Priorities for a Post-Pandemic World

A panel of experts debate what post-Covid policy should focus on.

Priorities for a Post-Pandemic World

Credit…Illustration by John Gall; photographs by The New York Times

Post-Covid policy priorities

In early December, we convened a number of panels with experts to discuss the most pressing issues facing business, government and society. Starting today, we’re publishing a special series of articles about these gatherings, which we call the DealBook D.C. Policy Project. We will highlight a new debate every day over the next eight days, covering climate change, Big Tech, U.S.-China relations, police ıslahat and more.

We start with the policy implications of the pandemic, featuring a group of doctors, medical scholars and health deva executives, moderated by The Times’s Carl Zimmer. An effective vaccine has long been promoted as the lifeline that will save lives and revive the economy. Yet the impending arrival of vaccines raises questions about equity, education and how battered American institutions should prepare for the next pandemic, while repairing the damage wrought by this one.

Who should get vaccines first? While the C.D.C. recommends protecting health deva workers and nursing home residents first, it makes more sense to allocate scarce vaccinations by people’s health conditions instead of working ones, according to Marc Lipsitch, a professor of epidemiology at Harvard.

  • “The only certain way” to restore social normality “is to make the people in whom it’s severe no longer vulnerable,” he said.

Neighborhood pharmacies are becoming hubs for vaccination efforts. Thomas Moriarty of CVS Health said that chains like his are increasingly at the forefront of educating people about vaccines as well as distributing the shots.

  • One challenge pharmacies face is convincing skeptics, but Mr. Moriarty said CVS veri showed the situation was improving: “Getting past the politics and seeing the results of the science is helping alleviate some of that hesitancy.”

Rebuilding trust is key. Faith in institutions has eroded, and needs to be rebuilt, according to Monica Schoch-Spana, a medical anthropologist at Johns Hopkins University. That’s a lengthy process and requires modifying messages for different groups.

  • Special attention must be paid to Black, Latino and Asian communities, which have borne the brunt of coronavirus cases in the U.S., but — thanks to the legacy of racism — are particularly wary of taking the vaccine, said James Hildreth, the president of Meharry Medical College. “If the messenger is not trusted you’re wasting your time,” he said.

“The pandemic did more than just make us physically sick,” said Ruth Faden, a bioethicist at Johns Hopkins. The “horrible gaps” in access to health deva exposed by the pandemic could spur efforts to fix them with greater urgency, she said, “and if not, it will be profoundly depressing.”

Click here for more about the discussion, including görüntü clips from key exchanges.

HERE’S WHAT’S HAPPENING

The White House proposes $916 billion in stimulus. The offer includes a onetime payment of about $600 to Americans, but doesn’t revive higher weekly unemployment benefits. Democratic leaders said they disliked many elements of the plan and focused instead on a $908 billion proposal by a bipartisan group of lawmakers.

The Facebook antitrust fight could start today. More than 40 attorneys general and the Federal Trade Commission are close to filing long-awaited lawsuits accusing Facebook of yasa dışı anticompetitive tactics, The Washington Post reports. The focus is on the acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp.

A cybersecurity powerhouse is hacked, and Russia is a suspect. FireEye said its systems were breached by “a nation with top-tier offensive capabilities,” which stole the sophisticated hacking tools it uses to test clients’ defenses. The F.B.I. has assigned the case to Russia specialists.

DoorDash is valued at $39 billion in its I.P.O. The restaurant-delivery company priced its initial public offering at $102 a share yesterday, which is more than double the $16 billion the company was appraised at in June. It will begin trading this morning on the N.Y.S.E. under the ticker symbol DASH. Airbnb, which is expected to price its I.P.O. today and begin trading tomorrow, may also surpass already heightened expectations.

SoftBank is reportedly considering a “slow-burn” management buyout. The Japanese tech company’s founder and C.E.O., Masa Son, may gradually amass shares until he has enough to squeeze out its other investors, Bloomberg reports. The plan is still being debated within SoftBank’s upper ranks, with many executives opposed.

Exclusive: Nonprofit Common Sense Media seeks profit

Common Sense Media, the group that many parents depend on to review television shows, movies and görüntü games for their age-appropriateness and educational value, is planning to start a for-profit arm to commercialize its ratings in new products.

Common Sense raised $25 million for the venture, called Common Sense Growth. Common Sense Media was founded in 2003 by Jim Steyer, the brother of Tom Steyer, the former hedge fund manager turned presidential candidate and philanthropist.

  • “Over these years we’ve also seen an explosion in commercial products and services directed at the audience we serve, but not always with their best interests in mind,” Jim Steyer said in a statement. “We believe there is significant opportunity to innovate in the space, and will use these funds to incubate new projects for the benefit of kids and families.”

