“World’s Major Economies Suffer Record 10% Lockdown Slump” – Bloomberg / Data: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development


U.S. stock futures were mixed following the S&P 500 edging up to record highs on three consecutive trading days. Volatility in American stocks has been largely muted through August as many investors and traders take summer vacations. Investors continue to watch the progress of hurricane Laura, though stockpiles of fuel are currently high due to the pandemic’s impact on demand, which could potentially minimize the disruption of energy prices from the storms. 

Genetic data has been traced back to a single “superspreading” event in Boston. A meeting back in February has been linked to cases in Boston suburbs, Indiana, North Carolina, Slovakia, Australia, and Singapore. The study identified a characteristic mutation that was present at the conference. Researchers equate these small mutations to “genetic barcodes” that allow them to track infections to their sources and develop more effective interventions to stop the disease. 

Researchers define superspreading as one person or gathering that leads to an unusually high number of new infections – there are good estimates that suggest between 10% and 20% of cases are responsible for about 80% of transmission events.

How to vote during the pandemic poses a dilemma for many Americans who worry about the health risks of voting in person or whether the U.S. Postal Service will be able to deliver mail-in ballots on time, but concerns are exacerbated for those in more vulnerable positions. The most politically engaged demographic in the country – the elderly, many of whom live in nursing homes – are facing a disenfranchisement crisis. Family and friends who helped them vote in prior elections are not allowed to visit and some swing states have suspended efforts to send teams to nursing homes to assist with voting. 

An upcoming wave of evictions ahead of the November election may also prevent Americans from voting by mail during an election that will depend more than ever on mail-in ballots. Researchers using the Census Bureau data have found that between 11.7 million and 13 million households are at risk of eviction before the end of the year. Evicted citizens can still vote by mail, but the process will be more complicated depending on where they live. LeBron James is headlining a multimillion-dollar initiative to increase the number of poll workers, specifically in Black electoral districts amid a reported shortage in poll workers to staff in-person voting sites. 

The Coronavirus Language Access Act has been introduced to the Senate in an effort to expand access to resources by increasing language services and supporting culturally appropriate COVID-19 response programs to help those who have limited English proficiency, older Americans, and people with disabilities. In Dallas Country, where 53% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are Hispanic, one group has begun handing out bilingual resources to address the language barrier issue. Orange County’s lack of sign-up forms in other languages besides English at the county’s largest coronavirus testing site drew attention from top officials, and six weeks into the site’s opening, sign-up forms are being translated and staff is creating a call center in multiple languages.

In California, the Latinx population continues to get sick and die from coronavirus at rates far higher than other groups. This disparity can be linked to fear of jeopardizing legal status, underlying health conditions, and long-standing gaps in wealth and health care access.  

As colleges reopen across the country, student-run news publications have been among the most vocal critics, with several writing scathing editorials deriding administrators’ decisions. One front page read, “Don’t make us write obituaries.” At the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, the Daily Tar Heel’s headline, “UNC has a clusterf*** on its hands,” was a pun that caught national media attention following the university identifying several “clusters” of the virus on campus.

Innovation Due To Covid: Yes, But How? – Forbes – 8/26/2020
Research led by a New York University professor shows that firms that try to rapidly develop new products – as many are doing in response to the pandemic – are unlikely to succeed in doing so if they continue to follow their established innovation processes and simply tighten timelines. “Accelerating innovation is risky, it can kill the creative juices. So you need to redesign the process, not take a traditional process and just compress it,” says Hila Lifshitz-Assaf of New York University.

A dilemma for ‘long-haulers’: Many can’t prove they had Covid-19 – STAT – 8/26/2020
Because of widespread supply shortages and overwhelmed medical providers, many who sought viral testing in the first months of the pandemic were refused for not meeting strict criteria. Others decided on their own to self-quarantine. Some, like wildlife veterinarian Emily Talkington, received negative results from local testing sites despite clinical signs of the disease.

What we can learn from Europe’s response to the COVID-19 crisis – Qrius – 8/26/2020
The immediate reaction to COVID-19 in Europe was not exemplary. Critical medical health supplies were held in national warehouses while borders were closed, with a “my nation first” reaction, as European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen described it. But Europe learned, and learned fast. Within weeks, European countries came together to save lives, jobs and businesses.

Why Does the Coronavirus Hit Men Harder? A New Clue – The New York Times – 8/26/2020The findings, published on Wednesday in Nature, suggest that men, particularly those over age 60, may need to depend more on vaccines to protect against the infection. “Natural infection is clearly failing” to spark adequate immune responses in men, said Akiko Iwasaki, an immunologist at Yale University who led the work.

These cinema-seats were designed to isolate movie-goers in a post COVID world – Yanko Design – 8/26/2020
London-based design studio LAYER has debuted a new kind of movie-theater seat titled ‘Sequel’ to mark the second, renewed era of film born as a result of the coronavirus. The virus has arguably crippled travel and entertainment the hardest, and LAYER’s design efforts seem to be rectifying the various inherent problems within these two areas. The Sequel seat was designed as a direct response to the coronavirus crippling movie-theaters and their enclosed, highly-packed spaces.


Joe Scarborough @JoeNBC 25 Aug American Airlines to shrink workforce by 30% as travel continues to slump amid the coronavirus pandemic

António Guterres @antonioguterres 25 Aug 120 million jobs in tourism are at risk due to #COVID19.We must ensure tourism regains its position as a provider of decent jobs & stable incomes – building a sustainable travel experience that is safe for host communities, workers & travellers.

World Economic Forum @wef 25 Aug Global business travel will survive COVID-19, study says #Aviation #COVID19

Sarah Boxer @Sarah_Boxer 26 Aug Delta Doubles Cleaning Staff and Commits to Blocking Middle Seats Until 2021 – ⁦@TravelLeisure⁩

Alfons López Tena @alfonslopeztena 25 Aug American Airlines will be the first airline to deploy a disinfecting surface coating that kills coronavirus for up to 7 days using SurfaceWise2, which creates an invisible layer that kills pathogens within 2 hours


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