“COVID-19 and the policies we need, according to a Harvard professor” – World Economic Forum / September 9, 2020 / Data: European CDC / Graphic: Our World In Data

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

U.S. stock futures traded higher after a tech selloff. Markets were largely unaffected over news that a major coronavirus vaccine trial was paused due to an “unexplained illness.” AstraZeneca halted late-stage trials of its coronavirus vaccine after a participant experienced an adverse reaction. The company, a frontrunner in the race for a COVID-19 vaccine, will complete a standard review process to allow scrutiny of safety data. 

Oil prices edged higher, one day after their biggest fall in months. The U.S. oil industry, sapped by the pandemic, has lost hundreds of rigs in a historic year. Texas – the largest oil-producing state in the U.S. – had 440 land rigs at the end of August last year. This year, that number has shrunk to 104. 

A coalition of more than 40 organizations is urging the federal government to take steps to protect workers at oil and gas facilities, as well as the communities surrounding the sites. The groups specifically call for public reporting on COVID-19 testing and infection rates at these facilities, as the nature of the offshore oil industry presents a high risk for workers. 

After weeks of stalled negotiations between the White House and Democratic leaders over a coronavirus aid package, Senate Republicans have introduced their new relief bill and are eyeing a vote later this week. The narrowed GOP proposal will provide $300 in increased weekly federal unemployment benefits through the end of December, additional money for the Paycheck Protection Program and liability protections for schools and businesses as they reopen. The legislation is not expected to advance, since that would require the support from Democrats. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the measure “pathetic.” 

In America’s four largest cities – New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston – a new report details how at least half of people say they have experienced the loss of a job or a reduction in wages or work hours in their household since the genesis of the pandemic. Many of these issues are concentrated among Black and Latinx households in the four cities. The coronavirus outbreak has also pushed millions of Americans, especially young adults, to move in with family members. The share of 18- to 29-year-olds living with their parents has become a majority, surpassing the previous peak during the Great Depression era. In July, 52% of young adults resided with one or both of their parents, up from 47% in February. 

As schools continue distance learning, some are questioning whether the more than 30 million kids who depend on U.S. schools for free or reduced-price meals are eating. Among low-income households with children who qualify for school meals, only about 15% have been getting meals. A school district in Arizona says the number of meals served a day has plummeted by nearly 90%. In that district, 70% of families qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Another study found that nearly a quarter of university students have experienced food insecurity during the pandemic. The rates of food insecurity were significantly higher among underrepresented, marginalized and oppressed students, including Black, Latinx, American Indian, international, LGBTQ+ and first-generation students. 

As schools navigate reopening, most of the coverage has been focused on the safety of students and teachers, but cafeteria workers are also at risk. This spring and summer, thousands of K-12 cafeteria workers across the country continued working at schools that were deemed too risky for students. Cafeteria workers often work in poor conditions and receive low wages and a lack of benefits. The food-service industry overall is one of the least union-represented labor forces in the country. 

Roller skating quickly became a trend during the early months of COVID-19, gaining popularity on social media such as TikTok. Retailers are struggling to meet overwhelming demand as more Americans turn to “nostalgic pastimes and outdoor activities” to stay entertained. The roller skate’s invention in 1743 is tied to theater production in which actors affixed wheels to their footwear to mimic ice skating on stage. The pastime is also tied to Black social movements, stemming from a history of racialized conflicts and segregated skating rinks.

Exercise and Diet Are More Important Than Ever With Virus at Large – Kaiser Health News – 9/9/2020
“I reverted to comfort food and comfortable routines and watching an awful lot of Netflix and Amazon Prime, just like everybody else,” Clark says. “When I gained 10 pounds and I was 25, I just cut out the beer and ice cream for a week. When you gain 12 pounds at 62, it’s a long road back.”

How COVID-19 worsened gender inequality in the U.S. workforce – Science News – 9/9/2020
While unemployment increased for all groups, women with no kids were the hardest hit, with unemployment increasing from 2 percent in February to 13.6 percent in April. Comparatively, men with no kids saw unemployment rise from 2.2 percent to 9.5 percent.

Coronavirus showed how broken public transport funding is — here’s how we fix it – Shift | The Next Web – 9/9/2020
Most of us don’t know exactly how our bus or train rides are paid for. It usually involves a mix of fare revenue, commercial taxes, tolls, and contributions from regional or national government. The mix differs a lot between cities, as shown in the charts below which lay out the operating revenue sources for New York, Paris and London.

Amid a Global Pandemic, Designers Aim To Reimagine PPE – Undark Magazine – 9/9/2020
“My concern is people are going to be spending a lot of money based on hype, which is not going to give them or anybody else any additional protection,” said Gary Garber, an infectious disease physician who also works with Public Health Ontario in Canada.

Digital Nomad: The New And Cool Trend Of Working From Paradise—Or Anywhere In The World – Forbes – 9/8/2020
There’s another new and intriguing development emerging—working in another country or as a digital nomad. In addition to working-from-home, many people have taken to doing their job at the beach and some have decided to relocate to lower-cost locations within the United States to save money—while still getting the same pay.

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

NYT National News @NYTNational 9 Sep At many campuses that are trying to isolate students with confirmed or possible Covid infections, students are complaining about filthy rooms, meager food rations, lack of furniture, chaotic procedures and minimal monitoring from their universities.

Maayan Schechter @MaayanSchechter 9 Sep Senate Finance is back in virtually today, likely to move forward a tweaked CR plan that includes unfreezing the teacher salary step raise, adding school nurses and spending $50M to upgrade the state’s prisons.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch @stltoday 9 Sep Two Catholic grade schools in St. Louis County shut down after possible coronavirus exposures

Kara Swisher @karaswisher 9 Sep This is reprehensible — they do not trust citizens with their own data and willfully fool them: Coronavirus cases spike among school-age children in Florida, while state orders some counties to keep data hidden…

Joe Strupp @JoeStrupp 9 Sep Shore schools are back, virtually and in person: Here is how they had to up their game via @asburyparkpress

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