Contact page. There are also often updates about what Deepnews is up to on social media, so check us out on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.
Story Source
Vox EU
Governments are thinking about ways to exit the COVID containment policies currently in place. While ‘exit’ is too optimistic of a word, the necessity is clear. This column argues that we should not think of this as a ‘dollars versus deaths’ trade-off, but rather as a constrained optimisation with two conflicting imperatives: keeping containment stringent enough to achieve the medical imperative, but lax enough to avoid overstretching citizens’ tolerance. Remobilising the workforce is a key element of the latter. This column uses the two-constraints approach that I introduced last week to think ahead about the various exit strategies.

Editor’s Note:

Washington Post
President Trump’s attempt to enlist corporate executives in a push to reopen parts of society amid the coronavirus pandemic got off to a rocky start Wednesday, with some business leaders complaining the effort was haphazard and warning that more testing needs to be in place before restrictions are lifted.

Editor’s Note:

Quartz
India is unique among the world’s major nations in having implemented a total lockdown for such a long duration in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Editor’s Note:

USA Today
Everyone wants to know when our nation’s economy will reopen and what a return to work will look like.

Editor’s Note:

CNN
People in the Czech Republic can now shop at hardware and bicycle stores, play tennis and go swimming. Italians can visit bookshops and laundries, while younger students are returning to classrooms in Denmark. Austria has reopened smaller stores and Germany will follow suit next week.

Editor’s Note:

Indian Express
Coronavirus (COVID-19): The centre on Wednesday issued guidelines effective April 20 lifting restrictions on a range of activities in the rural and agriculture sector, manufacturing in SEZs and industrial zones, and e-commerce operations. Strict restrictions will, however, continue in COVID-19 containment zones notified by respective states.

Editor’s Note:

AFP
Parts of Europe moved cautiously to reopen their streets and economies on Thursday but the coronavirus pandemic was far from beaten and the World Health Organization warned the continent was still in the “eye of the storm”.

Editor’s Note: Several of the articles on this list come from Europe, which has been hit hard but is now, after Asia, among the first looking at exiting its lockdowns. Here AFP reports from around the continent. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Bloomberg
The Covid-19 crisis has posed a number of problems for manufacturers. 3D printing has provided many answers.

Editor’s Note:

New Times Rwanda
The Coronavirus will not disappear with the end of the lockdown. A vaccine will take months if not years, to be developed, tested and successfully rolled out. We therefore need to learn how to go back to business in the presence of the Coronavirus.

Editor’s Note:

NY Times Magazine
The politics of the coronavirus have made it seem indecent to talk about the future. As President Trump has flirted with reopening America quickly — saying in late March that he’d like to see “packed churches” on Easter and returning to the theme days ago with “we cannot let this continue” — public-health experts have felt compelled to call out the dangers. Many Americans have responded by rejecting as monstrous the whole idea of any trade-off between saving lives and saving the economy. And in the near term, it’s true that those two goals align: For the sake of both, it’s imperative to keep businesses shuttered and people in their homes as much as possible.

Editor’s Note:

Financial Times ($)
The principality of Liechtenstein is piloting a programme to fit its citizens with biometric bracelets in a radical new drive to track the emergence of potential cases of Covid-19 in real time.

Editor’s Note: This piece appeared in our Regulating Big Tech Distill for its focus on data privacy, but it also provides an interesting look at attempts to figure out COVID in the months ahead. The FT reports on the plan to give every single one of the nearly 40,000 citizens of Liechtenstein a health bracelet. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

The Quint
The closing down of the iconic Taj Mahal last month is an evocative symbol of how India’s travel and tourism landscape has changed due to COVID-19. The country’s travel and tourism sector, more dependent than others on the free and confident movement of people, is staring at millions of disappearing jobs and a grey future. As a result of lockdowns, with no travel possible, the tourism industry is being “badly hit”, a government press release said on April 10, 2020.

