By Shivam Shah, Yihan (Bradley) Tian
Today, Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, has addressed the coronavirus and the spreading pandemic in New York. Throughout this situation, he has been the center of the debate, often challenging the legal soundness of President Trump’s restrictions. However, Governor Cuomo’s evolving perspective is manifested through his policies.
In his latest briefings, Governor Cuomo stated that during this pandemic, many families are put at immense health risks due to their family members fighting on the front lines. Currently, many states have not issued any help or support - except for a few private organizations and initiatives - to help these families. Governor Cuomo’s recent issuance of full death benefits to susceptible families represents a significant step in acknowledging and supporting these front-line heroes.
In addition, Governor Cuomo also stated that as the situation has not improved, gatherings are “inherently dangerous in the context of the pandemic.” This emphasis on caution and insurance as a whole indicates that he wishes not for the immediate implementation of progressive reopening policies, but rather policies that protect the residents of New York and appreciate those who fight on the front lines.
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By Eric Liu
Yesterday, NASA and SpaceX announced on social-media that SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon 2 manned spacecraft have passed their final flight inspection, ready to send two astronauts - Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken - to the International Space Station.
If the launch plan is successfully completed, the space exploration field will enter the era of commercialization for the first time in history. SpaceX currently plans to effectively implement space travel by 2021.
Today, the two astronauts entered the spacecraft at around 1:50 pm EST despite the tropical storm of South Carolina that could potentially distract the flight. President Trump also flew to Florida in Air Force One to watch the historic launch.
Fueling process of Falcon 9 was initiated at around 4:00 pm EST. However, at 4:16, the SpaceX launch director announced that the launch of Crew Dragon will be postponed due to weather concerns.
With the latest update, the launch is rescheduled to Saturday, May 30th.
Source: New York Post, CNBC
By Shivam Shah
During this pandemic, many businesses have been hit hard. From the restaurant industry to the retail industry, this pandemic has had a far-reaching impact on the economy; businesses are stalling, and some have to shut down or file for bankruptcy - due to the lack of customers from these governmental restrictions.
One such company, Hertz, sets the precedent of the COVID-19’s far-reaching impact. After this crisis, it will be the first company to seek Chapter 11 Protection, otherwise meaning that it will file for bankruptcy. Due to the restrictions on ground travel, Hertz is not able to rent out its vehicles sufficiently, meaning that business remains stagnant as the weeks of shutdown stretch into months. In economics, this pandemic has hit small businesses hard, but this will be the first of the top-profile companies to go down in history as being significantly affected by this crisis. Overall, this reiterates the impact that the crisis has had on a multitude of industries, and we will have to see how it may continue to affect the rest of the rental and transportation industry - from Hertz to Delta.
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By Andrew Shi
Raised after the 2008 financial crash, the idea of deploying EU bonds has recently received attention as European states find themselves bordering on financial collapse. Covid-19 has sunken many of the largest economies of the world, and Europe predicted “recession of historic proportions” is expected for the ears to come. In addition to the upcoming financial hardships, greater federal spending has been deemed necessary with investment in both unemployment insurance and healthcare costs rising. The 19 nations within the EU are all expected to face contractions of 7% or higher over the following years, with Italy and Spain, being the hardest hit, likely to experience far larger.
As a response, a policy alternative to traditional bonds would be EU-wide bonds. This would group less safe southern European bonds with those of stronger northern European economies. For southern states, the hope would be that access to EU bonds would bring in necessary capital at a critical moment for lower interest rates than if they were to issue bonds themselves. The main opposition however, has been northern economies, as Germany and France would shoulder much of the risk for default. Recently though, Merkel has backed proposals to issue such bonds, and other states are likely to follow suit. We may be seeing a future where EU bonds are a critical part of the European financial landscape.
By Eric Liu
The cases of the coronavirus surpassed 5 million today. Latin America overtook the United States and Europe in the past week to report the largest portion of new daily cases globally.
The number signifies the start of a new phase in this global pandemic. The virus initially peaked in China in February and rapidly moved across to Europe and North America with large-scale outbreaks. Now the trend is shifting again to South America and Africa.
“Latin America accounted for around a third of the 91,000 cases reported earlier this week. Europe and the United States each accounted for just over 20%.
A large number of those new cases came from Brazil, which recently surpassed Germany, France, and the United Kingdom to become the third-largest outbreak in the world, behind the United States and Russia.”
Source: Reuters, 1Point3Acres
By Luca Adamo
On Sunday, President Donald Trump sent a letter to Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Director-General of the World Health Organization.
