“Summer Is Already Over” Bloomberg, July 29, 2020 / Image: Bernstein

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

U.S. equity futures are swinging between gains and losses ahead of Wednesday’s sessions, though futures indexes point to a small gain at the open. Wednesday brings an announcement from the Federal Reserve, which began a two-day meeting regarding interest rates Tuesday. Investors expect the central bank to keep short-term rates at their near-zero low. The House Antitrust Subcommittee is expected to investigate the market dominance of online platforms such as Apple, Facebook, and Google. Tech has largely powered the stock market higher from its March lows. 

A federal watchdog has reported that $250 million in taxpayer-subsidized coronavirus loan funds were given to “potentially ineligible recipients,” indicating a strong likelihood of fraud in the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. Following an audit, one credit union told the Justice Department that 59 out of 60 SBA deposits it received appeared to be fraudulent. The agency is under fire for allegedly failing to place internal controls to prevent such abuse. 

Social media companies removed a video of people calling themselves “America’s Frontline Doctors” sharing misleading claims about the virus, including that hydroxychloroquine was an effective coronavirus treatment and that masks do not slow the spread of the virus. President Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr. both tweeted the video streamed by the right-wing news site, Breitbart. Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter all removed the video, but not before it racked up tens of millions of views. Twitter penalized Trump Jr. for posting misinformation, ordering him to delete the tweet and limited his account functionality for 12 hours. 

The federal government continues to issue warnings about scammers attempting to sell dietary supplements as a remedy for COVID-19 when medical experts say supplements are neither safe nor effective for treating the disease. NPR found more than 100 supplements listed for sale on Amazon through third parties that make unsubstantiated claims they can fight viruses, including elderberry supplements, a garlic and echinacea tincture, and a colloidal silver liquid – all of which claim to have “antiviral properties.” 

With the pandemic limiting emergency services and closing shelters, a sparsely populated region of Alaska had five domestic violence-related deaths in 10 days. The state leads the nation in sexual assault rates and the number of women killed by men. A recent study found domestic violence rose during the Great Recession and current economic conditions point to another possible increase. The violence transpired in metropolitan areas as well as remote villages – New York City’s coronavirus lockdown led to a sharp rise in domestic violence, data shows. One non-profit reported getting 259 calls in June compared to 73 in the same month in 2019. Worldwide, disruptions in supply chains for contraceptives, resources to prevent femicide, female genital mutilations, and child-marriages are resulting in millions of unintended pregnancies and marriages. 

Major League Baseball has postponed all of the Miami Marlins’ games through Sunday following the team’s recent coronavirus outbreak. The MLB has conducted more than 6,000 tests to non-Marlins players following a total of 17 members testing positive. The season was not even a week old when it was forced to postpone several games, underscoring a cautionary tale for a league returning without sequestering players. Some say the outbreak serves as a warning to the NFL, which will also allow players and staff to return to their homes after play, greatly increasing their risk of exposure. 

Nearly half of Americans say they have established “social bubbles” of people they can trust to follow the rules for minimizing the spread of coronavirus, according to a new poll. This is happening as 46% of Americans say they know someone who has tested positive for coronavirus, compared to the only 4% recorded back in March. Experts still suggest maintaining distance and wearing masks around those in your “bubble” to ensure proper safety from coronavirus.

Eliminating coronavirus will be expensive and difficult – but here’s why it’s preferable to suppression – The Conversation – 7/29/2020
So is totally wiping out the disease actually possible, and if so, what would this entail? Could a less ambitious aim be the right way forward instead? To answer these questions, we need to consider not only what’s possible and required, but also how much value we place on the final outcome.

Scientists discover why coronavirus leads to a loss of smell – The Independent – 7/29/2020
Researchers at Harvard Medical School in the United States have identified which cell types used for smelling are most vulnerable to infection by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. They were surprised to discover sensory neurons, which detect and transmit the sense of smell to the brain, are not vulnerable to the disease. Their study instead found it attacks the cells supporting the olfactory sensory neurons.

Creating the office of the future – strategy+business – 7/29/2020
The lockdowns that began in the U.S. in mid-March in response to the novel coronavirus created an extraordinary migration as employees across the country began working at home. People patched together ways to keep going when the lights went off in office buildings, and, for the most part, it has worked: In the June 2020 PwC US Remote Work Survey, three out of four employers called work from home (WFH) a success.

There’s a Wrinkle in Stores’ Mask Policies: Enforcement – New York Times – 7/29/2020
Christopher Vanderpool works shifts as a “health ambassador” at a Walmart in Fayetteville, N.C., For $11 an hour, he stands in the parking lot asking customers to put on masks before entering the store. Many abide by the rule. Others, the 18-year-old said, “will say ‘No, I am not wearing that garbage,’ or some expletive.”

Thinking theologically with pandemics – Al Jazeera – 7/28/2020
Viruses long predate our arrival on the planet, and, despite our role in displacing their animal hosts from their wild habitats, there is no reason to doubt that they will outlive us too. If we can somehow apprehend the world from the virus’s world view, we would think differently about pandemics and the lines that we draw to separate ourselves from “nature”.

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

USA TODAY Money @USATODAYmoney 28 Jul Amid the coronavirus pandemic, holiday shopping will look different. Best Buy is the latest to announce it will keep stores closed Thanksgiving.

CNBC @CNBC 28 Jul Chinese companies look to ride a new cross-border e-commerce wave driven by the coronavirus

Global Ottawa @global_ottawa 29 Jul Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke says entrepreneurship has “never been more important” as the e-commerce company’s revenues soar amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

AlanaSemuels @AlanaSemuels 28 Jul The pandemic allowed Amazon to consolidate its grip on e-commerce, further squeezing both its partners and competitors. But many employees, sellers, and even customers say that they can’t quit—it’s the only game in town. My latest

NYT Metro @NYTMetro 28 Jul An Irish pub that drew crowds for generations. A coffee shop that sheltered Brooklyn residents on 9/11. A record store that stood for over 60 years in Times Square subway station. The pandemic has wiped out all these New York businesses, and many more.

CONTENT FACTS

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