Joe Biden speaks under stage lighting as he discusses his plans to develop and distribute a safe coronavirus vaccine if elected president, during a campaign statement after being briefed by public health experts in Wilmington, Delaware. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

U.S. stock futures wavered ahead of the simultaneous expiration of a variety of stock futures and options contracts that could result in increased volatility. The occurrence is known as quadruple witching. Investors continue to watch for progress in COVID-19 vaccine trials and fresh data will be released by the University of Michigan on how Americans view the economy later this morning. 

The freelance economy is booming amid coronavirus as employers continue to shed permanent full-time jobs. An estimated 2 million Americans have started freelancing in the past 12 months, according to a study. Freelance work is often marked by a lack of security, no benefits and unpredictable income.

The number of people without health insurance swelled in the U.S. last year, even before the pandemic resulted in the loss of jobs and health benefits for millions of Americans, new federal data shows. Nearly 30 million people in the country lacked coverage at some point in 2019, up 1 million from the previous year. The census numbers are likely to spark the debate over how best to ensure Americans can afford health coverage – a top voter concern. 

A new analysis found the pandemic has exacerbated a racial disparity in insurance coverage. Before the coronavirus hit, Black and Latinx Americans were already less likely than white Americans to have employer-based coverage, and now they’re losing that coverage at a greater rate. As of September, 26% of Black Americans are uninsured , a sharp increase from 17% in February. 

Airlines CEOs and labor unions pushed for billions in additional federal aid as a ban on industry job cuts is set to expire in two weeks and a recovery in travel demand has yet to occur. U.S. airlines could furlough or lay off more than 30,000 workers starting in October. Teacher unions across Connecticut are asking state officials to come up with specific policies for handling coronavirus in schools. Most schools in the state have returned for full in-person or hybrid learning. In Hollywood, major studios and key industry unions are close to inking an agreement to restart TV and film production in the U.S. under new safety protocols mandated by the pandemic. 

A coalition of 23 police unions in New York has launched a coordinated effort to elect Republicans in six competitive state Senate districts. New York City’s largest police union made headlines last month when it endorsed President Donald Trump – a first in decades. Police unions have been criticized for protecting officers even after their misconduct comes to light, creating a culture of power without accountability. 

Emails obtained by various news outlets show meatpacking executives pressured federal regulators to help keep their plants open, even as thousands of employees fell ill with COVID-19. President Trump issued a controversial executive order aimed at keeping the plants open to supply food to American consumers in late April, and an executive order drafted by the meat industry’s trade group bears striking similarities to the one the president signed. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), in its second-largest coronavirus-related citation, fined the meatpacking company JBS $15,615 last week. It is estimated more than 18,000 workers have been exposed to the virus.

An article illustrates how friendships have formed due to the pandemic, from friends that met through the video game Animal Crossing to digital companionship that arose through political activism. The internet has played a large role in virtual connections as social distancing rules were imposed. 

Experts warn wildfire smoke could worsen COVID-19 – The Hill – 9/18/2020
Wildfires that have left parts of California and other western states with some of the worst air quality in the world are posing a major threat to people with asthma and other underlying health conditions who are already at greater risk of serious COVID-19 complications.

The pandemic has taken away the delight of companionship while having a meal – Quartz India – 9/18/2020
We baulk at the idea of conviviality. Life is all about masks and social distancing, contactless encounters and online ordering. At a time of public health and financial challenges, the mere mention of hedonic pleasures raises eyebrows. How dare one be so shallow when so many around us are struggling with adversity?

I got laid off because of COVID-19. Here’s how I turned job loss into a career opportunity – Fast Company – 9/17/2020
Then, remember what else you’ve survived and find strength in knowing this moment is just a blip on your radar for the future. For me, the clouds parted when I stopped to consider what else I’d been through and that this in hindsight would pale in comparison.

Startups Race to Develop Tech That Can Clear Workplaces of Covid – Bloomberg – 9/18/2020
“What we liked about [EMT] is that it’s a proactive solution,” said Anderson. Many other options are passive, requiring that air be pulled through a unit to be treated. Smithfield, owned by Hong Kong-based WH Group, said it has installed EMT’s units in six locations, including a plant in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, with three more locations soon to follow.

How the modern world was shaped by epidemics 500 years ago – The Conversation – 9/18/2020
Coronavirus has demonstrated the impact that epidemic disease can have on a vulnerable population. Similarly, these virgin soil epidemics rapidly swept through Native American communities. Societies were overwhelmed. Everyone fell sick at once: there was no one to care for the sick and no one to plant or harvest crops.

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

The Conversation @ConversationEDU 17 Sep Researchers in China have found that people who wear glasses appear to be at lower risk of catching #COVID19.But there are plenty of reasons to be cautious about this result.The latest from @ConversationUK

Don Day @DonLDay 18 Sep Have worn glasses since about 3. Took me deep into adulthood to embrace the look. This might be the first time I ever considered it a possible health benefit… 

FOX6 News @fox6now 18 Sep The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency added another common household cleaner to its growing list of products that are effective against SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.​

Global Winnipeg @globalwinnipeg 18 Sep As more and more people start wearing face masks, more and more people with glasses are running into a not-so-clear problem — foggy glasses — but there are things you can do to clear things up, according to a Winnipeg-based optometrist.

James Elder @1james_elder 18 Sep While masks provide great protection & help stop the transmission of #COVID19, it can often be difficult figuring out when to wear a mask & the best way to introduce #children to masks. Check the article with expert advice #COVID19.

CONTENT FACTS

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