I would like to start today’s post with some good news from my day job: My consulting firm is now going forward with the preparation of recommissioning businesses in anticipation of the restart of the economy.

Meanwhile, the head of the World Health Organization responded to President Donald Trump, who slammed the agency during a recent Coronavirus Task Force briefing.

“If you don’t want many more body bags you refrain from politicizing it – please quarantine politicizing COVID,” WHO Director Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in a lengthy answer when asked about Trump’s criticism of the agency. A day earlier, the U.S. president had threatened to cut off funding.

“My short message is please quarantine politicizing COVID – the unity of your country will be very important to defeat this dangerous virus. Without unity we assure you even any country that may have a better system will be in more trouble. That’s our message,” he said.

He went on to urge a global response to the virus similar to the one that combated smallpox.

“The United States and China should come together and fight this dangerous enemy, they should come together to fight it and the rest of G-20 should come together to fight it, and the rest of the world should come together and fight it,” he said.

…The United States is the single largest contributor to the WHO. The most recent invoice from the WHO to the United States, which is one of many countries that fund the organization, was for nearly $116 million per year. The United States also voluntarily gives more per year to the WHO for specific projects — contributions that totaled over $400 million in 2017, the most recent year for which figures are available.

FDA Grants Emergency Authorization for First Rapid Antibody Test for COVID-19

While the WHO is complaining about Trump targeting them after its politicized handling of the coronavirus outbreak, scientists have been working hard on developing tests and medications. There have been significant developments in an antibody test that will be critical to determine those who may have had the disease but may be unaware they were infected.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted Cellex an emergency use authorization to market a rapid antibody test for COVID-19, the first antibody test released amidst the pandemic.

“It is reasonable to believe that your product may be effective in diagnosing COVID-19,” and “there is no adequate, approved, and available alternative,” the agency said in a letter to Cellex.

A drop of serum, plasma, or whole blood is placed into a well on a small cartridge, and the results are read 15-20 minutes later; lines indicate the presence of IgM, IgG, or both antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

A promising COVID-19 treatment gets fast-tracked

The antibody test isn’t the only thing being fast-tracked.

Mindboggling.” That’s how Aaron Tobian, a pathologist and director of the Division of Transfusion Medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital, describes the speed of the spread of the COVID-19 virus—and Johns Hopkins’ lightning-fast response to the pandemic.

“When it started to hit the home front and there were no treatments, everybody started saying, ‘We need to act, and we need to act now,'” says Tobian, who has a joint appointment in the Department of Epidemiology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. “And that’s when people at Hopkins started coming together and said, ‘Let’s try to do something here.'”

That “something” is one step closer to reality. Under the leadership of immunologist Arturo Casadevall, Johns Hopkins has spearheaded the use of a convalescent serum therapy, a potential COVID-19 treatment—with an old pedigree. On March 24, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration began allowing researchers to request emergency authorization for its use. Within three days hospitals in Houston and New York City started treatments, and now under a FDA “expanded access program” soon “a very large number” of U.S. hospitals will follow suit, according to Tobian.

American Companies Are Leaving China

Bad choices have consequences.

Global manufacturing consulting firm Kearney released its seventh annual Reshoring Index on Tuesday, showing what it called a “dramatic reversal” of a five-year trend as domestic U.S. manufacturing in 2019 commanded a significantly greater share versus 14 Asian exporters tracked in the study. Manufacturing imports from China were the hardest hit.

Last year saw companies actively rethinking their supply chain, either convincing their Chinese partners to relocate to southeast Asia to avoid tariffs, or by opting out of sourcing from China altogether.

Majority of Americans Support Reparations… From China

Most Americans think the Chinese government should pay reparations for failing to prevent the pandemic, according to a Harris poll published this week.

A majority of respondents—54 percent—said they agreed that China should be “required to pay other countries for the spread of the virus.” A majority of independent voters expressed support for Chinese reparations, as did 41 percent of Democrats.

The poll’s findings suggest that most Americans, and most Democrats, are not persuaded by the national media’s efforts to downplay China’s role in causing the pandemic, which in some cases has included the promotion of Chinese propaganda.

For example, 77 percent of Americans and 67 percent of Democrats said China was responsible for the spread of the coronavirus. Almost as many Americans—72 percent—said the Chinese government has not been accurately reporting information about the virus’s impact in China; 66 percent of Democrats agreed.

Box Office’s Best Case Scenario? Down 40 Percent

Trumpenfreude.

If theaters are closed for three months, domestic grosses may struggle to hit $7 billion, a 20-year-plus low.

By April 3, the greatest calendar migration in the 100-year-plus history of the movie business was complete as virtually all major summer tentpoles relocated amid the coronavirus pandemic in a mega-game of dominoes that has reshaped the 2020 and 2021 release slates, and beyond.

The shuffle revealed the industry’s collective hope — at least for the time being — that moviegoing will return to normal levels by mid-July, evidenced by Warner Bros. sticking to its July 17 date for Christopher Nolan’s Tenet and Disney’s announcement that Mulan, originally set for March 26, will now ride into theaters on July 24 while Warner Bros. has pushed back Wonder Woman 1984 from early June to Aug. 14.

If this scenario holds, North American box office revenue will struggle to hit $7 billion for the year, the lowest figure in more than two decades and nearly 40 percent behind 2019 ($11.4 billion), per London-based research firm Gower Street Analytics.

 

 
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