“The economy is recovering in some states, but others remain at Great Depression-era unemployment levels. Why?” – Fortune, August 6, 2020 / Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics / Graphic: Fortune

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Nearly 1.2 million people have filed for unemployment in the last week, simultaneously setting an unprecedented 20-week streak of over 1 million filings while reaching a new weekly low since layoffs began in March. 

The pandemic has lasted much longer than many Americans anticipated, bringing with it renewed fears for the economy long-term. Some economists now estimate that up to 40% of the layoffs that occurred from March through May will be permanent. Shifts to online models alone – retail stores overtaken by online shopping, videoconferencing replacing business travel, and telemedicine in place of in-office doctor visits – will displace millions of jobs. Meanwhile, the costly impact of cancelling live sports and closures in the food and entertainment industries has yet to fully play out. Among young people ages 24-29, 59% say that COVID-19 has derailed their financial plans, with 39% reporting that they have moved back home amid the recession.

The U.S. economy remains on “high alert” as Congress debates reinstating jobless benefits in the next coronavirus aid package. Some economists warn that if Congress fails to renew the benefits, aggregate spending in the U.S. could drop to levels even worse than the Great Recession. Renters across the nation report that they are already “getting desperate” for aid after the weekly $600 benefit expired last week. Even so, the White House and congressional Democrats appeared to harden their stance on coronavirus relief on Wednesday, still trillions of dollars apart from reaching a deal.  

Disagreement over the inclusion of coronavirus aid for public and private schools has left the nation’s educators in limbo as they wait for confirmation of aid and details on its stipulations. Republicans are seeking to include support for private schools and to tie some of the aid to schools that reopen with in-person classes, while Democrats support neither of those inclusions. Although many private schools have received small business loans, some have been forced to permanently close their doors following a pandemic-induced shock to their bottom lines.

Facebook and Twitter removed a post authored by U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday for violating their policies on COVID-19 misinformation. Trump had posted a video of an interview with Fox News in which he said that children were “almost immune” from COVID-19. While young people are less likely to be hospitalized due to the virus, they are not immune to it. In a study released last week, researchers found children could be more prone to COVID-19 infection and transmission than adults, although their symptoms are often milder.

Online dating giant Match Group on Wednesday reported an uptick in subscriber levels in July and soaring engagement on its relationship and dating apps Tinder and Hinge. Even as bars and restaurants close, executives said online dating is one of the few things that consumers can do during the pandemic. For long-distance couples, the pandemic has meant an indefinite separation as borders close between nations. Couples who have been unable to reunite due to the restrictions are lobbying on social media with the hashtags #LoveIsEssential and #LoveIsNotTourism for governments to allow them an exception.

Online retailer Etsy on Thursday reported a revival of buyers and sellers in its marketplace for homemade and crafty goods. The company reported that 14% of its overall gross merchandise sales stemmed from mask sales, while other strong areas were in home furnishings, jewelry and craft supplies.

How the Pandemic Might Be Hurting Your Eyes – Bloomberg – 8/6/2020
The LED light emitted from most screens exposes your eyes to high levels of “blue light,” which can disrupt sleep patterns and lead to “computer vision syndrome,” associated with headaches and eyestrain, said ophthalmologist Robert Weinstock.

Despite the pandemic, 5G still rolls on – Protocol – 8/6/2020
A recent report from Gartner forecasts that although global investment network infrastructure is expected to fall by about 4% in 2020, 5G infrastructure spend is set to double last year’s investments, with more than $8.1 billion being spent this year alone. Roughly one-fifth of all cellular infrastructure spending this year will be for 5G, according to the report.

5 myths about face masks under the microscope – World Economic Forum – 8/6/2020
“Normal, healthy people can do quite energetic things while wearing the sorts of face coverings that we’ve been talking about in the context of COVID prevention,” Dr William Schaffner, an infectious disease professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville and medical director of the National Foundation of Infectious Diseases, told NBC’s Today.

How Safe Is Your School’s Reopening Plan? Here’s What To Look For – NPR – 8/6/2020
Symptom checks at school may not be foolproof, but they reinforce the message that parents should keep kids home if they’re sick, says Laurie Combe. “If there was optimal staffing for this situation, then the best practice would be to be able to screen as people enter the building,” she says.

How a Zoom forum is changing ICU treatment of Covid-19 patients – STAT – 8/6/2020
As cases have surged in new hot spots in the U.S., the calls are providing doctors from Florida to Texas to Arizona fresh from-the-trenches advice on how to use ECMO, a technology that can be lifesaving for some of the most severely ill Covid-19 patients but that has worrisome drawbacks.

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

Mark Olalde @MarkOlalde 6 Aug White House Coronavirus Task Force leader Dr. Deborah Birx says California’s Central Valley is of particular concern for #COVID-19 & family gatherings are “superspreader events.” Another nice get from @l_e_whyte & @publicintegrity.

Los Angeles Times @latimes 6 Aug 1st Alaska cruise of the season turns back after passenger’s positive coronavirus test

KHQ Local News @KHQLocalNews 6 Aug More than 100 people possibly exposed to COVID-19 at camping event in Okanogan County

Amy Kaufeldt @Fox35Amy 6 Aug And this is why the cruise line industry keeps delaying when ships can set sail again from U.S. ports. #FOX35 @fox35orlando

Jodi McKay @JodiMcKayMP 6 Aug NSW Health took part in a pandemic planning exercise last year to war game how it would handle a virus outbreak on a cruiseship. Minister Brad Hazzard learned nothing from that – the result was the Ruby Princess.

CONTENT FACTS

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