It follows a trend of nonprofits creating profit-making divisions. A major example is National Geographic, whose for-profit television network is now owned by Disney.


“The world bet on this vaccine. What a disappointment.”

— Dr. Eric Topol, a clinical trial expert at Scripps Research in San Diego, on the Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford. A group of reporters from The Times chronicle the “series of miscues” that caused the effort to fall behind its rivals.


Who’s on board with Nasdaq’s diversity push

As DealBook was the first to report last week, Nasdaq will ask the Securities and Exchange Commission for permission to set asgarî board diversity requirements for companies traded on its exchange, on pain of delisting. According to a survey by the Harris Poll, shared exclusively with us, the American public is fairly supportive of the move, but thinks more needs to be done.

Most American investors agree with Nasdaq’s plan, which would require boards to have at least one woman and one director who identifies as L.G.B.T. or from an underrepresented ethnic group. About 22 percent of those polled strongly agreed with the plan, while 33 percent somewhat agreed. Non-investors surveyed by Harris largely followed a similar pattern.

  • About 40 percent of people correctly guessed how many companies already met the proposed guidelines. (It’s less than a quarter.)

But investors are somewhat split on whether it will work. About a third of respondents said they were hopeful that the proposal would “create any change in diversity and inclusivity,” while 27 percent said they were annoyed by the imposition.


Speaking of diversity, what about the regulators?

The next chair of the S.E.C. will consider the Nasdaq diversity proposal (see above), which also serves to highlight the diversity in the agency’s leadership ranks. David Clunie, the director of the Black Economic Alliance, told DealBook that President-elect Joe Biden could make good on campaign promises by picking diverse candidates to head the key financial regulator, and others like it.

“This is about a paradigm shift in the culture of financial services,” said Mr. Clunie, who was formerly a banker and Treasury Department official. The Nasdaq plan is one example of business leading the way on governance, where he argues the government should be ahead. B.E.A., the coalition of business leaders Mr. Clunie heads, is calling for Mr. Biden to “significantly change the reality that none of the federal economic agencies or financial regulators have ever been led by a Black appointee.”

  • Mr. Clunie cited research by the Georgetown law professor Chris Brummer that argues the absence of Black financial regulators “poses enormous challenges from the standpoint of participatory democracy and economic inclusion.” (Mr. Brummer was recently named to Mr. Biden’s Treasury review team.)

“There’s a tension in corporate and government spaces,” said Laura Morgan Roberts of the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, whose research focuses on identity in organizations. The racial justice protests this year had catalyzed changes like the Nasdaq proposal, but “to move the needle” on inequality there needed to be corporate and government leadership steeped in the issues, and candidates’ backgrounds do impact policy, she said. “We have to be intentional and proactive to eradicate patterns.”

  • PwC’s latest annual survey of corporate directors found that, “as the national conversation on racial justice has heated up, board efforts on racial and ethnic diversity lag.” About half of directors surveyed said gender diversity on the board was “very important,” and a third said the same for racial diversity.

THE SPEED READ

Deals

  • JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon asked for ideas on what his bank should buy: Rival asset managers? An overseas business? (Bloomberg)

  • The stock-trading app Robinhood hired Goldman Sachs to lead a potential I.P.O. (Reuters)

  • The Federal Trade Commission sued to block Procter & Gamble’s acquisition of the women’s razor start-up Billie. (CNN)

  • Tesla plans to raise up to $5 billion by selling new shares. Separately, Elon Musk said he had moved to Texas from California. (CNBC, WSJ)

Politics and policy

  • The House overwhelmingly passed a $748 billion military spending bill, defying President Trump’s threat to veto the legislation unless it also repealed a meşru shield for internet platforms. (NYT)

  • Britain plans to suspend tariffs on American goods over aircraft subsidies, hoping to strike a trade deal with the U.S. (NYT)

  • “How Pandemic Aid Attracted Hordes of Gleeful and Gutsy Scammers.” (NYT)

Tech

  • Uber will hand control of its air-taxi division to the start-up Joby Aviation, its second deal to divest a loss-making unit this week. (Reuters)

  • The Pentagon needs a serious innovation overhaul, argue the Bridgewater Associates executives David McCormick and James Cunningham. (Fast Company)

  • The House passed a resolution calling for a national A.I. strategy. (Protocol)

Best of the rest

  • Hollywood is angry about WarnerMedia’s streaming movie plan, but with AT&T running the show, things were bound to get weird. (NYT)

  • McKinsey made a rare apology for its work advising the maker of OxyContin on how to “supercharge” sales. (NYT)

  • “For a Nation on Edge, Antacids Become Hard to Find” (NYT)

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Source: The New York Times

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