“America’s uniquely bad Covid-19 epidemic, explained in 18 maps and charts” – Vox, August 11, 2020 / Data: New York Times / Graphic: German Lopez/Vox

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

U.S. stock futures edged higher Wednesday, signaling that the S&P 500 is back on track to continue this month’s rally after the benchmark posted its biggest decline in almost three weeks. State and local governments reduced spending at a 5.6% annual rate in the second quarter, and with more cuts on the way, lawmakers are considering how much federal aid to provide. Spending cuts by local governments pose a headwind to the U.S. economic recovery and Moody’s Analytics estimates that without additional federal aid, state and local budget shortfalls will total roughly $500 billion over the next two fiscal years.

Facebook announced Tuesday it removed 7 million posts in the second quarter for sharing false information about coronavirus, including content promoting fake preventative measures and exaggerated cures. The social media network said it would invite proposals from experts this week to audit metrics used in its sixth Community Standards Enforcement Report, beginning 2021. It committed to the audit during a July ad boycott over hate speech practices. A new study found COVID-19 rumors, stigma, and conspiracy theories have been circulating in 25 different languages across at least 87 countries, including the U.S., and the spread of misinformation has led to deaths and injuries 

After a suburban Atlanta county opened its schools, more than 900 students and staff have already been ordered to quarantine. The same country in Georgia with more than 42,000 students opted not to mandate masks – a decision applauded by some parents. While many of the nation’s largest school systems have opted to go online for the beginning of the academic year, schools mostly in suburban and rural areas in Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Indiana have been open for almost two weeks and their experiences reveal the perils of returning to classrooms amid a pandemic. 

New research shows that COVID-19 is widening inequality in higher education. While the pandemic is creating a disruption for most students, the challenges are much larger for lower-income students. The pandemic’s effects on education are exacerbated by existing disparities – a previous study found that much of the growth in education over the last half-century has been concentrated within the richest half of Americans. Self-organized homeschool “pods” have emerged as parents feel the unease of an unpredictable school year. Though this movement provides another option for students, it may create highly inequitable results. School pods may be unattainable for students who live in public housing or whose parents don’t have the budget to hire teachers. 

With 50 days left to count every person living in the U.S., Census Bureau workers are feeling the pressure. Already hampered by the pandemic, a shortened schedule for counting has heightened challenges dealing with health risks, retaining workers, and deploying new technology. An undercount of the census could translate to the loss of millions in federal dollars for housing, public safety, health care, and educational programs. A bipartisan group of senators are asking congressional leaders to include an extension of the statutory deadlines for the 2020 census in the next coronavirus relief package. They say extending the deadline will “ensure that the Census Bureau has adequate time to complete a full, fair, and accurate 2020 Census.” 

The Big Ten announced Tuesday it will postpone fall sports this year due to coronavirus. The conference said it would consider pushing the fall sports to the spring of 2021 if it is safe to do so. The Pac-12 also called a news conference to say its season would be postponed until spring.

Coronavirus: does the common cold protect you from COVID? – The Conversation – 8/12/2020
The milder coronaviruses can generate similar antibodies to the ones that are generated by the coronaviruses that cause Sars and Mers . These antibodies are so similar that they nearly tricked a British Columbia care facility into thinking they had an outbreak of Sars after the Sars epidemic had been declared over.

Why is there a Dr Pepper shortage? – Fast Company – 8/12/2020
As an American Beverage Association spokesperson explained to CNN, “Beverages in convenient take-home packages like aluminum cans are particularly popular right now, and beverage company employees are doing all they can to make sure store shelves remain fully stocked.”

America’s flying blind on its coronavirus response – Axios – 8/12/2020
Testing and case data — which tell the story of where people are getting sick — have been a problem for the last six months. This latest fiasco blurs the picture of how many people are getting very sick at a given time, which until now has been a more reliable measure of the pandemic.

Scientists Put Masks to the Test—With an iPhone and a Laser – Wired – 8/12/2020
Thanks to the reliable laws of physics that describe the relationship between the size of a particle and the amount of light it gives off when it gets scattered by a laser beam into the lens of a camera, Fischer was able to back-calculate the size of the smallest particle they could detect: half a micron.

Inspired by llamas, scientists make potent anti-coronavirus agent – STAT – 8/11/2020
Inspired by a unique kind of infection-fighting antibody found in llamas, alpacas, and other camelids, a research team at the University of California, San Francisco, has synthesized a molecule that they say is among the most potent anti-coronavirus compounds tested in a lab to date.

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

tovia smith @toviasmithnpr 12 Aug How the #coronavirus has upended #CollegeAdmissions: “We’re gonna have to hit the reset button hard on this one. It’s gonna take a compete retraining of how we review applications &what we’re looking for. We’re kind of figuring it out as we go.” #college

Herb Scribner @HerbScribner 12 Aug College towns fear super-spreader semester as students descend via @politico

Janet Lorin @JanetLorin 12 Aug Stranded international students are keeping the U.S.’s college towns in business via @BW

Brady McCollough @BradyMcCollough 11 Aug USC and UCLA have played football since the 1920s. They got through the Depression and WW2. But the Pac-12 has seen enough of COVID-19. Tuesday it called for a retreat. Now, the West Coast and Midwest have a fall without college football. Story @latimes

Lucy May @LucyMayCincy 12 Aug Moving to college in the age of COVID-19 – story by ⁦@WCPOTimyka⁩

CONTENT FACTS

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