ByKevin Sheekey

Johns Hopkins Leads in Covid Data.

Early in the pandemic, the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center quickly became the premier source of Covid-19 data for governments, the public, and the media who needed accurate and transparent data to respond to the crisis.

CBS News went behind the scenes of the Resource Center to interview Beth Blauer, Executive Director at Johns Hopkins University Centers for Civic Impact, who discussed how the group’s data is helping world leaders make informed decisions. 

Data from the Resource Center’s Global COVID-19 Dashboard — developed by Johns Hopkins University professor Lauren Gardner — was cited by President Joe Biden this week as part of a moment of silence for the 500,000 Covid fatalities in the United States.

“We are committed to making this as effective as possible, not only for our public user, but also for governments who are having to use this data to navigate public decision-making,” Blauer said.

Watch the full segment here.

Will the FDA Stand Up to Big Pharma?

A debate is raging over who will lead the F.D.A. in the pandemic’s critical next phase. The reported front-runners have been Dr. Janet Woodcock, the agency’s acting commissioner and holdover from the Trump administration, and Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, a former high-ranking F.D.A. official and vice dean at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Dr. Sharfstein often criticized the Trump administration’s pandemic response, and called for the F.D.A. to “stand up for itself and for science, not politics.”

In 2008, when Dr. Sharfstein’s name was floated for the top spot, the pharmaceutical industry opposed the move, protesting his criticism of off-label drug marketing and gifts from pharmaceutical companies to physicians. He called the companies to task over the cough and cold medications marketed for kids that were resulting in a major increase in poison control center calls.

new report by BioCentury raises the prospect that big pharmaceutical companies may have won again in opposing his nomination, despite several well-known public health experts who endorsed Sharfstein saying he would bring fresh leadership to the agency.

In a letter of support to President Biden, they wrote: “Dr. Sharfstein knows the F.D.A. and will ensure that its decision-making is scientifically beyond reproach, transparent and based on the principles of public health.”

I couldn’t agree more.

More Progress for Climate Transparency.

Janet Yellen Says U.S. Treasury Will Focus on Climate Risk Transparency

“COVID-19 has once again shown us the need for better global cooperation to address the existential threat of our time: climate change,” the Treasury Secretary wrote in a letter to her G20 colleagues.

Big EndorsementSEC Opens Review of Corporate Climate Change Disclosures

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday said it would review how companies are disclosing the risks they face from climate change, as it looks to refresh its more than decade-old guidance on the issue.

Mary Schapiro, who was SEC chair when the agency issued its 2010 guidance, said it is likely the agency will decide whether to move to mandatory climate change disclosures in the next four years.

“There is this enormous force of inevitability, in my mind, that we will get to high-quality climate risk disclosures globally,” said Schapiro, now the head of the Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Secretariat and Vice Chair for Global Public Policy at Bloomberg LP.

Website Revamp of the Week.

Bloomberg Philanthropies has unveiled its newly designed website, built in close collaboration with the team at Bloomberg LP marketing.

Click here to see how we’re working hard to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people.

Weekend Guide.

NYC Walking TourFighting Dark

London Virtual TourBlack Cultural Archives

New to Streaming‘The United States vs. Billie Holiday’

Streaming RecommendationCall My Agent!

Golden Globes PreviewFour Nominees Recommend Their Favorite Nominees To Screen Before Sunday’s Awards

How Tech Helps Slow the Spread.

Read my Daily News Op-Ed about why you, your family, colleagues and friends should download and activate your state’s app now. The more people who use it, the more effective it is.

New Yorkers, download your app here.

Not in New York? Find your local app or alerts here

Best of Late Night.

“The Biden Administration is reportedly preparing sanctions to punish Russia for its widespread breach of U.S. government computers last year. Wow, the only thing that last president ever did to punish Russia was lose his second election.”
— Seth Meyers

On news that the U.S. Postal Service would be upgrading its fleet of mail delivery trucks, with some to be electric:

“Of course there’s a controversy. Many of the new trucks will be electric, but not all of them, and the precise mix has already elicited criticism from environmentalists. I understand their concern — I mean, you want the greenest vehicle possible when you’re delivering thousands of pounds of Amazon Rainforest that are now Amazon boxes.”
— Stephen Colbert

“According to CNN, pandemic paranoia is a real thing. Or is it? Who paid you to say that, CNN? How would you know that I’m paranoid?”
— Stephen Colbert

“The Philadelphia International Airport has begun offering travelers the ability to have food delivered to their gates by a robot named Gita. Meanwhile, travelers at LaGuardia have developed into a hunter-gatherer society.”
— Seth Meyers

“President Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden are set to visit Houston, Texas on Friday. ‘I would never go to Texas this time of year,’ said Ted Cruz.”
— Seth Meyers

Sheekey Daily Read Archive.

View recent editions here.

About the Sheekey Daily Read

I’m always searching for the stories that shine a light on – and offer solutions to – some of the most pressing issues of our time. I started my daily email to capture and share the stories I think are important. Subscribe here to get the Sheekey Daily Read in your inbox each day.
– Kevin Sheekey