Customers wearing face masks buy decorations ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Hong Kong, China February 11, 2021. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Stock futures edged lower Friday after the S&P 500 closed at another record high, with investors cheered by vaccine rollouts and the results of a more positive earnings season. Disney logged impressive growth in streaming revenue, reaching 95 million subscribers to Disney+ to lessen the blow of other segments affected by the pandemic. 

The White House has secured another 200 million doses of coronavirus vaccines, bringing the total to 600 million, or enough to inoculate 300 million people. By the end of July, Pfizer and Moderna will each have provided 300 million doses in “regular increments,” although President Joe Biden cautioned that major hurdles remain in getting Americans inoculated. In Massachusetts, government officials commented on “ disturbing reports” of people taking advantage of the state’s new policy that caretakers can receive a coronavirus vaccine when bringing someone over 75 years old to an appointment. Even so, the government’s top disease expert, Anthony Fauci, has predicted that any American could begin seeking a vaccine as early as April. 

A drug used to treat arthritis has been found to cut the risk of death for people with severe infections of COVID-19. The drug, tocilizumab, also improves survival and recovery time. Another study found a common blood thinner called heparin reduced the risk of hospital deaths when infected patients were injected.

Tiny homes likely had a record year in 2020, thanks to surging demand from consumers who sought a second work or study space during lockdowns. But those who used tiny homes as their primary residence say the pandemic turned the luxuries of a tiny home on its head, making it feel instead like a prison. More Americans who rushed to buy a home at the onslaught of the pandemic are expressing a similar regret, citing financial strain and unexpected problems with the property. 

Some hasty home purchases resulted from the growing emergence of visitors who searched online real estate marketplace Zillow for dream homes out of their budget – a phenomenon dubbed “real estate porn.” Zillow reported a 19% increase last year in visitors to its website. 

Britain’s economy slumped by a record 9.9% in 2020, its worst output in more than 300 years. Still, economists say the country is on course for a recovery in 2021. The European Commission has similarly predicted a “solid” pickup in growth by the second half of this year, with European economies returning to pre-pandemic levels by 2022. The pandemic has highlighted a shift in policy for the European Union’s strategy on controlled debt, with budget deficits at more than 6% and debt burdens at 100% of gross domestic product – much higher than the bloc’s agreed-upon figures.

The arrival of Valentine’s Day on Sunday will mark the cumulation of an unprecedented amount of time together for some couples, while others may have been forced to navigate long-distance. Others managed to fall in love with the odds stacked against them, offering some hope and romance in a year otherwise filled with tragedy.

NAVIGATING THE PANDEMIC

Scientists identify potential culprit behind post-Covid-19 ‘brain fog’ – RT International – 2/12/2021
Recovering Covid patients across the world have reported numerous lingering neurological symptoms, including fatigue, memory loss, and confusion, nicknamed ‘brain fog’ or ‘Covid brain’. Scientists may now have found the culprit. “We were initially approached by our colleagues in critical-care medicine, who had observed severe delirium in many patients who were hospitalised with Covid-19,” says neuro-oncologist Jessica Wilcox, of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, in New York.

What a year of change has taught me: retailers’ five top tips and mistakes revealed – The Guardian – 1/26/2021
The last year has ripped up the rule book and made companies big and small rethink how they do business. We asked three company owners about the most valuable lessons they’ve learned when it comes to delivering great customer service: what went well, what went wrong, and how they put things right. Here are five key learnings from a year that made students of everyone.

Pandemic relief finally comes to supporters of minority-run small businesses – NBC News – 2/12/2021
Michael Miller woke up at 12:30 a.m. on a recent Friday, started the snowplow in his driveway and began to blast “Come and Get Your Love” by Redbone on his radio. It had just snowed 4 inches of heavy wet slush in Port Huron, Michigan, and he had 3 miles of roads and parking lots to shovel before dawn.

The New Look of Spring Break – The New York Times – 2/12/2021
Last year, Covid-19 crashed the spring break party, but not before mass gatherings on the beaches of Florida, Texas and Mexico flouted travel warnings and social-distancing advice. Ski areas had to shut down during one of the busiest periods of the season. Student trips for enrichment and sport were suddenly canceled.

Poems for long distant loves in lockdown – The Conversation – 2/12/2021
Many people are not lucky enough to be with their loved ones this valentine’s day. If that is the case, or if you simply want suitable words to mark the day, then there are plenty of long-distance love poems that you can reach for, to share or to read for comfort.

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

Bevan Shields @BevanShields 12 Feb ‘An Israeli healthcare provider that has vaccinated half a million people with the Pfizer vaccine says that only 544 — or 0.1% — have been subsequently diagnosed with the coronavirus, there have been four severe cases, and no people have died.’

Annie Karni @anniekarni 12 Feb Vaccine ≠ vaccinators.“President Biden warned that logistical hurdles would most likely mean that many Americans will still not have been vaccinated by the end of the summer.”@katierogers⁩ ⁦⁦@noahweiland⁩

NBC News @NBCNews 12 Feb Make a plan so you’ll be ready when it’s your turn.Our personalized, state-by-state guide will help you navigate when and where you can receive a coronavirus vaccine.#PlanYourVaccine

Daily Caller @DailyCaller 12 Feb Highly Contagious UK COVID-19 Strain Is Changing Again, Dubbed ‘Variant Of Concern’

Sky News @SkyNews 12 Feb A lack of planning could affect the next phase of the #coronavirus vaccine rollout, MPs have warned

CONTENT FACTS

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