“As Pandemic Deaths Add Up, Racial Disparities Persist — And In Some Cases Worsen” – NPR / Source: COVID Tracking Project; 2018 American Community Survey five-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau / Credit: Daniel Wood / NPR

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

U.S. jobless claims rose as layoffs continued, with the Labor Department reporting about 825,000 Americans filed for state unemployment benefits last week. Stock futures fell with European stocks on concern the economic recovery is faltering amid a resurgence of coronavirus and fears of tighter measures to contain it. Volatility is being fueled by President Donald Trump’s comment that he would not commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the November vote. 

At the same coronavirus press briefing, Trump also applauded Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s response to the case regarding the shooting death of Breonna Taylor. No police officer was charged Wednesday over her death – the Kentucky grand jury indicted one of three police officers for endangering other people in the apartment complex when he fired his weapon, but not for Taylor’s death. Protests have erupted across the country expressing anger over police killing Black people. 

Early data has found there is little evidence that coronavirus is spreading inside buildings despite thousands of students and teachers who have become sick with COVID-19 since schools began reopening. This data suggests that reopening schools may not be as risky as many had feared. The state of Texas has released numbers showing low public school infection rates but notes the data is still limited. In New York, 100 school buildings have already reported a positive case though nearly all remained open. 

As the U.S. surpasses 200,000 coronavirus-related deaths, data shows that small towns are experiencing higher death rates than at the beginning of the pandemic, which was largely dominated by urban areas. The share of deaths has nearly tripled in small towns and rural areas. An epidemiologist likened the disease’s progression to HIV, which also took hold first in large cities before spreading to smaller towns. 

Some municipalities continue to hemorrhage cash amid ongoing shutdowns as Congress remains stalled over a possible new relief package. Many states, including New Mexico, have been forced to slash funding that would normally trickle down to counties and cities. In New Mexico, economists have predicted a nearly $1 billion budget deficit. Colorado lawmakers are facing a $3 billion hole in the budget and have cut a handful of mental health programs in an attempt to save money. 

COVID-19 conspiracy theories are spreading via social media and some news outlets – a trend that dates back to the 1300s when the Black Death ravaged Europe and people attempted to make sense of the “chaotic forces disrupting their lives.” A study from the University of Pennsylvania surveyed a group of 840 adults, first in late March and then again in mid-July to determine how Americans’ beliefs regarding the pandemic shifted. They found that COVID-19 conspiracy theories are not only commonplace but gaining traction. 

QAnon, a system of conspiratorial beliefs that started on the fringes of the Internet in 2017, has grown in popularity amid the pandemic. Many social media posts incorporate COVID-19 misinformation or advocate against mask-wearing and vaccines. To date, 81 current or former congressional candidates have openly expressed support for QAnon. Pew Research found that Americans’ awareness of QAnon has roughly doubled since March to nearly half of U.S. adults. 

A pilot project has begun at an airport in Finland that trains dogs to detect the coronavirus when sniffing passengers. The pilot project is running alongside more usual testing at the airport. The dogs’ efficiency has not been proven in comparative scientific studies, but research has shown that dogs will find the disease before patients get any clinical symptoms.

The tech solutions of 2020 may be sapping our resolve to beat the coronavirus – Axios – 9/23/2020
The big picture: A COVID-19 pandemic in 2003 would have presented the world and the U.S. with an impossible choice: pursue social distancing and experience even far greater economic havoc than we’re seeing now, or try to weather the virus and watch the death toll climb. So in many ways, we’re fortunate that this is happening in 2020. But not all of us are.

In the race for a Covid-19 vaccine, here come the tortoises – STAT – 9/24/2020
Corporate giants Sanofi and Merck, which got a relatively late start in developing Covid-19 vaccines, may seem far behind the frontrunners. But experts say they also have such deep experience developing and testing vaccine candidates, and producing vaccine at commercial scale, that both could well close the gap considerably in the months ahead.

Coronavirus: the road to vaccine roll-out is always bumpy, as 20th-century pandemics show – The Conversation – 9/23/2020
Today, restrictions on gatherings and movement in the efforts to control COVID-19 have been a huge strain on society, but in the 1950s, parents locked their children in stifling hot buildings during the summer with windows sealed shut because they were terrified polio would somehow  seep through the cracks in the wall.

Here Are All the Movies Delayed Because of the Coronavirus – Vulture – 9/23/2020
While many smaller films that had day-and-date theatrical and on-demand debuts are proceeding with the digital parts of those releases, huge tentpole movies out of Marvel and The Fast  saga, to name just a few, are either moving to 2021 or being delayed indefinitely.

Google Maps Will Now Display Coronavirus Outbreaks And Cases – Forbes – 9/23/2020
A study from the Global Disinformation Index in July found that Google had inadvertently funneled $19.2 million to websites spreading misinformation about the pandemic through its advertising platform—after the company  dedicated $6.5 million to combating pandemic misinformation—with Amazon and other tech platforms similarly enriching misinformation websites.

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

Noemi L. Dado @momblogger 23 Sep Pets may be more susceptible to Covid-19 than first thought, study saysMore than half of cats and dogs living with infected owners test positive for antibodies in French study

Joe Amon @joeamon 24 Sep Fascinating article: dogs can detect someone infected with #COVID19 before PCR. But no, the dogs do not “recognize the virus’s scent”.

Eric Feigl-Ding @DrEricDing 24 Sep 3) Why else is this important? Domestic animals like cats can also be like a reservoir for the coronavirus and allow the pandemic to continue even when human cases are contained in human community population. Hence why it’s important

Solihull Council @SolihullCouncil 24 Sep @BlueStaffyOwner Hi Phil, If your dog cannot exercise at home, you should ask someone outside of your household or support bubble to walk your dog for you. More information here ThanksThe Communications Team

Ramnath @rmnth 24 Sep “In the canine test, a passenger swipes their neck with a gauze, places it in a can which is then handed over to another room for a dog to sniff and to deliver an immediate result.” #CovidTesting

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