“Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count” – The New York Times / Source: Hospitalization data from the Covid Tracking Project. Currently hospitalized is the number of patients with Covid-19 reported by states to be in a hospital on that day. Dips and spikes could be due to inconsistent reporting by hospitals.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Stock futures rose ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States. Janet Yellen, Biden’s pick for Treasury secretary and a former Federal Reserve chair, urged lawmakers Tuesday to “act big” on coronavirus stimulus. 

Amid a flood of earnings reports, Netflix shares jumped more than 13% ahead of the bell after it said it added 8.5 million subscribers in the fourth quarter. The streaming company surpassed the 200 million subscriber mark as viewers turned to their screens to escape the woes of the pandemic. 

The confirmed U.S. death toll related to the coronavirus topped 400,000 Tuesday, one year after the first known U.S. case of COVID-19 was reported in Snohomish County, Wash., on Jan. 20, 2020. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris remembered those who have died with a dusk vigil at the Lincoln Memorial Tuesday. “To heal, we must remember,” Biden said during his brief remarks on the eve of his inauguration.

The incoming administration is taking strides to protect Biden, including requiring daily employee COVID tests and N95 masks at all times according to new guidance sent to some incoming employees Tuesday. The guidance marks a stark contrast from the nonchalant nature President Donald Trump’s team took toward coronavirus protocols. 

The Justice Department will not criminally charge Sen. Richard Burr in connection with stock trades that the North Carolina Republican executed following a briefing on COVID-19 last year. Burr’s trades occurred shortly before the pandemic rocked the U.S. economy, sending stock markets plummeting. Burr maintained he relied solely on news reports to guide decisions on stock sales, despite reports he sold shares after private briefings on coronavirus risks. In May, Burr stepped aside as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. 

Undocumented U.S. residents are among those hardest hit by COVID-19, and experts and activists are increasingly concerned that vaccines are not reaching their communities as experts warn of a fear of deportation and general wariness. In December, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo successfully lobbied the federal government not to collect personal data as a prerequisite for receiving the vaccine. 

Biden’s first days in office will be dominated by the coronavirus crisis and its impact on the economy, which previously had been marked by talks of immigration policy and climate change. Biden will still propose far-reaching legislation Wednesday in an effort to give 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. a chance to become citizens in as little as eight years. 

After a year in which people spent months cooped up inside, the fitness industry is seeing the traditional January spike in gym memberships despite coronavirus limiting capacity. The trend can be partly tied to an explosion in online classes and a move toward maintaining mental and physical health. In an attempt to spice up the world of fitness games, a hardware engineer turned “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” into just that, dubbed the Kart Kit. It allows players to use a stationary exercise bike and Ring Fit controller to play the Nintendo Switch video game.

NAVIGATING THE PANDEMIC

Free online tool calculates risk of COVID-19 transmission in poorly-ventilated spaces – University of Cambridge – 1/20/2021
The researchers found that when two people are in a poorly-ventilated space and neither is wearing a mask, prolonged talking is far more likely to spread the virus than a short cough. When speaking, we exhale smaller droplets, or aerosols, which spread easily around a room, and accumulate if ventilation is not adequate. In contrast, coughing expels more large droplets, which are more likely to settle on surfaces after they are emitted.

Work-wherever turns to work-whenever – Axios – 1/20/2021
It becomes increasingly clear in a remote setting, especially with colleagues traveling or relocating to varying time zones, that trying to retain a rigid work schedule makes little sense for many jobs,” says Darren Murph, head of remote work at GitLab, the world’s largest all-remote company. “One of the key perks of remote work done well is flexibility. This includes flexibility of schedule.”

Empty office buildings are still devouring energy. Why? – Fast Company – 1/20/2021
By the fall, electricity consumption had climbed back up to 90% of what it was before the lockdowns and office closures, and it has stayed there, according to Hatch Data. Offices are still empty, but they’re using almost as much energy as they were when they were full.

The 9 biggest challenges Biden will face on Covid-19, from today on – STAT – 1/20/2021
The Biden administration has plans to try to suppress spread as it expands vaccinations, but elevated viral circulation in the country isn’t something the new president can alleviate with a snap of his fingers. Many states and communities also remain opposed to adding restrictions or implementing new measures that can more rapidly reduce transmission, either because of philosophical reasons or concerns about the subsequent economic or social costs.

What new Covid-19 variants mean for our fight with the virus – BBC – 1/19/2021
The part of the virus that this part of the PCR test targeted was a sequence on the spike protein. When the scientists delved deeper, they found that the virus in these samples had picked up a mutation – a deletion at the same H69 and V70 positions in the protein seen by Gupta – that meant the PCR test was failing to pick it up sometimes.

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

Víctor Manuel Ramos @vmramos 20 Jan More than 800,000 New Yorkers have been vaccinated, but with millions to go out of about 19.5 million residents some vaccine seekers are increasingly frustrated that they can’t schedule the potentially lifesaving shots via @Newsday

Jonathan Eley @JonathanEley 20 Jan Interesting comments from Patrick Vallance in response to questions about efficacy of a single dose of Pfizer vaccineNot a problem if people are realistic. Potential issues if people think “right I’m immune, back to normal now” the second the needle is out their arm

BOOM Live @boomlive_in 20 Jan A video of a woman named #KhalilahMitchell claiming to be a nurse in the US stating that she developed #BellsPalsy after taking the #COVID19 vaccine is viral but she provides no details of where she is employed or which #vaccine she received. #USA

Bloomberg @business 19 Jan Norway moves to calm some of the anxiety around coronavirus vaccines, saying there’s no evidence of a direct link to recent deaths

Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security @JHSPH_CHS 19 Jan V-safe uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a #COVID19 vaccination. Use your smartphone to tell CDC about any side effects after vaccination. Learn more about how to register and use v-safe

CONTENT FACTS

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