☕️ No more burping contests

The US drops Covid testing rules for intl. air passengers...
June 11, 2022 View Online | Sign Up | Shop

Morning Brew


Good morning. Hope you've got an exciting Saturday lined up. Here are a few programming notes from our end:

  • Remember, the Brew's Sunday newsletter is getting a fresh look tomorrow. Pumped for you to see it.
  • That newsletter won't feature Open House, our real estate guessing game, but we love it so much that we're experimenting with bringing it to Saturdays. Let us know if you think it's a good addition.

Neal Freyman, Jamie Wilde, Matty Merritt














*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 7:00pm ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: The S&P 500 is back on the bear market watch list after a vicious sell-off yesterday capped off its worst week since January. Investors were mad and disappointed by the inflation report that dropped Friday morning.
  • About that inflation report: It's getting as terrible reviews as Morbius. Prices jumped 8.6% last month, which is a faster pace than in April and higher than expectations. Rents, food, energy, and used cars all contributed to the price increases, putting even more pressure on the Fed to hike interest rates substantially throughout the summer and into the fall. Soaring inflation is going to be around for a while, y'all.


The US doesn't need your negativity on this plane

A negative test split in two over a passport Francis Scialabba

The era of scrambling to find Airbnbs in Mexico City because you tested positive for Covid before your flight home is officially over.

The Biden administration said that it's dropping its international air travel testing requirement at 12:01am tomorrow, bringing one of the last remaining federal policies intended to curb the spread of Covid to an end.

What that policy was: All international air passengers—regardless of citizenship or vaccination status—were required to test negative for Covid within one day of boarding a flight to the US. There was an exemption for people who had recently recovered from Covid.

A win for airlines

The aviation industry had been lobbying the government to drop this requirement for months. Execs argued the rule was impeding international travel by adding another layer of uncertainty onto the already stressful experience of last-minute Duolingo cramming.

American Airlines CEO Robert Isom called the policy "nonsensical" last week, citing the fact that 75% of the countries the airline serves had dropped testing requirements. Plus, people entering the US at land borders weren't required to show a negative test before crossing into the country. "It's a real impediment to travel," United CEO Scott Kirby told the WSJ last month.

Domestic air travel has mostly recovered to pre-Covid levels, but international travel has not rebounded in the same way. The US Travel Association estimated that ending the testing rule could spur an additional $9 billion in travel spending for the rest of the year.

So is the virus going to rip because of this? Public health experts say, at most, that testing requirements might slow the spread of Covid, but they don't stop it all together.

  • Stewart Simonson, the assistant director general at the World Health Organization's NY office, told USA Today that while a testing requirement signals to the public that politicians are doing something about Covid, "there's a lot of uncertainty" about its ability to curb the virus.
  • Dr. Vin Gupta, a former health adviser to Biden, argued that it's "well past time to drop the testing requirement to international travelers to the US" in a WSJ interview.

Zoom out: Covid levels in the US have stayed pretty flat (but at elevated levels) over the past few weeks. A surge in the Northeast appears to be waning, while cases are spreading the fastest in warm-weather vacation hotspots such as Miami, Honolulu, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.—NF



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Tour de headlines

Geico gecko saying "wait, what?" Geico via Giphy

NSFW insurance claim: Geico has been ordered to pay $5.2 million to a Missouri woman who said she contracted HPV, a sexually transmitted disease, after having sex in a car that was insured by the company. Geico argued that its insurance coverage shouldn't apply for damages that "did not arise out of the normal use of the vehicle," but an arbitrator awarded the woman $5.2 million last year and a Missouri appeals court upheld the ruling this week.

Meta and Sheryl Sandberg's breakup is getting messy. Lawyers have been investigating the COO's use of company resources for personal projects, such as her upcoming wedding, the WSJ reported. Sandberg announced last week that she'd be leaving the company after 14 years, and people close to her said that the investigation wasn't a factor in her decision, the WSJ wrote.

Stop only caring about hot fish, ecologists say in a new paper. The researchers found that fish deemed ugly—the ones without striking color patterns, or that have elongated bodies—are most at threat of extinction and are more likely to be overfished than their foxy cousins. That's a problem, because the ugly fish are more evolutionarily distinct, and thus more ecologically important.


RIP Russian Grimace, you would have loved the McChicken

Green background with orange circle representing hamburger patty and two orange "fries" TASS, Russia state-affiliated media

Russia is hoping a minimalist redesign can replace the iconic golden arches that once symbolized the end of Cold War hostility—no pressure.

The company that bought McDonald's restaurants in Russia plans to reopen its first 15 restaurants tomorrow under a new brand. The name is still a secret, but the new logo released on Thursday is meant to reflect two fries and a hamburger patty. (Probably not a coincidence: It still looks like an "M.")