Editor’s Note:

AP
The European Union moved Wednesday to head off a chaotic and potentially disastrous easing of restrictions that are limiting the spread of the coronavirus, warning its 27 nations to move very cautiously as they return to normal life and base their actions on scientific advice.

Editor’s Note:

The Hill
Laboratories across the country are warning that funding shortfalls are jeopardizing their ability to increase coronavirus testing capacity, a key step in starting to reopen the economy.

Editor’s Note:

NY Post
Since the coronavirus shutdown began, nearly 17 million Americans have lost their jobs. That’s one-tenth of the nation’s workforce. It’s a public-health disaster. If the shutdown drags on, as many public-health experts recommend it should, it is almost certain to kill more Americans than the virus.

Editor’s Note:

NY Times
WASHINGTON — Some business leaders had no idea they were included until they heard that their names had been read in the Rose Garden on Tuesday night by President Trump. Some of those who had agreed to help said they received little information on what, exactly, they were signing up for. And others who were willing to connect with the White House could not participate in hastily organized conference calls on Wednesday because of scheduling conflicts and technical difficulties.

Editor’s Note:

Reuters
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has hired high-powered consultants to develop a science-based plan for the safe economic reopening of the region that can thwart expected pressure from President Donald Trump to move more rapidly, state government sources told Reuters on Wednesday.

Editor’s Note: Part of reopening in the U.S., of course, is the interplay between state governments and Washington. Here Reuters speaks to sources about how New York is preparing to make it all work. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

AP
SPOKANE, Wash.— In deeply conservative eastern Washington state, a prominent state lawmaker kicked out of his Republican Party caucus labels the coronavirus as a foreign bio-weapon, accuses Marxists of using the pandemic to advance totalitarianism and rails against lockdown restrictions imposed by the Democratic governor.

Editor’s Note:

San Diego Union Tribune
The staggering economic consequences of the social distancing edicts adopted across most of the nation last month have led to a vigorous debate over whether, to use President Donald Trump’s term, the “cure” for the coronavirus pandemic is worse than the virus itself.

Editor’s Note:

POLITICO EU
Brussels struggles to coordinate relaxation of restrictions as rate of coronavirus infections begins to stabilize.

Editor’s Note:

Financial Express
A political blame game has snowballed between the ruling parties and opposition in Maharashtra after thousands of migrant workers gathered at the Bandra station in Mumbai hoping to get back home. The gathering not only highlighted the plight of the migrants but also posed a potential risk of a further spread of coronavirus in Mumbai which is already among the worst-hit in the state. Soon after the gathering was reported, Union Home Minister Amit Shah dialled Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to stress on the importance of enforcing the lockdown and to ensure that such incidents are not allowed to happen.

Editor’s Note:

NBC News
“There is no fast way back to normal,” Hans Kluge, director for the WHO’s European region, said.

Editor’s Note:

Channel News Asia
SINGAPORE: A coordinated approach to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in Southeast Asia is necessary, but it would be unprecedented and require transparency from countries involved, experts have said.

Editor’s Note: Beyond the EU, there are other economic blocs that want to make sure that all the countries involved can recover from their economic hits. Channel News Asia reports from Singapore on ASEAN. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Times of Israel
Health, finance ministries fighting over scope of steps; after weeks of delay, Israel finally passes 10,000 tests a day; Bennett calls to reopen much of economy on Sunday

Editor’s Note:

The Economist ($)
China calls it the biggest emergency-aid operation that it has mounted abroad since 1949, when the Communist Party seized power. Hardly a day goes by without news of Chinese medical supplies, from masks to ventilators, reaching grateful recipients; and of Chinese medical teams flying to foreign countries to help them fight covid-19. Just a few weeks ago China was by far the biggest victim of the new coronavirus, and its government was widely chided for covering up the initial outbreak. Now China is trying to paint a new picture—of itself as a model for taming the disease, and as the world’s saviour.

Editor’s Note:

($) = This source has a hard paywall. You will need to suscribe to view this article.