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Happy Friday, readers.
It’s a bit strange to type that out given the anxieties facing our nation right now. Just an hour ago, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency over the coronavirus outbreak.
This was, almost certainly, inevitable. As Fortune CEO Alan Murray pointed out in this morning’s CEO Daily newsletter, we ourselves are experimenting with a work-from-home policy in order to minimize transmission of this virus and the disease it causes, COVID-19.
It’s natural to feel anxious in such times, especially when events cascade so rapidly. An ever-escalating narrative and large-scale disruptions to our personal lives are never fun, and they’ll have an outsize effect on the most vulnerable in our society. Not everybody has the luxury of working from home or social distancing.
But it’s also important to not succumb to complete gloom and doom. While the United States has been slow to respond to this outbreak, private firms are stepping up through telecommuting policies, conference cancelations, and even developing new diagnostics to test for coronavirus.
Stay healthy. Do right by each other with responsible action. And try your very best to stop touching your face.
Have a wonderful weekend, all.
Apple may be working on a workout app. CNBC reports that Apple is working on a fitness and workout video application codenamed, err, "Seymour." This could be used on a variety of Apple devices including the Apple Watch and iPhone to guide users through their workout regimens, and as readers know, Apple isn't exactly shy about expanding its reach into the digital health space. (CNBC)
Trump administration proposes capping insulin costs. The Trump administration has proposed a new program that would set a ceiling on the cost of insulin for certain Medicare patients. The cap would be set at $35 per month for qualifying individuals, a move that could potentially affect millions of elderly people across the country. However, this would be a pilot program—and a voluntary one at that, which drug makers would need to get on board with. (New York Times)
How Roche's coronavirus test sped its way to FDA approval. I spoke with several Roche spokespeople and executives today about the company's new coronavirus test, which is now the first commercial test of its kind for COVID-19. Just how did Roche get a diagnostic on the market (admittedly, under emergency use authorization), in less than two months? You can find out right over here. (Fortune)
THE BIG PICTURE
What does an emergency declaration do? As I mentioned above, President Trump declared a national emergency at the White House today. But what does that mean? It's more of a technical term than it is an incitement to panic (although it obviously underscores how serious the situation is). The topline: This move will free up some $50 billion for state and local governments to respond to the outbreak. (Fortune)
5 great weekend reads to help calm your anxious brain, by Polina Marinova
Coronavirus has already dented Gap sales by $100 million, by Phil Wahba
How to take over for a hands off boss, by Jennifer Mizgata