“As spending climbs and revenue falls, the coronavirus forces a global reckoning” – Washington Post / Source: World Economic Outlook (October 2020), International Monetary Fund.


U.S. stock futures fell amid new risks as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House may move to impeach President Trump as soon as this week and recent economic data showed the U.S. labor-market recovery stalled in December, ending seven months of job growth. Stocks had previously rallied on bets that a Democratic-controlled Congress will increase government spending, facilitating economic recovery. 

Global coronavirus cases surpassed 90 million Monday as nations scramble to procure vaccines and extend lockdowns. As states roll out vaccines in phases, reports show two more transmissible variants from the UK and South Africa in the country. The vaccine distribution in the U.S., much like tests, is a state-led effort, and once vaccines are delivered to hospitals, it’s up to the hospitals to decide who within the facility gets it first. In a sharp break from the Trump administration, the incoming Biden administration plans to set up federally run mass vaccination sites and to release all government-held vials, rather than holding some back for second doses. 

Governments and religious leaders in Muslim-majority nations are working with vaccine makers and investigating the production processes in an effort to make sure concerns about products prohibited by Islam don’t interfere with COVID-19 inoculations. On Friday, the high clerical council in Indonesia – with the world’s largest Muslim population – said that China’s Sinovac vaccine is allowed by Islam, or halal. 

The federal health department is working to provide alternative COVID-19 testing for Congress after the Food and Drug Administration warned the test lawmakers regularly used is prone to false negatives. Los Angeles will continue to use the same coronavirus test as California copes with a surge in coronavirus cases, slating it to have some of the highest levels of COVID-19 in the country. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in October shut down a key lab involved in making faulty COVID-19 tests for state and local health authorities with no public notice. The move came less than six hours after an investigation detailed the chain of mistakes and disputes that developed inside CDC labs. 

The first in-person classes since Chicago Public Schools abruptly shut last March are due to happen Monday for preschool and some special education students, despite refusal from many teachers to report to in-person work due to COVID-19 fears. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said that to deny families the option of sending their children back to school buildings is “irresponsible and wrong.” Scores of nurses in the CPS district have objected to the plans, saying they do not think it is safe to send students back to classrooms. The city recently extended its stay-at-home advisory through the end of January in response to the second surge of the pandemic.

The pandemic is threatening Netflix’s consistent output of television and film content as a city-wide lockdown in Los Angeles, where many of Netflix’s original projects are filmed, is bringing projects to a halt. TV and film productions were initially exempt from restrictions, but city officials are now pushing for productions to pause filming as COVID-19 numbers hit record highs. CBS, ABC, NBC and now Netflix have all delayed productions that were set to restart Monday.


How to avoid a coronavirus debt crisis? Issue a new type of government bonds linked to GDP – Qrius – 1/11/2021
In contrast, the interest due on GDP-linked bonds would go up or down with the issuing country’s economic performance. When GDP growth was weak, its debt-servicing costs would decline. The ratio of its debt to GDP would therefore rise less sharply during a downturn, thus reducing the need for austerity to reduce the debt pile later.

The unfolding dosing controversy for COVID vaccines – BioCentury – 1/11/2021
The agency’s concern with any deviation is that people will assume they are fully immunized when they are not, and that it runs a “significant risk of placing public health at risk,” according to the statement issued by Hahn and Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) Director Peter Marks.

Welcome to the ground floor: street-level offices for a post-pandemic world – Digiday – 1/11/2021
“We didn’t realize at the time how important it would become, but so many of our friends and colleagues in skyscrapers were not going into the office. We were lucky to have a space, once restrictions were eased, that we could go straight into, with our own entrance,” said Weidner, whose firm specializes in natural health and wellness brands with clients including Mondelez and Procter & Gamble.

More and more travelers are spending the entire winter away from home – CNBC – 1/11/2021
Andrew Collins, the president and CEO of private jet company Sentient Jet, said the duration of customers’ trips has increased by 50% since the pandemic began. One-way flights are on the rise. “We are flying the same number of legs as 2019, but less of that mix is round-trip travel and more is one-way travel,” he said.

These 5 simple tactics can help you cultivate hope, according to science – Fast Company – 1/10/2021
Charles R. Snyder, author of The Psychology of Hope, defined hope as the tendency to see desired goals as possible, and to approach those goals with “agency thinking,” a belief that you or others have the ability to achieve the goals. He also defined hope as “pathways thinking,” a focus on mapping routes and plans to achieve those goals.


Meg Purtell @m_purtell 11 Jan New contact tracing locations listed here after the hotel quarantine cleaner’s partner tested positive to coronavirus today. Genome sequencing is underway but it’s likely to be the highly infectious UK strain. He has been in quarantine since 7 Jan.

Adam Creighton @Adam_Creighton 11 Jan Oh god a third new strain. Lockdown!Japan finds new COVID virus strain, distinct from UK and Africa types

Gavan Reilly @gavreilly 11 Jan Prevalence of the new UK B.1.1.7 coronavirus strain has now risen to 45%, according to Taoiseach MIcheál Martin. First two samples showed it at 10%, then a post-Christmas sample showed 25%. The faster-spreading variant is now becoming increasingly dominant.

Eric Feigl-Ding @DrEricDing 11 Jan BREAKING—A new #SARSCoV2 variant (aka B.1.1.248) identified by Japan 🇯🇵 in pax from Brazil 🇧🇷. This new one has both the more infectious N501Y mutation (not affect vaccine), as well as the disruptive E484K mutation that escapes neutralizing antibodies.🧵

Sofia Tomacruz @sofiatomacruz 10 Jan Can COVID-19 vaccines that have been developed protect against new variants of the virus? Abeyasinghe cites recent news where Pfizer’s vaccine appeared to be effective vs covid mutations


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