Since there is no shortage of news about the challenges we are facing due to the coronavirus, we want to bring you our second weekly installment of “Good News” as we head into the weekend.
Progress on the Economic Front:
– The US stimulus bill includes $250 billion in new unemployment benefits designed to help those workers displaced due to the coronavirus.
The bill would make unemployment insurance available to more categories of workers than ever before, extend the duration of benefits to 39 weeks from the 26 weeks typical in most states and would also provide an extra $600 a week for four months.
Progress in the Markets:
– With the prospect of both houses passing the massive stimulus bill, the US stocks notched gains for three days in a row this week– with the Dow marking the biggest three-day gain since 1931. While difficult days are still likely to lie ahead, the dramatic gains show the danger of trying to time the markets.
Americans Band Together in the Fight:
– Numerous businesses have stepped up during this crisis.
Restaurants, sports, and businesses are all stepping up to combat the community effects of the novel coronavirus. The sports world is raising money for stadium employees, Uber Eats is divvying out free delivery to help independent restaurants, professional soccer players are entertaining viewers with a FIFA tournament, restaurants are doling out free food to those in need, and Bill Gates is funneling out millions of dollars to speed up development of a coronavirus treatment, to name just a few out of dozens.
– Distilleries across the U.S. are making their own hand sanitizers and giving it away for free.
According to the Associated Press, distilleries across the country are using high-proof alcohol to make hand sanitizer, and divvying it out for free, or by donation to combat the novel coronavirus.
– We recognize that many in our community are hurting and would like to help make a positive impact. AFA is making a donation to the Atlanta Community Food Bank and matching employee donations as well.
Progress on the Spread of the Virus:
– Due to high levels of self-quarantine, Codogno, one of the two coronavirus clusters in Italy, has reported significantly fewer infections per day.
Compared to 35 cases per day at the beginning of the outbreak, just five new infections were announced last week by Codogno’s mayor, Francesco Passerini, according to the U.S. News and World Report.
– South Korea recoveries are starting to outnumber new infections.
Facing the largest epidemic outside of China, South Korea reported more recoveries from the coronavirus than new infections on Friday for the first time since its outbreak emerged in January.
– China is opening parks and athletics, loosening travel restrictions.
As the novel coronavirus comes under control in China, parks and tourist attractions have reopened across the country, alongside loosened travel restrictions.
– A team of infectious disease experts calculated the fatality rate of Wuhan’s coronavirus outbreak at 1.4%, drastically lower than earlier estimates.
While this estimate and data applies directly to Wuhan, where the coronavirus outbreak began, it offers a hopeful guide to the rest of the world as it is significantly lower than earlier estimates of around 3%.
Progress on the Medical Front:
– At least 20 different vaccines are under development.
Scientists in Canada have made breakthroughs in an effort to develop a vaccine. China is testing five different vaccine options. Israeli scientists are also nearing development of a vaccine, according to Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis, who said the vaccine could be ready within a few weeks and available in 90 days. And a trial of Moderna’s vaccine has begun at Kaiser Permanente under Washington’s Health Research Institute in Seattle.
– A Johns Hopkins researcher has claimed antibodies from recovered coronavirus patients could help protect people at risk.
A treatment that can be made readily available under urgent circumstances, a team from Johns Hopkins, alongside many other researchers, are studying whether or not the antibodies of those recovered from the coronavirus could help protect at-risk humans from the virus. A Japanese pharmaceutical company is also nearing approval of the treatment.
– Australian researchers are in the midst of testing two drugs as cures to the virus.
Scientists in Australia claim to have identified how the body’s immune system fights the novel coronavirus. “This [discovery] is important because it is the first time where we are really understanding how our immune system fights novel coronavirus,” study co-author Prof Katherine Kedzierska told BBC News.
– A Japanese flu drug has proven effective in treating the novel coronavirus.
Zhang Xinmin, an official at China’s science and technology ministry, said favipiravir, developed by a subsidiary of Fujifilm, had produced encouraging outcomes in clinical trials in Wuhan and Shenzhen involving 340 patients, according to The Guardian.