“Republicans And Democrats See COVID-19 Very Differently. Is That Making People Sick?” – FiveThirtyEight / July 23, 2020 / Image: FiveThirtyEight / Data: Pew Research Center

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Applications for unemployment benefits rose to 1.4 million last week, suggesting that the labor market could be cooling due to the rise in coronavirus cases across the nation. Fresh filings rolled in as more than 25 million Americans are bracing for the end of the federal government’s $600 unemployment supplement at the end of the week. While GOP lawmakers and the White House have settled on some key parts of a new aid package, Congress continues to squabble over the details of a new round of unemployment benefits and stimulus checks, pushing current benefits into a lapse before more funding is allocated. With federal moratoriums on evictions also set to expire, public health officials warn that the millions of evictions expected could worsen the spread of COVID-19 as renters bunk up in tight quarters with friends and relatives.

While the patrons of hair salons, dental offices and restaurants report paying more surcharges as local businesses struggle to stay open, the effect of COVID-19 on startups has been a mixed bag depending on the service provided. Many CEOS of mostly big tech companies whose business was either enhanced or unharmed during the pandemic have experienced significant payouts as their companies enjoy soaring stocks. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s net worth grew by $13 billion on Monday, the largest-ever intraday jump in net worth.

The U.S. is now recording 2,600 new coronavirus cases every hour as the total count approaches 4 million. It took the country 98 days to reach 1 million cases, but just 16 days to jump from 3 to 4 million. U.S. President Donald Trump at a Wednesday White House briefing blamed the surges in COVID-19 on nationwide protests over police brutality, as well as increased travel and cases from Mexico. 

Trump’s comments came as his administration announced that hundreds of federal agents will be sent to control American cities that are “plagued by violent crime” as public protesters aim to “defund, dismantle and dissolve our police department.” Federal agents will be sent to Chicago and Albuquerque, a move that political analysts say is a reelection strategy. There is already a federal presence in Portland, Oregon, where the city’s mayor was tear gassed by federal agents during demonstrations late Wednesday night. 

Social media influencers have begun to post videos and photos of large parties and gatherings, concerning public health officials not just for the “nightmare” of transmission and contact tracing that ensues, but the use of their platforms to send the message that those kinds of gatherings are harmless. Many young people continue to operate under the assumption that they will not become severely ill, which experts say is not the case. Up to 20% of people ages 20-44 go to the hospital because of the disease.

Two philosophers recently explained why talking about the coronavirus or the use of face masks can often become a polarizing or negative experience. The use of moral talk, or grandstanding, incites a “moral arms race” in which people rush to take more extreme stances on an issue. To bring the common ground into clearer focus, they say the debaters must resist grandstanding in favor of nuance and thoughtfulness about tradeoffs.

If a business is still closed at this point in the crisis, it’s probably permanent – Washington Post – 7/23/2020
The wave of permanent closures helps explain why, five months into the crisis, federal data shows more than a million Americans each week are still filing new claims for unemployment insurance. And the data shows why the number of permanent job losers continues to climb even as the unemployment rate falls.

Inside the Global Quest to Trace the Origins of COVID-19—and Predict Where It Will Go Next – Time – 7/23/2020
Available evidence suggests COVID-19 leaped from wild animal to human. Tracing exactly how is crucial. It enables governments to install safeguards regarding animal husbandry and butchery to prevent any repeat. SARS, for example, originated in bats and then infected a palm civet, a catlike mammal native to South and Southeast Asia

Why sustainable food systems are needed in a post-COVID world – World Economic Forum – 7/23/2020
Today,  immuno-depressed and malnourished people worldwide are suffering disproportionally the lethal consequences of COVID-19. In all these cases, the human toll comes with huge economic costs, including lost incomes and  soaring public debt.

All heel and no sole: has lockdown put an end to the under-desk shoe? – The Guardian – 7/23/2020
“Our office has become more casual, so people’s work from home wardrobe is getting an outing into the office,” says Grace. “I have been wearing Converse or similar and not taking smarter shoes in.” The under-desk shoe, already threatened by looser dress codes, may now be finished off by the pandemic.

This New Prototype N95 Mask Designed by Harvard And MIT Is Reusable And Hygienic – ScienceAlert – 7/23/2020In other words, the most important functional part of the N95 respirator – the polypropylene material that filters out at least 95 percent of airborne particles – is still there, but this alternative way of wearing it means much less one-time-use material needs to be manufactured before being thrown away.

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

Reuters @Reuters 23 Jul U.S. eviction bans are ending amid concerns that could worsen the spread of the coronavirus. Public health and housing experts say such a massive displacement of renters would be unprecedented in modern history. @michelleconlin reports

Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell @RepDMP 22 Jul I speak with constituents who tell me that this help kept them afloat. Some were laid off. Others had hours cut. And this helped them pay rent and buy groceries.This crisis would’ve been worse, had we not stepped in.We must extend this lifeline.

Jack Flagler @jflagler 22 Jul Austin took a step in that direction yesterday, setting up a program that will direct $13 million of aid to low-income renters. The city is set to hold the first lottery to select recipients in August. More from @TopherJNeely on that here.

City of Fayetteville @CityOfFayNC 22 Jul City of Fayetteville offers a service to assist with rent, utilities and mortgage payments as a response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Qualified low and moderate income citizens may be eligible to receive up to $2,000. Learn more

MarketWatch @MarketWatch 22 Jul Home sales in the U.S. are picking up again, despite record prices and the sudden loss of some 22 million jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. How does that make sense?

CONTENT FACTS

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