WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
First-time claims for unemployment insurance jumped to 965,000 last week, surging to the highest weekly total since August. Stock futures edged higher Thursday ahead of a speech by President-elect Joe Biden that will outline the scale of his proposed spending package to support households and businesses through the pandemic.
The Health and Human Services Department will begin collecting hospital data on how many health care personnel and patients have gotten a COVID-19 vaccine. HHS expects to make the data public after verifying its quality. In another attempt to collect data, public health officials have been calling for antigen tests, or rapid tests, to be used to pinpoint outbreaks and mitigate the pandemic’s worst effects, but the process of distributing those tests and reporting their results has been slow and uneven. Almost a year into the pandemic and the U.S. does not yet have a clear picture of how many people are being tested for COVID-19.
A new study showed that having data about the number and distribution of COVID-19 cases had very little effect overall, and one control group that was not provided with any data actually performed better on a test of knowledge about the current state of the epidemic.
The coronavirus, hampering international travel for nearly a year, is crippling the tourism industry in some countries that rely heavily on the revenue garnered from travel. One study revealed countries with the biggest tourism revenue loss due to COVID-19, including the U.S., Spain, France and Thailand. In Peru, the country’s tourism business could be down as much as 85% for 2020. One of the country’s biggest draws, Machu Picchu, saw tourist visits plummet 72% in the first half of the year. For dwellers in smaller villages that relied heavily on tourism, families survive the pandemic by selling alpaca yarn and chuño, naturally freeze-dried potatoes, to traders.
Amsterdam may be putting an end to its “cannabis tourism” by the time coronavirus-related travel restrictions are lifted. Before the pandemic, the euphemistically-called coffee shops along the red-light district attracted more than one million visitors a month. The city’s first female mayor wants to put an end to “soft drug tourism,” and plans to pass a permit that would restrict marijuana sales only to Dutch nationals and residents of the Netherlands.
The approval rating for unions continues to grow, reaching 65% in September 2020. Healthcare worker unions saw a spike in enrollment during the pandemic as workers faced a perpetual lack of personal protective equipment and inconsistent safety measures. The current environment echoes that of the early 1900s when tensions came to a head between members of the Industrial Workers of the World – known as the Wobblies – and the members of the American Legion in Washington. Since the birth of the IWW in 1905, the labor union and the U.S. government have been largely in disagreement with each other. More recently, major labor unions urged Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer to provide $1 trillion in emergency funding for states, cities, towns and schools.
The coronavirus has killed members of Indigenous communities at especially high rates –nearly twice the rate of white people – causing a cultural crisis as tribes are robbed of repositories of language and traditions. The threat has engendered a movement to protect tribal elders, including campaigns to deliver meals and sanitizer and a system for remote homes to post colored cardboard in their windows: green for “OK,” red for “Help.” Many tribes are also putting elders and fluent Indigenous language speakers at the head of the line for vaccinations.
Smart Face Mask Tracks Your Breathing And Can Be Worn While Exercising – DesignTAXI – 1/14/2021
The AirPop Active+ Smart Mask has a sensor, which is called the Halo, which measures your rate of breathing while monitoring the filter installed in the mask. The filter is designed to block dust, allergens and particles, though it has a a limited lifespan. However, you’ll know when it’s time to replace it as the sensor will send an alert to the accompanying app.
COVID is changing the way we work – and for disabled people too – The Conversation – 1/14/2021
Our research also found that while the legal profession has invested heavily in training to address unconscious bias in recruitment, we caution against being overoptimistic about the potential of artificial intelligence to eliminate bias. Technological solutions still reflect the values of those who design them and are based on profiles of previous successful candidates.
The Case for a National Covid-19 Memorial Day on May 28 – Inverse – 1/14/2021
The phrase “Never forget” is forever associated with the terrorist attack. But when it comes to pandemics, we have short memories. As President Barack Obama recalls in his 2020 memoir A Promised Land, the last pandemic to hit the US – the swine flu – killed more than 12,000 people in the US between 2009 and 2010. Yet, “news that the pandemic had abated by mid-2010 didn’t generate headlines,” Obama writes.
Why remote working could actually help fix some diversity problems – WIRED UK – 1/14/2021
“They’re now proactively asking questions around how they can support people to work from home, when before, it was frowned upon. Culturally, it’s a complete U-turn. It’s forced leaders to become more empathetic because now everyone is in the same boat,” she says.
Why Horror Films Are More Popular Than Ever – Issue 95: Escape – Nautilus – 1/14/2021
One of the most uncomfortable aspects of anxiety is often the feeling that you are not in control of the situation—whether that means control of the source of your anxiety, or in control of your reactions to feeling anxious. Lack of control over a stressor has a well-documented history of negative effects. Several studies show that increasing perceived control, even if imaginary, reduces activation of brain regions that respond to threat and decreases anxiety.
WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING
The Conversation @ConversationUK 14 Jan Stakes are high for China as WHO teams arrive to investigate the origins of the coronavirus.Beijing has presented a success story to the world – and will not accept any criticism.
DD India @DDIndialive 14 Jan Two scientists are still in Singapore completing tests for COVID-19, after both tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies. 13 scientists from a 15-member international team led by @WHO to examine the origins of the #coronavirus that sparked #COVID19 arrived in #Wuhan today.
News 4 San Antonio @News4SA 14 Jan EXPLAINER: What is WHO team in Wuhan looking for
Joe Amon @joeamon 14 Jan “Beijing has pledged willingness to cooperate” – after blocking the mission for nearly a year and continuing to impede the full team from arriving. WHO needs to be more outspoken and condemn this kind of obstruction among member states.
Ruslan Trad @ruslantrad 14 Jan Eleven million people are under lockdown in Hebei province after a new cluster of coronavirus infections; the local authorities reported the country’s first coronavirus death in eight months.
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