“In Pictures: COVID-19 ravages Amazon river communities in Brazil” Al Jazeera, June 30, 2020 / Image: Maria Angela is transferred onto an ambulance boat to be taken to hospital in the municipality of Portel. Healthcare workers continued to visit riverside communities to check on residents during the coronavirus outbreak. UESLEI MARCELINO/REUTERS


U.S. stock futures are anticipating a flat opening following a strong rally in the previous session. Tuesday marks the last trading day of the second quarter. Oil prices were down slightly on futures markets coinciding with Royal Dutch Shell announcing its plan to write off up to $22 billion from the value of oil and gas assets, compounding the idea that energy companies are reducing in value as a result of the pandemic. Oil and gas producer Chesapeake Energy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection over the weekend, representing a causality of a larger issue – one-third of face value energy bonds in the “ICE BofA High Yield Bond index” are trading at distressed levels. 

The World Health Organization director-general warned “the worst is yet to come” as coronavirus cases escalate across multiple states. More than half of the 10 million coronavirus cases to date are in the Americas. Arizona’s Gov. Doug Ducey (R-AZ) ordered state bars, gyms, movie theaters and water parks to shut down for at least a month amid thousands of new cases in the state. 

One model shows Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey are the only four states on track to containing COVID-19, based on the number of active cases dropping and testing capacity. One hospital in Boston built a coronavirus forecasting system, likening it to a hurricane warning system, that predicts the timing and magnitude of clinical demands. 

Two friends who were tested for coronavirus received drastically different bills – one was charged $199 and the other $6,408, underscoring the unpredictable nature of medical bills for patients who receive identical care, largely due to the disparity of health insurance policies and lack of government regulation. Amid President Donald Trump’s efforts to eliminate Obamacare, House Democrats approved a major expansion of the law, voicing their support to making healthcare affordable. 

The healthcare system continues to see cracks exacerbated by coronavirus. In 2018, the average hospital had a 2% operating margin, which was even worse in rural areas. Hospitals have now lost billions of dollars in revenue due to the pandemic – one association estimates hospitals are bleeding fifty billion a month – and are struggling to figure out routine care while keeping patients safe and preparing for possible surges of COVID-19. 

Two members of the Senate are calling for an investigation of five states that ordered nursing homes to accept COVID-19-positive patients who were discharged from hospitals. The policies that allowed this stem from the idea of keeping hospitals from being overrun, but the senators note that nursing homes have struggled to control infections even before coronavirus. Nearly 20% of Michigan’s coronavirus cases involve nursing home residents or staff and 50 people recently tested positive at a nursing home in St. Petersburg, Florida. It is estimated tens of thousands of nursing home workers have contracted the virus and at least 200 have died, according to one analysis. 

As the race for a coronavirus vaccine accelerates, the Food and Drug Administration plans to release guidance on Tuesday outlining its conditions for approving a vaccine, including the item it must be at least 50% more effective than a placebo in preventing the disease. With more than 140 vaccines in the works, efforts are speeding up at a pace that is much faster than a typical vaccine, which typically takes years. In just six months since SARS-CoV-2 was first discovered, 17 vaccine candidates are already in human trials.

For millennials, ‘once in a generation’ came around twice – The Week – 6/30/2020
Only now, more than a decade into our independent adult lives, are many of us even beginning to achieve some semblance of job security or financial independence. And just a few months into a global pandemic, we are right back where we started.

High school graduates are changing their college plans because of COVID-19 – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – 6/30/2020
Many high school students who were thrilled to get accepted to the colleges and universities of their choice earlier this year will need to change their plans and either choose a less costly option for higher education or skip this year altogether due to financial stress on their families brought on by the COVID-19 crisis.

America’s Great—if Small—Return to Drive-In Theaters – Wired – 6/30/2020
Really, there isn’t a better metaphor than the drive-in for the current state of socializing in many American cities. People are together, or alone—or together alone—in individual clusters, isolated from each other while also sharing in the same experience.

VICE – Concerts Are Canceled, So Musicians Are Heading Back to Risky Day Jobs – Vice – 6/30/2020
“More than half of my income last year was made through music, and now thousands of dollars in gigs are just off the table with no real end in sight,” says Jake Stilson, the frontman of Grand Rapids, MI Americana band the Bootstrap Boys and a bartender at one of his city’s craft breweries.

COVID-19 maps may mislead—even when they come from trusted sources – Fast Company – 6/30/2020
Low case numbers might mean that there isn’t much testing being done. If the percentage of positive cases (positive test rate) is high, we might be missing cases. So not accounting for the number of tests can be misleading.


The US Sun @TheSunUS 30 Jun Second round of #stimulus checks ‘almost inevitable’ as COVID-19 cases spike

Paul D. Tonko @PaulTonko 29 Jun House Democrats passed the Heroes Act over a month ago, but Trump and McConnell are refusing to even begin formal negotiations on additional stimulus funding until late July.

Matthew Yglesias @mattyglesias 30 Jun Well at least we shamed some chain restaurants into giving back the money. Well done.

Brad Spellberg @BradSpellberg 30 Jun And check out this FABULOUS article in NYT by Ms. Interlandi. 100% in alignment with Broken, Bankrupt, and Dying. @JInterlandiEmployer-Based Health Care, Meet Massive Unemployment

Robert Siciliano @RobertSiciliano 30 Jun Beware Of Stimulus Check Scams, Internet Security Expert WarnsIt’s common thinking that everyone is coming together during these tough times. #RobertSiciliano is a #securityawareness expert @ #protectnow #protectnowllct


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