Posts tagged with "Business Insider"

Report: For three months, White House blocked CDC from briefing Americans on COVID-19

July 6, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was denied permission by the White House to brief the public about the coronavirus crisis, a source at the agency told Yahoo News. 

As a result, the CDC found itself unable to do public briefing for three months—from March 9 through June 12—starting not long after a senior official warned in late February that the virus was likely to hit hard nationwide, Business Insider reports.

As the coronavirus swept across America, it was the White House coronavirus task force led by Vice President Mike Pence, and fronted with increasing frequency by President Donald Trump, that took the lead in briefing the public about the crisis.

Earlier in the year the CDC had given frequent briefings on the pandemic. But then it fell abruptly silent.

A CDC spokesperson, speaking anonymously to Yahoo, confirmed that the agency “slowly but surely took a backseat” to the coronavirus task force.

“We continued to ask for approval” from the White House to hold briefings, the CDC spokesperson told Yahoo News. “We were not given approval. Finally, we just stopped asking.” 

In a briefing on February 25, Nancy Messonnier, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), had issued a stark warning about the likely impact of the disease.

“It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen,” she said.

The message contrasted sharply with Trump’s attempts at the time to downplay the likely impact of the disease, Business Insider said.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

A task force member told Yahoo that the CDC was too concerned with its own stature, and an interagency response to the crisis was required. “The CDC feels like they should be in charge of this,” remarked

Research contact: @YahooNews

All in the family: It’s hard to find a Trump who hasn’t voted by mail

June 24, 2020

President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Monday morning, June 22, to rant about the threat he believes mail-in ballots pose to the integrity of U.S. elections—but his family seems to have never gotten the message, according to a report by The Daily Beast.

The POTUS  fired off another social media fusillade against the practice of submitting ballots through the USPS, which he has previously labeled as “horrible,” “terrible,” and “corrupt,” as well as “dangerous,” “fraudulent,” and for “cheaters.”

The Daily Beast opined, “The tweet on Monday, like his prior statements, reflected his fears over the expansion of vote-by-mail policies in several states amid the COVID-19 pandemic. ”

 “RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS. IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!” Trump tweeted in all-capital letters.

But such fears apparently have not deterred either Trump, himself, or members of his immediate family from entrusting their ballots to the U.S. mail.

In fact, the Beast reports, the White House has acknowledged that the president mailed in ballots in New York in 2018 and in Florida this year—and the Orlando Sun-Sentinel has reported that First Lady Melania Trump recently also has taken advantage of the Sunshine State’s remote voting program.

On reviewing records from the Manhattan Board of Elections, The Daily Beast discovered that Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and the First Lady all had ballots mailed to them in Washington, D.C., as recently as the 2018 election cycle, and have done so since decamping to the capital three years ago. Eric Trump, who remains in New York, similarly exercised his franchise via envelope and stamp in 2017. 

Various errors—from the First Lady’s forgetting to sign the crucial affidavit, to the First Daughter’s sending her ballot back too late, to Kushner’s failure to mail it back at all—prevented the Washington-based wing of the family’s votes from counting in 2017. But the Board of Elections documents show they all successfully returned their votes in the most recent election cycle.

Neither Eric Trump nor the White House immediately provided an on-the-record response. The president and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who. the Tampa Bay Times found has voted by mail 11 times in the past decade, have sought to distinguish between absentee voting and “mass mail-in voting.”

But experts assert there is little difference between the two processes, which are both already widespread. Records show nearly 67,000 people besides the Trumps sent in absentee ballots in the 2018 general election in New York City, while the Wall Street Journal reported that more than 33 million people voted by mail in the 2016 presidential race.

The president’s spokeswoman and immediate family aren’t the only executive branch staff taking advantage of the system: Business Insider reports that Vice President Mike Pence and his wife voted via mail as recently as April. 

Monday’s rant marked the first time that the president has warned that hostile nations might dabble in the American mail stream. In the past, he has largely warned that blue states might refuse to send ballots to GOP-controlled districts, and claimed that U.S.-based fraudsters resort to outright robbery, The Daily Beast notes..

“They steal them, they hold up mailmen, they take them out of mailboxes, they print them fraudulently,” the president told radio host Michael Savage earlier this month.

