“Tracking covid-19 across the world” – The Economist / Sources: Johns Hopkins University CSSE; Our World In Data; UN; The Economist

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Global COVID-19 cases have declined for the fourth week in a row, but experts warn that a sluggish vaccine rollout in the U.S. could invite vaccine-resistant variants to emerge. The pace of vaccinations has increased to 1.48 million shots per day, nearing the Biden administration’s pledge to inoculate 1.5 million people per day. CVS, Walgreens and other pharmacies are poised to begin vaccination programs in the next few days, a factor that should help speed distribution even with state-determined eligibility and limited vaccine supply.

Teachers in Chicago’s public school district will return to the classroom, ending months of negotiations between the teacher’s union and the district that left students and parents in limbo. The agreement allows for more teacher vaccinations and metrics that would mandate school closures when COVID-19 infections spike. Across the nation, teachers say that many students disappeared from remote learning in the fall and have yet to re-engage with school. Some schools have taken to going doorstep to doorstep to keep students connected and help families find assistance to meet housing and other financial needs.

Chinese vaccine makers are struggling to meet demand amid a slow domestic rollout and pressing need from countries that purchased its state-owned vaccines. The U.A.E, which approved the Chinese-owned vaccine Sinopharm, reduced the number of people permitted to receive the vaccine, while other countries in the Middle East and North Africa experience similar delays. 

The World Health Organization has wrapped up its investigation of the virus’ origins in Wuhan, but U.S.-China tensions remain high . Washington officials said on Tuesday that the U.S. government wants to review the WHO’s data, which concluded that bats remain the most likely source of the virus. 

A growing demand for cardboard boxes fueled by the e-commerce boom is squeezing margins for recyclable packaging. The use of the packaging by vendors such as Amazon has nearly doubled the price of corrugated cardboard as collection issues drive up the price of recycled paper. Even so, the rise in online sales has opened doors for other sectors. The alcohol industry, held back from the online retail revolution due to Prohibition-era regulations, is expected to overtake China as the largest alcohol e-commerce market in the world by the end of 2021. The new opportunities are welcomed by the industry, which faces a precarious outlook this year that hinges on the reopening of bars, restaurants and nightlife venues. Big brewers are recovering at varying rates, with Heineken’s new CEO announcing 8,000 job cuts but other brewers saying that their margins grew slightly in 2020.

The video of a virtual court hearing in Texas has gone viral after one lawyer had some difficulty with his Zoom filters, revealing the more lighthearted complications experienced by those who rely on remote work. Upon starting his video, county attorney Rod Ponton said that the filter showed him as a cat, sparking a comical moment in which the district court judge helped him reset the video and return to normal. 

NAVIGATING THE PANDEMIC

This cutting-edge cloud-computing service is helping researchers track COVID’s spread – ZDNet – 2/10/2021
Terra contains a number of both publicly available and access-controlled datasets from nearly two million study participants, which scientists can store and analyse alongside their own data. The platform allows scientists to build workflows in Workflow Description Language (WDL) – commonly used in genomics research to create workflows that can scale along with dataset size – as well as analyse and visualise the results. […] Unsurprisingly in the current environment, epidemiological research has also taken off, with Terra used to track the geographical spread of different COVID variants.

Hawaii Is Dreaming of a Post-Tourism Paradise – MEL Magazine – 2/10/2021
“A lot of folks in the Hawaiian community have called upon us to remember that our people have been traumatized by multiple outbreaks throughout the last couple of hundred years. The trauma, the massive loss of life, the disruption of the fabric of Hawaiian social and economic structures, were all experienced by an earlier generation. But we’ve survived,” Goodyear-Ka’ōpua says. “There is good that will come from it.” 

Palliative care nurse authors book about her career and Covid-19 – Nursing Times – 2/10/2021
“A few of our team had to shield and a few weren’t allowed out to the wards, so the pressure on us, those of us that were doing those things, was incredible. “You get through it because your adrenaline gets you through and then afterwards you hit a low and some people in the team went off sick for a little while because they couldn’t deal with the stress.

When doors closed, communities opened – The Christian Science Monitor – 2/10/2021
Many churches learned that locking the doors didn’t have to mean pulling up the welcome mat. By pivoting to virtual programming, religious leaders were able to not only engage their congregations, but also grow their ranks. In some cases, that meant former parishioners who had moved away could rejoin a loved community. In others, it meant a chance to bring new people into the fold, regardless of where they live.

A million American mothers are out of work during the pandemic – Axios – 2/10/2021
Putting mothers — many of whom were in the heights of their careers before the pandemic — back to work is vital to the health of the U.S. economy, experts say. The big picture: The chasm between women’s and men’s unemployment numbers is driven by the difference between the pandemic experiences of working mothers and fathers, says Jed Kolko, chief economist at the jobs site Indeed.

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

Pantheon Macro @PantheonMacro 10 Feb “Is the End in Sight for the U.S. Covid Nightmare? All Metrics Improving” @IanShepherdson #PantheonMacro

Bloomberg Economics @economics 10 Feb One of the biggest risks in 2021 is betting that vaccines will bring a quick end to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Pimco

LenaSun @bylenasun 10 Feb Most Americans are not happy with vaccination rollout, new Gallup poll says, which also found an increase in interest to get the vaccine: 71 percent of Americans now willing to be vaccinated, up from 65 percent in late December.

Liam Martin @LiamWBZ 10 Feb Here’s the report card Massachusetts got from the Belfer Center at Harvard for its #coronavirus vaccine rollout: Three F’s and a D.

Idaho Statesman @IdahoStatesman 9 Feb Ten Walmart pharmacies in Idaho will start administering COVID-19 vaccines beginning Friday, as the state’s numbers continue to improve.

CONTENT FACTS

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