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Coronavirus Politics Daily: Elections postponed, markets rocked, curve flattened?

Coronavirus Politics Daily: Elections postponed, markets rocked, curve flattened?

For the next few days, at least, we'll give you a roundup of key COVID-19 stories that jump out at us.

Coronavirus has forced the postponement of local elections in England until next year, though France and Germany are still going ahead with theirs. Some US states will hold presidential primaries Tuesday as scheduled, but Louisiana and Georgia have already postponed. A larger question looms: If this crisis continues into autumn, might the November 3 US presidential election be delayed? That's never happened in American history, and for good reason. The president can't simply order a delay. The election date, set in federal law, can be changed only by agreement of Congress, the president, and the courts…and the US Constitution requires that the new presidential term begin on January 20. Still, how the coronavirus affects perceptions of electoral legitimacy is a big, big question.


The financial response: Governments and central banks are taking steps on a scale not seen since the 2008 financial crisis to prop up markets and limit serious damage to the global economy. On Sunday, the US Federal Reserve cut its interest rate target to zero and announced other emergency actions to stabilize ravaged financial markets. The good news is that the Fed is coordinating with other central banks in the UK, Europe, Switzerland, and Japan. The bad news is that Wall Street and other global financial markets kept tumbling anyway. (Stocks tumbled more than 12 percent Monday, the biggest single-day drop since the crisis began.) That was partly because China published data showing a sharp contraction in economic activity in January and February as it locked down cities and factories to halt the virus. There are growing concerns that a similar, or even worse, contraction could hit Western economies that have so far failed to get a grip on the outbreak.

A quick explainer on FLATTENING THE CURVE: The point of all the social distancing and school/restaurant shutdowns is not to prevent huge numbers of people from getting COVID-19 – that's virtually inevitable over the next year. The point is to prevent huge numbers of people from getting it all at once, which can quickly overwhelm health systems. Most people who get COVID-19 will get better on their own after a rough few days – but you don't want the significant number of severe cases that do require hospitalization to exceed hospitals' capacity. Do whatever you can to flatten the curve! For an amazing visual on how coronavirus spreads with and without social distancing, see this WaPo interactive. And for a great piece of art showing how it stops in just twelve seconds, see this animation by Spanish artist Juan Delcan. Flatten the Curve!

Empathy and listening are key to establishing harmonious relationships, as demonstrated by Callista Azogu, GM of Human Resources & Organization for Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), an Eni subsidiary in Abuja. "To build trust is very difficult. To destroy it is very easy," says Callista, whose busy days involve everything from personnel issues to union relationships. She sees great potential for her native Nigeria not only because of the country's natural resources, but because of its vibrant and creative people.

Learn more about Callista in this episode of Faces of Eni.

For the world's wealthiest nations, including the United States, the rollout of COVID-19 vaccine has been rocky, to say the least. And as a result, much of the developing world will have to wait even longer for their turn. Part of the challenge, World Bank President David Malpass says, is that "advanced economies have reserved a lot of the vaccine doses." Malpass sat down with Ian Bremmer recently to talk about what his organization is doing to try to keep millions around the world from slipping deeper into poverty during the pandemic. Their conversation was part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Saturday will mark the beginning of an historic turning point for European politics as 1,001 voting members of Germany's Christian Democratic Union, the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, hold an online conference to elect a new leader.

Here are the basic facts:

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For the first time in twenty years, extreme poverty around the world is growing. How does the developing world recover from a pandemic that has brought even the richest nations to their knees? David Malpass, the President of the World Bank, is tasked with answering that question. He joins Ian Bremmer on GZERO World to talk about how his organization is trying to keep the developing world from slipping further into poverty in the wake of a once-in-a-century pandemic.

Joe Biden wants to move into the White House, but the coast isn't clear. He may need some bleach.

Watch more PUPPET REGIME here.

The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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