Research contact: @thedailybeast

CNN poll: Majority of Americans say Trump and task force are failing at fighting COVID-19

April 10, 2020

As President Donald Trump continues to urge reporters to congratulate him on the “great job” he is doing in responding to coronavirus—rather than to question him on the government’s failures—a majority of Americans now disapprove of his handling of the crisis, according to a new CNN poll.

The poll found that 52% disapprove of the way Trump is handling the crisis, while 45% approve. This marks an uptick from the same poll in early March, when  41% approved and 48% disapproved, Business Insider reports..

Meanwhile, a majority of Americans (55%) also now say that the federal government has done a poor job in preventing the spread of the virus —and 55% also feel that Trump could be doing more to fight the pandemic. 

Trump ignored multiple warnings of a potential pandemic, and downplayed the threat of the virus for weeks–even months, if the ABC News reports on intelligence on the pandemic breaking as far back as November 2019 are to be considered.

Just four weeks ago, on March 9, Trump tweeted, “The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, is doing everything within its semi-considerable power (it used to be greater!) to inflame the CoronaVirus situation, far beyond what the facts would warrant.”

The president has repeatedly said that he’s done a great job managing the crisis, even as the death toll continues to rise.

The federal government has struggled to recover from early stumbles, particularly in terms of testing for the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent out faulty test kits in February, which put the United States way behind the curve, Business Insider says. Although testing capacity has increased, America still does not have a robust system to test people for the virus and gain a full picture of the spread.

In an effort to shift responsibility, the president has shifted decision-making on the pandemic to the states and their governors.

“States are supposed to be doing testing. Hospitals are supposed to be doing testing,” Trump said on Monday. “We’re the federal government. We’re not supposed to be standing on street corners doing testing. They go to doctors. They go to hospitals.”

Research contact: @businessinsider

Poll: Fauci and Cuomo are the most trusted leaders on COVID-19 in America right now. Trump is not.

March 31, 2020

Americans say they have the most trust in Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, and Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York when it comes to official information and guidance on the COVID-19 outbreak, a new Business Insider poll shows.

Insider asked, “When it comes to the official advice regarding coronavirus, please rate how much you trust the following messengers on a scale of 1 to 5.”

Using that measure, 1 means strongly distrust; 2, somewhat distrust; 3, neither trust nor distrust; 4, somewhat trust; and 5, strongly trust. Participants were asked to mark “NA,” if they were unfamiliar with the person.

Fauci and Cuomo received the highest marks; with President Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin receiving the lowest:

  • Respondents gave Dr. Fauci an average score of 3.84 out of 5 for trustworthiness. Fully 40% gave him a top score of 5, which is nearly double the next highest-rated person, and,all told, 86% gave him a 3 or higher, which is vastly higher than anyone else.
  • Cuomo received an average score of 3.2 9 out of 5. Three-quarters (75%) of respondents gave Cuomo a score of 3 or higher, and 22% gave him 5 out of 5.
  • Global Health Ambassador Dr. Deborah Birx, the coronavirus task force response coordinator, got a score of 3.14 out of 5. About three in four respondents gave Birx a score of three or higher.
  • Governor Gavin Newsom of California got an average score of 2.97 out of 5. Just shy of 70% of people gave Newsom a score of 3 or higher.
  • Former Vice President and likely 2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden got an average score of 2.76 out of 5. About 31% of respondents rated Biden a 4 or 5; 27%, a 3 of 5; and 42%, a 1 or 2.
  • Vice President Mike Pence was rated a 2.65 out of 5 on average for trustworthiness. About 33% of respondents rated him a 1.
  • Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar was rated 2.62 out of 5.
  • President Donald Trump was scored 2.56 out of 5 on average. Fully 44% of respondents rate Trump a 1 out of 5; compared to 20%, who rated him a 5 out of 5. The largest group of people—55%—rated Trump as a 1 or 2.
  • Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin got the lowest score out of the 10 officials; rating 2.52 out of 5, on average.

According to Business Insider, Fauci’s blunt explanation of the strict scientific facts, calm but no-nonsense demeanor, and subtle sense of humor both in White House briefings and congressional hearings have received rave reviews from the public and made him a household name.

And while Cuomo was previously considered a somewhat divisive figure in New York politics best-known for his incessant feuding with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, respondents felt he’s risen to the occasion during the current crisis.

