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Your morning briefing of news, data, opinion pieces, videos, and other resources to help you through the Covid-19 pandemic

Today’s overview 

As of Tuesday, April 21st, in our editorial judgment, here are today’s three biggest issues going on vis-a-vis the pandemic:

    1. To re-open our economy, we need an organized program of random sampling to determine the true extent of the Covid-19 virus in the general population. Today, New York begins the country’s first such test.
    2. States are crying out to the federal government for swabs and reagents, without which they testing kits they’ve been provided are worthless.
    3. Small businesses are getting desperate for Congress to approve the second tranche of PPP loans, which will cover about two months’ of payroll and rent for affected businesses.

Those are the big three, but in addition

    1. Trump is again using this crisis as an excuse to push through his usual priorities — tax breaks for the wealthy, shutting off immigration, and winning the next election. Today, more evil moves on the immigration front.
    2. As governors and public health experts push for citizens to respect shelter-at-home guidelines, certain right-of-center elements are calling for a resistance — and President Trump is actually encouraging people, via Twitter, to rebel against his own guidelines!
    3. Casting about for a scapegoat, Trump has pulled the U.S.’s committed funding from the W.H.O. at the exact time they’re desperately trying to prevent the coronavirus from making it into Third World countries (where it could cause mass slaughter!).
    4. The White House task force lacks experience in and competence for managing a major public health crisis, as it is composed largely (Drs. Fauci and Brix aside) of second-rate syncophants.
    5. Food banks are getting increasingly stressed out — there’s way too much excess food on the farm level, but not enough money or volunteers to get it to the people who need it
    6. [Add ninth point here]

And, finally, the ultimate cause of many of our country’s problems is…

    1. We’ve elected a president who is unfit to lead us at this critical point in our history due to a condition — one far worse than, say, alcoholism or mere cognitive decline — called Malignant Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  This disorder makes him incapable of empathy and compassion, unconcerned with truth, hostile to expertise, and entirely focused in every decision on how it will affect him personally and/or how it will get him increased adulation from others. 

Story of the day

Vector in Chief (NY Review of Books)

On July 4, 1775, just his second day serving as commander-in-chief of the American revolutionary forces, George Washington issued strict orders to...

Statistics watch

For new, searchable and sortable tables of data from all countries with at least 6,000 Covid-19 cases to date all 50 U.S. states and, using  through Monday, April 20th, click the link in the table above (“Data by country and U.S. state”) or simply scroll to the bottom of this page.  (Image below is a just a screenshot for illustration purposes; full table is lower on the page.)

Top findings shown in the tables as the bottom of this page include: (1) In the U.S., cases and deaths grew 4% and 5% respectively yesterday, both up one percentage point from Sunday. (2) New York State’s cases and deaths grew 2% and 3% respectively yesterday, both down one percentage point from Sunday. (3) The percentage of the U.S. population that has been tested for Covid-19 is at 1.3%, which is at 18th place among major countries. (The leaders in Europe are Switzerland and Norway at 2.6%; Canada is at 1.4%.) (4) U.S. states with a double-digit % increase in cases yesterday were Iowa, Nebraska, Arkansas, and Connecticut; those with a double-digit % increase in deaths yesterday were North Dakota, Maryland, West Virginia, Connecticut, Nebraska, and Georgia.  (Data source:

Various data-tracking websites:

STAT’s Covid-19 Tracker

As the virus that causes Covid-19 spreads worldwide, this dashboard offers a snapshot of the crisis right now. Click on...

Reuters interactive U.S. map (by county)

To use this interactive map from Reuters, click

New cases yesterday by country and state Great data source supported by a worldwide collective. Click on...

IHME projections

"The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is an independent population health research center at UW Medicine, part of the University of...
Click to see more


By -- Here are some ways you could be of service to others during this shared...

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Sign up to receive the Coronavirus Watch newsletter to stay informed with digests delivered right to your inbox.

Latest news and opinions

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Journalism Watch

Newspapers, magazines, and websites around the world are offering insightful writing about our current pandemic. Here are some pieces you might have missed that we think you’ll like.  (Updated daily)

Vector in Chief (NY Review of Books)

On July 4, 1775, just his second day serving as commander-in-chief of the American revolutionary forces, George Washington issued strict orders to...

