“Coronavirus Maps: How Severe Is Your State’s Outbreak?” – NPR / Source: Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University


Stock futures traded higher after a strong bounce back Tuesday, but investors continue to brace for volatility in the coming weeks amid lack of a new stimulus package, political arguments about a new Supreme Court judge and the upcoming U.S. presidential election. 

Johnson & Johnson has begun the final stage of clinical trials for its coronavirus vaccine. The vaccine, unlike its competitors, does not need to be stored at subzero temperatures and may require just one dose instead of two. However, only a Phase 3 trial can determine if a single dose was effective. More than 100,000 people are taking part in studies to see if one or more COVID-19 vaccine candidates actually work. The Johnson & Johnson testing involves as many as 60,000 volunteers worldwide. A large trial maximizes the likelihood the study will capture people who “span the gamut of behavior, jobs and lifestyles.”

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to issue a tough new standard for an emergency authorization of a coronavirus vaccine that would make it exceedingly difficult for a vaccine to be cleared before Election Day. One poll shows that only 21% of individuals would “definitely” get a coronavirus vaccine – half the share that said this four months ago. More than three-quarters of Americans think “it’s very or somewhat likely a COVID-19 vaccine will be approved in the U.S. before its safety and effectiveness are fully understood.”

Hunger has grown more prevalent among U.S. households, according to a new analysis. The level of hunger has almost tripled between 2019 and August of this year and has “skyrocketed” compared to before COVID-19. The numbers represent a failure of the federal government’s food programs, like food stamps and WIC. Families with children are experiencing high rates of food insecurity, with one in three families with kids experiencing a lack of food security. Food insecurity is defined by a lack of sufficient food for maintaining a healthy and active life. 

The pandemic wreaked havoc on agriculture during the 2020 growing season. Health department emails show that some farms resisted COVID-19 testing and workers claimed farms didn’t take steps to keep them safe. A shortage of farmworkers meant struggling farmers had to fall back on high school students, school bus drivers and other people to gather their harvest. This is not the first time students ventured into fields to save the season’s harvest – this practice dates back to World War II when the country also suffered a shortage of agricultural workers. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reversed its guidelines on whether the coronavirus is airborne, days after it warned the virus spreads most commonly through the air. The language published Friday was a “draft version” posted to the agency’s website in error, according to a note published by the CDC. Some experts have criticized the CDC for being “confusing,” however the guidance remains the same – stay 6 feet apart and wear a mask to prevent the spread of airborne transmission. 

Virginia Tech’s Dr. Linsey Marr explained the difference between aerosols and droplets, which are commonly how airborne transmission occurs. Marr said droplets are visible to the eye and come from one’s mouth or nose, while aerosols are like microscopic droplets and float around like cigarette smoke. 

Some people are getting back on planes with an unconventional destination – nowhere. Individuals with a penchant for flying have begun taking flights that land in the same place they depart from. Some airlines call these “scenic flights”; others are more direct and label them “flights to nowhere.” Some of these flights have sold out within 10 minutes. 

Why Tens Of Thousands Of People Are Key To Testing A COVID-19 Vaccine – NPR – 9/23/2020
More than 100,000 people are taking part in studies to see if one or more COVID-19 vaccine candidates actually work. Janssen Pharmaceutical Cos. of Johnson & Johnson today starts wide-scale testing for its vaccine. It will involve as many as 60,000 volunteers worldwide.

COVID-19 and small island nations: what we can learn from New Zealand and Iceland – The Conversation – 9/23/2020
A 14-day quarantine in managed facilities was implemented for all new arrivals. These border controls have continued to today despite the huge impact on the tourism industry. New Zealand‘s “go hard and go early” strategy proved to be  more effective than most had anticipated. The country moved back to its lowest alert level on June 8, after only seven weeks of shutdown.

The spread of ancient infectious diseases offers insight into COVID-19 – Big Think – 9/22/2020
Our relationship to disease changed after the last Ice Age ended roughly 12,000 years ago. The Pleistocene Epoch lasted roughly 2.5 million years; the conditions for mass gatherings did not yet exist. As we packed closer together, and as we packed other species close to us, viruses began circulating broadly.

There’s a new weapon against COVID-19. And it’s dogs – Fast Company – 9/23/2020
Dogs have already proven their ability to sniff out diseases ranging from cancer to malaria. While we don’t always know exactly what they are detecting to ferret out specific illnesses, the clues are likely tied to a dog’s ability to smell volatile organic compounds—the metabolic junk our bodies produce all the time, which can vary with illness.

How coronavirus has affected plastic use in the hotel industry – The Independent – 9/23/2020“They should start with the easy changes: no bottled water in hotel rooms; no plastic cups wrapped in cellophane; put out pats of butter and milk jugs instead of individual plastic-wrapped pots; provide shower gel in dispensers or put out bars of solid soap.”


Axios @axios 22 Sep It’s becoming increasingly clear that the future of work will be a remote/in-person hybrid.

Carlos del Rio @CarlosdelRio7 23 Sep CDC director’s office ordered softening of coronavirus safety protocols for meat plant via @msnbc. Wow! Good for @maddow for uncovering that political pressure watered down CDC’s recommendations on #COVID19 to meat packing plants.

Jeannie Kim @jeanniekim 23 Sep It’s been a long 6 months, in more ways than one. Here’s realistic advice for dealing with WFH burnout. (by @JoYurcaba via @TheMuse)

Clay Eltzroth @Clay1016 23 Sep The world’s biggest hedge fund is working from tents in the forest during the COVID pandemic – Fortune

Grow @Grow_mag 23 Sep A work-from-home librarian? A remote home stylist? Here are unexpected jobs that are now hiring remotely.


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