“Coronavirus Maps: How Severe Is Your State’s Outbreak?” -NPR / Source: Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, Census Bureau 2019 population estimates, 2010 Census (U.S. territories) / NPR

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

U.S. stock futures edged higher on ebbing political uncertainty following reports of President Donald Trump’s reportedly improving health condition. Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden’s rise in the polls suggests a more decisive outcome in the elections. Trump’s physicians announced the president could be discharged from Walter Reed National Medical Center as early as Monday. Controversy has arisen regarding the amount of detail and truthfulness of the information about Trump’s condition that was coming from the White House. Trump is now taking the steroid dexamethasone, remdesivir and an experimental antibody treatment from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. 

Coronavirus has thrown the Senate’s timeline for a fight over Trump’s Supreme Court nominee into disarray as the Republican party now finds itself with six members absent this week – three of which tested positive for coronavirus and three who are working remotely due to potential exposure. Judge Amy Coney Barrett, the President’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, was diagnosed with coronavirus late this summer and has since recovered. 

Some election officials are beginning to see the kinds of mistakes that could lead to a large volume of ballots being disqualified . A fraction of mail-in ballots are disqualified every election – the 2016 general election saw around 1% rejected nationally. In North Carolina where more than 300,000 people have already successfully cast ballots by mail in the general election, around 3.4% have returned errors. Errors can be attributed to voters not signing the ballot envelope or supplying a signature that does not match state records. 

The University of Georgia reversed a widely criticized decision to scrap on-campus voting due to the pandemic. The school cited insufficient indoor space as making voting on campus too risky, though students and local politicians noted UGA made numerous accommodations so the football season can play out, with crowds of up to 23,000 fans in its stadium. 

The pandemic has upended education across the country as school districts scramble for technology to accommodate online learning, The rush caused a national backlog for computers, which in August tallied a combined shortage of 5 million laptops among manufacturers Lenovo, Dell and HP. These educational inequalities are amplified in tribal communities that resisted the Bureau of Indian Education’s (BIE) desire for in-person instruction in an effort to control rising cases of COVID-19. At least five BIE-operated schools in Arizona and five in other states were not prepared to start online because of the bureau’s late disbursement of federal relief funding. While the digital divide affects 18% of white households, 35% of Native American households lack home broadband. 

The Week 4 game between the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots was postponed after players on both sides of the game tested positive for coronavirus. The game is now scheduled for Monday night. As the N.F.L. grapples with its first coronavirus outbreak of the season, it has agreed with its players’ union to continue daily testing indefinitely, including bye weeks. The updated protocols come after the Tennessee Titans tried to contain an outbreak that is known to have infected more than a dozen members of the organization. 

Americans’ plans to socialize outside in colder weather are prompting an expensive and environmentally questionable rush on outdoor heaters. Nearly 50% of full-service restaurants say they’re taking actions to extend outdoor dining seasons, including patio heaters. The energy sources for heating outdoor patios is a big new cost for businesses and are almost always fossil fuels that contribute to climate change.

A 5-cent sensor could detect the coronavirus in 10 minutes at home – Fast Company – 10/5/2020
A new device being developed at Caltech, dubbed the SARS-CoV-2 RapidPlex, could put this uncertainty to an end. It’s a SARS-CoV-2 sensor that’s being designed for use at home. When it comes into contact with a drop of blood or saliva, it can determine if you’re infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus in a mere 10 minutes. The results of the test could be beamed right to your phone over Bluetooth.

Did early focus on hand washing and not masks aid spread of Covid-19? – The Guardian – 10/5/2020
The issue has resurfaced after Monica Gandhi, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, told the US science magazine Nautilus that the easiest way to catch the virus was through droplets and aerosols sprayed from an infected person’s mouth or nose. “It’s not through surfaces,” she said. “We now know the root of the spread is not from touching surfaces and touching your eye.

What Should the U.S. Learn from South Korea’s Covid-19 Success? – Undark Magazine – 10/5/2020
This swift response, according to COVID Translate Project co-director Ohk Seung-cheol, is an example of what makes South Korea’s approach to containing Covid-19 so effective — without having to resort to nationwide lockdowns. Despite a recent outbreak that has alarmed officials, people retain their freedom of movement, and authorities can mostly pinpoint sites of potential transmission, says Ohk, who leads an international team of volunteers translating the KDCA’s Covid-19 protocol so that other governments may learn from it.

Kids Will Get COVID-19. We Need To Make Sure They’re Not Bullied For It – Wbur – 10/5/2020
There is a significant stigma associated with COVID-19 that could have long-term, devastating effects, especially for children. As a parent, I am terrified about the potential backlash and bullying that my children might face if they become infected. I am worried that they would be blamed or shunned by classmates, educators or parents.

How COVID-19 will remake the restaurant industry – Fortune – 10/5/2020
The pandemic has forced Momofuku to close two of its restaurants, but the company is also turbo-charging its five-year plan to have 50% of its revenue come from outside the four walls of its restaurants through efforts like selling Momofuku-branded consumer packaged goods. Essentially, Chang believes Momofuku can survive as a restaurant company by looking beyond its restaurants. He says the company has always know that it needs to “diversify for bad times.”

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

The Wall Street Journal @WSJ 4 Oct The Tennessee Titans are in the midst of a full-blown outbreak. The NFL is investigating how coronavirus spread through the organization and whether the league’s protocols were violated.

The Chronicle of Higher Education @chronicle 4 Oct A college stocked with athletes — but with no sports for the rest of the year — ponders how to pivot in the coronavirus era.

Eric Garcia @EricG1247 4 Oct Maybe don’t do sports during a pandemic “Week 4 saw two games postponed as a result of players testing positive for the coronavirus.” “the Patriots and Chiefs game was postponed following positive tests on both teams.”

NPR @NPR 4 Oct So far, the NFL has postponed two games after players tested positive for the coronavirus — forcing the league to confront the spread of the virus and its decision not to form a “bubble” for the season.

MarkMaske @MarkMaske 4 Oct “As we’ve said repeatedly, we expect to have new positive cases.”… Excerpts from an interview Friday with Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, about the Titans outbreak…

CONTENT FACTS

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