The coronavirus death toll in the United States for the first time exceeded 700 in one day. Within that number, New York remains the eye of the storm, reporting 332 deaths in one day, or nearly half the U.S. total. It was the first time New York has gone over 300 in a 24-hour period. Their total count of fatalities is now 1,550.   

New York’s total cases jump 14% overnight to 75,795. The new cases make New York the coronavirus epicenter of the world, surpassing China’s Hubei province, which reported 67,801 cases. There are still many who believe the Chinese data to be severly under reported, but it’s the only data we have. 

The Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, at a news conference said his brother, Chris Cuomo who is a CNN anchorman, has COVID-19 and is isolating himself. The Governor was emotional. “I’m tired of being behind this virus. We’ve been behind this virus from day one,” he said. “We underestimated this virus. It’s more powerful, it’s more dangerous than we expected.”

He said the outbreak in New York state may not peak for three weeks. “If our apex is 14 to 21 days … then [you] have to come down the other side of the mountain once you hit the apex,” he said. “So calibrate yourself and your expectations so you’re not disappointed every morning you get up.”

United Health Group Inc (NYSE: UNH)

UNH pledges $50 million in COVID-19 support

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UnitedHealth Group said it will provide $50 million to support groups most affected by the COVID-19 virus. The Minnesota-based company runs United­Healthcare, which is the nation’s largest health insurer, along with a new and growing health services business called Optum. The stock is up over 32% since March 23rd

The breakdown of the $50 million goes like this: $30 million to protect and support health care workers. $10 million to support states with large numbers of COVID-19 patients including New York, New Jersey, Washington, California and Florida; $5 million to address social isolation among seniors; and $5 million to help people experiencing food insecurity or homelessness.

“As this unprecedented public health emergency rapidly evolves, we must take bold actions to support those in need and combat the COVID-19 virus,” Dave Wichmann, chief executive of UnitedHealth Group, said in a news release. “This initial investment of $50 million will support that effort, as we continue to mobilize the full strength of our resources.”

It will be very interesting to see if moves like this affect the stock price short-to medium term. $50 million is certainly a drop in the bucket to a company with $60.9B in revenue and $ 3.54B in net income, but the CEO called it an “intial investment” and they will also have claims from the virus, so it may not be the value play it looks like now.

Trump/Putin Call Births An Oil Price Discussion 

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President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed during a phone call on Monday to have their top energy officials talk about the collapse of oil prices, the Kremlin said, as Trump called Russia’s price war with Saudi Arabia “crazy.” This is all according to Reuters News. 

“Opinions on the current state of global oil markets were exchanged. It was agreed there would be Russo-American consultations about this through the ministers of energy,” the Kremlin said in a readout of the call.

There was no added color on what the ministers will be discussing, at least at this point, but the Kremlin has said in the past that Russia would like to see cooperation involving more countries, which clearly means the U.S. OPEC+ includes all major oil producing nations except the U.S., so the reference seems obvious. 

Earlier in the week, before Monday’s phone call, Trump said Saudi Arabia and Russia “both went crazy” in their oil-price war and that “I never thought I’d be saying that maybe we have to have an oil (price) increase, because we do.”

We want to know what you think about this consultation. Do you think the U.S. can fix the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia and save American oil industry jobs!?! Reply to this email and let us know!

AI that can turn brain activity into text

If you’re an X-men fan, then you know about the mind-reading ability of Professor Charles Xavier. If you’re an Avengers fan, then you know about the visual map of Jarvis’ brain, which turned into Ultron. Well science has gotten one step closer to combining Jarvis and Professor X.  

Scientists have developed artificial intelligence that can turn brain activity into text. The exciting part of this is not the ability to make lazy humans even more lazy, but as a path to a speech prosthesis. People who have no ability to speak may be able to texts their thoughts in the near future. 

The system currently works on neural patterns detected while someone is speaking out loud, in other words subjects are asked to read aloud from 50 set sentences multiple times, including “Tina Turner is a pop singer”, and “Those thieves stole 30 jewels”. The team tracked their neural activity while they were speaking and then fed the data into an A.I. algorithm which converts the brain activity into sets of numbers, which then become words. 

Of course, this contradicts the idea that the speechless can use this to texts their thoughts in the near future, but babysteps, just like everything else. Correction….This is one giant step. 

Keystone Cops Bust Empty Comedy Club

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A comedy club in Liverpool, England which was closed due to coronavirus, was raided by police over the weekend after a recorded show they decided to stream on Facebook was mistaken for a live show. 

The Hot Water Comedy Club told Sky News that “around 20 officers” showed up with squad cars and a van, after someone saw the stream and got all upset, thinking the show was live. How dare they laugh openly and send happy little COVID-19 virus’ all over the room! 

The show was recorded on March 7th and it was a packed house. Non-essential businesses were closed by Boris Johnson’s government on March 23rd and the club has been showing pre-recorded shows online ever since.  

It clearly stated on the live stream that the show was previously recorded but in today’s outrage culture, people take pride in standing up to fake social monsters like the big mean comedy club. When did everyone become such snitches anyway?