Coronavirus Briefing: Traveling, gardening and the politicizing of a life-saving drug

Today’s Coronavirus Briefing is 1,101 words and will take you five minutes to read.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

America emerged from Memorial Day weekend with pockets of renewed optimism but there is a long way to go before the country can truly say it has come through the other side of this unprecedented health pandemic. The same is true of the rest of the world. The start of summer in the U.S. is casting a different perspective on everyone’s attitudes to this crisis.

Today’s Coronavirus Briefing is 1,101 words and will take you five minutes to read. Click here to sign up for the newsletter.


Top news

  • Coronavirus deaths in the U.S. have surpassed the unwanted psychological six-figure 100,000 threshold.
  • Another 2.1 million unemployment claims were filed last week, pushing the total number past 40 million extra claims since coronavirus really kicked in — the equivalent of one out of every four American workers.

The Takeaway:

Things are not good, but there are pockets of optimism in different parts of the globe.


Gardens

With summer upon us, gardens are opening and flowers are blooming. And small businesses are doing everything they can to weather the storm.

  • Horticulture Week created a live table detailing key COVID-19-related policies, legislation and guidance documents published by the U.K.’s government departments, non-departmental public bodies, and professional horticultural bodies. The table's columns are sortable, and the documents downloadable, making it easy to find and file the sections applicable to you. 
  • Elsewhere in Horticulture Week, Matthew Appleby enjoys a Q&A with eBay’s garden category manager Peter Sandhar. Facts, tips and consumer behavior insights included.
  • Looking for tips for photographing the flowering results of your new green thumb? Herewith, seven tips from Daniel Johnson, a professional pet photographer and author of several animal and photography books.

The Takeaway:

Daniel Johnson’s suggestion to “find a fresh perspective” when photographing flowers is a good overall tip for today.


Gatherings

Are you dreaming about traveling? Cheering on your favorite team? Putting on real clothes and commuting to work?

  • The world’s “big five” advertising holding companies have set out their roadmaps for returning to the office. Omar Oakes reports for Campaign that we can expect the U.K.’s biggest agencies to reopen their doors between July and September. Crucially, all companies have indicated their policies are meant to be flexible and voluntary, which means a large number of employees won’t be returning to the workplace until next year.
  • The NBA confirmed it is in discussion with Walt Disney World in Orlando to host the remainder of the 2019-20 season and all signs are pointing towards basketball returning this summer. The big question now is what format makes sense for players and fans, both from a health, and financial perspective.
  • Premier League soccer in England is set to return on June 17 after a 100-day break. But, under Project Restart, games will be played behind closed doors.

The Takeaway:

Sports fans deprived of action and reduced to watching marble racing or chess are finally seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.  


Socializing

The rules of sociability have changed, but not disappeared.

  • Sarah McIntosh, director of people and organizational effectiveness at Mental Health First Aid England, writes about the importance of staying connected with colleagues and investing in your wellbeing for People Management.
  • Join PRWeek Wednesday mornings for Coffee Break — a new, weekly, 15-minute intermission in your day, when U.S. editorial director Steve Barrett chats with PR pros about their experiences during lockdown and how it has changed the industry.
  • First there were cocktail parties. Then there were roadies. Combine the two, and you have walktail parties. While it isn’t legal to saunter down sidewalks with open containers in most American cities, police have recently chosen to look the other way when it comes to issuing citations.
  • RSVP to opening night on Broadway. The New York Times’ first Offstage event will explore how theater artists are fostering their creative spirits and developing work during this pause in performances. Performers include Patti LuPone and the cast of Company, Mary-Louise Parker, playwright Jeremy O. Harris, and Jagged Little Pill’s Elizabeth Stanley.

The Takeaway:

There are many folks who would commit to spending every New Year’s Eve in Times Square if it meant getting to go out again.


Health 

Scientists discuss the new effects of coronavirus as we plan for a future with the disease as a constant part of the fabric of our life.

  • In McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, Danielle Brown looks at the potential shortcomings of replacing face-to-face interactions with remote services after social distancing measures are lifted. While telehealth and remote interventions have provided necessary health services to seniors at nursing homes due to the coronavirus pandemic, researchers are urging providers to be cautious before they consider making them permanent. 
  • Two weeks ago, we wrote about concerns over Gilead Science’s plans to profit from Remdesivir, its potentially effective COVID-19 treatment drug. Despite U.S. taxpayers providing tens of millions of dollars in research support, Gilead will have few constraints over setting a price for the drug in the coming weeks. “Gilead did not make this drug alone,” said Peter Maybarduk, director of the access to medicines program at Public Citizen. “The public helped make it, and the public has a stake.”
  • National Geographic takes a deep dive into why more cases of COVID-19 are emerging with unusual damage including hundreds of tiny blood clots, strokes in young people, and mysterious inflammatory responses like full-body rashes in children and red lesions, called “COVID toe.”

The Takeaway:

The business structures behind the development of life-saving drugs are complex and complicated, with many moving parts. Drug companies need to fund their enterprises but, especially in this case, the public deserves an affordable and quick solution to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.


Music to break out of a rut

These are the songs we need this week in our humble opinion.

Stay safe friends. See you next week.


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