WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The number of Americans who filed for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week to 1.3 million vs. economist’s estimates of 1.25 million. U.S. stock futures slipped and Chinese stocks dropped by the most in over five months as concerns flared up regarding rising coronavirus infections. China reported its country’s GDP grew by 3.2% in the second quarter, rebounding from the previous quarter’s contraction.
Earnings season for big banks comes to a close with Morgan Stanley reporting blowout earnings and revenue and Bank of America beating earnings estimates, though EPS and revenue declined. Johnson & Johnson raised its full-year profit forecast and beat analysts’ estimates due to strength in its pharmaceuticals unit, which cushioned a steep fall in medical device sales as the pandemic delays non-urgent procedures.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported nearly 61,000 new cases of coronavirus in the U.S. on Wednesday, with Arizona, Florida, and Texas accounting for almost half of the total. As Georgia reports its second-highest daily coronavirus case count to date, Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) explicitly banned cities and counties from adopting rules requiring masks or other face coverings. The governor has called such a requirement “a bridge too far.” On Wednesday, Oklahoma’s governor became the first state leader to confirm he was diagnosed with COVID-19. Gov. Kevin Stitt (R-OK) attended President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa nearly three weeks ago and recently posted a photo of himself and his family dining at a crowded restaurant.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D-NY) administration has yet to make public the names of “dozens of nursing homes whose experiences could shed light on whether the administration’s controversial policy of sending hospital patients sick with COVID-19 into the homes contributed to the state’s staggering loss of life.”. Gov. Cuomo’s health department previously issued a report saying the directive did not significantly contribute to the nearly 6,500 deaths that occurred in homes across the state but failed to cite specific numbers. In Texas, coronavirus cases that were once largely driven by young Americans are rapidly spreading in the state’s nursing homes, threatening elderly residents who are most at risk.
At the dawn of the pandemic in March, the Trump administration waived the requirement that nurse’s aides receive 75 hours of training, allowing people who have studied eight hours online to become caregivers. The industry had been fighting for years to reduce training requirements but some fear the change was “premature” and contributed to some of the 55,000 nursing home residents and worker deaths.
The Latinx community has been hit hard by coronavirus, but many who primarily speak Spanish have still not been tested due to a lack of information in their language. In Maryland’s most populous jurisdiction, 74% of new COVID-19 patients are Hispanic. The area’s bilingual hotline has not been well-staffed and a testing site in a predominately Latinx area was moved without adequate notice. One county in Oregon, detailing the struggle that language barriers have created, emphasized the importance of bilingual contact-tracers. One contact tracer said he spends the majority of his day speaking Spanish due to the virus’s impact on the Latinx community.
For those with disabilities, the pandemic has presented a new set of challenges. In Philadelphia, PA, outdoor dining has made it hard for people with mobility aids to navigate as restaurants block sidewalks, curb cuts, and accessible parking spaces. Some advocates say the accessibility issues highlight how people with disabilities are often left out of conversations about policies and processes. One new study finds that people with developmental disabilities who live in group homes are significantly more likely than others to contract coronavirus and die from it.
Mass transit systems have taken unprecedented and expensive steps to curb the spread of coronavirus, including New York shutting down its subways overnight to test powerful ultraviolet lamps to disinfect its train cars. In the UK, Britain allowed e-scooter rentals to aid transport as people look for ways to move around while maintaining distance.
NAVIGATING THE PANDEMIC
Best and worst masks for coronavirus, from surgical masks to bandanas – Business Insider – 7/15/2020
A study published in the Journal of Hospital Infection last month evaluated more than 10 masks based on their ability to filter airborne coronavirus particles. The researchers found that N99 masks reduced a person’s risk of infection by 94% to 99% after 20 minutes of exposure in a highly contaminated environment.
Sweden on COVID-19: ‘the strategy is right’ even as its mortality rate exceeds the U.S. – Fortune – 7/16/2020
Data published by the agency in June indicated that about 10% of people in Stockholm—Sweden’s worst affected area—had developed antibodies to Covid-19. In the past four weeks, 17.6% of the more than 140,000 who signed up for free antibody tests in the capital region returned a positive result.
Coronavirus ‘support bubbles’ grow in popularity, but are they safe? – Star Tribune – 7/15/2020
“I don’t think we can promise people complete safety when they have face-to-face contact with others outside their household,” Per Block of Oxford University, the co-author of a study that suggested bubbles are a safer option compared with some other strategies, told the AP.
MIT researchers create a reusable silicone mask to replace the N95 – Fast Company – 7/16/2020
The team chose to use silicone rubber for the main part of the mask in part because of its durability—it’s the same material used in some baking equipment, and can easily withstand high temperatures. In a study of a prototype of the new mask, the researchers tested sterilizing it in an oven.
Remote jury trials during COVID-19: what one project found about fairness and technology – The Conversation – 7/16/2020
Rooms in which jurors viewed proceedings could be seen by other participants. Crown courtrooms are very formal places with a sense of gravitas. The informal environment of people’s rooms at home could affect how seriously they take the trial, the attention they pay to proceedings and ultimately their role and verdict as jurors.
WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING
Karla Rose Hanson @karlarosehanson 15 Jul Between 2006-2014, ~10 million Americans lost their homes to the foreclosure crisis. Today, upwards of 20 million U.S. renters are poised to be evicted between now and September, according to the American Bar Association’s Task Force Committee on Eviction.
FOX 17 @FOX17 15 Jul Workers need to make almost $20 an hour on average to afford a modest 1-bedroom apartment and about $24 an hour for a 2-bedroom, according to a new report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC).
Shea Johnson @Shea_LVRJ 15 Jul The efforts acknowledge that @ClarkCountyNV officials expect some businesses could be on the verge of eviction after they’ve been forced to close or limit operations as state officials seek to slow the spread of the coronavirus
Chris Wilson @realchriswilson 16 Jul Spent the last few days talking to experts and organizers about how millions of Americans are going to lose their homes — a nightmare experience even when there’s no pandemic — if Congress doesn’t act.
William Shunn @shunn 16 Jul The online application form for New York’s COVID Rent Relief Program is now available, but will only be up for two weeks. The rules are kind of complicated, but it could be a great help if you qualify:
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