Goldfish bowl-like acrylic screens used as part of new social distancing measures at Jazz Lounge Encounter, a night club for those seeking encounters, at Ginza district in Tokyo, Japan August 6, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

July’s employment report released on Friday shows that less than half of the jobs lost due to the pandemic have so far been recovered, lowering the national unemployment rate from 11.1% in June to 10.2%. Employers added 1.8 million jobs last month, a sign that economic momentum is slowing after a short burst of recovery in May and June, according to economists.

U.S. lawmakers continue to spar on Capitol Hill over the details of a coronavirus relief package. Little progress has been made in closing the gap in demands, while some hard-line Republicans have yet to be convinced to pass another rescue bill at all. Lawmakers even remain divided on how to proceed with their own internal safety measures while debating legislation, clashing over mask mandates and the type of thermometer to be used to monitor symptoms. In the past week, three members of Congress have announced positive test results for COVID-19.

More negative economic impacts, coupled with low approval for how the government has dealt with the pandemic, moved Americans to report higher rates of stress, anxiety or great sadness compared to other high-income countries, according to a survey by the Commonwealth Fund. Even so, the survey found that U.S. adults are some of the least likely to seek mental health care.

Six vaccines in development around the globe are about to enter critical phase-3 clinical trials, meaning they will be administered to the general population to test their efficacy in protecting large numbers of people for a prolonged period of time. Among the pharmaceutical companies entering phase-3 are Moderna, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca. The more that COVID-19 cases are surging in one area, the sooner researchers will know whether the vaccines are working, analysts say. Pfizer’s chief executive has promised that his company will know by October whether the company’s vaccine is safe and effective, although the World Health Organization has warned that phase-3 trials do not necessarily indicate that those vaccines are in their final stages of development.

More than one million people in Africa have been infected with COVID-19, where health experts warn the peak is yet to come. South Africa accounts for more than half of the continent’s total cases, while Egypt is on the cusp of 100,000 cases. In Latin America, the pandemic-induced destruction of hundreds of thousands of businesses has derailed significant improvements in poverty made since 2003. 

The U.S. has lifted its global travel advisory recommending that all citizens avoid international travel due to the pandemic. The U.S. State Department has returned to country-specific travel advice following improvements in a number of countries.

The United Nations has reported a sharp increase in cybercrime in recent months, including a 350% increase in phishing websites mostly targeting hospitals and health care. Counterterrorism officials warned that terrorists are exploiting disruption and hardships caused by the pandemic to gain resources and recruit new followers.

The world’s most remote Irish pub has vowed to survive through economic hardship generated by the coronavirus. The pub, located en route to Mount Everest in Namche Bazar, Nepal, has been shut down since April. But its owner said he is optimistic that the re-issuing of hiking permits in the Himalayas will spur visitors once again. 

COVID-19 Studies Are Proving That Density Is Not the Enemy – Intelligencer – 8/7/2020
“Large metropolitan areas with a higher number of counties tightly linked together through economic, social, and commuting relationships are the most vulnerable to the pandemic outbreaks,” the writers conclude. It’s not about how close your neighbors are; it’s about where you go and whom you see.

COVID-19 Is Raging. How Safe Is Your Backyard Party? – Quanta Magazine – 8/6/2020
The reported rates of infection in one study are about 13% for typical interactions at a distance of less than one meter and 3% for a distance of more than one meter. A face mask reduces these numbers by a factor of 5. As before, you can modify the details of the above to suit your situation and party.

No to Blockchain Credentials of COVID-19 Test Results for Entry to Public Spaces – Electronic Frontier Foundation – 8/6/2020
That’s a huge privacy concern. No one should have to unlock their phone and expose their health information in order to gain entry to their office, school, or neighborhood market. Medical test results are a poor fit for public ledgers

Covid-19 is one of Wikipedia’s biggest challenges ever. Here’s how it’s handling that. – Washington Post – 8/7/2020
As the main page grew supersaturated with information, editors created pages for various countries, then states. Some are hyperspecific, such as the impact on Walt Disney Co. or  disc golf. Stephenson-Goodknight noticed that pages existed for the disease’s impact on the performing arts, sports, musical, retail tourism and oil prices — but not one on the upended fashion industry.

Some Volunteers Want To Be Infected With Coronavirus To Help Find A Vaccine. But It Isn’t That Simple. – FiveThirtyEight – 8/6/2020
“We traced a pretty clear line in the sand saying that you couldn’t do challenge studies if participants would be exposed to risk of irreversible, incurable or possibly fatal infections,” said Charles Weijer, a bioethicist at Western University in Canada who  co-authored expert criteria for human challenge trials. As a result, he said, COVID-19 trials, are “not currently ethical.”

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

Selena Simmons-Duffin @selenasd 7 Aug NEW: The latest @NPR survey of all 50 states finds 42,000 contact tracers nationwide.That’s barely budged from 37,000 we found six weeks ago, & less than half of the 100,000 tracers @CDCDirector and others say we need to control the spread of #COVID19.

Prof Francois Balloux @BallouxFrancois 6 Aug The University of Virginia is introducing a new coronavirus symptom tracking app. I cite: “UVA Spokesperson Brian Coy said: … UVA is encouraging everyone to police each other”. We live in interesting times.

Washington Examiner @dcexaminer 7 Aug ‘No one is tracking you’: Virginia government promotes app to trace coronavirus infections

James Cook @BBCJamesCook 7 Aug First Minister @NicolaSturgeon says some hospitality venues have not been collecting customer details in case they are needed for contact tracing and doing so will now become mandatory. Ms Sturgeon also pledges to tighten enforcement of coronavirus restrictions in venues.

World News Tonight @ABCWorldNews 7 Aug VIRUS CRACKDOWNS: @giobenitez is in New York City where officials are setting up coronavirus checkpoints at major entry points to track visitors from 34 states, as Los Angeles threatens to cut off utilities to anywhere hosting large gatherings.

CONTENT FACTS

Turbine Labs has tracked 45,967 media articles and blogs over the last 24 hours and 1,062,192 social media posts over the last 24 hours.

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