Former Labradoodle breeder was tapped to lead U.S. pandemic task force (Reuters)

On January 21, the day the first U.S. case of coronavirus was reported, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human...

David Wallace-Wells: We are probably only one-tenth of the way through this pandemic (New York)

We are, finally, beginning to see some real plans from people with the power to enact them. On...

Can survivors of the coronavirus help rescue the economy? (The New Yorker)

There is an ever-expanding group of people who have been infected by the coronavirus but are no longer symptomatic, if they ever were—the convalescents....

Don’t fall for the false trade-offs of COVID-19 policy (Chicago Booth Review)

Policy makers don’t have to choose between public health and economic well-being. The American economy—like those of...

The coronavirus likely came from China’s wet markets. They’re reopening anyway (Vox)

Should wet markets be banned? It’s more complicated than it seems. The consensus among scientists who specialize in...
Click to see more

Governor (and PM) briefings

Craving mature and responsible leadership from your government officials?  Here are some recent daily briefings from chief executives who are serious, educated, professional, knowledgeable, and compassionate.
Click to see more


How you can help others

Here are some ways you could be of service to others during this shared time of crisis: 

  • Sew cloth face masks to donate to your friends and neighbors.Chicagoan at home with sewing machine, making face masks for family and neighbors
  • Track down N95 face masks and deliver them to local hospitals.
  • Check in with neighbors who are living alone — even if you don’t know them well! — to see how they’re doing and if they need any help.
  • Organize a Teddy Bear Hunt (click link for details) for local children. 
  • Call or write your elected representatives in Congress and urge them to speed up stimulus payments to the most-needy. 
  • Order a take-out or delivery meal from one of your favorite local restaurants to help them stay in business.
  • Buy a gift card, for future use, from one of your favorite local shops.
  • Teach a senior citizen or a person suffering from loneliness how to use video chat (e.g., FaceTime, Alexa, Zoom, or Skype video).
  • If you have an RV (recreational vehicle), lend it to a medical professional who fears sleeping at home because he or she might expose their family to the virus.
  • Donate blood. The need is high, and blood donation centers are open throughout the country, practicing safe distancing and sanitized donation practices.

Also, see some excellent suggestions (including non-profits that need donations) from The Washington Post here. Have other suggestions? Please share them here!  (Reader suggestions so far have included teaching the non-tech-savvy how to order groceries online and how to pay bills online…)

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Pilates Studio City

Late-Night Watch

Much of the most insightful political commentary nowadays — plus some needed humor and entertainment — comes from our current generation of late-night talk show hosts. Catch up on your viewing here:
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John Oliver discusses how coronavirus is impacting the US workforce, from mass unemployment to the problems faced by essential workers.


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Dr. Sanjay Gupta (CNN)

"Join CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta for the latest news about the coronavirus. He'll make sense of the headlines, speak...

New York Times

Click here for the New York Times's morning news podcast The Daily, which is providing solid coverage of the coronavirus crisis


A daily news podcast about the coronavirus pandemic, covering all dimensions of the story from science to economics and politics as well...


Leana S. Wen is an emergency physician and visiting professor at George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. Previously, she...
The city had begun breathing easy, life once more pulsating in its streets. Museums and art galleries reopened, gyms welcomed back regulars, baseball and...


We’re creating a dedicated page of this website for each of these communities:

  • Grade school students
  • College age
  • Seniors (65-79)
  • Elderly (80+)
  • Industry: Health care
  • Industry: Restaurant
  • Industry: Theater / Broadway
  • International students/visitors
  • Small business owner
  • Parent with children at home
  • Pet owners
  • Temporarily unemployed

If you’d like to suggest resources we might include, please share them here.

Covid-19 homepages

Many of the world’s top newspaper, magazines, websites, and broadcasters have consolidated their coronavirus coverage on a single page of their website.  Visit any of those topic homepages by clicking on a logo above.

Collection of useful resources

Click to see more

Today’s featured resources

How you can help others

By -- Here are some ways you could be of service...

How 20 seconds of soap kills the coronavirus (Vox)

This is a great video from Vox on how soap (or, perhaps not quite as well, hand...

End-of-life planning during the coronavirus pandemic, in 8 steps (Vox)

How to make crucial financial and health care decisions for you and your loved ones.

