“Think Your Food Bill Is Going Up? This 1 Chart Proves You Aren’t Crazy.” The National Interest, July 29, 2020 / Image: USDA, Economic Research Service using U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index Data.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Stock futures point to a higher open with big tech posting favorable earnings. Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google parent company Alphabet have all beat their second-quarter estimates. Through Thursday’s close, the Dow is on pace for its second straight negative week while the S&P 500 has gained almost 1% and the Nasdaq Composite rallied. 

As the U.S. coronavirus epicenter shifts toward Midwestern states, like Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska, the current $600 weekly federal unemployment boost is set to expire Friday. Lawmakers have appeared to have made little progress toward the next relief deal. 

Online sales are up during the pandemic, led by Amazon. The company’s online grocery sales tripled in the second quarter as a result of stay-at-home orders, helping net $5.2 billion in profits as its sales soared to record highs between April and June. As more businesses move to online sales and e-commerce, Shopify Inc. saw revenue that nearly doubled in its latest quarter. Shopify said the number of new stores created on its platform increased by 71%. Online resellers like Poshmark and Thredup are also thriving and on track to outpace traditional in-store thrift and resale. 

Though coronavirus seems to spare most children from illness, it is impacting their mental health. Children live in a universe that is already out of their control, and the virus’s penchant for shaking up daily rituals is exacerbating the trauma that comes with living through a global pandemic.  School closures have also cut off many students’ main point of access to mental health resources. Many Black, Indigenous, and non-Black people of color are also facing a mental health crisis amid concentrated job losses, financial insecurity, disproportionate rates of contracting COVID-19, and nationwide protests. 

The public data hub created when the Trump administration told hospitals to send crucial data about coronavirus cases to a new online system was intended to be an improvement over the previous platform run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the new system appears to be updated erratically and rife with inconsistencies and errors, data analysts say. Some call the COVID-19 data in the U.S. chaotic – “ not one pipe, but a tangle,” as most individual health systems, departments, and jurisdictions have their own way of going about data. Experts say the lack of a comprehensive system is harming the U.S.’s coronavirus response. 

Testing makes up a portion of data, though the category also faces its own set of issues. The accuracy of coronavirus testing differs widely based on the type of test. An antigen test is faster and can be scaled up quickly, but can have a false negative rate of up to 40-50%. Some recent research suggests they also may produce an elevated false-positive rate. The PCR test, which looks for genetic components of the virus, is slightly more accurate though is still plagued by some issues, including missing some positive cases and slower turnaround time. Timing has long been an issue as labs lack proper staffing, backlog, and equipment shortages. Some tests are done in house while others are sent to labs out of state. After multiple days, the window for tracing the person’s contacts to prevent additional infections has essentially closed. Despite a surge in cases, California recently scaled back its coronavirus testing task force when it already had fallen short on providing adequate testing across the state. 

Pandemic the board game, created after the SARS virus rippled through China, Singapore, and Canada, has grown to become a favorite among doctors battling the coronavirus. The New Yorker calls the game a “cathartic release, offering, in miniature, a finite version of our stricken world.” 

Remote Work Isn’t Working? Maybe Your Company Is Doing It Wrong – The New York Times – 7/31/2020
White-collar offices that have carried over the same conventions from the physical office have realized they don’t work well, executives and researchers say.

Finding coronavirus superspreaders may be key to halting a second wave – New Scientist – 7/30/2020
While there is no universally agreed definition of a superspreading event, it is sometimes taken to be an incident in which someone passes on the virus to six or more other people. Getting to the bottom of why these puzzling clusters occur could be key to gaining control of the covid-19 pandemic and stopping a second wave of cases.

Coronavirus moves the loneliness of the longest-distance runners to the pursuit of fastest known times – The Colorado Sun – 7/31/2020
Jacquie Mannhard had long heard her fellow trail runners talk of fastest-known times. The prospect of tackling a gnarly route relatively unsupported had tickled the Boulder-based distance runner’s fancy for years, but she’d never gotten around to looking into it further.

How the hard lesson of Covid could help gorillas – CNN – 7/31/2020
With just over 1,000 mountain gorillas remaining on the planet, they remain at risk and are a conservation dependent species. However, their story clearly shows that through effective governmental leadership, on-the-ground partnership, and community-based initiatives to improve quality of life for people living nearby, we can change the tide for a species on the brink of extinction — and for the planet.

We’re more likely to let our COVID-19 guard down around those we love most – The Conversation – 7/31/2020
Despite reported fears about catching COVID-19 from passing joggers, cyclists or other strangers on the street, a growing body of literature tells us you are more likely to contract COVID-19 in households, at family gatherings and in restaurants.

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

Tommy Birch @TommyBirch 30 Jul Landon Nelson wanted to play football so badly his senior season that his family is moving from California to Iowa. A look at why some other athletes could be making the move here during the COVID-19 crises.

Orlando Sentinel @orlandosentinel 30 Jul The Florida Gators annual rivalry football game with Florida State will not be played for the first time since 1957 after the SEC reportedly voted Thursday to play a 10-game, conference-only schedule.

Businessweek @BW 30 Jul ESPN could lose millions of dollars with college sports in flux

Spiros Margaris @SpirosMargaris 30 Jul The @NBA will use #AI and a tap-to-cheer app feature to help #fans stuck at #home get in the #game #fintech #sports @asmeleah @CNN #ArtificialIntelligence #MachineLearning #BigData #basketball

Nicole Auerbach  @NicoleAuerbach 30 Jul Caught up with NCAA chief medical officer Dr. Hainline this morning about a number of concerns and challenges that college sports face right now. He said schools might have a designated person to verify that they are following protocols before playing:

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