This week has revealed many major decisions and advancements regarding COVID-19, while also illuminating aspects of both human kindness and utter disregard for health amidst tightening social distancing regulations worldwide. Here are some highlights from March 23 to March 27.
Monday, March 23, 2020
After a sunny weekend in Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser executed her plan to close down major pedestrian passageways and roads leading to the Tidal Basin, a popular, monument-clad spot to view the cherry blossoms. The decision was made as a response to crowds flocking to see the blooms, per tradition, while ignoring authorities’ urges to stay home this year.
Taking advantage of increased demand for products ranging from household staple Lysol to canned soup, sellers on Amazon have started to gauge prices exponentially. Amazon suspended nearly 4,000 merchant accounts in the United States on account of this activity. There is still coronavirus-related scarcity in the marketplace, allowing for fraudulent commerce to take place.
Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, announced that postponing the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, set to take begin on July 24th, is a possibility. On March 24, the decision was formally carried out by the prime minister and International Olympics Committee.
People continued displaying ingenuity amidst moments of uncertainty. “Communal singing,” which involves standing on your balcony and sharing or listening to a tune– vocal or instrumental– has grown popular in cities from Madrid to Chicago, with classics like “Livin’ on a Prayer” or Jackson 5’s “ABC” lifting spirits.
Tuesday, March 24, 2020.
India announced a lockdown, set in place for 21 days. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that if India does not “handle these 21 days well, then [the] country… will go backwards by 21 years” Modi’s televised address to the nation prompted frantic flocks of people to crowd stores in search of supplies.
During his Tuesday briefing, President Trump confirmed that he still wants “the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter,” which includes opening borders, reopening the economy, and getting citizens back to work.
White House officials have also informed those who have recently left New York City that they should self-quarantine for 14 days. The CDC has backed up the decision in an online statement, as New York City’s confirmed cases have steadily risen, representing almost half of all cases in the U.S.
Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
The White House and Senate finally agreed on a $2 trillion stimulus deal after days of bipartisan tensions. The package became one of the most costly and far-reaching measures to be taken in Congressional history. According to CNN, “key elements of the proposal are $250 billion set aside for direct payments to individuals and families, $350 billion in small business loans, $250 billion in unemployment insurance benefits and $500 billion in loans for distressed companies.” The U.S. House of Representatives approved the bill on Thursday.
Prince Charles of Wales tested positive for the virus and took the subsequent decision of self-isolation in Scotland, alongside the Duchess of Cornwall. According to a spokesman, he “otherwise remains in good health.”
Thursday, March 26, 2020.
Thursday ushered in the highest number of unemployment claims in the United States (3.3 million) since the Department of Labor started filing them.
For people returning to Vietnam by plane, Vietnam issued orders to quarantine in camps if they are asymptomatic. Symptomatic individuals are taken to hospitals after screening. On Thursday, Vietnam had no confirmed deaths and only 148 infections, perhaps because of stricter measures than neighboring countries.
Italy’s day-to-day case rise is starting to slow down, but overall cases are still increasing. Experts say the country is “still at risk of the virus resuming its extraordinary, deadly trajectory,” according to The Washington Post.
To end on a high note, a New Jersey family organized “Club Quarantine” in their garage for a son’s 21st birthday, in lieu of going to an actual bar or club. The celebration, documented via TikTok, went viral and led many people to praise the family for its creativity.
Friday, March 27, 2020.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tested positive for the virus. He wrote on Twitter that he is self-isolating but “will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference.”
A historic coronavirus trial has been set in motion: the World Health Organization has enrolled patients from Norway and Spain to test four new drugs.
Italy reported 919 deaths in a single day, the largest single-day toll reported by any country thus far.
On Friday, President Trump also invoked the Defense Production Act, a federal law originally enacted in 1950 at the start of the Korean War. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the act is “the primary source of Presidential authorities to expedite and expand the supply of resources from the U.S. industrial base to support military, energy, space, and homeland security programs.” Trump invoked the act to get General Motors, a major vehicle manufacturer, to produce more ventilators for the public.
Because of face mask shortages, many people are turning to their sewing talents to offer more. Companies and individuals alike are pitching in, including some resourceful youngsters like Northern Virginia resident Skylar Raiyn Johnson. A 12-year-old fashion designer, Johnson has already made 200 masks (and counting), even posting on Instagram Live to teach others how to duplicate the efforts.
Featured image via Unsplash