India’s Covid-19 crisis has resulted in record numbers of cases and deaths. WSJ breaks down the chain of events that led to the fastest-growing wave of infection since the pandemic started, and what it means for the world. Photo: Samuel Rajkumar/Reuters
While the automotive industry was ravaged early on in the pandemic thanks to lockdown measures and a dramatic decrease in travel, it more recently has begun facing a new problem: a shortage of microchips.
Microchips are vital to much of a vehicle’s key functions, such as engine control, transmission, infotainment systems, and more. In the last half of 2020 and now in 2021, vehicle sales recovered fairly quickly, faster than automakers anticipated.
Suddenly, they were struggling to meet demand. At the same time, chipmakers were experiencing supply shortages and increased demand from other sectors, such as personal electronics. With the resulting lack of microchip supply, automakers have been forced to slow production, even on their most popular models. For several automakers, the shortage is expected to cost them $1 billion or more — and even still, the alternatives are worryingly few.
In 2018, Michael Lewis published “The Fifth Risk,” which argued, in short, that the federal government was underprepared for a variety of disaster scenarios. Guess what his new book is about? Lewis visits the podcast this week to discuss “The Premonition,” which recounts the initial response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It wasn’t just Trump,” Lewis says. “Trump made everything worse. But there had ben changes in the American government, and changes in particular at the C.D.C., that made them less and less capable of actually controlling disease and more and more like a fine academic institution that came in after the battle and tried to assess what had happened; but not equipped for actual battlefield command. The book doesn’t get to the pandemic until Page 160. The back story tells you how the story is going to play out.”
The historian Annette Gordon-Reed visits the podcast to talk about her new book, “On Juneteenth,” which combines history about slavery in Texas and Juneteenth with more personal, essayistic writing about her own family and childhood.
“This is a departure for me, but it is actually the kind of writing that I always thought that I would be doing when I was growing up, dreaming about being a writer,” Gordon-Reed says. “I’ve always been a great admirer of James Baldwin, and Gore Vidal’s essays I thought were wonderful, better than the novels, and that’s the kind of thing that I wanted to do. So it was sort of a dream come true for me to be able to take this form and talk about some things that were very important to me.”
Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history during this year of its 125th anniversary; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Parul Sehgal and John Williams talk about the latest in literary criticism. Pamela Paul is the host.
Here are the books discussed by the critics this week:
“The Secret to Superhuman Strength” by Alison Bechdel
“Jackpot” by Michael Mechanic
Alaskan tourism was slammed by the pandemic, including charter tours. One business owner said he typically had as many as 700 tourists a summer, but last year there were just 12. In a push to get tourism to rebound, Alaska is offering to vaccinate tourists for free and with so many already vaccinated there, many are hopeful for the upcoming season.
A.M. Edition for April 26. WSJ’s Chip Cutter on vaccine requirements among some employers. The U.S. offers aid to India as its Covid-19 cases skyrocket.
WSJ’s Quentin Webb looks at which nations will lead the economic recovery from the pandemic. This year’s Oscar winners. Marc Stewart hosts.
An average of 30 container ships a day have been stuck outside the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach just waiting to deliver their goods. The backlog is part of a global supply-chain mess spurred by the pandemic that means consumers could see delivery delays for weeks. Photo Composite: Adam Falk/The Wall Street Journal
Remember the first COVID-19 vaccine jabs? They gave us hope that life might return to what it was before the pandemic. If we could only get enough people vaccinated. But some of the nations leading the world in vaccinations are still struggling with the coronavirus.
The shutdown of cruise lines during the pandemic has had far-reaching economic consequences for America’s ports. In this video, WSJ reporter Julie Bykowicz visits Port Canaveral’s once-bustling cruise terminal to learn about what’s next for the industry.
Greece and Portugal are beginning to reopen parts of their countries and economies, even while other European countries enforce stricter lockdowns. Small retailers in most of #Greece reopened on Monday, with a limit of 20 people indoors at a time. Critics say it is a paradox to reopen shops while Covid-19 cases continue to rise and hospitals remain under pressure. Meanwhile in #Portugal, café terraces, gyms and secondary schools are opening.
With Americans stuck at home, snack food has become a valuable commodity for the pandemic stressed consumer. North American sales of savory snacks like chips, popcorn, and pretzels climbed to $56.9 billion in 2020. In stressful times, people turn to snacking for comfort and Covid-19 has transformed kitchens across the U.S. into giant vending machines. So, has Covid-19 put an end to the shift to healthier snacks?