Each Wednesday, we recap the most important headlines from our global community to keep you up to speed on world news.
As the spread of COVID-19 reaches pandemic-level proportions, key players in the fashion industry are getting involved to do their part, from funding efforts to fight the coronavirus to converting manufacturing facilities to better suit the needs of hospitals and healthcare workers around the world.
The fashion industry has collectively reacted to the shocking lack of medical supplies in U.S. hospitals, particularly masks, by making their own.
After research, designer Christian Siriano, among the first to respond, is now making washable masks for hospital personnel, not doctors or nurses. His team confirmed these masks are not medical grade and are recommended for lower-risk staff and administrators who are not in contact with COVID-19 patients. A fabric mask can block out fluids, but it cannot protect you from airborne particles or viruses, particularly one as contagious as the coronavirus.
Doctors and nurses are most in need of N95 respirator masks, which are typically molded (not cut-and-sewn) and must meet a long list of FDA requirements. Designers can’t make N95s in their studios, as they require specific equipment and must adhere to strict regulations. But larger brands or fashion groups with factories in China, where most N95s are produced, may be able to adjust their supply chains to make them.
The White House and Senate leaders reached a historic bipartisan agreement on a massive $2 trillion coronavirus spending bill aimed at alleviating the economic impact of the outbreak. McConnell said he expected the Senate to pass the legislation later Wednesday after it returns at noon ET.
Under the plan, people making up to $75,000 a year are expected to receive checks for $1,200. Couples making up to $150,000 would receive $2,400, with an additional $500 per child.
The bill is also expected to include roughly $100 billion in assistance for hospitals; $350 billion in assistance to small businesses; $500 billion in aid for corporations, including airline companies and cruise lines, that have been hurt by the outbreak; and about $150 billion for state and local stimulus funds.
Unemployment insurance would also be significantly bolstered to increase payments and extend the benefit to those who typically do not qualify, such as gig economy workers, furloughed employees, and freelancers.
If it is passed, the spending package would be the third round of emergency legislation that Congress has approved to combat the outbreak. Lawmakers approved an $8.3 billion bill for health agencies and a roughly $100 billion bill aimed at providing free coronavirus testing, some paid leave and unemployment benefits, as well as additional Medicaid funding and food assistance.
Donald Trump signed the first two bills into law and is expected to sign the third bill, too.
The Tokyo Olympics are to be postponed until 2021 after talks between Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, and the International Olympic Committee president, Thomas Bach, led to the confirmation of a decision due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Games have never before been postponed in this way, but they were canceled in 1916, 1940 – also a planned Tokyo Games – and 1944, during the first and second world wars.
Big metropolises like Los Angeles, Cleveland, and New York City are now releasing low-risk people who have been incarcerated.
The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department is releasing inmates from its jails, dropping its average daily arrests from 300 to 60, in an effort to cut down how many people are booked. Hundreds of incarcerated people in Ohio, between 200 and 300 of whom are low-level offenders, were evaluated for their release. The New York City Correction Board wanted criminal justice leaders to decrease their prison populations, saying there is a high risk of dying from the coronavirus in the city’s jails.
Offenders face a particularly high risk of exposure to the virus due to the general lack of cleanliness to be associated with overpopulated hallways and cells as well as the hygiene restraints that come with being handcuffed, such as being unable to cover your mouth when you sneeze.
The United Nations leadership called for rolling back international sanctions regimes around the world, saying they are heightening the health risks for millions of people and weakening the global effort to contain the spread of the new coronavirus. They also urged warring parties across the world to lay down their weapons.
The appeal reflects mounting concerns that sanctions regimes may be impeding efforts in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe to battle the coronavirus, and enhancing the prospects of the pathogen’s spread to other countries. The ceasefire would allow humanitarians to reach populations that are most vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19.