Bloomberg Businessweek November 2, 2020

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2 min
in brief

Global coronavirus cases topped 44.1 million, and deaths exceeded 1.16m Europe has seen a rapid resurgence in infections, forcing governments to consider reimposing all-out lockdowns. Germany will close all restaurants, bars, concerts, and cinemas for a month beginning Nov. 2. The U.S. stock market fell more than 5% over three days starting on Monday, Oct. 26, as rising infections and tougher shutdowns added to worries about the pandemic’s economic hit. “We’re not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics, and other mitigation areas.” White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, responding to the increase in Covid-19 cases in the U.S. and a fresh outbreak among several of Vice President Mike Pence’s aides. Democrats accused the administration of admitting defeat. The U.S. Senate confirmed Amy…

3 min
the u.s. would help itself by helping the world beat covid-19

Restoring America’s respected position in the international community is an important matter for voters to consider. A return to partnership with other countries on trade, climate change, and many more issues would be a boon to health and prosperity for the U.S. and the world. At the moment, a surpassing concern is to create and distribute a vaccine against the coronavirus. The U.S. needs to join the international push—already well under way—to see that vulnerable people in every country can be inoculated as quickly as possible. At this point, more than 180 countries have joined the global vaccine purchasing pool known as Covax (Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility)—including, recently, China. Of the dozen or so countries still on the sidelines, the U.S. stands alone in publicly rejecting the project. The Trump…

1 min
and the winner is …

The U.S. Federal Reserve sets its benchmark on Nov. 5, two days after the general election. Economists expect borrowing costs to remain steady at 0.25%. Berkshire Hathaway reports earnings on Nov. 7. Warren Buffett has had a busy quarter, including a financing deal for E.W. Scripps and a bet on software maker Snowflake. The European Commission releases its quarterly economic forecasts on Nov. 5. With the virus making a brutal comeback, the bloc is facing another downturn. Alibaba delivers earnings on Nov. 5. China’s largest and most valuable corporation has benefited from retail sales in Asia rebounding after Covid restrictions eased. Malaysia unveils its annual budget on Nov. 6. The government has promised a combination of business-friendly policies and fiscal stimulus to help stabilize the economy next year. Fans waiting for the latest James Bond…

9 min
return of the dragon

No foreign policy issue will plague the winner of the White House more than China. There’s already a debate raging among China watchers over what Washington’s next steps should be. Some favor a “reset” to tamp down tensions and return to more constructive diplomacy. Others are fearful of that very reset and argue the U.S. mustn’t stray from the hard line. The choices made by the next administration will be critical. As the U.S. struggles to contain the coronavirus outbreak and restart its economy, China appears to be gaining strength. Its gross domestic product expanded 4.9% in the third quarter, an astounding rebound in a world still mostly mired in a pandemic-induced paralysis. (Official Chinese data have to be taken with several grains of salt, but economists generally agree the economy…

5 min
the antibody underdog

In April, Eli Lilly & Co. Chief Executive Officer David Ricks made a radical decision. He told U.S. regulators the drug giant would halt production of a colon cancer medicine at a New Jersey plant in order to start making a coronavirus antibody treatment that hadn’t even moved into human testing. “We had no evidence it would work,” Ricks recalls. “It now sounds slightly crazy, but in the middle of the pandemic, it seemed like the right thing to do.” It was an expensive risk. Or as Ricks puts it, just the kind of “unusual maneuver” necessary to bring patients a treatment when they need it most: before a vaccine becomes widely available (page 42). Any day, Lilly could find out whether the bet has paid off. Both Lilly and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals…

6 min
when the pitchman isn’t human

During the pandemic, many social media influencers—those online tastemakers marketers use to reach young, connected consumers—have been stuck at home. But not Seraphine, whose flowing pink hair, catchy songs, and cute Instagram posts about her cat have won her a devoted fan base of nearly 400,000 followers who track her every move. She’s busy making appearances in Shanghai to promote her music and prepping for a future collaboration with K-pop girl group K/DA. Dealing with the harsh realities of pandemic life is easier for her because, well, she’s not real. Seraphine is a digital creation of Riot Games Inc., the folks behind League of Legends, a hit e-sports game. So she can keep cranking out posts—and marketing tie-ins—on Twitter, Instagram, and SoundCloud despite lock-downs or travel restrictions. (That doesn’t mean she…