5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Single-day death toll spikes in U.S., putting total beyond 9/11 fatalities

  • U.S. stocks log worst quarter since the financial crisis

  • Fauci: 'Glimmers' of social distancing 'dampening' coronavirus spread

  • Whole Foods employees strike nationwide over coronavirus concerns

  • Researchers record 1st-ever heat wave in East Antarctica

The U.S. death toll in the COVID-19 pandemic reached 3,720 on Tuesday, surpassing the number of deaths that resulted from the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. There are more than 184,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus across the country. Tuesday brought another grim milestone — more than 700 deaths in one day, highly concentrated in New York, where there were 332 deaths. The total death count now exceeds the number of deaths that have occurred in China, where the global pandemic initially broke out. There are more than 800,000 confirmed cases worldwide. Top health officials have warned that around 200,000 people could die in the U.S. as the virus continues to spread.

Source: USA Today, The Washington Post

The major U.S. indexes weren't as volatile as they've been recently by the time markets closed Tuesday, but stocks still capped off their worst quarter since the 2008 financial crisis as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The S&P 500 finished the quarter down 20 percent, its largest decline since 2008, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 23 percent. The downturn was global in scope — Stoxx Europe 600 had its biggest quarterly drop since 2002, and Japan's Nikkei Stock Average fell to 2008 levels, as well. Analysts are hoping the long-term consequences more closely resemble the crash of 1987, which allowed for a quicker recovery. Shawn Snyder, the head of investment strategy at Citi Personal Wealth Management, said "we're really in unprecedented territory."

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious disease doctor leading the coronavirus response said on Tuesday that while COVID-19 case numbers are still expanding every day, "we're starting to see glimmers" of social distancing having its intended "dampening effect." "You're starting to see that the daily increases are not in that steep incline, they're starting to be able to possibly flatten out," Fauci said of case numbers across the country. But he was cautious and showed no sign he would recommend lifting stay-at-home orders. Fauci also acknowledged America's shortage of medical supplies, particularly protective masks. While there aren't enough masks to go around right now, once they are in better supply, he said the White House may consider advising general use for Americans in daily life.

Source: CNN

Whole Foods employees planned a mass "sickout" on Tuesday to demand protection amid the coronavirus pandemic. They're seeking paid leave for all workers who call out sick or are quarantining during the pandemic, free COVID-19 testing for all employees, and hazard pay that doubles the hourly wage. Grocery store employees have been deemed essential throughout the pandemic, putting them at increased risk of catching the virus. Whole Foods, owned by Amazon, responded to news of the "sickout" by offering a temporary pay increase of $2 an hour for every worker and two weeks of paid leave for those who test positive for COVID-19, "which isn't enough," said an anonymous organizer. Instacart workers, General Electric workers, and employees at an Amazon warehouse also staged coronavirus-related walkouts on Monday.

Source: Vice News

East Antarctica — an area that previously seemed to be spared from climate warming — experienced its first recorded heat wave in January, according to newly published research. The heat wave was recorded at the Casey Research Station between Jan. 23 and 26, marking the area's highest temperature ever at 48.6 degrees Fahrenheit, while minimum temperatures stayed above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, Denman Glacier — a large glacier in East Antarctica — appears to be rapidly retreating. Its position above the world's deepest known canyon may be causing it to melt faster than it can recover. As the glacier retreats, warm water fills the canyon, which could cause a feedback loop that returns all of the glacier's ice to the ocean, leading to about 5 feet of global sea level rise.

Source: Live Science
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