“The search for misinformation’s measure” – Axios – Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios


Stock futures trended higher Wednesday morning on news of coronavirus vaccines and the possibility of a fresh stimulus package for the U.S. economy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration indicated that the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine is both safe and effective in a report released on Tuesday, signaling that it could be authorized for emergency use by the end of the week. Still, the companies have said the vaccines can result in side effects similar to mild COVID-19 symptoms, and some trial participants warn of more intense symptoms following the second shot.

President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to get at least 100 million COVID vaccine shots into the arms of the American people during his first 100 days in office, saying he will also make it a “national priority” to get kids back to school during that time. Critics say a number of factors could affect Biden’s promise, including a lack of access to more vaccines from Pfizer.

U.K. regulators are warning those with severe allergies not to take the new coronavirus vaccine that the country began to administer on Tuesday. The advisory comes after two workers for the National Health Services experienced severe reactions when they received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Experts say it is common to ask people with a history of significant allergic reactions to avoid new vaccines as a precaution.

The United Arab Emirates said Wednesday a coronavirus vaccine developed by a Chinese pharmaceutical company is 86% effective. The UAE statement provided few details on the Sinopharm vaccine, although the public can make appointments to begin receiving it. The same vaccine will be part of an ambitious inoculation program in Morocco, which aims to vaccinate 80% of adults in the country this month.

The White House has proposed much lower federal weekly unemployment benefits in exchange for $600 checks for Americans in a new, $916 billion relief plan. The proposal includes money for state and local governments and liability protections for businesses, schools and universities – two key roadblocks in previous stimulus negotiations. Even so, critics say the plan will be viewed as a nonstarter by congressional Democrats, who have been advocating for additional unemployment support for laid-off workers. 

Americans’ pension plans face dire prospects as investment returns worsen even from pre-pandemic lows. Retirement-fund managers across the country say that the pandemic has added urgency to longstanding concerns about low interest rates, forcing them to decide between taking on increased risk in their portfolios or asking for more money from employers and workers.

Malls across the U.S. are implementing workarounds for children to safely visit with Santa this year. Instead of sitting in his lap, Santa stays behind a plexiglass shield or even inside a transparent snowglobe. Others have moved entirely outdoors or turned to virtual visits.


How Pandemic Aid Attracted Hordes of Gleeful and Gutsy Scammers – New York Times – 12/9/2020
So far, the Justice Department has brought criminal charges against more than 80 people accused of stealing at least $127 million from the relief program, but there’s far more to uncover. The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis said it had identified more than $4 billion in potentially improper loans, and some bankers believe the total will be much higher.

The parental burnout crisis has reached a tipping point – Vox – 12/8/2020
The ever-shifting demands of parenting in a pandemic are leading to stress, anxiety, and depression, not to mention economic hardship for those forced to leave their jobs to care for kids. And while some parents are figuring out ways to lighten their burden, many say what’s needed are systemic changes to work, education, and child care in America.

‘All my plans were ruined’: Covid’s economic toll on young Americans – The Guardian – 12/9/2020
As young Americans suffer economically, surveys conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the percentage of young adults ages 18 to 24 experiencing suicidal thoughts  increased from 10.7% in 2018 to 25.5% in August 2020 and nearly 75% of young adults struggled with at least one mental health issue.

Workers are looking for direction from management – and any map is better than no map – The Conversation – 12/9/2020
We know from research that organizational culture is a key contributor to job satisfaction and organizational performance. Initial hopes of  strengthened cultures as employees navigated the unprecedented shift together are dwindling as time wears on without a physical anchor for sustaining shared cultural beliefs.

The Real Reason Americans Aren’t Quarantining – The Atlantic – 12/8/2020
Americans who drive to, say, Cincinnati, and do not isolate in the days that follow do not risk arrest. Ohio, like Hawaii, has introduced a quarantine for people who have visited high-risk areas. But complying with Ohio’s restrictions  is voluntary. In other states, you are “urged” or “asked” to quarantine, but no one will check that you did.


Muriel Bowser @MurielBowser 9 Dec Many people are struggling to get to the end of the year when hopefully there is relief from Congress. Washingtonians are not only suffering with the anxiety in health implications of the #coronavirus but economic devastation as well. #DCHOPE

Chad Pergram @ChadPergram 9 Dec 9) Also, Congressional Democratic leaders last night distanced themselves from the latest administration proposal for coronavirus relief. Meantime, a coalition of bipartisan senators continue to toil behind the scenes on their own package. But the sides are far from an agreement.

inforum @inforum 8 Dec Senate’s McConnell urges dropping liability, state aid in COVID-19 deal; Schumer objects

David G. Greenfield @NYCGreenfield 9 Dec Outrageous. Richest country in the world does nothing to help those in need.

Christal Hayes @Journo_Christal 8 Dec This offer from Mnuchin to Pelosi on coronavirus relief includes *$600 stimulus checks* for Americans. While it’s less than the $1,200 offered earlier this year, it’s more than nothing. The latest proposals being eyed by lawmakers don’t include checks


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