A Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, altar honoring 1,308 UFCW Local 770 grocery, drug store, and food processing essential union workers who have died from the coronavirus, in Los Angeles, California. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The U.S. surpassed 9 million coronavirus cases on Thursday, topping the previous daily case record set last Friday. As Election Day looms, health experts are criticizing local officials, governors and the federal government for “wasted time and squandered opportunities” in their response to the virus, blaming them for rolling back containment measures and downplaying the threat. 

The election has also emerged as a referendum on race relations in the U.S., with the pandemic’s disproportionate effect on people of color converging with police brutality and economic elements of systemic racism.

Amazon said it expects a “bumper” holiday season following a 37% growth in sales in the third quarter, while Twitter and Apple posted “disappointing” quarterly results that contributed to what could amount to the Dow’s worst month since March. Lowe’s will hire 20,000 workers to gear up for the holiday season, joining Walmart, United Parcel Service, Dollar Tree and other companies that have announced similar plans. Among the companies wary of remote work, new incentives are emerging to get employees to return to the office.

New lockdowns pushed oil prices toward a 5-month low at $36.17 a barrel on Thursday, reflecting a 6.6% drop in U.S. crude futures. U.S. oil companies Chevron and Exxon both posted quarterly losses, reporting hundreds of millions lost due to the sharp decline in demand.

The European Union reported record growth in the third quarter at 12.7%, reflecting a similar recovery to the U.S. after coronavirus restrictions were lifted. Even so, the eurozone’s economy has already stalled due to the resurgence of the virus this fall.

A new report from UNESCO, UNICEF and the World Bank found that the world’s poorest kids have lost the most schooling. Children in low- and lower-middle-income countries out of the 150 surveyed lost about four months of learning during the pandemic, compared to six weeks for children in high-income countries. The findings support previous estimates that about half of the world’s students will not return to school before the end of the year.

Day of the Dead celebrations will be muted this year in Mexico, with cemeteries ordered to close and parades canceled beginning Sunday. In Southern California, numerous events planned for Nov. 1 and 2 will continue virtually, with other alternatives in place such as a drive-thru altar.

NAVIGATING THE PANDEMIC

How Safe Is Flying in the Age of Coronavirus? – Bloomberg – 10/30/2020
In the U.S. alone, health officials know of 1,600 flights in the first eight months of the year carrying someone who may have had the virus. They count 10,900 people who were possibly within a six-foot range of those people, but they don’t have complete contact information for many of them.

America’s luxury hotels on the brink – Washington Post – 10/30/2020
Across town at the Four Seasons in Georgetown, staff would normally be preparing for an influx of Hollywood celebrities in December as part of the Kennedy Center Honors, but the event has been canceled. The staff, a quarter of the size it used to be, is trying to find a safe way to still serve its traditional Thanksgiving dinner to first responders.

Covid: The 400,000 seafarers who can’t go home – BBC News – 10/30/2020
Many are stuck on ships, often beyond the maximum of 11 months allowed under international treaty. Unions say it’s a violation of their rights or even tantamount to forced labour. Some multinationals are also unhappy, because they fear industrial action could bring international shipping to a grinding halt.

It’s not that you don’t care. It’s that you’re mentally exhausted – Fast Company – 10/30/2020
This might look like logging into your work computer at 9 a.m., surfing the web, checking TikTok, dialing in to meetings but not being engaged, and then finally getting around to your deliverables around noon. Occasionally, we all operate this way. But if this is your new normal, you could be mentally overtaxed.

Civil Liberties in a Pandemic | by Stefanie Stantcheva – Project Syndicate – 10/30/2020
According to some outlets, there is. The think tank and watchdog organization Freedom House found that since the start of the pandemic, “the condition of democracy and human rights has worsened in 80 countries, with particularly sharp deterioration in struggling democracies and highly repressive states.”

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

Jesse Pierre 🇭🇹🇨🇦 @JessePierre_ 30 Oct Dr. Berner says It’s not about taking Halloween away…it’s about families finding creative ways to enjoy it while not increasing the risk of spreading the coronavirus – Head to @KNWAFOX24 for fun low risk activities your family can do this weekend.

KENS 5 @KENS5 30 Oct The League of United Latin American Citizens is hosting a march and car caravan on Día de los Muertos in north Texas to remember those who have died of COVID-19.

NECN @NECN 30 Oct With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, some people in Massachusetts have built candy chutes to feed trick-or-treaters safely.

KHON2 News @KHONnews 29 Oct “Do not go trick-or-treating. Watch a movie, hide candy around the yard, do Zoom, do other things to keep our community safe,” said the Mayor.

KDKA @KDKA 30 Oct While traditional trick-or-treating will be limited this year because of the pandemic, there are plenty of ways to make the holiday fun. Check out some ideas to keep the Halloween spirit alive.

CONTENT FACTS

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