World Suffers Under the Grip of a Deadly Pandemic: Weekend Reads

Kathleen Hunter
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World Suffers Under the Grip of a Deadly Pandemic: Weekend Reads

(Bloomberg) --

With the U.S. now the clear epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak and poised to enter its most challenging week yet, President Donald Trump’s administration still faces charges from state and local officials that it’s not doing enough to ensure lives aren’t lost unnecessarily.

The virus is still ravaging Europe, and talks are under way over how to help the continent’s most vulnerable economies recover.

And in China, preparations are being made to re-open Wuhan, the original site of the outbreak, even as a second wave of infections threatens Asian urban centers. 

Dig deeper into these topics — and check out some others you may have missed — with the latest edition of Weekend Reads.

Blue-Collar America Braces for Another Devastating RecessionManufacturing takes more of a beating in downturns than other sectors — and it’s still scarred from the last one. Shawn Donnan, Joe Deaux, Reade Pickert and Keith Naughton take a look at the coming storm.

Stay-at-Home Orders Halt State Moves on Sports Bets, Taxing RichA Michigan bid to raise taxes on the rich. An amendment allowing sports betting at Indian casinos in California. An effort to bring light to how political ads are funded in Arizona. Across the U.S., stay-at-home decrees are blocking the most essential part of efforts to get these proposals on ballots in November: gathering signatures in person. Jeffrey Taylor takes a closer look. 

Good Luck Policing the Massive Virus Relief Fund, TARP Vets SayThe massive $2 trillion U.S stimulus package includes a $500 billion Treasury Department fund to bail out airlines and other large corporations harmed by the pandemic. As Joshua Green explains, the job of policing it won’t be easy.

As Rest of World Locks Down, China Tries to Get Shoppers OutIn a bid to jump-start consumption, authorities are distributing vouchers and offering subsidies on larger purchases such as cars, while state media plays up stories of officials venturing out to enjoy local delights like bubble tea and pork buns. But as Dandan Li reports, many Chinese are hesitant to return to their old lives.

Johnson’s Virus Fight Banks on British Love for Health ServiceSchoolkids in lockdown put home-made signs in their bedroom windows thanking brave doctors and nurses. Families stepped outside their front doors for a national round of applause. Public buildings lit up blue. Olivia Konotey-Ahulu, James Paton, Suzi Ring and Andrew Atkinson break down how this week’s events demonstrate why few leaders have more to gain or lose from the ability of doctors to cope than the U.K. prime minister.

The World’s Hotspots Risk Festering With All Eyes on the VirusWith attention right now is focused on fighting the pandemic, that doesn’t mean the world’s conflict spots have gone silent. Rosalind Mathieson, Samer Al-Atrush, Donna Abu-Nasr and Philip Heijmans take a closer look. 

Poorest Caracas Neighborhoods Flout Maduro’s Virus LockdownMuch of Caracas is now deserted with hardly anyone in the streets apart from armed officials enforcing the local lockdown. Not so in the Venezuelan capital’s slums, where stocking up and hunkering down isn’t an option, Alex Vasquez reports. 

Putin’s Economic Isolation Suddenly Doesn’t Look So BadVladimir Putin has the U.S. Treasury Department to thank for helping his country prepare for a global economic crisis. A steady deluge of economic sanctions has pushed Russia’s authorities to boost reserves and strip back debt over the past five years. Now that fortress approach is starting to look like good foresight, Natasha Doff and Anya Andrianova report. 

Angela Merkel Can’t Isolate Herself From Pressure to Save EuropeAcross the River Spree from the quiet of Berlin’s Museum Island, Angela Merkel spent most of the week a in self-imposed quarantine. The galleries at the UNESCO World Heritage Site now boast more World War II bullet holes than visitors, and, as Alan Crawford writes, history may judge Germany’s enduring leader on what she does to help Europe’s weaker countries through the pandemic. Tell us how we’re doing or what we’re missing at balancepower@bloomberg.net.

And finally … In January, Shelly Banjo’s 16-month-old son uttered one of his first words: “mask.” Banjo and her family were living in Hong Kong, which had gone on de facto lockdown to limit the virus’s spread as it infected thousands in mainland China. Read her first-hand account of their decision to relocate to the U.S., which taught them you can’t run from a global pandemic.

 

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