“Trust in pharmaceutical companies vs. the FDA to look out for the best interests of Americans” – Axios / Data: Ipsos / Axios survey; Note: ±3.2% margin of error for the total sample; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios


New coronavirus infections in the U.S. are down from their peak in July and have declined in the last week in half of the country, but medical experts warn the number of infections is still too high to endure the challenges of flu season this fall. The rate of COVID-19-related deaths has also fallen over the last two weeks, a trend largely attributed to the virus shifting to younger populations. About 20% of the cases in intensive care units are people between 18-34 years old. 

Metropolitan hospitals are quickly joining rural hospitals in a collapse accelerated by the pandemic. Safety net hospitals, which largely serve the uninsured or Medicare patients, could be crippled by the economic fallout of the pandemic as their subsidies dry up. Hospitals in affluent neighborhoods continue to attract the best-insured patients, leaving community hospitals at a loss to treat their core patients, who are those most disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

The long-term ramifications of remote learning could cost the U.S. economy up to $28 million, according to a report authored by economists from universities in Stanford and Munich. They found that losses in learning now will translate to lower incomes later in life, warning that schools must quickly return to better performance levels to avoid the fallout.

Several high schools have been forced to return to remote learning after student parties spurred local COVID-19 outbreaks, echoing the same challenges experienced by universities across the country. The University of Arizona is asking students to shelter in place for 14 days to help slow the spread. On campuses that quarantine COVID-19-positive students, students say that the monitoring of positive cases is minimal and that the conditions in quarantine housing are poor.       

Retail sales this holiday season are expected to surge by 1% or more, with the increase mostly due to online purchases. The rise in e-commerce is expected to be driven by America’s most wealthy, according to a Deloitte forecast. Payment processing company Square reported that COVID-19 has advanced cashless payment by three years, settling at about 13% of total transactions. 

Economic recovery has accelerated in China, where consumers are spending more on retail. Other indicators, including joblessness and manufacturing, have also improved. Through the remainder of Asia, the economy is expected to shrink this year for the first time since the 1960s. Global respondents in a Pew survey said they are more negative about the state of the economy now than they were during the Great Recession. 

Candy lovers with a taste for Peeps marshmallows must forego the sweet treats this Halloween. Marshmallow production, which was halted during coronavirus outbreaks, will be focused solely on products for the highest demand during Easter, meaning no Peeps for the rest of the year.

Stillbirth rate rises dramatically during pandemic – Nature – 9/15/2020
It reported that stillbirths increased from 14 per 1,000 births before the country went into lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus in late March, to 21 per 1,000 births by the end of May — a rise of 50%. The sharpest rise was observed during the first four weeks of the lockdown, under which people were allowed to leave their homes only to buy food and receive essential care.

Amid pandemic and protests, Americans know much more about their rights – Science Codex – 9/15/2020
Americans are much more aware of all five rights protected by the First Amendment when asked unprompted to name them; Nearly three-quarters of Americans (73%) correctly named freedom of speech as one of the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment, up from 48% in 2017;

Lessons from COVID-19 about communicating risk – strategy+business – 9/15/2020It’s important not to minimize the problem. Researchers from the University of Connecticut and Zhejiang University in China found that a challenge for risk communications is to correct for optimism bias — people’s tendency to see things as rosier than they are in reality and thus to minimize or ignore risks.

How Companies Are Getting Speedy Coronavirus Tests for Employees – New York Times – 9/15/2020
Through a growing number of intermediaries, they can generally obtain test results in one to three days, often by circumventing large national labs like Quest and LabCorp that have experienced backlogs and relying on unused capacity at smaller labs instead.

“A Silent Pandemic”: Nurse at ICE Facility Blows the Whistle on Coronavirus Dangers – The Intercept – 9/15/2020
The whistleblower, Dawn Wooten, says that Irwin, which is run by the private corporation LaSalle Corrections, has underreported Covid-19 cases, knowingly placed staff and detainees at risk of contracting the virus, neglected medical complaints, and refused to test symptomatic detainees, among other dangerous practices.


Bloomberg Canada @BloombergCA 15 Sep Despite the accelerating Covid-19 pandemic, Australian officials cleared Carnival’s Ruby Princess to disembark without restrictions. The ship may have accounted for 10% of the country’s cases at one point

KRNV @KRNV 15 Sep The owner of the venue where Trump held his Las Vegas rally over the weekend is being fined for violating coronavirus prevention mandates.

Slate @Slate 15 Sep The pandemic might be an extinction-level event for your favorite music venues.

Insider News @insidernews 15 Sep A 26-year-old American woman ignored quarantine instructions to go on a bar crawl in Germany, and caused a COVID-19 outbreak at the hotel she works in, officials say

WLOS @WLOS_13 15 Sep “It will not be the same parade we’re used to. It will be a different kind of event,” Mayor de Blasio said of this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Will you miss the Thanksgiving tradition?


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