Breakfast Briefing: 5 things for PR pros to know on Wednesday morning

Sorrell’s 2020 vision; Xerox drops HP bid; Columbia surgeon emerges as pandemic’s inspiring communicator.

President Donald Trump's Tuesday evening press conference was, in a word, grim. Weeks after claiming COVID-19 was under control, Trump said the pandemic could result in up to 240,000 deaths in the U.S. even with restrictions enacted. The U.N.'s secretary-general said the virus is the world's worst crisis since World War II.

Former WPP boss Martin Sorrell also has a bleak outlook for the next two quarters. The S4 Capital leader told PRWeek U.K., "I think Q2, which starts today, will be terrible. [The third quarter] will be slightly better, but we'll see a sharp recovery in Q4; brands will let rip. This will be a V-shaped recession."

Despite a reported rebound in Chinese manufacturing in March, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is set to fall 700 points at the open this morning on the first day after the market's worst quarter since the global financial crisis of the last decade.

The coronavirus pandemic has also prompted Xerox to drop its $35 billion hostile takeover attempt of HP Inc. It's a win for HP CEO Enrique Lores, who just took over the technology company in November, according to Reuters.

One of the most inspiring voices to emerge during the pandemic is Dr. Craig Smith, whose March 20 call to arms to healthcare professionals went viral. Now the missives from the chair of Columbia University's department of surgery have gained an audience far beyond his own hospital or even medical professionals in general, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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