WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Optimism surrounding a potential treatment for the coronavirus buoyed global markets and U.S. futures point to a higher open. Amid a rise in confirmed coronavirus deaths – Sunday marked 175,651 lives lost – President Donald Trump announced the emergency authorization for the use of convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19. President Trump said the treatment will “save countless lives,” though it is not yet clear how effective it might be. Convalescent plasma is a form of isolated antibodies from patients who have recovered from the disease that can be injected into another patient early in an infection.
Moderna, the first company to launch large-scale clinical trials for a coronavirus vaccine, has enrolled minorities “at levels more than three times lower than those requested by Dr. Anthony Fauci.” The trials could potentially be delayed if Moderna does not recruit a sufficient number of minorities, who have been disproportionately hit by the pandemic.
Colleges and universities are already making the shift from in-person classes to online instruction after hundreds of students on campuses across the country tested positive for COVID-19. Schools such as Notre Dame, Michigan State, and the University of North Carolina have made the switch to online after briefly resuming in-person classes. Central Michigan University has threatened to fine or suspend students who host large gatherings following data from the University of Kentucky that found a roughly 3% positivity rate for coronavirus among fraternities and sororities, which is triple the positivity rate of the general student population.
As fires rip through areas of California, first responders are lacking a crucial part of their emergency response team – prison inmate firefighters. Coronavirus swept through correctional facilities, leaving fewer inmates available to help contain more than two dozen major fires and 300 smaller ones in the state. California has the largest inmate firefighter program in the country, and some describe the practice as “slave labor.” Incarcerated firefighters in the state are paid $1 an hour when they are on the front lines, while firefighters typically earn between $15-$35 per hour on average.
Farmworkers in central California now face an added crisis as they harvest produce through heavy smoke clouds. Advocacy organizations have expressed concern for farmworkers, who already work outside in close contact with one another in heatwaves and without proper protective gear. California has an estimated 500,000 to 800,000 farmworkers, about 75% of whom are undocumented and do not have regular access to healthcare. As the air quality index in the Central Valley enters the unhealthy range at 150, employers are now required to hand out appropriate respiratory equipment, like an N95 mask.
As coronavirus continues to spread, an increasing number of rural communities in the U.S. find themselves without their hospital or on the brink of losing already cash-strapped facilities. Eighteen rural hospitals closed last year. Many of the losses are in Southern states, like Florida and Texas. The financial challenges that came with pandemic – such as the cancellation of elective surgeries in the spring – may be the tipping point for the hundreds of rural hospitals across the country that were already labeled as “vulnerable.”
Germany held a controlled concert over the weekend to test how those attending could spread coronavirus if they had it. Data was collected in a “real-life simulation of a pop concert,” though one with strict health and safety controls. A German pop singer appeared on stage to “create a realistic reaction from the crowd.”
NAVIGATING THE PANDEMIC
This Is How To Combat ‘Zoom Gloom’ In The Time Of COVID – Forbes – 8/24/2020
According to researchers, being on a video call requires more focus than in-person interactions. On video chats, our brains put in much more effort to process and make sense of facial expressions, body language, and vocal cues like pitch and tone. And this gets exponentially harder when a video call has more than two people; we attempt to communicate and connect the way we would in person, but become overwhelmed with asynchronous cues.
Why Do Some People Weather Coronavirus Infection Unscathed? – Undark Magazine – 8/24/2020
One of the reasons Covid-19 has spread so swiftly around the globe is that for the first days after infection, people feel healthy. Instead of staying home in bed, they may be out and about, unknowingly passsing the virus along. But in addition to these pre-symptomatic patients, the relentless silent spread of this pandemic is also facilitated by a more mysterious group of people: the so-called asymptomatics.
Apple and Google’s contact tracing apps only work on new phones. That’s a problem – Fast Company – 8/24/2020
Since Google and Apple launched their joint exposure notification platform in May, countries across the globe have begun releasing apps that will inform their residents if they’ve come into contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Covid Hits Minorities Hardest, but Data Often Doesn’t Show It – Wired – 8/24/2020
The tents were pitched outside the 24th Street BART station to address a pernicious pattern in the Covid-19 outbreak in the US. The burden of sickness and death is significantly worse in low income and minority neighborhoods like the Mission—as is the quality of data related to the disease.
College COVID strategies don’t adequately address typical student behavior – Inside Highered – 8/24/2020
Kira Griffith, a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and president of the Residence Hall Association, was “disappointed” last week when the campus called off its plan for in-person instruction due to outbreaks of coronavirus among students.
WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING
Sky Sports News @SkySportsNews 23 Aug Several NFL teams will alter or cancel their pre-season training schedules after a number of daily coronavirus tests carried out on Saturday came back positive.
Nicole Auerbach @NicoleAuerbach 23 Aug “The survey found myocarditis in close to 15 percent of athletes who had the virus, almost all of whom experienced mild or no symptoms, perhaps shedding more light on the uncertainties about the short- and long-term effects the virus may have on athletes.”
The Big Lead @thebiglead 23 Aug Whether these are false positives or real, the NFL is getting a dress rehearsal for how to deal with coronavirus right now.
Shlomo Sprung @SprungOnSports 23 Aug #Bears, #Browns #Bills are among a reported 10-11 #NFL teams dealing with false positive coronavirus tests stemming from a BioReference lab in New Jersey, causing a headache that can’t repeat itself during regular season or playoff games. @ForbesSports
The New York Times @nytimes 24 Aug Some universities have sent mixed messages as they follow medical guidelines to try to limit the spread of the coronavirus on campus while pushing ahead with their fall football seasons anyway
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