Welcome back from the long weekend — we hope you found time to relax, reflect and spend safe, quality time with family and friends.

Today’s Coronavirus Briefing is 769 words and will take you four minutes to read. 

Top news

  • The New York Times published this devastating visual of the nearly 100,000 people who have died in the U.S. from COVID-19.
  • Brazil recorded its highest daily death toll, making it the world’s second-worst outbreak country behind the U.S., with more than 374,000 confirmed cases and over 23,000 deaths.
  • The Chinese city of Wuhan is hoping to test all 11 million of its residents after several infections prompted fears of a second wave.
  • A church in Georgia and one in Houston that opened their doors last month for in-person services have closed again after several members became infected with coronavirus and a priest died.
  • There is clear evidence that wearing a mask helps mitigate virus spread, yet many people continue to disregard official advice.
  • Leaders across the globe are coming under fire for ignoring public safety recommendations.

The Takeaway:

The combined result of reopening states and lack of social distancing in many places this weekend are likely to result in a spike of infections.

Soldiers Home Cemetery In Nation's Capital Prepares For Memorial Day
Source: Getty

Veteran values

In honor of Memorial Day yesterday, here’s one more reason to thank our veterans and the values they represent.

As Americans paused over the weekend to remember Armed Forces members who died in service, one veteran was giving thanks to several heroes who “by their sacrifice, saved lives and catastrophe.” Lois Bowers of McKnight’s Senior Living relays the story of Tyson Francis Belanger, owner of Shady Oaks Assisted Living in Bristol, Connecticut, and a former Marine who served three tours of duty in Iraq. Belanger, along with 17 caregivers, chose to shelter in place in the 36-resident home beginning March 22 to try to prevent COVID-19 from entering. Today, the entire staff and all residents are infection-free and prepared to resume commuting, albeit with a strategy for safety in place.

The Takeaway:

Among the BBQs and family time, it is hoped everyone found a moment to thank those who served and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

united airlines
Source: Getty

Comms helps online platforms, grads, brands… and bellhops

The power of communications has never been more in evidence during the health pandemic and its effective deployment is proving vital across the board. 

  • Diana Bradley in PRWeek U.S. takes a look at how Zoom’s global CMO Janine Pelosi and her marketing team have managed a platform that has gone from 10 million daily meeting participants in December 2019 to 300 million during the global lockdown.
  • PRWeek also reports how COVID-19 forced PR agencies to cancel summer internship programs and pause hiring, creating a double barrier for college students and graduates entering the industry. In response, the PR Council set up the Agency Ready Certificate Program, providing participants with top agency executive-led webinars. Hear what four recent grads have to say about the industry and the initiative.
  • Chris Daniels reports in PRWeek U.S. about United Airlines, Red Hat and eBay navigating a change of CEO in the midst of the crisis — transparent internal and external communication strategies have been key. In the case of United, Josh Earnest, former White House press secretary and the airline’s SVP and chief communications officer, maintains contact across all operations, including the executive team marketing, comms, legal and government affairs.
  • Speaking of communication, this video shared in Conference & Incentive Travel of a bellhop tap dancing his way through the grand and empty halls of a hotel for Fairmont Banff Springs and Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies is fantastic.

The Takeaway:

Authenticity, transparency, giving back and a little bit of fun serve to illustrate all facets of the communications process.

Doctor holding Chloroquine Phosphate drug
Source: Getty

Drug matters

The debates around drug safety continue. 

The Takeaway:

It’s fair to say a vaccine can’t come too soon if we are to have some certainty about what is and isn’t safe to take in order to combat coronavirus.

That’s it for us today folks – we’ll be back tomorrow with our regular robust briefing. Until then, enjoy this song to help kick-start your week.

The Black Eyed Peas, Let’s Get It Started