“Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count” The New York Times, April 12, 2021 / Image: Hospitalization data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

U.S. stock futures slipped Monday, signaling a muted opening for major indexes that stand at record highs ahead of a week of corporate earnings and economic data. This week will mark the unofficial start of first-quarter earnings, headlined by some of the nation’s largest banks. 

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reaffirmed the central bank’s commitment to keep loose monetary policy in place, including keeping interest rates low as inflation remains tame and millions of Americans remain in need of assistance from the damage caused by the pandemic. 

China’s top disease control official, in a rare acknowledgment, said current vaccines offer low protection against the coronavirus and the efficacy rates need improving. China has distributed doses of domestically-made vaccines to countries like Mexico, Turkey, Indonesia, Hungary and Turkey and is relying on them for its own mass immunization campaign. Vaccines made by Sinovac and Sinopharm have not published peer-reviewed data on the final stage of clinical trial research and have been criticized for a lack of transparency. The country is formally considering mixing COVID-19 vaccines as a way of further boosting vaccine efficacy. 

The three coronavirus vaccines available in the U.S. are safe and effective, but researchers say they are not ideal. Other desirable characteristics include the vaccine to be administered in a single shot, be room temperature stable, work in all demographics and even be self-administered. 

As COVID-19 vaccinations accelerate, experts predict “vaccine passports” in the form of electronic verification will soon become commonplace, particularly for international air travel and admission to crowded spaces like theaters. More colleges are saying they will require students to have COVID-19 vaccines for the return of fall classes.

Forgeries of the government-issued vaccination record cards are appearing on platforms like eBay, Etsy and Shopify as the U.S. immunization push continues. The tools designed to digitize these paper records aim to combat fraud by verifying and storing individuals’ records in secure, online vaults. 

The technology used in the Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus vaccines may enable scientists to develop flu shots in record time and make inoculations that could be more effective and protect against numerous flu strains for years at a time. Scientists have begun experimenting with the messenger-RNA technology potentially being used as a way to treat illnesses like cancer and HIV. 

A small British territory on the southern tip of Spain may be the most protected place on Earth, with all but a sliver of the population vaccinated against COVID-19. Gibraltar, with a population of 34,000, has offered every local resident over 16 a shot by mid-March.

NAVIGATING THE PANDEMIC

How the Best Companies to Work For acted heroically in 2020 – Fortune – 4/12/2021
By deepening their commitment to a people-first, purpose-driven approach to business, the 100 Best saw their employee experience scores increase over the past year. At seven out of 10 winning companies, employees reported a better workplace culture in 2020 vs. 2019. 

Working Mothers Derailed by Pandemic Face a Tough Road – The Wall Street Journal – 4/12/2021
Before the Covid pandemic erupted, Brooks McCoy made $103,000 a year as a regional director for a commercial cleaning franchise in North Carolina. After being laid off last March, the mother of two resorted to selling Pampered Chef cookware to friends of friends.

Ramadan presents a challenge to Covid-19 vaccination programs – Quartz – 4/11/2021
From April 12, Muslims observe the holy month of Ramadan.They fast from sunrise to sunset—this includes drinks and other substances, such as tobacco and non-essential oral medicine. For almost 2 billion people around the world, this raises the question of whether they should postpone getting a Covid-19 vaccine injection during the daytime till after Eid, when the new moon will mark the end of Ramadan.

Those who view TV and social media as trustworthy sources of COVID news—less informed – Phys Org – 4/12/2021
People who trust television and Facebook to provide them with accurate news about the coronavirus pandemic are less knowledgeable about COVID-19, according to a new study, which assessed people’s knowledge of the virus in the earliest stages of the pandemic.

Cinemas are about to reopen – but have some films missed their moment? – the Guardian – 4/12/2021
At last we approach the Great Undelaying. Cinemas are finally reopening (17 May in the UK) and, after a year of perpetual postponement, studios are committing to putting some films in them. It has been a long wait. In some cases, too long.

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

Chicago Tribune @chicagotribune 11 Apr Almost all Illinois schools have now resumed some in-person classes. But will rising COVID-19 numbers see districts close up again?

Chelsea Koerbler @ChelseaKoerbler 12 Apr U.S. colleges hoping for a return to normalcy next fall are weighing how far they should go in urging students to get the COVID-19 vaccine, including whether they should or legally can require it. via @fox43

WebMD @WebMD 11 Apr More than one-quarter of U.S. parents don’t plan to vaccinate their kids for COVID-19, and roughly as many oppose school-required coronavirus shots, a new study finds.

Janelle Fiona Griffith @janellefiona 11 Apr Faced with the country’s highest rate of new coronavirus infections, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday urged a two-week suspension of in-person high school classes, all youth sports and indoor restaurant dining. via @nbcnews

Jack Lynch @jacklynch_ 11 Apr Like many other areas of public interest, the pandemic has exasperated this growing crisis. This trend doesn’t just include educators, it is affecting all school personnel. #EdChat

CONTENT FACTS

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