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5 things to know for July 23: Coronavirus, economy, stimulus, China, MLB

Andrew Cuomo

This week was supposed to mark the opening of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Sigh. Hopefully we’ll be back to obsessing about gymnastics and volleyball in 2021. Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On With Your Day. Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On With Your Day. (You can also get “5 Things You Need to Know Today” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Coronavirus

The US Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Defense have reached a $1.95 billion agreement with the drug company Pfizer to produce at least 100 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. Depending on when one is made available, the doses could start shipping out as early as the last quarter of this year. However, there are still myriad questions about how a potential vaccine will be distributed. It can’t come too soon, though. The US just recorded its second straight day with more than a thousand Covid-19 deaths. South Korea has fallen into a recession, and Australia has announced its economy has been severely damaged by the pandemic. Oh, and if you’re in Ohio, it’s time to mask up: A statewide mask mandate goes into effect today.

2. Economy

Cities could lose $1.5 trillion in economic activity this year, and that’s not even a worst-case scenario. A new report from the US Conference of Mayors predicts a major drop in economic output even if the pandemic is brought under control in the coming months. The unemployment rate is falling and retail sales seem to be picking up again, but experts like Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon say even the best road to recovery will be a bumpy ride. Solomon predicts “very, very high unemployment for an extended period of time.” Margaret Keane, the CEO of Synchrony Financial, says she is concerned Americans won’t be able to keep up with their credit card payments if the $600 unemployment benefit lapses at the end of the month.

3. Stimulus

Help may be on the way for the country’s aforementioned economic woes. GOP senators and White House negotiators say they’ve reached a deal on the general aspects of a new stimulus package, which means we could see the party’s long-awaited full proposal soon. The plan will feature $105 billion for schools and additional billions in coronavirus response funds. GOP legislators are hopeful the White House will support the latter, which includes $25 billion in additional funding for Covid-19 testing and contact tracing, along with roughly $26 billion for therapeutics and vaccine development and distribution. If the next round of relief includes another stimulus check, that could be a lifesaver for millions of families who missed out on the first one. An estimated 12 million economically vulnerable Americans didn’t receive the first stimulus payment.

4. China

The tension between the US and China has reached a new front: consulates. The US has demanded that China shut down its consulate in Houston, an edict the State Department says is punishment for Chinese intellectual property theft and the country’s perceived aggressions against the US. Beijing has vowed to retaliate, potentially by shuttering one of the US’ numerous diplomatic missions within China. The FBI also announced it believes China is harboring a fugitive scientist accused of visa fraud at its San Francisco consulate. Some experts say it’s important for the US to crack down on China’s cyber and industrial espionage and human rights abuses, but others believe the escalation is part of the Trump administration’s strategy to boost the President’s profile before November’s election.

5. MLB

It’s finally Opening Day for Major League Baseball, and this season is going to look and feel different in almost every possible way. There will be no fans, no spitting, limited touching, and in addition to normal injured lists, teams will maintain lists of players quarantined or isolation because of Covid-19. Also, the Toronto Blue Jays are still looking for a place to play after their request to use their home stadium was denied by the Canadian government due to nationwide coronavirus restrictions. You can also expect more activism this season. Multiple players from teams like the San Francisco Giants and the Cincinnati Reds have already spoken out against racial injustice during preseason games by taking a knee during the national anthem. In Boston, the Red Sox put up a billboard over the Massachusetts Turnpike that reads, in Sox-style typeface, “Black Lives Matter.”


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Article Topic Follows: US & World

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