Telexistence’s shelf-stacking avatar robot, designed to resemble a kangaroo and developed to work in a convenience store, is demonstrated during a photo opportunity ahead of its unveiling in Tokyo. REUTERS/Issei Kato


Dow futures are pointing to a modest gain one day after the blue-chip average snapped a four-session winning streak, dropping 100 points. Stocks fell Thursday as shares of major tech companies struggled. Despite Big Tech being one of the best-performing groups in the stock market this year, companies have lagged this week. 

Confirmed coronavirus infections in the U.S. approach 3.6 million as the country posted a single-day record of more than 77,000 new cases on Thursday. A White House document obtained by the Center for Public Integrity shows 18 states in the “red zone” for coronavirus cases, meaning these states reported more than 100 new cases per 100,000 residents in the past week. The document that was prepared for the White House Coronavirus Task Force but not publicized, recommends these states revert to more stringent protective measures. Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) announced there is no shutdown coming despite a surge in coronavirus cases and Gov. Brian Kemp’s (R-GA) administration went to court Thursday seeking to block Atlanta from enacting the requirement that its residents wear masks. Both Texas and Georgia are listed in the “red zone.”

Hackers allegedly employed by the Russian government have been accused of trying to steal information from various COVID-19 vaccine projects in the U.S, Canada, and the UK, according to an analysis by the NSA and National Cyber Security Center. The Western intelligence agencies say they believe the hackers are part of the Russian group informally known as Cozy Bear – a group that has been blamed for hacking Democratic Party emails in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The attacks, designed to steal intellectual property, reflect the security risks at a crucial time amid the global response to the pandemic. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added data back to its website after previously removing it following a public outcry from federal health officials and governors. The move came after the Trump administration changed its reporting rules. The data, which recorded hospitalizations for COVID-19 and capacity, has been viewed as a key metric of the virus’s toll and health care system’s ability to deal with it. 

The pandemic is ravaging rural towns across America – of the 10 U.S. counties with the highest number of recent COVID-19 cases, nine are nonmetropolitan areas with populations under 50,000. These communities typically have a prevalence of older populations, meat processing plants, and communal living among immigrant labor forces. Two doctors in a small, impoverished town in the Mississippi Delta detail their experience working in a rural hospital with limited resources, nursing and staffing shortage, and the resistance from members in their community. 

The pandemic is taking a toll on American’s mental health, according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation study that shows nearly half of all adults in the U.S. are worried or stressed over COVID-19. In April, texts to a federal emergency mental health line were up 1,000% from the year before. The situation poses a particularly dire threat to certain groups, like healthcare workers, COVID-19 patients with severe cases, and people who have lost loved ones. 

India became the third country in the world to record more than one million new cases of coronavirus, behind only the U.S. and Brazil. Given India’s population of 1.3 billion, experts say one million is relatively low, but the number is likely to rise in the coming months as testing increases and epidemiologists say the country is still likely months from hitting its peak. The virus has been fueled by high population density, an inundated health care system, and a move by the central government to lift a nationwide lockdown in hopes of getting the economy up and running, though many states and cities have been locking down again. 

Service workers have taken on the stressful burden of enforcing safety measures in stores and restaurants. Some service workers are finding support in TikTok and Facebook as a near-daily occurrence of a confrontation between a service employee and a shopper or diner upset about pandemic-related safety requirements makes the news.

We’ve gotten better at treating the coronavirus – Axios – 7/17/2020
Preliminary data has shown that remdesivir, an antiviral, probably doesn’t save seriously ill patients’ lives, but can help others get out of the hospital a few days earlier. “Anyone who has evidence of lung injury or needing oxygen, we give it,” said Armond Esmaili, a hospitalist at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center.

The second wave of media layoffs is here – Digiday – 7/17/2020
“It probably will get worse,” said Jon Schleuss, the president of the News Guild. So far, Schleuss said his organization, which helped organize unions at publications including the Los Angeles Times and BuzzFeed News, has lost “around 200” members due to cuts spurred by the pandemic.

Are people really fleeing cities because of COVID? Here’s what the data shows – Fortune – 7/17/2020
Tales of Americans fleeing cities in droves, however, are likely overstated. According to Jeff Tucker, an economist at the online real estate service Zillow, 64% of prospective homebuyers on the site are looking at suburban areas—a figure that has barely budged from previous years—while searches for property in rural and urban areas likewise represent about the same percentage as before.

These are the products people value more in a pandemic – Quartz – 7/17/2020
Some people don’t try services like purchasing groceries online or using WhatsApp because they take time to learn how to use, says Raymond. The pandemic has pushed many consumers to try these digital products, and it is possible they will stick with them when the pandemic is over.

Doctors hope social distancing will limit a rare polio-like disease in children – STAT – 7/17/2020
They’ve witnessed bursts of cases in the late summer and fall of 2014, 2016, and 2018, but they’re wondering if AFM, which is thought to be a rare result of a common viral infection, might be influenced by all the distancing measures put in place to slow the coronavirus pandemic.


George Eaton @georgeeaton 17 Jul The race for a Covid-19 vaccine is accelerating – but there is no guarantee one will be discovered or that it will be distributed fairly. Must-read @NewStatesman cover story by @anjahuja.

Patrick Henningsen @21WIRE 17 Jul Truly amazing. Given the abject folly which is the government-media complex on #RussiaGate & #IntegrityInitiative, it was only a matter of time before this story emerged…#COVID19 #coronavirus #vaccine

Bloomberg Canada @BloombergCA 17 Jul Fear and glory are driving the global vaccine hunt

The Boston Globe @BostonGlobe 17 Jul Scores of academics and prominent figures have signed an open letter calling for consideration of human challenge trials of coronavirus vaccines, saying such trials might be able to speed up development of the shots desperately needed to stop the pandemic.

Telegraph Technology Intelligence @TelegraphTech 17 Jul Inside Cozy Bear, the shadowy #Russian hacker group accused of stealing British #CovidVaccine | @_hasanc @JamesLiamCook #CyberSecurity


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