Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

9 great reads from CNET this week

The coronavirus officially becomes a pandemic. But as tempting as an escape to Mars might seem, we discover life there wouldn't be easy. Also: Passwords are rapidly becoming passé.

2 min read
For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO and CDC websites.

It was a week of epidemic proportions. And then some.

Last Saturday, the coronavirus prompted New York's governor to declare a state of emergency; the US capital reported its first case of COVID-19; and there were rumblings Italy would lock down its northern region.

By midweek, all of Italy was cordoned off, the US stock market had seen trading halted for a time to short-circuit panic, cases in the states had moved into quadruple digits, and the World Health Organization had officially declared a pandemic.

The COVID-19 crisis has led to everything from canceled tech conferences to scuttled sports seasons to various altruistic efforts to (sigh) unfortunate online scams. There have even been celebrity infections and a Magic Kingdom closure. And CNET has been here to serve as a trusted source of advice and news on the pandemic, helping you understand what's going on and, when complicated topics need explaining, explaining them.

Not everything's been about the virus though. Jack Dorsey dodged an ouster attempt. Elon Musk swore his broadband satellites wouldn't make astronomers blind. And President Trump retweeted a manipulated clip of Joe Biden (and Twitter slapped a warning label on it). There's been a touch of comedy relief, too: With NASA upgrading a system on the International Space Station that turns urine into drinking water, all we can say is, Yes, but will it be sparkling?

Here are some of the week's stories you don't want to miss.

Coronavirus is a pandemic: What that means for you

COVID-19 is now considered a pandemic according to WHO -- what that really means for your health and safety.

Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE)

How to prepare and stock up for a coronavirus quarantine

You'll need more than just toilet paper.

Getty Images

E3 canceled: Here's what Microsoft, Ubisoft and others are doing

Companies are still planning to announce new games and consoles through online streams.


Dump your passwords, improve your security -- really

Security keys, biometrics and a technology called FIDO are upgrading today's feeble security foundation.

Hardware security key illustration
Brett Pearce/CNET

The terrifying reality of actually living on Mars

The first spaceships that could carry humans to the red planet are being developed now, but we need to discuss accommodations once we're there.

Robert Rodriguez/CNET

Password managers: A little pain for a lot of security

They're your friend, or at least a helpful acquaintance.

Secret password written on hand
Stephen Shankland/CNET

A plan to protect child safety could put your privacy at risk

Backers of the EARN IT Act focus on protecting children from being exploited, but security experts say the bill actually chips away at your encrypted messages.

Taylor Martin/CNET

Password managers are great -- until you lose the password to your password manager

Commentary: Don't be me.

Angela Lang/CNET

I turned my skateboard into an electric one and it was like snowboarding on asphalt

Skateboarders fear change. Enter the Unlimited x Loaded conversion kit: a kit that lets you transform the old board you know and love into an electric one.

Mark Licea/CNET