This Week In Words: March 29–April 4, 2020

April 1, 2020
If you're having trouble keeping up with the fast-moving news, let this list get you up to speed, with some timely and useful vocabulary words for good measure.
Bernie Sanders appeared on The View, where Whoopi Goldberg questioned him about his purpose in remaining in the race to become the Democratic candidate for president now that rival Joe Biden is so far ahead. sanders said it was to continue pushing for his priorities, and that he still has a narrow path to victory.
“That’s not quite accurate,” Mr. Sanders responded. “I worked as hard as I could for Hillary Clinton. But there is a path for victory—”
Washington Times (Apr 1, 2020)
Benny Gantz, the leader of Blue and White, Israel's main opposition party, stunned the country when he joined a government led by Benjamin Netanyahu, the controversial Prime Minister who was due to stand trial for corruption until the pandemic delayed the case. The new government of national unity was a response to the crisis, but many Israelis and members of Gantz's own party fear that Netanyahu will just use it to tighten his grip on power.
What many did doubt was that Gantz would capitulate, just as Blue and White was gaining leverage, to shape the terms of a unity government.
New Yorker (Mar 31, 2020)
Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban has used the coronavirus pandemic to further expand his hold on power, essentially making himself a dictator. A new law allows him to rule by decree, which means that his wishes become law without needing to be approved by Parliament. He has been moving in this direction since he was first elected in 2010, and observers say the E.U. needs to act now to try to remove him from power.
Like a Bond villain, Viktor Orban cannot resist revealing his plans. The Hungarian prime minister has never hidden his desire to entrench himself in power.
Economist (Apr 2, 2020)
New evidence gives us a helpful guide for how long the coronavirus can survive on different surfaces. Copper kills it in a matter of hours, but it can still be detected on plastic and stainless steel after a couple of days. It's important to understand, though, that "detectable" doesn't mean that it's infectious; it may just be small particles that remain, and the number of viable viruses declines very steeply on any surface after just a short time. Best bet for staying healthy? Wash your hands!
If you have bits and pieces of RNA, that’s not going to make a virus, you need an entire intact genome.
Guardian (Mar 31, 2020)
The IRS initially required senior citizens to file a tax return in order to receive their payments as part of the massive relief bill. After a forceful reaction from members of Congress, they quickly changed that requirement to comply with the law. Direct deposits and checks are expected to begin going out around the middle of the month.
During the last recession, when the U.S. government sent most Americans a stimulus check and required a filed tax return to get it, 3.5 million Social Security recipients were left out because they never sent a return, according to a 2008 Treasury Department analysis.
Washington Post (Apr 1, 2020)
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro continues to maintain that the coronavirus and COVID-19 are not that serious, and that Brazilians have nothing to worry about. His opponents say that this is proof that he's unfit for office, since he's rejecting the advice of his own health ministry and putting many thousands of lives at risk.
As coronavirus cases and deaths mount in Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro has remained defiant, the last notable holdout among major world leaders in denying the severity of the coronavirus.
New York Times (Apr 1, 2020)
Masks, gloves, face shields, and protective suits are all in desperately short supply, and without federal policies in place to supply them, states are now bidding against each other to obtain them. Prices are going up around the world as companies, states, and individual hospital all scramble to buy what they can.
But the DHS officials said the stockpile has not been able to handle the load.
Washington Post (Apr 1, 2020)
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued a stay-at-home order after receiving much criticism for leaving the state's beaches and businesses open as COVID-19 cases multiplied. There are now over one million confirmed cases worldwide. Sur is a French preposition meaning "above" or "on top of," and passer is the verb "to pass."
The U.S., which has now surpassed China’s death toll, has surpassed 200,000 confirmed cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard.
USA Today (Apr 1, 2020)
Because many people get their health insurance through their jobs, the fact that so many millions are now unemployed during a health emergency means that many people who might get sick do not have any coverage. The Trump administration is refusing to open up the health exchanges to let people buy new insurance. It is also continuing its lawsuit aimed at repealing the ACA, which — if won — would take insurance away from another 20 million Americans.
"In the middle [of] a pandemic that could kill hundreds of thousands, Trump and his toadies are deliberately blocking Americans from buying healthcare," Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., added. "Theirs is fanatical cruelty that will kill people."
Salon (Apr 1, 2020)
The CDC is considering a recommendation that all Americans wear masks if they leave home. Masks can prevent the spread of the disease, particularly if worn by people who are sick. The huge shortage of masks and other PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is one of the major problems confronting the country during the crisis. Many people are sewing their own, and making extras to donate.
US Vice-President Mike Pence warned the US appears to be on a similar trajectory as Italy, which has had the most deaths of any country.
BBC (Apr 1, 2020)

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