McDonald's was one of the highest-profile American businesses to bounce after Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February. Last month, the chain sold all of its locations in the country to local licensee Alexander Govor, taking an accounting charge of $1.4 billion in the process.

Zoom out: Nearly 1,000 Western businesses have said they'll reduce their operations in Russia or leave the country entirely as a result of its aggressions. So far, it's cost them more than $59 billion, according to the WSJ.—MM



No more burping contests on the farm in New Zealand

A cow boops the screen MeinMontafon/Giphy

The country down under the country down under announced a plan this week to counter climate change by taxing livestock's methane-filled burps. It would make New Zealand the first country to charge farmers for their animals' greenhouse gas emissions.

  • The plan would also offer incentives to farmers for reducing or offsetting emissions by taking measures like changing animal feed or planting trees.

Livestock's contribution to climate change is well documented, and not just by Leo DiCaprio: Emissions from cows alone make up about 40% of greenhouse gases globally, and in New Zealand, cows and sheep outnumber people 7:1.

What about farts? They're nbd. UC Davis scientist Ermias Kebreab told NPR of cows, "Most of the gas is formed in their stomach, so in their guts, particularly in the first chamber. And so they belch it out." Fun fact!

Looking ahead…a final decision on burp taxation will come by the end of this year, but Kiwi legislators weighing the issue may soon feel as beseiged as Shrek: New Zealand farmers have set down their Wattie's and picked up their pitchforks in response to similar proposals in the past.—JW



Key performance indicators

Tiger Woods Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Stat: Tiger Woods has achieved every kid's dream: become a billionaire by playing professional sports. Tiger's net worth has hit the three-comma mark, Forbes estimates, and he joins LeBron James as the only athletes who became billionaires while they were still active in their respective sports. Tiger's fortune mostly comes from off-the-course endorsement deals; his golf earnings account for less than 10%.

Quote: "I don't know if we can keep our bathrooms open."

Starbucks interim CEO Howard Schultz said at the NYT DealBook DC policy forum that he's reconsidering the company's policy that allows anyone—even noncustomers—to use Starbucks bathrooms. Schultz cited a growing mental health problem that made it unsafe for employees to manage the stores.

Read: A billion-dollar crypto gaming startup promised riches and delivered disaster. (Businessweek)


Computer, enhance

Strange, two-legged wolf-like creature outside fence at Amarillo Zoo City of Amarillo

There's something besides $6 gas to be worried about: an Unidentified Amarillo Object (UAO). A security camera at the Amarillo Zoo caught this strange creature prancing outside the zoo's fence at 1:25am on May 21, and the zoo tasked the public with helping to identify what it is. Here are a few possibilities:

  • A furry on their way home from a night on the town
  • Mothman with a mullet
  • The Cookie Crisp wolf


Saturday sketch

Two people wrestling and one is cc'ing his manager on an email Max Knoblauch




Take care of your pet, no sweat. Hey, pet parents: How does immediate, 24/7 access to licensed veterinary professionals sound? Fuzzy memberships are affordable (just a fraction of the cost of in-person treatment!) and can help you provide the best care possible for your pets. Try it with a 7-day free trial.


  • At least 20 million people watched the first televised hearing held by the House committee investigating the Capitol attack Thursday night—about on par with a major Sunday Night Football game.
  • Tesla filed for a 3:1 stock split.
  • US luxury home sales plunged in the three months through April for their largest drop since the pandemic began.
  • Microsoft's Xbox TV app will go live later this month, which will allow 2022 Samsung smart TV and monitor owners to play games without a console.


Which book can attract anyone toward your field of study? Lots of folks answered here.

Weekend conversation starters:


The puzzle section

Brew Crossword: This week's crossword has nothing to do with sports, but we hope you paid at least a little attention during the Olympics. Play the national anthem-themed crossword here.

Open house

Welcome to Open House, the only newsletter section that's OK with living in an old church. We'll give you a few facts about a listing and you try to guess the price.

1940s church in Asheville, North Carolina.Canopy MLS

Today's home is the former Asheville United Christian Church in beautiful Asheville, NC, barely a five-minute walk from the French Broad River that runs through the town. The 3,824-square-foot building dates back to 1940, features absolutely zero natural lighting, and can be used for commercial or residential purposes (work + play all on one property). Amenities include:

  • Not a single bedroom (yet!)
  • Extremely punchable ceiling tiles
  • Plenty of matching seating

How much for this future jam band concert venue?

Travel is back!

Dive into the conversation about rethinking travel, tourism, and a $10 trillion industry.

Don't miss out on more from the Brew:

Have you ever wondered why personal trainers barely exercise?

🏙 Calling all innovators! Join us at the first-ever Emerging Tech Brew Summit on September 29 in NYC. Secure your early bird ticket today and save.


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$1.7 million


Written by Neal Freyman, Matty Merritt, and Jamie Wilde

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