“The pandemic is widening educational inequality” The Economist, July 27, 2020 / Image: Zeam Inc; Opportunity Insights.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

U.S. stock futures edged lower as investors weighed the next stimulus bill proposed by Republicans. The roughly $1 trillion coronavirus relief package was unveiled Monday by Senate Republicans and now awaits negotiations with Democrats. Relief money is expected to be divided between testing efforts and schools as well as provide a second round of stimulus checks. The $600-per-week federal benefit is also being altered to reflect approximately 70% of an individual’s previous wages.

Another facet of the bill is a five-year shield from coronavirus-related lawsuits unless an entity engaged in “gross negligence” or “intentional misconduct.” However,  labor law experts and advocates say the rate of filings is relatively low given the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S.. Democrats remain opposed to the liability protections and instead advocate for a federal standard that would establish protections for those exposed to airborne infectious diseases.

The first large study of the safety and effectiveness of a coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. began Monday, which will enroll 30,000 healthy people around the country. Half will receive two shots of the vaccine while the other half will only receive shots of saltwater placebo water – neither the volunteers nor the medical staff administering the injections will know who got the real vaccine. The Moderna and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases vaccine is one of 25 in clinical trials around the world.

Historically Black colleges and universities are debating the best course of action when it comes to serving a student population at particular risk to COVID-19. Black people are dying at 2.5 times the rate of white people and nearly a third of deaths among nonwhite Americans were in people younger than 65. Howard, a private historically Black university in Washington, D.C., is planning to reopen for some in-person classes while using its on-campus hospital to facilitate frequent student testing. A growing number of HBCUs are opting for online-only instruction come fall. Enrollment is also down at HBCUs, which means less revenue for schools that often operate with fewer resources to begin with. The chief financial officer at Morgan State University said that a school’s economic struggles can often reflect systemic ones. HBCUs typically don’t take as much in donations, though financial implications related to the pandemic are putting pressure on some schools to bolster fundraising efforts.

Federal prisons have reached 100 inmates deaths from coronavirus as of Saturday. Many advocates have pushed for expanded use of compassionate release or for the bureau to extend home confinement privileges to encourage social distancing efforts. Numbers show there has been a drop in people behind bars between March and June – more than 100,000 people were released from state and federal prisons, a decrease of 8%. This drop is not attributed to efforts to release prisoners, but due to the fact prisons have largely stopped accepting new prisoners from county jails to avoid importing the virus. A new report by the ACLU finds that cities and counties that reduced their jail populations to allow for more social distancing have yet to see an increase in crime, and most actually saw a drop in crime. The report looked at 29 localities all in large metropolitan areas.

An article by The Atlantic dubbed America’s anxious obsession to clean “hygiene theater,” an act that can take limited resources away from important goals. Surface transmission from touching doorknobs, mail, and food delivery packages seems quite rare, according to some scientists. Instead, scientists suggest people should continue to wash their hands and avoid touching their face.

Real fans can’t make it to games, so professional sports are turning to digital crowds – Protocol – 7/28/2020
These virtual crowds were a first for U.S. sports, but we’ll likely see a lot more examples in the coming months. CGI animators have seen a flood of incoming requests to generate crowds for sports events and concerts alike, and insiders say that the trend could provide the industry with new opportunities even after COVID subsides.

The pandemic is making autonomous delivery the new normal – World Economic Forum – 7/28/2020
In Christiansburg, residents who sign up can get drone delivery from a locally owned businesses, a national pharmacy and FedEx. As with other autonomous delivery services, both airborne and terrestrial, Wing has seen a major uptick in interest amid the coronavirus pandemic, as emergency regulations keep people at home and complicate many of the simplest tasks.

8 ways to save your audience from Zoom fatigue – Fast Company – 7/28/2020
Anyone who has experienced Zoom fatigue knows how debilitating it can be. After a morning of back-to-back video calls, we often feel sleepy and disengaged. But it’s not our fault.

Face masks are breaking facial recognition algorithms, says new government study – The Verge – 7/28/2020
Face masks are one of the best defenses against the spread of COVID-19, but their growing adoption is having a second, unintended effect: breaking facial recognition algorithms.

We Thought It Was Just a Respiratory Virus – UCSF – 7/28/2020
By June, clinicians were swapping journal papers, news stories, and tweets describing more than three dozen ways that COVID-19, the disease the coronavirus causes, appears to manifest itself. Now researchers at UC San Francisco and around the world have begun taking a closer look at this dizzying array of symptoms to get at the disease’s root causes.

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

Charlotte Greensit @cgreensit 28 Jul “I am as eager as anyone to have my kids back in school, but if the school will shut down for two weeks after each case, I may prefer to embrace the inevitable and plan for it rather than whiplash back and forth.” @ProfEmilyOster https://t.co/Ml56PsWY7X

CityNews Toronto @CityNews 28 Jul Fifty-nine per cent of respondents with children said they would send their kids to school if there is some type of classroom instruction at least a few days a week. https://t.co/98TvkH8ee8

NECN @NECN 28 Jul JUST IN: To give Massachusetts school districts more time to prepare for reopening amid the pandemic, education officials say they can start 10 days later this fall. https://t.co/0FtucdUMrp

NBC10 Philadelphia @NBCPhiladelphia 28 Jul Students Have Returned to School in Parts of Tennessee; Here’s How It’s Going https://t.co/EOuiy11O7W https://t.co/XiL1lQuQTY

Tes @tes 28 Jul Going back to school in September is going to be a challenge – but teachers can make life easier for themselves by planning how they will cut their workload, says @TeachMrRiches https://t.co/6YzyQLw6Fy

CONTENT FACTS

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