A nation with 1.3 billion people has now ordered a lockdown over the coronavirus outbreak.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is mandating a three-week (at minimum) national lockdown after several Indian states had already implemented such measures. In a press conference, he played up the importance of social distancing, especially in a country with such heavy population density.
“You have seen the worldwide situations arising from the coronavirus pandemic in the news. You have also seen how the most powerful nations have become helpless in the face of this pandemic,” Modi said on Tuesday, according to CNN, warning that “many families will be destroyed forever” if drastic measures aren’t enacted.
Those measures resemble what some states and cities in the U.S. have enacted, including encouraging people to limit their contact with the outside world other than essential utility, grocery, and medical services.
So there you have it—the second most populous country in the world, is shutting down.
Read on for the day’s news.
A.I. struggles under the weight of coronavirus. My colleague Jeremy Kahn explains, eloquently, how the coronavirus crisis "is providing a real-world test of how robust many companies’ new-fangled A.I. systems really are." This is one of those moments where the rubber meets the road. And the artificial intelligence "rubber" really only came onto the scene in the past five years. That has implications for everything from predicting financial trends to the intricacies of the food supply chain. (Fortune)
Novartis gets some good news on its spinal muscular dystrophy drug. Novartis' landmark spinal muscular dystrophy drug Zolgensma is (according to the company, anyways) still racking up positive clinical trial results even though those very studies are on hold. Zolgensma is a bit of a controversial therapy (for more on that, head over here) but has the distinction of being the first gene therapy ever approved in the U.S. Novartis is trying to expand the treatment's reach into other forms of the degenerative, inherited disorder.
THE BIG PICTURE
The specter of a looming recession. Just how bad might the economic repercussions of coronavirus be? According to data Moody's Analytics provided to Fortune, there could five to six million job losses in March alone. “This is cataclysmic. I can’t think of a darker word. It’s Armageddon if lawmakers don’t come up with support [for businesses and households] in the next couple days,” Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, told Fortune. (Fortune)
A first responder spouse on when, not if, the coronavirus strikes, by Kristen Bellstrom
Yale's most popular class is now available online for free, by Ellen McGirt
17 companies that are hiring during the coronavirus crisis, by Chris Morris