Your Evening Briefing
America has more than 100,000 coronavirus cases, but it’s unclear what path the mortality rate will take in the coming weeks. Italy reported its highest number of deaths in one day, with 969 lost over a 24-hour period. Spain continues to suffer a huge daily toll as well. While Italy’s infection rate is showing signs of flattening, the U.S. numbers continue apace. New York makes up almost half of American infections.
Here are today’s top stories
Trump refused desperate requests that he use the Defense Production Act to make hospital ventilators, saying the private sector would step up. GM did, but was apparently slowed by White House inaction. On Friday, Trump sought to blame GM, though the company said it was building them at cost and without a federal contract. Then Trump invoked the DPA, telling GM to do what it was already doing. It’s unclear what happened, but one Democrat praised Trump anyway. “We were suggesting to do that over a month ago,” said Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden. “But the point is, he’s done it, and I congratulate him for it.”
Just as a hot job market was pulling in struggling Americans, the pandemic turned it ice cold, creating barriers to work that may persist after the outbreak recedes.
The Trump administration recently refused to make an exception for a key component of hand sanitizer dispensers that is subject to a 25% tariff, part of Trump’s trade war with China. At the same time, it exempted non-Covid-19 related products, including Apple watches.
Pounded by a price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia, as well as the collapse of demand due to the pandemic, the U.S. oil industry is showing signs of implosion. In one corner, crude prices turned negative—as in, producers are paying consumers to take their oil.
While some cities have ceased recycling during the pandemic, the Trump administration went one further, citing the crisis as justification for a broad relaxation of U.S. pollution regulation. A former EPA official said it’s “essentially a nationwide waiver of environmental rules.”
What’s Luke Kawa thinking about? The Bloomberg cross-asset reporter is mulling the U.S. bailout legislation. He says the bond market doesn’t think its big enough to move the dial for growth and inflation. More will be needed, Luke says, as governors warn that the package doesn’t meet their financial needs, and planned austerity measures are already piling up.
What you’ll need to know tomorrow
- China factories are restarting, but European orders are vanishing.
- Truckloads of urns raise questions about China’s death toll.
- The airlines most in danger of collapsing because of Covid-19.
- Watching pollution over an idled Europe dissipate from space.
- Pakistan intercedes to stop the struggling rupee from plunging.
- Bloomberg Opinion: Give social media a break this weekend.
- Businessweek: Take a submarine to the deepest part of the sea.
What you’ll want to read in Bloomberg Pursuits
As American shoppers struggle with buying food in crowded, poorly stocked supermarkets, and local farmers scrape to replace revenue from now-shuttered restaurants, a symbiotic relationship is developing at the local farmers’ market. Growers are making much needed money and consumers can breathe easier, and further apart, as they buy their groceries in the age of pandemic.
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