“The current state of the pandemic in five graphs” – Popular Science / Source: New York Tims, US COVID Data

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Stock futures weakened on Monday as coronavirus surged and a stalemate in Washington over the next fiscal aid bill persisted, darkening the economic outlook in the run up to the Nov. 3 presidential election. The U.S. reported 60,789 new cases on Sunday. Scientists expected an uptick in cases as cooler weather moved in, but the rise in cases is occurring sooner than many had anticipated. 

The pandemic has taken a toll on state and federal budgets – the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 marked a budget deficit in the U.S. of $3.1 trillion. The gap between government spending and tax revenue reflects the dramatic surge in spending as the U.S. worked to contain COVID-19-related fallout earlier this year. Some individual state spending has also increased – Illinois spent $1.6 billion in response to the pandemic so far. An evaluation of cost allocations shows that spending has gone toward items like face masks and ventilators to more unexpected expenditures, like sliced bread and sporks. More questionable purchases also point to the state police submitting tear gas grenades and other crowd control equipment as COVID-19 expenses. 

For colleges and universities, which were struggling with a growing financial burden even before the pandemic, a combination of increased spending and lower enrollment is exacerbating the strain on their tightened budgets. Athletic programs have been cut, campus construction deferred and administrative staff and cafeteria workers laid off in response to the recent pandemic-related expenses. 

At least five people close to Vice President Mike Pence, including his chief of staff, have tested positive for COVID-19. However, as the presidential election nears, Pence is determined to maintain his busy campaign schedule. Senate Democrats “lodged harsh criticisms” at Pence for his plans to preside over the chamber during a vote on Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court occurring Monday. Pence has tested negative for the virus but is choosing to curtail the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines that require him to quarantine. 

The Trump administration has yet to set guarantees that treatment for coronavirus will be affordable, despite the president receiving largely federally-funded treatment when he contracted coronavirus. The biopharmaceutical company Regeneron, led by the two highest-paid executives in the industry, received hundreds of millions in public funds during the research and development of the antibody therapy. Opinions of the pharmaceutical industry vary – some claim the industry is “not willing” to aid in the defeat of COVID-19, and is instead working in the self-interest of big business. Others say this is a “watershed moment for medicines,” and that recent developments of treatments to combat COVID-19 “shine a light on the drug industry’s agility and heroic deployment of resources.” 

Get-out-the-vote initiatives have infiltrated the gaming community. House representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez  and Ilhan Omar joined two of Twitch’s top streamers to play the popular game “Among Us,” in a multi-hour event. The live-streaming platform saw more than 400,000 concurrent viewers. Video games have become the go-to places to reach people, especially young adults. Earlier in the year, the Biden campaign utilized Nintendo’s “Animal Crossing” to sell digital yard signs and branded outfits.

It Might Become the Scariest Part of Your Commute: The Elevator – The New York Times – 10/26/2020
Buttons that you can press by just pointing at them. Others that appear to float in the air, holograms seen more in sci-fi films than office buildings. Staggered employee arrivals and departures, and the rethinking, or even elimination, of the outside lunch break.

The pandemic changed the way companies make payments. Visa wants to make that stick. – Protocol – 10/26/2020
For Visa’s Kevin Phalen, comparisons between the pandemic’s economic impact and the 2008-2009 financial crisis aren’t fair. The current situation is far more wide-reaching. But so, too, he says, are the opportunities to overhaul the B2B payments space.

How creative use of technology may have helped save schooling during the pandemic – The Conversation – 10/26/2020
On the contrary, the past six months of hastily implemented emergency remote schooling tell us little about how school systems might go fully virtual, or operate on a “blended” (part online, part face-to-face) basis. Any expectations of profiting from the complete digital reform of education is well wide of the mark.

In the restaurant where I work, Covid has brought out the worst in customers – The Guardian – 10/25/2020
Waitressing can be a difficult job at the best of times. The hours are long, the work is exhaustingly physical and the customers have a tendency to take out on you whatever frustrations have been building in them all week.

What Children Are Learning With Your Work From Home And Why It Matters – Forbes – 10/25/2020
You’re working from home, taking care of children, facilitating their learning and trying to keep it together. It’s a herculean effort. But as you juggle the new challenges of work-life, what are children learning about how you work, why you work and how to make things work?

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

USA TODAY @USATODAY 25 Oct With the start of the its cruise season just one month away, numerous lines have already cancelled or postponed their Antarctica voyages for the coming months.

SkyNews @SkyNews 26 Oct Coronavirus: New aircraft orders slump to record low as pandemic hits global travel industry

U.S. News Travel @USNewsTravel 25 Oct To avoid further overwhelming their phone lines, many airlines are asking travelers to avoid calling about flights that are not scheduled to depart in the next 72 hours.Here’s what you should know about airline travel and COVID-19:

Mint @livemint 25 Oct Airlines face winter survival test on recovery delayed by #coronavirus

Bloomberg @business 25 Oct Turkish Airlines will be putting foreign national pilots on unpaid leave to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic

CONTENT FACTS

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