A worker wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) sanitizes seats inside the Inox Leisure movie theatre ahead of its reopening in Mumbai, India. REUTERS/Niharika Kulkarni


The U.S. is climbing toward a third wave in the coronavirus outbreak, topping 60,000 daily infections for the first time since August. Cases have risen higher than last month’s numbers in 44 states, with many new infections spreading to rural areas. In one rural Kansas county’s hospital, 50 medical staff plus hospital executives tested positive for the virus. 

Financial markets were shaky on Friday in light of rising possibilities for social restrictions as the U.S. braces for a difficult winter. Public health experts say that preparation for the colder months will require rigorous testing and isolation of the virus’ carriers and targeted efforts to limit its spread.

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden squared off in separate town halls on Thursday night, showcasing their differing viewpoints in the televised events instead of engaging in a debate originally scheduled in Miami. After Trump was infected with COVID-19, the president refused to partake in a modified virtual debate.  

The 2020 election is already seeing an “ avalanche” of early votes, prompting experts to predict a record turnout not seen in the U.S. since 1908. More than 17 million Americans have already returned their ballots, amounting to 12% of the total votes cast in the 2016 election.

Wells Fargo fired more than 100 employees for defrauding the U.S. Small Business Administration’s coronavirus relief program. The company stated it believes those employees made false representations in applying for the loans, which are allocated for businesses experiencing financial strain during the pandemic. 

A second round of business aid and other stimulus remains under contention. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has declined Trump’s large stimulus proposal, saying that he will not bring anything to the floor that amounts to more than $1.8 trillion.

Drugmaker Pfizer announced on Friday that the company will not apply for emergency authorization of its coronavirus vaccine before mid-November, nixing the possibility of a vaccine that would be approved before the presidential election. Pfizer may have preliminary data that indicates the vaccine’s efficacy by that time, but the company must collect safety and manufacturing data into the month of November. 

Some pharmaceutical companies are using tobacco to develop COVID-19 vaccines. While scientists point out an “obvious irony” in using tobacco for preventative health, they say the plant provides instructions in the vaccine for making proteins that help the human immune system prepare to fight it off.

WHO is right: lockdowns should be short and sharp. Here are 4 other essential COVID-19 strategies – The Conversation – 10/16/2020
The key pillars in the public health response to this pandemic have always been testing, contract tracing, and isolating cases. This has been the clear message from the WHO from the beginning, and every jurisdiction that has enjoyed success in controlling the virus has excelled in these three interlinked tasks.

A few colleges loosened fall grading policies. Will others follow? – Education Dive – 10/15/2020
Although council executives and more than 1,700 students and 66 organizations signed a petition calling for the administration to make credit or no credit grades the default, students will have to opt into the system. The document also noted the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Pennsylvania and  Georgetown University implemented pass/fail policies for the fall term.

5 Ways Creative Zoom Teams Can Reinvent “Lucky Conversations” – Forbes – 10/16/2020
Research shows injecting humor into team interactions leads people to be less stressed, happier and more creative. Among the dozens of ways Gitlab co-workers can virtually connect: Juice Box talks for family members of employees to get to know one another, international pizza parties, virtual scavenger hunts and a shared “Team DJ Zoom Room.”

Demand for Covid-19 lung transplants is about to shoot up – Quartz – 10/16/2020
Even if doctors wanted to try a lung transplant on a Covid-19 patient, organ donation came to a screeching halt at the beginning of the US pandemic, and transplant rates plummeted across the board. ”Most centers either shut down or really slowed down,” Bharat says. “It was terrible.”

What it’s like to be a COVID-19 ‘long-hauler’ with symptoms that last for months – World Economic Forum – 10/16/2020Fatigue is one of the most common persistent symptoms, but there are many others, including the cognitive effects people often describe as brain fog. As more patients face these persistent symptoms, employers will have to find ways to work with them. It’s too soon to say we’re disabled, but it’s also too soon to know how long the damage will last.


Morgan Fairchild @morgfair 15 Oct ‘I shouldn’t be here’: Oshkosh bar owner in ICU with COVID-19 angry with Trump over out-of-control pandemic via @journalsentinel

Alexander @alexanderrusso 15 Oct “Decisions about whether to reopen schools in the United States this fall were driven more by politics and teachers’ unions than by scientific evidence about the risk of coronavirus infection, according to research.”

Matt McCarthy @DrMattMcCarthy 16 Oct The takeaway from this study: Restaurants appear to be an important risk factor for #coronavirus transmission. As we reopen society, researchers are trying to find ways to make dining more safe, but they are not questioning the use of masks. You shouldn’t either.

ABC10 @ABC10 15 Oct When will California theme parks reopen? Health officials to visit parks, devise plan

San Francisco Chronicle @sfchronicle 15 Oct Wine critic @Esther_Mobley has been waiting seven months to be able to write a story about a wine bar.That’s because her last story got thwarted by the coronavirus. Read more about the unfortunate timing in this week’s Drinking with Esther newsletter.


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