“The case for splurging on covid-19 vaccines” – The Economist, August 7, 2020 / Data: Press Reports; The Economist / Graphic: The Economist

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

U.S. stock futures traded higher Tuesday amid President Donald Trump’s announcement that he was considering a capital gains tax cut, which could potentially create more jobs. Oil prices rallied on a stimulus hope, but a weaker dollar and Saudi Aramco’s bullish second-half outlook lifted Brent crude prices past $45 per barrel. 

President Trump’s memorandum that would grant $400 enhanced weekly unemployment boost will only benefit out-of-work individuals whose state picks up $100 of the tab. Confusion persisted over the executive order with some states unsure if they can administer the funds. On Monday, Texas leaders did not say whether the state would pay the money as the Texas Workforce Commission is still reviewing the memoranda. California will face a $700 million weekly cost from the payment. Mississippi’s governor praised the executive order but noted the state may not be able to pay its matching share. 

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide topped 20 million Tuesday, with more than half from the United States, India, and Brazil. Russia, which has reported more than 890,000 cases, the fourth-most in the world according to one tally, became the first country to register a vaccine against the virus. Officials have pledged to vaccinate millions of people, raising global alarm that the country is jumping “dangerously ahead of critical, large scale testing that is essential to determine if it is safe and effective.” The U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioner said Monday that “safety will not be compromised for a COVID-19 vaccine.” 

In the U.S., as drug firms race to position themselves as key players in the coronavirus battle, the industry is facing a renewed wave of civil lawsuits stemming from its role in the nation’s opioid epidemic. The highly addictive medications have contributed to the overdose deaths of more than 230,000 Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

California’s top public health official resigned over the weekend, days after the state announced it had fixed a major error that caused a delay in reporting test results. The backlog consisted of 295,000 coronavirus test results. In Washington, data reporting problems continue to plague the state’s daily COVID-19 updates, leaving an “incomplete picture of the virus’s spread.” The latest issue stems from duplicate counts of negative test results, which has led the agency to stop publishing daily tallies since Aug. 1. 

Some Puerto Rican voters found themselves without a ballot for a primary election that had already been delayed once. The precincts that experienced a ballot shortage will be open to cast ballots again next Sunday. In Bolivia, large demonstrations are taking place amid repeated delays to a rerun of October’s “deeply contentious election.” Electoral authorities postponed the election originally scheduled for May for the third time, citing a need to avoid a projected peak in coronavirus infections. The protests have been spurred largely by miners, union activists, and Indigenous movements. Tension has mounted as the interim government has consolidated power and instituted policies that “should not be instituted by an interim government.”

A French designer has been creating extravagant face masks in her London home since lockdown began, adorning them anything she can find from Barbies to Pokemon toys. The designer said she hopes to inspire people to “get more fun” with their face coverings.

How Covid Made Us Fall Back In Love With Small Business – Forbes – 8/11/2020
So, it is unsurprising to hear that two thirds of small businesses think that the pandemic has increased awareness and support for their sector, (according to research that Small Business Britain did with BT).

Asymptomatic People Have as Much Coronavirus as Symptomatic People – Healthline – 8/11/2020
New research from South Korea has found that people with an infection with the new coronavirus who don’t have any symptoms carry just as much virus in their throats, lungs, and noses as those who do have symptoms.

How two coronavirus drugs for cats might help humans fight COVID-19 – Science News – 8/11/2020
Cats can contract an almost always fatal disease that’s caused by a coronavirus that infects only felines. Now preliminary research suggests that two experimental drugs that can cure that disease in cats, called feline infectious peritonitis, might help treat people infected with SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus behind the pandemic.

In the Wake of Covid-19 Lockdowns, a Troubling Surge in Homicides – The New York Times – 8/11/2020
Across 20 major cities, the murder rate at the end of June was on average 37 percent higher than it was at the end of May, according to Richard Rosenfeld, a criminologist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. The increase over the same period a year ago was just 6 percent.

Solve the Covid-19 Testing Crunch, Win $5 Million – Wired – 8/11/2020
To receive the payout, entrants must devise a method that allows for fast, frequent, easy-to-use Covid-19 testing that costs “less than the price of a latte.” Teams first submit a written submission outlining their approach. They must then test a working prototype of their kit on an unlabeled set of samples provided by Xprize, some of which will contain SARS-CoV-2 material, to prove that they can accurately detect the presence of the novel coronavirus.

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

Lulu @lourdesgnavarro 10 Aug This is a sobering conversation with @arishapiro – contact tracers in California and Texas can only get about 50% of people to tell them who they came into contact with and the biggest problem they face is people believe online disinformation

Campus Reform @campusreform 10 Aug Harvard plans to track students’ WiFi signals for coronavirus contact tracing

Bloomberg @business 11 Aug BREAKING: New Zealand reports its first local cases of the coronavirus in 102 days, with contact tracing underway to prevent further spread

New York Times World @nytimesworld 11 Aug England will overhaul its coronavirus contact-tracing system. The change is the clearest acknowledgment yet by the British government that its centralized, privatized system for tracking down the patients’ contacts has come up short.

DeAnna Lorraine 🇺🇸 @DeAnna4Congress 10 Aug “New Jersey Mandates “Temperature tracking Armbands” for Students and Staff.”You honestly think that mandated tracking chips & vaccines aren’t next?

CONTENT FACTS

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