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COVID-19: Would you shut down your city?

COVID-19: Would you shut down your city?

The city that never sleeps is now being forced into naptime. On Sunday evening, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio announced that, in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the city's public school system will close for at least a month, and that all restaurants and bars are limited to take-out and delivery service. For days, the mayor faced pressure for decisive action, but given the size of the city's economy and the serious problems these restrictions create for low-income New Yorkers, these weren't easy decisions.

Let's say you had to make the choice yourself, here are some arguments for and against draconian restrictions.

Keep calm and carry on: You're responsible for a $1.5 trillion economy, so shutting things down carries a huge economic cost. A lot of that cost will fall on the most vulnerable people: more than 100,000 kids in your public-school system are homeless or depend on school for daytime meals. Many working parents don't have ready options for child-care, and if they stay home to care for their kids, they don't get paid. Some of those people are healthcare workers badly needed on the job. Add that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) doesn't believe short-term school closures help much to contain the viral spread anyway.

Meanwhile, kneecapping the restaurant industry – which employs almost a million workers and generates $50 billion a year – will affect huge numbers of people. Yes, you need to keep the virus in check, but plunging hundreds of thousands of people into economic uncertainty, or even poverty, might have broader ripple effects that you have to account for. These are people who already struggle to pay for medical care for themselves and their families.

Shut it down: Most projections suggest that without serious action to stem the spread of coronavirus, your hospitals will soon be overrun with more serious cases than can be treated. Look at what's happened in Italy, where the surge of patients has forced doctors to choose whom to save and whom to let die. Overloading the health system not only makes it harder to treat coronavirus cases, it also cripples a hospital's ability to treat other people in need of urgent medical care.

You have already prohibited gatherings of more than 250 people, but your (and the CDC's) recommendations on "social distancing" went alarmingly ignored over the weekend. By shutting things down now, you're avoiding a much deadlier situation later. By working with the school system, you can make arrangements for food and care. It's not going to be pretty, but pandemic responses aren't a beauty contest.

So, like Black Sheep says, the choice is yours: what would you do?

Carbon has a bad rep, but did you know it's a building block of life? As atoms evolved, carbon trapped in CO2 was freed, giving way to the creation of complex molecules that use photosynthesis to convert carbon to food. Soon after, plants, herbivores, and carnivores began populating the earth and the cycle of life began.

Learn more about how carbon created life on Earth in the second episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

The long-simmering conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over a region called Nagorno-Karabakh erupted over the weekend, with more than 50 killed (so far) in the fiercest fighting in years. Will it escalate into an all-out war that threatens regional stability and drags in major outside players?

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On Tuesday night, you can finally watch Trump and Biden tangle on the debate stage. But you TOO can go head to head on debate night .. with your fellow US politics junkies.

Print out GZERO's handy debate BINGO cards and get ready to rumble. There are four different cards so that each player may have a unique board. Every time one of the candidates says one of these words or terms, X it on your card. First player to get five across wins. And if you really want to jazz it up, you can mark each of your words by taking a swig of your drink, or doing five burpees, or donating to your favorite charity or political candidate. Whatever gets you tipsy, in shape, or motivated, get the bingo cards here. It's fight night!

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Watch Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

A new war breaking out between Armenia and Azerbaijan, not a new conflict. They've been fighting over contested territory that used to be a part of the Azeri Soviet Socialist Republic. Nagorno-Karabakh was an autonomous region. It was taken by the Armenians. It's a mostly Armenian enclave in terms of population. It's been contested since that military fight. There's been ongoing negotiations. The Azeris a number of months ago tried some shelling. They got pasted. This time around, it's war and for a few reasons.

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Join us tomorrow, September 29th, at 11 am ET for a GZERO Town Hall livestream event, Ending the COVID-19 Pandemic, to learn about the latest in the global hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Watch here at 11am ET: https://www.gzeromedia.com/events/town-hall-ending-the-covid-19-pandemic-livestream/

Our panel will discuss where things really stand on vaccine development, the political and economic challenges of distribution, and what societies need to be focused on until vaccine arrives in large scale. This event is the second in a series presented by GZERO Media in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Eurasia Group.

Apoorva Mandavilli, science & global health reporter for the New York Times, will moderate a conversation with:

  • Lynda Stuart, Deputy Director, Vaccines & Human Immunobiology, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Rohitesh Dhawan, Managing Director, Energy, Climate & Resources, Eurasia Group
  • Mark Suzman, CEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Gayle E. Smith, President & CEO, ONE Campaign and former Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development

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