People watch an outdoor movie screening while practicing social distancing in Singapore. REUTERS/Edgar Su

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The U.S. is registering its most deaths yet from the coronavirus, with more than 4,000 deaths on Thursday. Case numbers have swelled in parts of Arizona and California, where the Los Angeles mayor said the number of people dying daily from COVID-19 is the same as the city’s homicide deaths in an entire year. Public health experts say the worst of the surge could be on the horizon following holiday gatherings and the convergence of thousands of protestors in the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, many without masks. 

The U.S. shed jobs for the first time in eight months in December as surging coronavirus cases restrained the labor market. Nonfarm payrolls decreased by 140,000 jobs, marking a 6.7% unemployment rate in December. Still, stock futures were up Friday morning on optimism surrounding more stimulus with President-elect Joe Biden’s legislative agenda and a better-coordinated vaccine rollout. President Donald Trump conceded the election to Biden on Thursday. 

A preliminary study found that the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine is effective against the more contagious variant of COVID-19. Scientists cautioned that their findings were limited, but were encouraged by the study’s results. Researchers have also found that most patients show strong immunity to the coronavirus even after eight months of infection, which they said is likely true of the new variant. The study is positive news for developing immunity in the greater population, which will strengthen the work of coronavirus vaccines.

The U.K. authorized the Moderna coronavirus vaccine, marking three immunizations circulating in the country to battle COVID-19. The government will purchase 17 million doses of the vaccine, which should be delivered in the spring once Moderna expands its production capacity. 

The World Health Organization approved a proposed delay in time between the first and second coronavirus shots to expand the number of people who can be immunized. Countries facing supply constraints first floated the idea, which the agency called a “pragmatic approach,” although the extension should only be applied in exceptional circumstances. The WHO extended the acceptable interval to 6 weeks, noting that the time could be amended as more research becomes available. 

Indigenous communities in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest are using a vine tea to treat COVID-19, a remedy that they say is working. The Kayapó in the states of Pará and Mato Grosso have reported less than 20 deaths out of a population of 12,000, even as the virus has killed 200,000 Brazilians. Leaders of the community there forbid anyone to reveal the name of the plant species used in the tea treatment, afraid that their forests will be further stripped of resources

NAVIGATING THE PANDEMIC

The optimal Covid-19 testing strategy for reopening the office – Quartz at Work – 1/8/2021
“[Congress is] not necessarily using the most effective test,” Michael Mina, an epidemiologist and immunologist at Harvard, said in an email. Considering that its goal is to send individuals who test positive for Covid-19 home, getting results 12 hours later isn’t ideal. At that point, an infected person could have had contact with dozens or hundreds more people.

The pandemic showed the world that the future of banking is digital – Protocol – 1/8/2021
So how does that translate into the front end? I think about Capital One as being a little different than other banks out there: The experience of a Capital One cafe, for example, is wildly different than walking into your average bank. How does that translate online, especially right now, when that’s really the only touchpoint most people have with their bank?

What Will Restaurants Look Like After Covid? – Forbes – 1/7/2021
Diners are looking for restaurants to be transparent about their cleanliness procedures, so restaurants must use clear optics of what they are doing to keep diners safe. Customers are looking for things like single-use menus, disposable silverware, signs placed on tables that have been sanitized, hand sanitizing stations and employees wearing masks.

5 strategies for cultivating hope this year – The Conversation – 1/8/2021
Hopeful and optimistic people show similarities and differences in the kinds of emotional stimuli they pay attention to in the world. For example, psychologist Lucas Kelberer and his colleagues found that optimists tended to seek out positive images, such as that of happy people, and avoid images of people who seem depressed.

A Post-Pandemic Design for Rail Passenger Cars – The American Conservative – 1/8/2021
Amtrak and other potential operators would complain that they would not maximize revenue because some seats would normally be unfilled. That is the case in most trains anyway. It also reflects an unfortunate mindset where the goal is to cram as many people as possible into a car, rather than to entice as many people as possible out of their automobiles and onto public transportation.

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

Lauren Wolfe @Wolfe321 7 Jan Was yesterday a super-spreader? “It has all the elements of what we warn people about,” said an epidemiologist at UCLA. “People yelling and screaming, chanting, exerting themselves — all of those things provide opportunity for the virus to spread…”

Josh Sternberg @joshsternberg 7 Jan Terrified of the number of coronavirus cases that are going to spike in the next 7-14 days.

Nina Wu @ecotraveler 7 Jan Alarming spike today. @LtGovJoshGreen is calling for 2-week moratorium on social gatherings as new coronavirus cases reach high of 322 (213 on Oahu, 56 on Maui) via @staradvertiser

Justin Schecker @WFLAJustin 8 Jan Coronavirus in #Florida one week into 2021:- Winter case surge has surpassed summer peak- New single day record of almost 20K- Still no mask mandate- 7,300+ hospitalizations – CDC: 22 cases of virus variants – One month until Super Bowl LV in Tampa

Councilmember Isaiah Thomas @CMThomasPHL 7 Jan There is a new strain of #COVID19 which has officially hit here in PA.It may not be in Philly yet but if we don’t continue to wear a mask and practice social distancing, we will see it here soon. Be safe and stay healthy

CONTENT FACTS

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