“Colleges drive a new wave of coronavirus hotspots” – Axios, September 3, 2020 / Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Note: Washington state case count does not include Sept. 1; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise / Axios

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

U.S. jobless claims in the last week fell to 881,000, indicating a slow improvement in the labor market that is expected to remain near recession-era levels in coming months. Paradoxically, the wealthiest Americans are the most likely to have maintained employment and saved the most money during the pandemic, while those who experienced a loss in income have restored their spending to almost pre-pandemic levels. 

Spending fueled by coronavirus relief measures has propelled the federal budget deficit to a record $3.3 trillion. The figures, released by the Congressional Budget Office on Wednesday, show that more than than $2 trillion was added to the deficit due to the pandemic. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised local public health officials to be ready to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine as early as late October. While a vaccine still may not be ready for widespread use by then, the agency’s mention of a possible rollout at that time has heightened tensions in the debate over whether the Food and Drug Administration should use its authority to fast-track a vaccine through the approval process. While supporters say the move could save thousands of lives, opponents warn of safety dangers. Others say the Trump administration could be hyping the possibility of a vaccine to boost support before Election Day.

Facebook will restrict new political ads and double down on misinformation about COVID-19 the in the week before the election, adding to a string of actions the social media company has taken in recent weeks to encourage voting and minimize misinformation and “civil unrest.” The company will remove posts that discourage people from going to the polls by claiming that they will catch the coronavirus if they go.

Proponents of COVID-19 conspiracy theories have been increasingly linked to QAnon conspiracies. Experts say the pandemic has increased the overall audience base for theories such as QAnon, 5G and anti-vaccination movements, but that QAnon appeals to an essential preoccupation with childrens’ safety. Oftentimes, the theories are linked and spread in local Facebook groups that discuss kid- or baby-friendly cafes or schools.

The World Health Organization has issued new treatment guidance to treat severely ill patients of COVID-19 with steroids. Clinical trials have found that cheap and widely available steroids can reduce the risk of death. 

Americans are turning to dystopian stories, social justice and romance books during the pandemic. An informal survey by the Washington Post found that as readers use books to escape some realities through stories of science fiction and romance, they have also been fueled by the death of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests to read more about race and social justice. 

How can the world ensure fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines? – World Economic Forum – 9/3/2020
Wealthy countries that join COVAX will finance the vaccine purchases from their national budgets, and will partner with 92 poorer nations supported through voluntary donations to the plan to ensure vaccines are delivered equitably, Berkley said. Participating wealthy countries are also free to procure vaccines through bilateral deals and other plans.

Covid-19: why do pandemics trigger civil unrest? – podcast – The Guardian – 9/3/2020
As countries entered lockdowns to mitigate the impact of Covid-19, many citizens came out to protest against measures such as social distancing, face masks and potential vaccination programmes. Demonstrations have subsequently erupted around around the world, with causes ranging from the Black Lives Matter movement to protests against inequality and corruption.

What the world needs now is socially-distant robots, says Japan – The Register – 9/3/2020
Japan has an ageing population and has therefore made significant investments in robots as assistants for the elderly, even developing a national standard to govern their operations in environments where they work alongside humans including medical settings, public transport hubs and commercial facilities.

What It’s Really Like To Take A Beach Vacation During Coronavirus – Forbes – 9/2/2020
Another way to further distance yourself is to rent bikes and surreys from a shop like Green’s and ride up and down the boardwalk. Or you can head to the beach, which is absolutely massive, stretching for five miles along the coast and giving beachgoers plenty of room to spread out.

Zoom is failing teachers. Here’s how they would redesign it – Fast Company – 9/3/2020
But as I witnessed last spring, young children often don’t know how to use their microphones, and not all students have a parent sitting there to help them. It doesn’t help matters that the “mute” button is small and right next to the “start video/stop video” button—a poor design choice for little hands with limited dexterity.

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

Kevin L. Jackson @Kevin_Jackson 2 Sep Blockchain Accelerates Amid Covid-19 Pandemic – Single-origin coffee could be the start of tracing other coffees for consumers. getty Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the food and beverage industry’s supply… #GovCloudWorldNews

Farmers.gov @FarmersGov 2 Sep M is for Mushroom, there are so many kinds.Assistance is available for this and other specialty crops through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program #CFAP

Bloomberg QuickTake @QuickTake 3 Sep Mandatory masks Temperature checks Hand sanitizing stations How a California cannabis farm is managing its summer harvest amid the #coronavirus pandemic

New York Times World @nytimesworld 3 Sep The Vegetable Co. sits in a shipping container on the edge of a parking lot in Malaysia’s largest city. It’s one of many small farms around the world that are selling directly to consumers during the pandemic.

The Seattle Times @seattletimes 3 Sep When coronavirus hit, Finnriver Farm & Grainery quickly figured out how to make their resources more available to the community.

CONTENT FACTS

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