“Coronavirus pandemic: Tracking the global outbreak” BBC, July 15, 2020 / Data: ECDC / Chart: BBC Visual and Data Journalism Team

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Stock futures point to another positive day after a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna showed promise in its Phase 1 study. U.S. stocks surged yesterday following earnings news from banks. JPMorgan beat estimates for revenue and profit while Citigroup fell and Wells Fargo slumped after reporting a $2.4 billion loss in the quarter. Apple shares were up in premarket trade after the company won an appeal against a $15 billion EU tax bill. 

The Trump Administration has ordered hospitals to bypass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and send all patient information to a central database in Washington beginning Wednesday. The move raises questions about transparency and alarms health experts who fear the data will be politicized. Testing is overwhelmed as coronavirus cases continue to rise across the country, leaving the U.S. nearly back to where it stood in March when tests were limited to the sickest patients. 

A Mexican immigrant died in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody over the weekend after contracting coronavirus, marking the third known ICE detainee death linked to COVID-19. More than 3,000 immigrants have tested positive for coronavirus while in ICE custody, according to the agency. Leaders from private firms that run ICE detention centers have pledged to members of Congress that they will work to stop the spread of the virus through employees wearing masks and staying home if they are sick. One asylum seeker who fled to Texas to escape violence tested positive for coronavirus after being placed in quarantine with dozens of other women and being housed with women who showed symptoms of the disease. 

In an immigration policy reversal, the Trump administration announced Tuesday it would no longer require foreign students to attend in-person classes during the pandemic in order to remain in the country following growing opposition from universities, Silicon Valley, and 20 states.  

The CDC and the World Health Organization now recommend people wear masks as a way to slow the spread of the virus, saying the U.S. “could get coronavirus under control in one to two months if everyone wears a mask.” The announcement comes as some states, like Florida, leave mask mandates up to local cities and counties, forcing businesses to enforce face-covering requirements on their own. More Republicans are wearing masks, according to a new poll, indicating a weakening partisan divide over masks as the outbreak continues to grow. This is a stark contrast from late June when a Pew Research poll showed Democrats were twice as likely as Republicans to say that masks should always be worn (63% vs. 29%). 

More than 1,200 CDC employees have signed a letter decrying the “toxic culture” of racism within the agency and detailing to Director Robert Redfield the need to “overhaul a racist system.” The letter is written in the context of the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on Black people and the recent calls for justice across the country following George Floyd’s death. It notes that Black employees only make up 10% of senior leadership and that none of the “under-funded efforts” to diversify the workforce over the past several decades have made much difference. 

Black nurses across the UK are coming forward saying they have experienced racism in the workplace, which has worsened since the pandemic and left them vulnerable to harassment and discrimination. One survey reports about four-in-ten Black and Asian adults say people have acted as if they were uncomfortable around them because of their race since the beginning of the outbreak and they worry other people might be suspicious of them if they wear a mask in public. In March, diversity job openings fell nearly 60% after coronavirus but as Black Lives Matter protests sparked new commitments, job openings in that category have rebounded. 

The pandemic is highlighting a new competition among work-from-home technologies as firms rush to replicate communication and collaboration that unfolds in person at the office. Slack and Microsoft Teams have emerged as front-runners among a market worth billions.

How start-ups see the future of remote work – World Economic Forum – 7/15/2020
Although most survey respondents had plans to be back in the office within six months, those startups are rethinking their remote work policies as a direct result of COVID-19. […] Based on the startup responses, a realistic post-pandemic work scenario could involve 3 to 5 days of remote work a week, with a couple dedicated in-office days for the entire team.

5 reasons why you’re probably procrastinating more right now – Fast Company – 7/15/2020“It’s easy to see how something as simple as a commute and location change could make a difference. In the office, we have all these things that set us up to do things properly, even if we don’t feel like it. When we’re away from the office and isolated, it can become a lot harder to ‘rev that engine.’”

Bar Installs Electric Fence After Customers Fail to Socially Distance – Vice – 7/15/2020
“What was crystal clear is that drunk people can’t [or] won’t socially distance,” John Apter, the chairman of the Police Federation, said. (He added that on his first pre-pub shift, he had to deal with “naked men, happy drunks, angry drunks, fights and more angry drunks.”)

Can we detect COVID-19 by analysing speech signals? – Big Think – 7/15/2020
These biomarkers stem from disruptions the infection causes in the movement of muscles across the respiratory, laryngeal, and articulatory systems. A technology letter describing this research was recently  published in IEEE Open Journal of Engineering in Medicine and Biology.

What Happened When Americans Had to Wear Masks During the 1918 Flu Pandemic – Open Culture – 7/15/2020
The resistance may seem symptomatic of the contemporary political climate, but there is ample precedent for it during the spread of so-called Spanish Flu, which took the lives of 675,000 Americans a little over a hundred years ago. Even when forced to wear masks by law or face jail time, many Americans absolutely refused to do so.

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

Rick Bonnell @rick_bonnell 15 Jul Monday, I wrote about 3 Hornets playing outside NBA supervision in the pandemic. Now, Michael Beasley, who was in that game, has reportedly tested positive for coronavirus.

Drew Johnson @Drews_Views 14 Jul Why in the world won’t North American sports leagues allow fans under 60 to attend games if they wear masks & undergo temperature scans? At this rate, it’ll be years before fans can attend any #NFL, #NBA, #NHL or #MLB games — and MLB & the NHL will go under #coronavirus #COVID19

Mark Giannotto @mgiannotto 14 Jul COLUMN: Don’t overthink things. The Grizzlies are having fun playing basketball again. The NBA’s Disney World bubble seems viable (and full of new fishing aficionados). That’s enough for right now.

Kyle Feldscher @Kyle_Feldscher 14 Jul It’s been clear since the first days of this pandemic that the health of sports stars were of higher value than regular people. In early March — when almost no regular Joe or Jill could get a test — the entire Utah Jazz got tested no problem.

Jason Jones @mr_jasonjones 14 Jul Buddy Hield said he has to be more careful, doesn’t think he caught the coronavirus playing basketball, noting no one else he played with tested positive.

CONTENT FACTS

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