Newsworthy – April 18th, 2020

A decline in greenhouse gas emissions, the benefits of being a musician, consumers are discovering the ease of new car deliveries, the Trump administration reduces the number of protected wetlands and waterways.

These, and more, are the newsworthy stories from this past week.

Science and Environment

  • Reduced economic activity as a result of COVID-19 has a direct effect on the level of greenhouse gas emissions, now expected to decline up to 4% in 2020.

    Such an annual drop would be larger than any previous economic recession or war managed to bring about.

    – ZME Science

Health and Society

  • More than 9,000 U.S. health-care workers, nearly three-quarters of them women, have caught the coronavirus.

    The median age of those infected was 42.

    In a significant portion of cases, Covid-19 affects not just the lungs and heart but the nervous system.

    – The Wall Street Journal
  • Seventy coronavirus vaccines are in development globally, with three already being tested in human trials, the World Health Organization said

    – Bloomberg
  • Two new studies recently took a closer look at the Mediterranean diet, discovering that those who closely follow it can reduce their risk of cognitive impairment by half by taking advantage of the diet’s strong emphasis on vegetables, whole grains, fish, and olive oil.

    – ZME Science
  • Your brain will thank you for being a musician for five reasons:

    Music training promotes neuroplasticity, improves cognitive abilities, may promote healthy aging of the brain, is beneficial for overall health, is a rewarding activity.

    – Scientific American
  • Universities across the country have begun planning for what was once an unthinkable scenario but now may be a real possibility: a fall semester without students on campus.

    – The Boston Globe

Business and Economics

  • Amazon is retooling its website to do the opposite of what made it one of the world’s most powerful companies: Sell fewer items. As Amazon contends with an immense surge in orders, the company has taken steps to get customers to put fewer items in their carts.

    – The Wall Street Journal
  • Confined by stay-at-home orders, people have discovered that getting a new car delivered is as easy as ordering groceries or takeout.

    Companies say a three- or four-hour showroom visit can be compressed into a 15-minute online process, plus another 30 minutes for home delivery.

    – Axios
  • “Trolls World Tour” had the biggest digital debut of all time, according to Universal Pictures.

    This was the first film from a major studio to debut on digital platforms on the same date as its theatrical release due to the pandemic.

    – AP
  • China’s economy shrank in the March quarter for the first time since current records began in 1992, 28 years ago.

    – Reuters News Agency
  • The world economy has almost certainly entered a recession, the IMF said, matched in severity only by the Great Depression. Its new outlook forecasts a 3% global contraction in 2020—compared with 0.1% in 2009, the worst year of the previous recession.

    – The Wall Street Journal

Government and Politics

  • The Clean Water Act of 1972 protects “waters of the United States,” the definition of what “waters” meant remained vague until a 2015 regulation defined eight categories of protected waters, which included headwater streams, lakes and wetlands.

    President Donald Trump’s administration revised that definition in 2020 to exclude groundwater and some streams. The change also reduces the number of protected wetlands by roughly half.

    – Science News Magazine
  • Saudi Arabia, Russia and the U.S. agreed to lead a multinational coalition in major oil-production cuts after a drop in demand because of the coronavirus crisis. The deal came after a Saudi-Russian feud devastated oil prices. As part of the agreement, 23 countries committed to withhold collectively 9.7 million barrels a day of oil from global markets.

    – The Wall Street Journal
  • In the six days after top Chinese officials secretly determined the county was likely facing an epidemic, they kept quiet as millions began traveling for Lunar New Year.

    – AP

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