Bloomberg Businessweek-Europe Edition March 1, 2021

Each issue of Businessweek features in-depth perspectives on the financial markets, industries, trends, technology and people guiding the economy. Draw upon Businessweek's timely incisive analysis to help you make better decisions about your career, your business, and your personal investments.

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2 min
in brief

Global coronavirus cases passed 112m and 2.5 million have died. The U.S. reached the grim milestone of 500,000 Covid-19 victims on Feb. 22, though hospitalizations and deaths have fallen since their January peak as the vaccination campaign picks up speed. Donald Trump cannot keep his tax records out of prosecutors’ hands. The Supreme Court on Feb. 22 rejected the former president’s final bid to block a subpoena by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who’s investigating financial crimes he may have committed. Arturo di Modica, sculptor of The Charging Bull, died at 80. He installed the 3.5-ton bronze statue illegally at the New York Stock Exchange in 1989. Public support persuaded the city to keep it, in nearby Bowling Green Park. California electric-car maker Lucid Motors plans to go public by merging with a…

3 min
how to improve obamacare and get millions insured

Here’s some news from 2020 that seems almost good: Despite heavy job losses during the pandemic, the proportion of Americans without health insurance didn’t spike, as you might have expected. Some employers maintained their coverage. Many people who lost employer-provided policies picked up Medicaid coverage instead. And still others bought individual policies on the state and federal Obamacare marketplaces. This illustrates how the 2010 Affordable Care Act broadly improved Americans’ health security—by making it possible to buy good-quality, often subsidized insurance and by expanding eligibility for Medicaid. Even so, the uninsured population in the U.S. remains unacceptably large—almost 30 million people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 count, and probably more now since the number rose steadily under President Trump. His team worked what mischief it could—shortening to six weeks the…

1 min
on a tight budget

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak unveils the U.K.’s budget on March 3, seeking to pull the economy out of its pandemic- and Brexit-induced slump. Expect tax breaks for homeowners and an extension of job retention plans. The Bank of Australia discloses its interest-rate decision on March 2. The central bank has signaled that borrowing costs won’t begin rising for at least three years. German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets regional leaders on March 3 to chart a path out of the pandemic lockdowns. Public pressure is mounting to open schools and shops. Pope Francis begins a four-day tour of Iraq on March 5. It will be the Roman Catholic pontiff’s first trip to the Middle Eastern country and his first overseas journey in more than a year. Joe Biden’s nominees to lead the U.S.…

6 min
fortress washington

In the days after the Jan. 6 insurrection, a 7-foot-high fence topped with coils of razor wire went up around the U.S. Capitol in Washington. It was described as a temporary measure to protect the seat of Congress for a month or longer. But on Jan. 28, Yogananda Pittman, the acting head of the U.S. Capitol Police, called for making the fence permanent, citing the need for “vast improvements” to security. Even with the recent violence fresh in their minds, D.C.’s elected leaders denounced the idea. Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted that the city “will not accept” a long-term fence. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the district’s nonvoting congresswoman, introduced a bill to block it. (The D.C. government has no jurisdiction over the Capitol grounds, which are federal territory, so Bowser can’t simply…

6 min
can astra zeneca heal itself?

Tens of millions of people around the world are desperately trying to get their hands on a potentially life-saving coronavirus vaccine. But a group of irate private-sector doctors in Italy is appealing to the country’s health ministry to avoid having to take the Covid-19 shot it’s offered them: the AstraZeneca Plc inoculation, which they believe is less effective. Their objection speaks to the growing backlash in Europe against the vaccine co-developed by Astra and the University of Oxford. Professionals working in Italy’s public-sector health system received vaccines from Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc.—both shown to be more than 90% effective—and the private-sector doctors are angry at being given what, in their view, is a second-class shot. “It’s not that we’re acting like spoiled children,” says Paolo Mezzana, a plastic surgeon who’s…

5 min
airbus has a post-pandemic flight plan

Every morning, Airbus SE Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury scans global air traffic data before checking in with carriers, suppliers, and the leasing companies that keep aircraft deliveries ticking along, even during a time of unprecedented crisis. Although the numbers make for grim reading, this meticulous approach has given Faury an unvarnished view of the aviation industry and the contours of life after the pandemic. This much is clear: Travel patterns have changed fundamentally, and so will aircraft requirements. The biggest planes serving long routes will be the last to return to the skies as carriers favor shorter trips with small aircraft that are nimble and fuel-efficient. Those trends could favor Airbus, which keeps expanding its popular A320 family of jetliners and is considering a hydrogen-powered model for smaller distances by…