Your Evening Briefing

David Rovella
Your Evening Briefing

(Bloomberg) --

Some on Wall Street are bridling at stay-at-home orders when they would rather see employees in the office, pandemic notwithstanding. As New York City suffers a ghastly death toll and even after their Manhattan headquarters saw 16 people infected on one trading floor, JPMorgan managers have nevertheless been making plans to get workers back to their desks.

Bloomberg is mapping the pandemic globally and across America. For the latest news, sign up for our Covid-19 podcast and daily newsletter.

Here are today’s top stories

New York State, ground zero for America’s coronavirus outbreak, recorded 731 deaths in one 24-hour period, its highest daily loss of life yet. Infections, however, fell for a third straight day. There are 384,000 recorded cases and more than 12,000 dead from the coronavirus in the U.S. alone. Globally, there are 1.4 million cases and 81,000 dead.

Today’s Wisconsin primary is a key contest, one in which former Vice President Joe Biden hopes to deal a knockout blow to rival Senator Bernie Sanders. Democrats sought to delay the vote and extend absentee balloting, to both protect voters from Covid-19 and because some 12,000 ballots had yet to be received by voters. But the Republican-controlled state legislature, along with Republican-appointed majorities of the Wisconsin Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court, decided in-person voting couldn’t be postponed and that there would be no extensions for submitting absentee ballots. Voting rights experts said the changes effectively disenfranchised thousands of voters who didn’t want to risk contagion. At the few polls that were open Tuesday, voters who did show up waited in line for hours. There are at least 2,511 Covid-19 cases in Wisconsin, and 85 have people have died. Senator Sanders said that holding the election today “ may very well prove deadly.”

While the U.S. has arguably become one of the worst examples of how to stop the spread of the coronavirus, New Zealand is turning out to be one of the best. Several weeks after the pandemic struck America in earnest, some hospitals remain under siege and short of supplies. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren said in an interview that the White House is “playing politics” with medical supplies by sending more equipment and protective gear to Republican-leaning states, and less to hard-hit Democratic-leaning states like hers.

Trump adviser Peter Navarro, who has vigorously defended a malaria drug touted by the president as a Covid-19 treatment (despite a lack of conclusive medical evidence), warned Trump in January of the catastrophic potential of the outbreak. The New York Times also reported that the drug, hydroxychloroquine, is made by companies in which Trump and his allies have a financial stake.

Trump fired another inspector general, this one responsible for overseeing how $2 trillion in taxpayer dollars will be spent on rescuing the U.S. economy. Additionally, the Treasury is seeking another $250 billion for small businesses.

While much of the world is trying to slow greenhouse gas emissions, it turns out more methane was spewed into the atmosphere last year than at almost any other time in the past 20 years. 

What’s Joe Weisenthal thinking about? The Bloomberg news director says the so-called war bond proposal by a Trump adviser is the diametric opposite of what the U.S. needs to help pay for the massive surge in spending on fighting Covid-19. Not only would this be unnecessary, Joe says, but it would be harmful. War bonds, typically associated with World War I and World War II, weren’t just a way of funding the war effort, but also designed to encourage savings. Because the cost of war led to a massive surge in private-sector income, a rise in domestic spending would have been counterproductive. As much as possible, the government needed the industrial capacity of the nation going towards munitions for the war effort. Any increase in spending would lead to a competition for real resources between the end-consumer and the government, which needed factories to churn out goods to fight the war. Joe says this is the exact opposite of the current crisis: Private sector income is collapsing. The last thing the government should do is launch some big patriotic-themed effort aimed at getting people to spend less money on goods and services.

What you’ll need to know tomorrow

Navy secretary who fired, insulted aircraft carrier captain has quit. U.K.: Johnson still in the ICU and Covid-19 test kits don’t work. Who is Dominic Raab, Johnson’s stand-in while he’s sick? U.S. mortgage borrowers are beginning to skip payments. Billionaire who wrote off 2020 says the worst is yet to come. Good news for the Waltons: Walmart is making tons of money. A taste of winter returns to the U.S. next week.

What you’ll want to read tonight in Businessweek

By 2018, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom increasingly found himself having to satisfy the concerns of his parent company, Facebook, and its boss, Mark Zuckerberg. Under near-constant attack for, among other things, abusing private user data, allowing live broadcasts of murders and suicides and turning a blind eye to Russia’s use of his platform in an attempt to tilt the 2016 election, Zuckerberg was jealous of his wildly popular subsidiary. It looked too much like a rival.

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