As the governor of one of the hardest-hit states, Cuomo has been rewarded for massively expanding New York’s testing capacity, aggressively combating the virus with business closures and social distancing, and his daily PowerPoint pep talks to New Yorkers in his press conferences. 

The poll was conducted on behalf of Business Insider by SurveyMonkey. A total of 1,136 respondents were collected on March 25.

Research contact: @businessinsider

Gap is dedicating factories to make masks, gowns, and scrubs for healthcare workers

March 26, 2020

Gap is the latest retailer to announce a commitment to use its resources to create personal protective equipment for healthcare workers, Business Insider reports.

The clothing and accessories manufacturer and marketer announced on March 25 via Twitter, “Our teams are connecting some of the largest hospital networks in Calif. w/our vendors to deliver PPE [personal protective equipment] supplies, while we pivot resources so factory partners can make masks, gowns & scrubs for healthcare workers on the front lines.”

The company—which opened its first store in 1969 in San Francisco, selling primarily jeans and LP records—said it would connect with hospitals in California to deliver the supplies.

In order to provide the crucial and urgently needed supplies to healthcare providers, Gap made the decision to temporarily close its company owned and operated stores across North America, including Old Navy, Athleta, Banana Republic, Gap, Janie and Jack, and Intermix brands. The closures were effective March 19.

Other retailers have announced similar initiatives to support healthcare workers as the coronavirus prompts a nationwide shortage of masks and other protective equipment. In California, hospitals have turned to Los Angeles seamstresses to make masks.

Nike also announced it was creating personal protective equipment such as face shields to support doctors and nurses in Oregon. Zara announced a similar initiative.

Research contact: @GapInc

Pasta la vista: An Italian grandma hosts virtual pasta-making classes during time of coronavirus

March 24, 2020

Over the past three years, travelers have been making the trek to the small town of Palombara Sabina, about an hour north of Rome, to make pasta with an Italian grandma who goes simply by Nonna Nerina, according to a story picked up from the Matador Network by Business Insider.

It started when her granddaughter, Chiara Nicolanti, set up an Airbnb Experiences page. It quickly grew, drawing international press and groups more than willing to take a train ride to Italy’s countryside. Nicolanti even recruited other grandmas in the village to take part, and the additional tourists inspired the mayor to reopen the town’s castle, which had been closed for years.

“And then unexpected arrived,” Nicolanti told the Matador Network over the phone from Palombara Sabina. “And the unexpected was called coronavirus.”

Nicolanti, who runs the business side of the Nonna experience, had to cancel bookings starting in FebruaryCOVID-19 has hit Italy hard. First, the northern regions of Italy were shut down, followed by an entire countrywide lockdown. The elderly who are most impacted are some the very people who make the Nonna experience the authentic intergenerational connection that it is.

Yet Nicolanti still saw the importance of connecting with people through food. This being 2020, she realized there’s another way and turned to the Internet with a new message: If you cannot come to Italy, then Italy will come to you.

The online experience is called Nonna Live. It runs for around two hours and costs $50. Nicolanti sends a simple list of ingredients and tools to pick up (eggs, flour, something to roll the pasta out with), and then sets a time to meet virtually. The time change has proven to be a bit of a hurdle but not an impossible one with a few adjustments. Nicolanti runs the classes on weekdays while Nonna Nerina, who is 84, joins on the weekends.

“When we opened up class and started having some bookings, the most beautiful thing happened,” Nicolanti says. “In two weeks, we had hundreds of messages from all around the world from people who I met once in my life and they text me to tell me we are praying for you, we love you, we hope to see you.”

Relationships have been at the heart of the pasta making experience from the start. Three years ago, Nicolanti was pregnant and her life was rapidly changing. Spending time with her grandmother forced her to slow down and realize that traditions were disappearing — especially among younger generations. Nicolanti, who is now 30, says the way people her age pile on work means there’s less time for the much-needed family connection that ties generations together.

Nicolanti eventually hopes to bring the other grandmas in, but for now, it’s just the four generations of Nicolanti’s family. It’s enough during a time like this. During a recent 1 a.m. experience, Nerina, Nicolanti’s mother, Nicolanti, and her daughter were teaching pasta making online together. (Nicolanti’s daughter was supposed to be sleeping but decided she wanted to play, so “we finished the last part with her playing on the table,” Nicolanti says.)

