“The next wave of the coronavirus is gaining steam” – Axios / Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Map: Naema Ahmed / Axios

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

As investors assessed prospects for a fresh stimulus bill and the health of major American businesses for cues on the economic outlook, stock futures pointed to a flat start. While Democratic negotiators and the White House said they would press ahead with relief-package talks, the two sides did not decisively establish whether a deal will be possible before Election Day. 

With the U.S. corporate earnings reporting season in full swing, among the most closely watched names was Netflix. The streaming service disappointed investors after Tuesday’s closing bells, reflecting a slowdown in new subscribers and a wide miss on earnings. 

In Pennsylvania, Democrats are significantly outpacing Republicans in ballot requests as the state leans more heavily on mail-in ballots than ever before. However, previous years have shown Democrats lead in early voting while Republicans tend to vote more on Election Day – a pattern that may be exacerbated as President Donald Trump tells people to not be afraid of the coronavirus. Mail-in ballots have increasingly been associated with voter fraud, marking a new political tool. Trump’s claims of fraud were not the first time a politician had sought to draw a connection between that and mail-in ballots – the move dates back to the 1980s. 

Trump’s re-election campaign committee ended September with $63.1 million despite canceling some television buys last month, leaving him financially outmatched against former vice president Joe Biden, who reported $177.3 million in cash on hand for the final stretch of the campaign. 

As coronavirus cases surged in the spring, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rejected scientists’ advice to tighten air pollution standards for particulate matter or soot, despite having evidence to support a stricter standard even before the pandemic. EPA’s administrator will likely reaffirm that decision with a final ruling in the next few weeks, regardless of “emerging evidence that links particulate pollution to COVID-19 deaths.” 

The EPA has also been criticized for allowing utilities to store toxic waste from coal in open, unlined pits, potentially violating a court order requiring the agency to close certain types of so-called “coal ash ponds” that may be leaking contaminants into water. The world is worried about coronavirus and equally concerned about climate change – nearly 70% of people in 14 countries say climate change is as big of a threat as the pandemic. 

In New York, where the Metropolitan Transportation Authority saw a 90% plunge in ridership during the pandemic, a new survey shows that nearly a quarter of New York’s bus and subway workers have contracted COVID-19 – a figure higher than previously estimated. 131 of New York transit workers have died of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. 

A rapper by the name of Nuke Bizzle was arrested for allegedly obtaining fraudulent unemployment insurance benefits under the CARES Act after boasting about the fraud in a music video published on YouTube.

With remote learning, we’re witnessing a crisis in education – Boston Globe – 10/21/2020
However, the larger question is: Why is this model being allowed to operate in cities and towns across the state, many of which have low transmission rates of the virus? It appears that unrealistic demands from teachers unions and inaction by local school committees have created this poor attempt at education.

How COVID-19 has changed get-out-the-vote efforts, from drive-in rallies to mail-in ballot tracking – Fast Company – 10/21/2020
Right after the 2020 elections, we have to start working toward the midterm elections. But I listen to Dr. Fauci, and Dr. Fauci says it doesn’t look like we will be out of the woods [for COVID-19] anytime soon. It looks like we will be quarantining, sheltering in place, no big crowds until the end of 2021. 

An interview with a virus-hunter – MIT Technology Review – 10/21/2020
Among patients with encephalitis [brain inflammation] of unknown cause, you’re thankful if you can get 20%, 30%, to actually get a diagnosis. It’s that 70% of the unknown cases that we’re still challenged by. Could they all be due to viruses or bacteria? Probably.

It’s Time to Talk About Covid-19 and Surfaces Again – Wired – 10/20/2020
Since March, additional studies have painted a picture that is much more subtle and less scary. But like that first study, each can be easily misinterpreted in isolation. One clear takeaway is that, given an adequate initial dose, some amount of the virus can linger for days or even weeks on some surfaces, like glass and plastic, in controlled lab conditions.

The Tree That Could Help Stop the Pandemic – The Atlantic – 10/21/2020
Pulverized and soaked in water at the Desert King factory in Chile, the bark is transformed into a brown, bitter, bubbly fluid. This precious goo does many things well, and it happens to be the raw material for one of the world’s most coveted vaccine adjuvants: QS-21. Adjuvants are compounds that boost the body’s immune reaction to a vaccine. 

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

Clay Jenkins @JudgeClayJ 20 Oct We know what to do to curb the spread of coronavirus: masking and avoiding crowds, six-foot distance and handwashing. We just need to do it. As we’ve seen before and are about to see again, absent a drastic change in behavior, the numbers go up very rapidly but go down slowly.

Betsy Klein @betsy_klein 20 Oct “What the hell is going on in PA?” President Trump says, criticizing stringent lockdown measures in the state. “FL is open. FL had a surge, great governor, surge went down.” A recent WH coronavirus task force report told PA to “maintain aggressive community mitigation efforts.”

NBC10 Boston @NBC10Boston 20 Oct Boston University is seeing a “worrisome” increase in coronavirus cases in the last week and is increasing the use of a safety protocol as a reminder of how important safety measures are.

Dr Charles Ebikeme PhD @CEbikeme 21 Oct ‘Bad math’: Airlines’ COVID safety analysis challenged by expert

Sean Farnham @SeanFarnham 20 Oct Great article about youth sports & the current state in CA. I hope a plan can be outlined soon for return to play with the right safety protocols in place. Seems to me it’d be better to play here than having so many traveling out of state every weekend.

CONTENT FACTS

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