Where to order your favorite pantry staples online (Bon Appétit)

Your local grocery store is out of flour. The internet isn’t. For...

COVID-19 symptoms chart (Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham)

Excellent diagnostic graphic: Do you have symptoms of a cold, an allergy, the flu, or COVID-19? ...

How to make an effective face mask at home (Business Insider)

It's possible to make your own face mask at home with cotton, cloth, and other common...

Ventilator vs. respirator, quarantine vs. isolation: COVID-19 pandemic terms, defined (Vox)

With the Covid-19 pandemic, there are so many new things we need to grow accustomed to. We’re physically...

Symptoms of COVID-19 vs. cold and flu

Note that this graphic does not include the newly-identified possible COVID-19 symptom of loss of sense of...

Food safety and Coronavirus: A Comprehensive Guide

See this excellent piece here:

Animation that tells the whole story about the value of social distancing

See the animated version on here:
Click to see more

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How U.S. states and countries rank on a per-capita basis

The following table shows U.S. states and territories shown in descending order of total diagnosed cases cases to date, with data through Monday (4/20). 

Note that although California has the nation’s 5th-highest number of cases, that is mainly due to the fact that it has a huge population (39.1 million residents).  On a population-adjusted basis, it ranks well below the national average in both cases and deaths per million residents (#34 and #29, respectively). (Similarly, Louisiana has a very high number of cases and deaths on a population-adjusted basis.)

This chart is now sortable –– just click a column header once or twice to sort the table in ascending or descending order by that column.  It is also searchable — just use the search field at the top right corner of the table. (Data source 

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One of the best ways you can support the small businesses in your local community is to order a take-out or delivery meal from one of your favorite local restaurants.

Pop. in millions ("M")% of pop. testedStateCASES to dateNEW cases just addedCases per 1M pop.Cases per 1M rankDEATHS to dateNEW deaths just addedDeaths per 1M pop.Deaths per 1M rankCASES one-day pctg. increaseDEATHS one-day pctg. increase
331.01.65%TOTAL (or avg.)987,16026,5092,98255,4131,1571673%2%
19.64.10%New York293,9915,67814,985#122,2753671,135#12%2%
8.92.51%New Jersey109,0383,51512,277#25,93875669#23%1%
10.21.06%North Carolina8,994241886#423252032#383%7%
1.15.05%Rhode Island7,4393107,040#522611214#84%5%
5.01.02%South Carolina5,4902371,108#35174835#365%5%
0.72.64%District Of Columbia3,8411425,611#717813260#74%8%
2.12.71%New Mexico2,726661,303#3099647#252%6%
0.91.80%South Dakota2,212652,559#1311113#473%10%
1.31.32%New Hampshire1,864771,387#2560045#294%0%
1.82.14%West Virginia1,04419571#4734119#452%3%
0.82.72%North Dakota867641,153#3217123#428%6%
3.40.34%Puerto Rico1,37164405#5284125#415%1%

How countries rank 

This table of world countries, with data through Monday (4/20), is sorted in descending order of Covid-19 cases identified to date.   Note that while the U.S. ranks #1 in total cases, it only ranks #6 in terms of total cases per million population.  (Conclusion: It isn’t fair to say, as some have been saying, that the U.S. has “the world’s worst outbreak” of Covid-19 — at least not on a population-adjusted basis. That said, it moved up from 7th place to 6th place yesterday)

Also note that in terms of the number of tests that have been conducted to date, as a percentage of the population the U.S. ranks behind several other countries, with only 1.2% of its population having been tested so far. Note that the data columns are sortable — just click once or twice in the header at the top of the column to sort the table by that column in ascending or descending order. 

Data source:  Countries included in this table are all countries with at least 6,000 reported Covid-19 cases.

Caption field test
Pop. in millions ("M")% of pop. testedCountryCASES to dateNEW cases just addedCases per 1M pop.Cases per 1M rankDEATHS to dateNEW deaths just addedDeaths per 1M pop.Deaths per 1M rankCASES one-day pctg. increaseDEATHS one-day pctg. increase
34.80.57%Saudi Arabia17,5221,223503#3213934#378%2%
51.31.17%S. Korea10,72810209#3724225#330%1%
10.80.21%Dominican Republic6,135209566#30278526#214%2%