“I think that this moment is forcing us to stop, and we can use this time to speak and share memories and share traditions and good bites,” Nicolanti says. “I think it’s very important in this moment when everybody is forced to stay alone to not feel solitude.” 

Research contact: @businessinsider

Afterpay now has more customers in the America than in its native Australia

March 11, 2020

Although the buy now, pay later (BNPL) financial services solution, Afterpay, only launched in the United States in 2018, its customer base in the market already is larger than its base of 3.1 million customers in Australia, where Afterpay has been operating since 2015.

This, says Business Insider, is “a testament to the rising popularity of BNPL in the America.” The operating concept: Buy what you want today; pay for it in four installments, interest-free.

Considering that Afterpay added over 1 million new customers in November and December 2019 alone, and that its active U.S. customer base grew a whopping 443% year-over-year (YoY) in its fiscal H1 2020, Afterpay’s position in the market is still rapidly developing.

But Afterpay’s sales in the States still are far behind its sales in Australia, despite its leading customer base. Afterpay racked up AU$3.1 billion (US$2.02 billion) in underlying sales in its fiscal H1 2020, compared with AU$1.4 billion (US$914 million) in the United States. And while Afterpay’s U.S. sales grew 445% YoY and its Australian increased by just 55%, the sales differential still shows that America isn’t actually Afterpay’s biggest market yet, which is likely related to Afterpay being more established in Australia.

Afterpay has the opportunity to use its success in Australia as a blueprint for its operations here, the company’s U.S. CEO Nick Molnar told Business Insider Intelligence.

The company found that long-time customers in Australia shop with it more frequently than they do in the States— and it could find similar results in the Aemrica over time. Afterpay reports that Australian customers who began shopping with it between its fiscal 2015 and 2017 are now making 23 purchases with it a year, on average, while consumers who started their relationship with Afterpay in its fiscal 2020 only make three purchases a year.

The future looks promising: Afterpay has partnered with thousands of Australian merchants in different industries, and it has the chance to build a similar network in the United States, according to Business Insider. The company counts 35,500 merchants in Australia, reaching industries like retail, airlines, and dentists, Molnar said. Meanwhile, Afterpay only has 7,400 merchants in America, many of which are apparel or beauty retailers. As Afterpay adds more merchants and reaches new industries here, its sales in the market could take off.

Research contact: @businessinsider

ClassPass is offering a one-month free trial for the new year—and here’s how it works

January 21, 2020

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to experience trending fitness classes—from cycling to boxing to yoga to rowing to barre, and more—then you might want to think about ClassPass.

With over 30,000 health clubs in 28 countries worldwide to choose a class from, the three-year-old company, based in New York City, offers the chance to sample different workouts, depending on your mood, fitness level, and schedule.

Their standard introductory offer is typically two weeks, Business Insider reports, but now, Class Pass is offering a one-month free trial for the new year. You can take up to six classes during your free month, and you can cancel your membership whenever. If you don’t cancel, though, you’ll be auto-enrolled in a monthly membership. That’s all you’ll need. You won’t need a membership to any of the clubs.

And since budget-friendly options can often mean second-rate options, it’s nice to know ClassPass typically features popular studios, including a majority of the fitness classes you’ve likely heard of from word-of-mouth or have actually been meaning to try.

According to Business Insider, after your free trial, you pay a monthly membership fee that’s based on your city and how many classes you want to take each month. The lowest tier membership starts at $9, but you should expect to pay something closer to $39 (the rate in cities like Minneapolis) to $49 (the rate in New York City) per month for four to nine classes.

Research contact: @businessinsider

Are you an empath? Some of us ‘feel’ things more intensely than others

December 24, 2019

Empathy is the ability most of us have to intuit—and relate to—the emotions someone else is experiencing.

Unless we are psychopaths, narcissists, or sociopaths, we feel empathy for others on some level. But some sensitive individuals feel it more intensely than others. They are known as empaths.

“An empath is an emotional sponge,” Judith Orloff, psychiatrist and author of The Empath’s Survival Guide, told Business Insider in an interview. “[He or she] absorbs the stress and also the positive emotions into their own bodies from other people.”