In the letter, Trump details reasons for the April 14th funding cut, as well as findings from the following “investigation… of the organization's failed response to the COVID-19 outbreak”. The letter states that the investigation “Confirmed many of the serious concerns [President Trump] raised last month and identified others that the World Health Organization should have addressed, especially the World Health Organization’s alarming lack of independence from the People's Republic of China.
In paraphrase, the letter asserts that the following is now known:
President Trump expresses that the World Health Organization:
President Trump then compared Dr. Tedros’ COVID-19 response to previous Director-General Dr. Haram Brundtland’s response to SARS in 2003, stating “many lives could have been saved if you followed Dr. Brundtland’s example.” Trump then The letter ended with “I can not allow American taxpayer dollars to continue to finance an organization that, in its present state, is so clearly not serving America’s interest”.
By Shivam Shah
As Coronavirus sweeps across the world, many countries have imposed restrictions on their population. In India, there is a stay at home order restricting residents. In Canada, on April 22, the 30-day travel restriction was extended for another month. However, in the United States, there is a strife between the federal government and the state government on the restrictions that are being created at the national level. They have to achieve the perfect balance for businesses and other groups “to reopen and protecting the public the spread of the novel coronavirus.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many states are starting to reopen many public areas such as beaches and parks while others remain on lockdown. An example of one of these states that remained on lockdown, North Carolina, tried to limit social gatherings; however, Judge James C Dever III decreed that the ban violated the 1st amendment in that it limits religious gatherings. So, religious groups in NC can assemble for the next 14 days. This debate is being carried over in other states as well which is a sign that needs to be monitored further in the future as we observe how other states react to this ruling.
By Yihan (Bradley) Tian
This past week has been one full of conflicting elements as reflected in the unstable market trends. As of Friday, May 15th, all three major indices have displayed a slight rebound from declines earlier this week. Market closed with S&P 500 up 0.39%, NASDAQ 0.79%, and the Dow 0.25%.
A focal point during this past week has been the continuing China-US trade tension. Earlier this week, President Trump mentioned a likely blockade of semiconductor shipments to Huawei Technologies. China later responded with inclinations toward putting US firms on an ‘unreliable entity list’.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell rejected the possibility of deploying negative interest rates as a measure to further quantitative easing earlier this week. Regarding the economic outlook, Powell expresses uncertainty and predictions for a difficult, slow recovery. “The passage of time can turn liquidity problems into solvency problems,” Powell stated.
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) surged as much as 13.97% this week, indicating increasing fearful sentiments towards May & June futures. On Friday it closed with a 2.21% decline.
Investors are now shifting their attention from defensive sectors such as energy and financials to the technology and healthcare sectors, which has exhibited considerable resistance against the overall downturn this week. Specifically, optimistic predictions have been directed towards teleworking technologies and pharmaceuticals as they are significantly influencing the future as reopening proceeds.
Source: Reuters, MarketWatch, Investing.com, Morningstar, University of Michigan, CBOE
By Andrew Shi
Sweeping across much of the world, Covid-19 has decimated many of the strongest economies of the world, halting trade and commerce in many of the hubs of trade around the world. For states with both less developed healthcare systems, as well as a developing economy, they find themselves particularly vulnerable to shocks within global markets.
As economies depend on both foreign investments and exports of raw materials, this makes them specifically vulnerable to shifts within foreign economies. Crashes in the price of oil and dips in consumer good purchases have resulted in manufacturers importing less of minerals for production, hampering extraction, and instituting a spike in layoffs. IMF predicted 1.6 percent GDP growth for the region for 2020.
Moreover, the undersupplied hospitals and underfunded medical services have resulted in a spike in cases especially within already impoverished communities and underserved communities. The extent of the damage will be determined by the measures taken by states in the following weeks.
Source: PBS, Foreign Policy
By Eric Liu
In the documents submitted to the US Securities Regulatory Commission last week, Uber said it will lay off 3,700 people, accounting for 14% of the total number of employees of 26,900. The layoffs are concentrated in the departments of customer support and recruitment.
On Friday, at least 3,500 Uber employees learned that they were being laid off in a three-minute Zoom call last week. Uber notified them that it will be their last day working there.
Lyft just had a significant layoff of 982 employees recently two weeks ago. However, in the past two days, there were employees who were laid off and returned to work.
It is said that Lyft's previous layoffs are determined by the VP. VP’s position is too high to know the details of what employees actually do and how they support the company ’s key business. As a result, after the layoffs, the company found that some of their crucial businesses were not maintained because of the empty positions, and had to recruit a few employees back.
Airbnb laid off 1900 employees last week accounting for about one-fourth of 7,500 employees. The influence will affect all major departments of the company, more or less. Airbnb CEO Chesky indicated in his speech that the LUX (luxury high-end tourism) department will be a big part of this round of lay off.
Source: CNBC, DailyMail, Techcrunch
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