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[Weekly Review]

Weekly Review

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Convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein, the archduke Karl von Habsburg of Austria, Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar of Iran, basketball star Kevin Durant, reality-television host Andy Cohen, actor Idris Elba, Bon Jovi keyboardist David Bryan, and Senator Rand Paul all tested positive for the coronavirus.

As the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 rose to 582, and the number of confirmed cases hit 43,499, a fifth of Americans were ordered to remain at home, and a fifth of American households reported a layoff or a reduction in working hours.1 2 The unemployment-insurance websites of several states crashed, a Federal Reserve official speculated that the unemployment rate could soon reach 30 percent, and the Department of Labor asked state agencies to delay releasing figures pertaining to unemployment claims.3 4 5 President Donald Trump—who reportedly almost posted a tweet erroneously claiming that actor Tom Hanks had died from the coronavirus, and who was photographed holding the text of a speech in which “coronavirus” was crossed out and replaced with “Chinese virus”—resisted calls from state governments and medical professionals to invoke the Defense Production Act, which would enable the federal government to direct private businesses to produce supplies essential for the fight against COVID-19.6 7 8 “We’re a country not based on nationalizing our business,” said Trump with regard to the law, which does not authorize the government to nationalize businesses. Four U.S. senators were found to have sold large amounts of stock preceding the virus-induced financial crash, including Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, who also purchased stock in a company that makes telecommuting software, and Richard Burr of North Carolina, who was one of three senators in 2012 to vote against a bill preventing lawmakers from profiting financially from nonpublic information.9 10 “Lol,” replied Burr’s spokesperson, when asked about the transactions.11 U.S. polls found a decrease from several weeks ago in the number of Americans who deem COVID-19 to be a “real threat,” and an increase in the number of Americans who think it’s being “blown out of proportion.”12

Convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein, the archduke Karl von Habsburg of Austria, Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar of Iran, basketball star Kevin Durant, reality-television host Andy Cohen, actor Idris Elba, Bon Jovi keyboardist David Bryan, and Senator Rand Paul, who earlier this month was the only senator to vote against a $8.3 billion coronavirus aid package, all tested positive for the coronavirus.13 14 An uninsured Bostonian received a $35,927.43 bill for coronavirus testing and treatment.15 Hospital workers in Washington State jurry-rigged protective equipment using vinyl sheeting, foam, and tape purchased at Home Depot, and doctors at the University of Nebraska Medical Center debuted an experimental process whereby face masks might be sterilized and reused.16 17 A blockage of a sewer line in Redding, California, was suspected to have been caused by residents using shredded T-shirts as toilet paper, and the American Red Cross warned of a “severe blood shortage” due to canceled blood drives.18 19 Scientists found that both anosmia, the inability to smell, and dysgeusia, the inability to taste, might be symptoms of the coronavirus.20

In France, police officers issued fines to the homeless for not complying with an order to stay inside and used drones to enforce quarantine restrictions, and in Darien, Connecticut—one of the wealthiest towns in the country—the opening of a drive-through testing clinic was canceled after residents complained about the site’s proximity to their homes.21 22 23 The Catholic Church decreed that those stricken with the coronavirus and their caretakers should be granted indulgences.24 Pennsylvania designated beer distributors as a “life-sustaining service,” and New York deemed liquor stores to be “essential businesses.”25 26 In response to demands from European Union officials, Netflix agreed to reduce the quality of its  video streams in order to avoid crashing the internet; in the absence of professional sports programming, ESPN modified its coverage to include marble racing and cherry-pit spitting competitions; and in the wake of the 2020 NCAA men’s college basketball tournament’s cancellation, the Florida Senate voted 37 to 2 to declare the Florida State Seminoles national champions.27 28 29 The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene warned against giving rim jobs during the pandemic and recommended masturbation instead.30 “You are your best partner,” counseled the department’s coronavirus guidelines. Cast members of Germany’s Big Brother reality show, who had been kept ignorant of global news for over a month, wept when they were told about the coronavirus on live television, and collectively agreed to remain in their house.31

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