“The U.S. is far behind other rich countries in coronavirus response” – Axios / Data: WHO; Chart: Naema Ahmed / Axios

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The U.S. logged its lowest daily number of COVID-19 cases on Monday in almost eight weeks, at just over 35,000. Coronavirus cases in the nation’s nursing homes have surged by almost 80%, a rate disproportionately higher than the rest of the nation. Long-term facilities house just 1% of the population, but research has found that they account for 40% of the nation’s coronavirus deaths.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will discontinue in-person classes following positive coronavirus test results for 177 students and another 349 students in quarantine due to possible exposure just over a week after classes began. The decision demonstrates the difficulties of in-person classes on campuses across the country. At Georgia Tech University, a group of students staged a “ die-in” to protest in-person classes and safety standards on campus.  

Public schools are opening to in-person classes this month only to close again due to outbreaks. Schools in Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Georgia, among others, have closed after students tested positive for COVID-19. In Arizona, a school district was forced to cancel classes on the first day of in-person instruction due to teachers protesting their required attendance with a “sick out.” Leaders with the school district in Los Angeles are moving forward with reopening schools this week, with plans to test 700,000 students and employees for the coronavirus. 

The public has reengaged with the coming general election after the pandemic drove a dip in attention. A new Gallup Poll found that 70% of Americans are giving “a lot of thought” to the election this November. Thousands watched from their homes on Monday as the Democratic National Convention kicked off with hundreds of live feeds in an all-virtual event with speeches from former First Lady Michelle Obama, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Several European countries are cracking down on nightlife to suppress the spread of COVID-19 enough to avoid recurrent lockdowns. Spain and Italy shut down discos and Greece restricted restaurant hours just as an analysis from the World Health Organization warned that coronavirus is now largely spread by young people who do not realize they are infected. French and Irish authorities are also stepping up measures as those countries experience alarming new highs in the reported number of cases.

International journalism is facing an accelerated demise as the pandemic causes economic turmoil and travel restrictions that foil reporting efforts. Already under pressure due to budget restraints, some freelance reporters say their work may no longer be sustainable. 

With the approach of the Halloween season, one Japanese horror company has created a way for haunted house lovers to get their fix while keeping a safe distance. Production company Kowagarasetai has launched what it says is the world’s first drive-in haunted house, in which attendees park their car in a garage where their vehicle is “attacked” by zombies and ghosts. 

Federal Study of Covid Treatments Enters a New Phase – New York Times – 8/18/2020
If the drug had demonstrated an impressive effect, the study’s data safety and monitoring board, which oversees the trial, would have halted it and given every patient remdesivir and baricitinib. That combination would then have been the control drugs for Phase 3 of the study. That did not happen.

How Bars Are Fueling COVID-19 Outbreaks – NPR – 8/18/2020
“If you were to create a petri dish and say, how can we spread this the most? It would be cruise ships, jails and prisons, factories, and it would be bars,” Alozie says. He was a member of the Texas Medical Association committee that created  a COVID-19 risk scale for common activities such as shopping at the grocery store.

Meet the digital nomads swapping office life for lockdown paradise – WIRED UK – 8/18/2020
Tulum is home to a growing legion of digital nomads: remote workers who base themselves in exotic destinations across the world. They’re typically millennials who can quickly uproot, travel light and pursue creative industries which don’t necessarily have rigid nine-to-five hours or demanding bosses.

Why working from home is so disruptive to your sleep schedule – Fast Company – 8/18/2020
“This personal downtime as we get ready to transition into sleep is very important to shift the physiology and brain activity. With too much activation, our sympathetic system overpowers our sense of sleepiness, potentially impacting getting to sleep and quality of sleep,” says Siebern.

How we accelerated clinical trials in the age of coronavirus – nature – 8/18/2020
First, streamline bureaucracy. We’ve gone so far towards managing risk that we’ve created layers of bureaucracy that absorb time and money, and, paradoxically, increase the risk that beneficial treatments are not tested — or worse, that ineffective treatments are used widely in the rush to ‘do something’. 

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

The Intercept @theintercept 17 Aug Cutting unemployment benefits during the coronavirus pandemic could lead to basic material deprivation — true hunger and homelessness — on a scale few alive today have ever seen, writes @Schwarz.

John Hanna @APjdhanna 17 Aug .@GovLauraKelly imposes new ban on evictions, mortgage foreclosures. Kansas sees largest seven-day increase in reported coronavirus cases since pandemic began. #ksleg

Mercury News @mercnews 17 Aug Rally supports inmates’ hunger strike over coronavirus at Santa Clara County jails

sianushka @sianushka 18 Aug Really vital reporting on homelessness crisis in coronavirus by @cjayanetti

WTTW (Chicago PBS) @wttw 17 Aug While shelters saw some large COVID-19 outbreaks, the virus so far doesn’t appear to have brought devastation to the homeless population as many feared.

CONTENT FACTS

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