How can we identify empaths among a slew of other folks who merely show sympathy under the right conditions? Orloff believes that empaths exhibit the following personality characteristics:

They don’t have the filters other people do: Being an empath doesn’t just mean having a lot of compassion. In many ways, empaths don’t have “normal filters.” They take in a lot of what’s going on around them, and are very sensitive to noise, smell, and excessive talking. This means they are easily overwhelmed in crowds, and can be exhausted after just short periods of time in social situations.

“They have gifts of intuition, of depth, of really caring for others, and having deep compassion,” Orloff explained, who is an empath herself. “They often give too much. They sometimes take on their loved ones’ pain in their bodies, so they actually feel it.”

They need time alone: To unwind, empaths often need time alone. Sometimes they need to sleep alone, which can be a tricky conversation to have with a partner. Things you expect in a relationship, like being close, can be draining to an empath, even if their partner’s intentions are good.

“I’ve known empaths who like sleeping alone, but they can’t tell their partner that. They just can’t go to sleep easily with someone in the bed,” Orloff said. “They toss and turn, or get in uncomfortable positions. One of my patients called it the ‘snuggle hold,’ where their partner liked to snuggle, and she felt she was trapped.”

It may be hard for some people to comprehend the idea of needing alone time in a happy relationship. This is one of the reasons empaths are often misdiagnosed as having depression or anxiety. They might be anxious and depressed, but this could be a result of the way they are being forced to live their lives.

After years of being told they are “over-sensitive,” many empaths grow up thinking there is something wrong with them, when really they have a gift, Orloff told Business Insider. If empaths aren’t aware of who they are, everyday interactions that others find normal could be causing them damage.

Setting boundaries can be difficult: Boundaries are a real struggle for empaths, one reason being that they always want to please others.

Unfortunately, this means they can be taken advantage of by manipulative people. Narcissists and empaths attract each other, as narcissists see someone they can use, and the empaths see someone they can help and fix. Orloff helps her clients out with learning to stand up for themselves, and realizing what is best for them.

“What I always tell them is ‘no’ is a complete sentence,” Orloff told the business news outlet “Learn how to say ‘no,’ but don’t get into a big discussion about it. Just say, ‘No, I’m sorry I can’t do this tonight, I’d rather stay home.’”

Orloff has self-assessment test at the beginning of her book that will help empaths to diagnose themselves. Once they have the answers, she says, they can start trying out some of the techniques, such as meditation.

“Empaths need to know that what they have is beautiful and much needed in our world today,” Orloff said. “And so my job as a psychiatrist is to help them with the challenges so that they can embrace and enjoy their gift.”

Research contact: @businessinsider

Sanitation insanity? Chipotle has nurses check if workers are sick

December 6, 2019

Chipotle has found a new way to protect the health of its customers and of its bottom line. The Mexican grill—which was responsible for a well-publicized juggernaut of norovirus among customers in Virginia in 2017—has instituted a regimen of strict food safety practices in order to prevent future outbreaks and reassure patrons at all of its 2,500 U.S. locations.

But has the chain of fast casual restaurants gone overboard to ensure employee health? An investigation at the time of the outbreak revealed that it was caused by store managers who failed to follow safety procedures and by an employee who worked while sick.  The company revealed this week that it has hired nurses to check whether employees who call in sick are genuinely unwell or just hungover, Business Insider reports.

“We have nurses on call, so that if you say, ‘Hey, I’ve been sick,’ you get the call into the nurse,” CEO Brian Niccol said at a Barclays conference on Wednesday, December 4. “The nurse validates that it’s not a hangover—you’re really sick—and then we pay for the day off to get healthy again.”

He added, “We have a very different food-safety culture than we did two years ago, OK?” Nobody gets to the back of the restaurant without going through a wellness check.”

However, a healthy workforce isn’t always enough to prevent customers from succumbing to germs in the environment. “There’s probably people in here that might have the common cold,” Niccol said at the conference, according to the news outlet. “Even if we clean up after you, and we don’t use a cleaner that kills that germ, it hangs around for the next customer.

“Even though our team member did nothing wrong—there was nothing wrong with our food—we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard to make sure that the dining room gets sanitized in a way that it hasn’t been in the past,” he said.

Chipotle has a solution: “We’ve got cleaner that actually kills norovirus when you clean the tables in the dining room,” Niccol said.

Research contact: @businessinsider