“Coronavirus in the U.S.: Where cases are growing and declining” – National Geographic

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Markets became volatile Monday morning on the news of a variant of the coronavirus detected in Britain that could be up to 70% more contagious than the original strain of COVID-19. U.S. scientists are urging calm over the news, saying that they do not believe the mutated strains are more deadly or likely to affect the efficacy of the vaccines being deployed across the country. 

More than 30 countries have temporarily suspended flights from British airports as their leaders vow to find a way to safely reopen movement across the border. Cases of the new strain have also been reported in Denmark, the Netherlands and possibly in Belgium, while a similar mutation appeared in South Africa. 

Congress has reached a deal on the $900 billion COVID relief bill, agreeing late Sunday on a $600 stimulus check for most Americans, $300 per week in supplemental jobless benefits, and a new round of subsidies for hard-hit businesses and schools, health care providers, and vaccine testing and distribution. The package, which will draw votes on Monday, adds $25 billion in rental assistance and extends the national eviction moratorium by one month. 

Advocates say that employment and rental assistance is deeply needed, especially as the eviction ban has not prevented some renters from getting kicked out of their homes. Murky legal gray areas in the ban from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has meant that judges in many states and jurisdictions side with the landlord. 

Thousands of U.S. vaccination sites are set to receive Moderna’s vaccine after it was authorized for emergency use late Friday by the Food and Drug Administration. A CDC advisory panel has recommended that the next priority for vaccine recipients include front line and essential workers and adults over 75. The group, which includes grocery store employees, teachers, daycare staff, firefighters, prison guards and others, amounts to about 49 million people, some of whom could begin getting shots early in the new year.

As the pandemic worsens the nursing shortage in the U.S., nursing programs across the country are not keeping up with demand. Limited in-person instruction, a lack of training professionals amid strained resources, and tight budgets have kept nursing students away from training opportunities, while nurses and those who can teach quit in large numbers. In Germany, ICUs facing similar shortages are recruiting nurses from abroad, bringing on staff and in some instances training nurses from Mexico, the Philippines and Brazil.

A handful of cities in the U.S. that use relocation programs to attract new and dynamic workers have seen a dramatic surge in applications this year. The growth in people who can now work remotely has translated to a spike in applications for programs in cities such as Tulsa, where workers who relocate are awarded a $10,000 incentive

NAVIGATING THE PANDEMIC

This is the Stanford vaccine algorithm that left out frontline doctors – MIT Technology Review – 12/21/2020
Job variables contribute the most to the overall score. The algorithm counts the prevalence of covid-19 among employees’ job roles and department in two different ways, but the difference between them is not entirely clear. Neither the residents nor two unaffiliated experts we asked to review the algorithm understood what these criteria meant, and Stanford Medical Center did not respond to a request for comment. 

How To Get People To Pay Attention To Your Zoom Presentation – Forbes – 12/20/2020
Sameness. The third reason is that online presentations aren’t very different from regular online meetings. They are quite similar to every other meeting you’re having on your computer. This means there’s no reason to pay special attention. You go from a team meeting to a webinar to a meeting with clients – moving from one shade of beige to another.

How the History of Waterloo, Iowa, Explains How Meatpacking Plants Became Hotbeds of COVID-19 – ProPublica – 12/21/2020
The disease disproportionately affects the city’s immigrants, refugees and communities of color — a demographic heavily employed by Tyson. “This is their first attempt to get a slice of this American apple pie and then for it to be so bitter for them is a travesty,” said state Rep. Ras Smith, who represents the city’s east side.

Inside one of the new, quick-build factories making the Moderna vaccine – Fast Company – 12/21/2020
By creating the basic infrastructure in advance, the company was able to move particularly quickly after it signed a 10-year contract in the spring to produce ingredients for Moderna’s at-the-time unproven vaccine. 

Why we won’t see sweeping mandates for coronavirus vaccines – Axios – 12/21/2020
The U.S. isn’t likely to see sweeping, government-ordered vaccine mandates, but there could be one-off requirements for specific groups of people. And each will have to balance the benefits against the risk of a backlash that could ultimately prolong the pandemic.

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

Claire Flores @ClaireTVnews 21 Dec Welcome to the shortest day of the year & the 1st official day of winter! Updates on the coronavirus vaccine rollout & holiday travel @flyLAXairport on @CBSLA . Plus weather w/ @DanielleGersh ! @DeMarcoReports @suzmarques @KaraFinnstrom @joybenedict #cbsla

Joseph Sakran @JosephSakran 21 Dec As we head into the winter holidays, #coronavirus numbers continue to skyrocket.These are not just numbers, they are mothers, fathers, siblings and loved ones that make up the fabric of society.We have a shared responsibility to protect each other. This Holiday — #StayAtHome

SeattlePI @seattlepi 20 Dec Thinking of gathering indoors? Here’s how fast COVID transmission happens.

NBC New York @NBCNewYork 21 Dec “Going outside” becomes a very different act in the cold, and indoors — where winter naturally draws us when the temperatures drop — is where the virus has spread most aggressively.

Nsikan Akpan @MoNscience 20 Dec It’s wild because a week before Thanksgiving, Dr. Birx said that people need “limit interactions [to] indoors, to immediate households when we see this level of community spread.”

CONTENT FACTS

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