The Open Question – UPDATE #56

deepnews logo

Deepnews Digest #56

The Open Question – UPDATE

Editor: Christopher Brennan
This week has seen plans to reopen parts of life like school or hardware stores become a reality in some countries, with others looking, cautiously or not so cautiously, at when it could be their turn. This Digest is particularly global, with articles from Bengal to Berlin and from Greece to Georgia. Found with the Deepnews Scoring Model, they explore the tense moment many around the world are facing.


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
The Conversation
LONDON: The world is watching closely following the lifting of the public lockdown in the city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus pandemic started.

Editor’s Note:

Associated Press
BATON ROUGE, La. — Governors in 17 states have committed to regional coordination to reopen their economies during the coronavirus outbreak — but none are in the South, where leaders are going it alone, just as they did in imposing restrictions.

Editor’s Note:

The Hindu
It should be part of a broad well planned comprehensive strategy: virologist

Editor’s Note:

South China Morning Post
Coronavirus: with infection rate slowing to a crawl, is it time for Hongkongers to relax a bit? Here’s what you need to know

Editor’s Note: Hong Kong was one of the earliest places to go on some form of lockdown, and has continually been looked to as an example of what happens as time progresses. Here health reporter Elizabeth Cheung looks at the current moment in the city. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Minnesota Public Radio
Last week, as cars and people filled the street in front of the governor’s residence, demanding an end to restrictions meant to fight COVID-19, a live video of the protest appeared on the group Minnesota Gun Rights’ Facebook page. Amid the honking cars and the chants of “USA, USA,” the group’s leader, Ben Dorr, took credit for helping draw supporters to the rally.

Editor’s Note:

The Conversation
Italy, Spain and Austria are taking the first tentative steps out of lockdown, with Germany soon to follow. In Italy, forestry workers and IT manufacturers are back at work, while Austria is re-opening parks and small shops. The British government, however, remains tight-lipped about its exit strategy – which is surely just weeks away.

Editor’s Note:

The Guardian
Australia has a road out of its coronavirus lockdown, long and winding though it may be.

Editor’s Note:

CapX
Last week the Office for Budget Responsibility showed us heading for the largest fiscal shock since the Second World War. At the Centre for Policy Studies we dug a little deeper into the OBR’s numbers and the latest modelling from others to assess the scale of the repair job that will be needed. What we found was chastening.

Editor’s Note:

NY Times
LOGUMKLOSTER, Denmark — The cluster of red brick buildings in a remote part of southern Denmark looks unremarkable from the outside, but this week, its classrooms housed some of the rarest people during the pandemic in today’s Europe.

Editor’s Note:

STAT News
A widely followed model for projecting Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. is producing results that have been bouncing up and down like an unpredictable fever, and now epidemiologists are criticizing it as flawed and misleading for both the public and policy makers. In particular, they warn against relying on it as the basis for government decision-making, including on “re-opening America.”

Editor’s Note: Over the last few months, seemingly anyone who can write a couple of lines of Python has tried their hand at the modelling of disease spread—be they a hobby coder or physicist. Their results have come worryingly close to informing policy. This article explains with great nuance why that’s happened, how’s its seen and why it can be a problem. – Girish Gupta, CTO

Washington Post
The rush by countries to shut down schools was one of the first instinctive global responses as covid-19 began scything through populations. Now, as some nations cautiously ease lockdowns, there is far less consensus on how and when to reopen classes.

Editor’s Note:

The Guardian
The Czech Republic is to take the first steps towards easing its coronavirus restrictions on Monday, after officials declared the Covid-19 outbreak there had been brought under control.

Editor’s Note:

Austin American Statesman
Even as Gov. Greg Abbott eases restrictions meant to stymie the spread of the coronovirus, Texas is falling far short of what medical experts say are necessary benchmarks for testing, an American-Statesman analysis found.

Editor’s Note: Something that comes up time and time again in this Digest is testing, which has a crucial role in being able to reopen. Here the team at the American-Statesman looks into the situation in the Lone Star State and how it may affect its future. Warning: because of data privacy reasons readers in the EU may be unable to access this article. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Financial Times ($)
Amalia, a high school teacher, was looking forward to Orthodox Easter this weekend as a time to relax with her Athenian family after a challenging period of holding lessons online during Greece’s pandemic lockdown.

Editor’s Note:

The Lancet
Study suggests testing and contact tracing and population behavioral changes — measures which have far less disruptive social and economic impact than total lockdown — can meaningfully control COVID-19

Editor’s Note:

NY Times
ROME — The coronavirus was already a disaster for Meorina Mazza. In March, it sickened her brother, killed her cousin and prompted officials in Italy’s southern region of Calabria to quarantine her seaside town of San Lucido. But the lockdown also cut her off from her off-the-books shifts as a kitchen hand and made it harder to apply for welfare. Now she is relying on donations of flour to feed her daughters, but still has no money to pay her electricity bills.

Editor’s Note:

OCCRP
The Danish government announced on Saturday that none of its US$58 billion in coronavirus aid would be issued to companies that register in tax havens, pay out dividends, or buy back their own shares.

Editor’s Note:

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
The coronavirus pandemic poses an enormous challenge for the domestic and global economy. Despite the measures taken by the Austrian government, the consequences of the lockdown and partial suspension of global trade flows will be felt for a long time.

Editor’s Note: Even after reopening, there is the question of when we reach “normal” again, albeit a new normal. Here the IIASA, based in Vienna, explains its models of what may happen. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

The Wire
New Delhi: The West Bengal government has said “it is not a fact” that there was no cooperation with the Central team deputed to assess the COVID-19 situation in the state and gave an assurance that it will abide by all Union government orders on lockdown.

Editor’s Note:

Fox News
EXCLUSIVE: Missouri became the first state to file a lawsuit against China on Tuesday, accusing the country of being responsible for the severity of the coronavirus pandemic and seeking damages to make up for “the enormous loss of life, human suffering, and economic turmoil” resulting from the disease.

Editor’s Note:

Washington Post
Germany and South Korea – which have both been credited as role models in handling the outbreak in their respective regions – are slowly reversing some of the restrictions put in place weeks ago, embarking on a cautious and long path back to normality that could serve as a template for other nations.

Editor’s Note:

WSJ ($)
Amid efforts to expand coronavirus testing, laboratory operators and state health officials are navigating a thicket of supply shortages, widespread test backlogs, unexpected snafus and unreliable results, often with no referee—prolonging the national crisis.

Editor’s Note:

Vox
Right now, if you fly to Hong Kong, you’ll have to turn over your saliva. That is, if you’re already a resident. If not, you can’t come in at all.

Editor’s Note: As mentioned on the article from the SCMP above, Asian countries are operating on a different time scale from other continents. Here Jen Kirby, looking east from the US, digs into the idea of a “second wave.” – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Guardian
A look at where key figures stand, from a cautious PM to a chancellor eager to lift controls.

Editor’s Note:

CNN
Georgia’s fervently pro-Trump governor’s early breakout from a coronavirus shutdown is stirring fears of a deadly new wave of infections and warnings that he is derelict in his duty and acting on political motives.

Editor’s Note:

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