Philadelphians have to mask up
The city of Philadelphia became the first major US metropolis to demand that individuals wear masks inside after a surge in cases caused by the Omicron variant BA.2. Also yesterday, the White House's new Covid response coordinator said that the federal mask requirement for public transportation could be extended past its current expiration date of April 18.
Ukraine’s economy is shrinking
According to the World Bank, Ukraine's economy will be slashed by 45% this year as a result of the war with Russia. The fighting has driven about half of Ukrainian firms to close, disrupted aproximately 90% of Ukraine's major grain exports, and made economic activity virtually impossible in "large swaths" of territory due to damaged infrastructure. This year, the Russian economy is expected to shrink by 11.2%.
Mariupol’s mayor said that more than 10,000 civilians were killed during Russia’s ongoing assault on the city (which remains, tenuously, in Ukrainian hands). Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, and it did not go well. Nehammer said he had “no positive impression” of the chat and told Putin that sanctions would remain in place “as long as people continue to die in Ukraine.”