People wearing face masks walk down a street during the government-mandated quarantine to lower the rates of contagion from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Bogota, Colombia July 27, 2020. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

U.S. stock futures retreated Friday as investors focused on retail sales figures, which rose 1.2% – marking a slower-than-expected growth in July, while China figures pointed to a wobbly economic recovery from the pandemic. The stalemate in Washington over a new round of economic stimulus is also weighing on sentiment. 

The Senate left Washington D.C. Thursday until September, indicating a deal on a fifth coronavirus relief package is at least weeks away. President Donald Trump said he opposes both election aid for states and an emergency bailout for the U.S. Postal Service. 

The drug overdose epidemic appears to be exacerbated by coronavirus as local and state jurisdictions are reporting an increase in overdose deaths – more than 35 states have reported increases. Some places were already seeing rising fatal drug overdoses before the coronavirus hit, but now experts worry the pandemic could accelerate the addiction crisis in some states. New data confirms that drug overdoses are spiking, rising by roughly 18%. For people in recovery, the pandemic is disrupting their traditional support networks that offer structure and community. 

Black Americans are becoming infected with coronavirus at a rate three times that of whites and they are twice as likely to die from COVID-19, a new report found. Nationwide protests for racial justice have focused the spotlight on the disparities and inequities among communities, as pandemics tend to bring more awareness to issues that are already present. Pre-coronavirus economic conditions, including lower levels of income, higher unemployment, and greater levels of food and house insecurity, have left Black families with fewer buffers to absorb the economic shocks of the pandemic. New research shows U.S. counties predominantly composed of white people have reported the fewest coronavirus cases, while diverse counties have been hit disproportionately harder by COVID-19. 

An estimated 30 million people are at risk of eviction by the end of September as government-imposed bans on evictions begin to lapse in most states, intersecting with the end of supplemental unemployment benefits signed into law in March. Housing advocates say that in a push for gentrification and higher-paying tenants, landlords are trying to find any excuse to turn out renters, with the pandemic proving to be a convenient way to facilitate this. 

President Trump signed an executive order over the weekend to shield tenants from the threat of eviction, saying it would “solve that problem largely, hopefully completely.” However, his action failed to halt evictions and will not do much to help Americans in peril of losing their homes. The order does not extend the eviction moratorium which itself only covered about a quarter of the nation’s 44 million rental units. 

Colorado first responders have started using yoga as a way to manage stress during the pandemic. A report from 2018 stated heart attacks and trauma were the biggest cause of firefighter death outside of emergency situations, pushing some departments to put an increased focus on the physical and mental health of first responders. The organization Yoga for First Responders has expanded to work with departments in more than 20 states.

Can COVID-19 be transmitted through frozen food? An expert has some answers – Fortune – 8/14/2020
In recent months, a number of reports have associated frozen food shipments with the transmission of COVID-19. Just this week, authorities in China found COVID-19 on the packaging of chicken wings imported from Brazil. New Zealand is also investigating whether its first local coronavirus case in over three months was imported along with frozen food.

Cruise ships, early incubators of the coronavirus, prepare to return to sea in Europe – The Washington Post – 8/14/2020Though cruising has been ordered to a halt in the United States, several major cruise liners are trying to restart their business in Europe, with Italy as the epicenter of the effort. One ship, the MSC Grandiosa, will begin a voyage Sunday, the first to restart in the Mediterranean. Several others will follow soon behind.

The pandemic is a good time to be in the cat food business – and many others – The Guardian – 8/14/2020
Hey, anyone care for some delicious cat food? It seems like an odd question to ask. But not for the owners of Smalls, a “direct to consumer” manufacturer of pet food products geared specifically to cats. The company just this past week raised $9m in a round of funding that brought its total amount of capital raised to $12m. And they’re just getting started.

How College Football’s Powers Split Over the Coronavirus Pandemic – The Wall Street Journal – 8/14/2020
Two of the sport’s Power Five conferences—the Big Ten and Pac-12—this week concluded that staging a season in the fall would pose undue risk to athletes’ health and safety. They delayed all fall sports until next spring, at least.

How to share positive news without sounding insensitive during the pandemic – Fast Company – 8/14/2020
The unemployment rate is starting to improve and businesses that were shuttered are opening back up, but experts predict a wave of bankruptcies in the third quarter. A lot of people are hurting professionally and financially from the pandemic, but not everyone is failing.

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

Reuters @Reuters 13 Aug Flu season prep starts early this year: Failure to inoculate for the flu could also strain the United States COVID-19 testing capacity, which is still below the 6-10 million daily tests needed via @CarlODonnell26

NPR @NPR 13 Aug If you want to socialize with family or friends, can testing in advance keep everyone safe? We asked experts how diagnostic tests work and how to interpret the results.

New Scientist @newscientist 14 Aug The UK government has quietly removed 1.3 million coronavirus tests from its data because of double counting, the Guardian reports, raising fresh questions about the accuracy of the testing figures.

Axios @axios 13 Aug The U.S. is cutting back on coronavirus testing. Nationally, the number of tests performed each day is about 17% lower than it was at the end of July, and testing is also declining in hard-hit states.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health @JohnsHopkinsSPH 14 Aug As #COVID19 outbreaks continue to flare up across the U.S., the need for coronavirus testing remains urgent. https://t.co/IU3L3qvrmA

CONTENT FACTS

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