WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Stock futures slipped Tuesday following ends at record highs focused on earnings reports and the progress of the Biden administration’s coronavirus stimulus bill. Amid the opening day of the Trump impeachment trial and the death of Texas Rep. Ron Wright, the first Congress member to die of COVID-19, lawmakers unveiled the first draft of stimulus measures, which incorporate a bump in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 and allocate another round of stimulus payments.
Also tucked in the Biden administration’s relief plan is a proposal to temporarily raise the child tax credit to as much as $3,600 per child per year without qualifying parameters, an effort some say would mark the most significant step in fighting child poverty since the Great Depression.
The World Health Organization’s team of scientists investigating the origins of the coronavirus in Wuhan dismissed the theory that the virus was leaked from a laboratory there, saying that it most likely originated from animals and then spread to people. Preliminary, unpublished findings from the investigation indicate that COVID-19 may have been circulating in regions outside of Wuhan for weeks before it was identified there.
A large study of American medical records found that people with dementia are twice as likely to be infected with the coronavirus and more likely to experience hospitalization or death. The analysis of nearly 62 million records, representing about one-fifth of the U.S. population, adjusted for other risk factors for COVID-19 such as old age, living in a nursing home, and conditions such as obesity and diabetes. The study found that Black people with dementia were much more likely than white people with dementia to become infected with the virus, most likely due to the fact that people of color have been disproportionately and more severely affected during the pandemic.
Foreign workers and asylum-seekers in Tel Aviv, Israel lined up on Tuesday to receive their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine free of charge, underscoring the Israeli government’s vow to vaccinate “everybody within the nation’s borders.” More than 1 million undocumented people living in Britain will also have the chance to get inoculated without the fear of deportation, government officials announced.
Facebook will take a tougher stance on vaccine misinformation, announcing on Monday that it expanded the list of false claims about COVID-19 and vaccines that it vowed to remove. Facebook and Instagram users will not be allowed to post false statements about vaccines being ineffective at preventing the disease or being more dangerous than the coronavirus, as well as vaccines being toxic, dangerous or causing autism. Even so, misleading content continues to spread on the platform. One series of searches found that four of the top 10 search results for “vaccine” on Instagram were for anti-vaccination accounts.
9 million U.S. small businesses fear they won’t survive pandemic – CBS News – 2/9/2021
The outlook is even worse for minority-owned businesses: 8 in 10 said their company is in poor financial condition, according to the Fed survey, even after receiving limited help from Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and other small business relief efforts during the pandemic.
Study finds wearable devices can detect COVID-19 symptoms and predict diagnosis – Medical Xpress – 2/9/2021
The Warrior Watch Study found that subtle changes in a participant’s heart rate variability (HRV) measured by an Apple Watch were able to signal the onset of COVID-19 up to seven days before the individual was diagnosed with the infection via nasal swab, and also to identify those who have symptoms.
Public parks, reimagined for the COVID era – Axios – 2/9/2021
With cities particularly budget-strapped due to the pandemic, many of these projects are privately funded — and many plain-vanilla municipal parks face cutbacks and worse. At the same time, “parks and public land are seeing some of their highest usage in modern times,” according to the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a nonprofit.
Dentists Were Kinda Pandemic Ready Since They Stick Their Hands In Gross Mouths Every Day – Colorado Public Radio – 2/9/2021
For Dr. Yuliya Rabinovich of Dental Muse in Castle Pines, medical-grade air purifiers help make her office safer. She agreed that dentists may have been a bit ahead of the curve when it came to protective wear. “We just learn to trust our PPE,” Rabinovich said. “It saved us during the HIV pandemic, and so it’s saving us during COVID. We’re just so in tune with infection control, it’s obviously working.”
The debate over who deserves a stimulus check, explained – Vox – 2/8/2021
“You could have a family earning $150,000 before the crisis and they could be earning $102,000 now … a $50,000 drop in income is a big hole,” Sahm told Vox. “Now, my heart might not bleed for them in the same way that it does for a single mom with three kids … but the reality is both of them cannot miss a paycheck without causing problems.”
WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING
TOC News @tocsg 9 Feb WHO mission to China fails to find source of coronavirus
Kristine Servando @tinssoldier 9 Feb WHO team on Wuhan mission says coronavirus didn’t come from a Chinese lab, and Covid likely spread in China from an animal host or *gulp* frozen exotic animals.
Anjalee Khemlani @AnjKhem 9 Feb TLDR; Theories of coronavirus origin, spread. Debunked per China-@WHO study: -Lab leak origin of virus -Direct jump from bat, pangolin as origin -Wuhan market as origin of spread (but Wuhan is origin) TBD: -Pathway host from animal -Cold chain role in virus incubation/survival
Keir Simmons @KeirSimmons 9 Feb Critics will be surprised to hear @WHO @Peterfoodsafety effectively rule out a laboratory leak as a possible source of the Coronavirus… crucial question will be how they reached that conclusion while staying open to the possibility of a virus imported in frozen food.
Jonathan Cheng @JChengWSJ 9 Feb @JNBPage @Chao_Deng @drewhinshaw The findings aren’t likely to calm the political controversy around the virus origins. WHO’s Ben Embarek had previously deemed the likelihood of transmission through frozen food very low. “It seems to be extremely rare,” he said in a Jan. 31 interview.
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