WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Weekly jobless claims plunged by 200,000 applications to the lowest level since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Labor Department reported. Futures contracts tied to the major U.S. stock indexes rose Thursday as blue-chip companies reported earnings and new data from the Commerce Department showed retail sales rose 9.7% for the month of March. The gains in spending are attributed largely to the fresh batch of stimulus checks sent to consumers.
The Olympic Games scheduled for this summer in Tokyo could potentially be canceled depending on the coronavirus situation, a senior member of Japan’s ruling party said. The remarks were the first public admission that cancellation or postponement was under serious consideration. Japan passed 500,000 total coronavirus cases Saturday and some experts are concerned about a looming fourth wave.
Montana became the fifth state to denounce vaccine passports, joining Idaho, Texas, Florida and Utah. The executive order signed by the state’s governor would ban the state and businesses from mandating passes that allow holders to prove they’ve been vaccinated against coronavirus. Despite the push by GOP governors, the proposals have shown little progress in state legislatures. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said people should have a right to live their life in society without showing their health information, a sentiment echoed by other Republican officials.
Democratic states like New York and Hawaii are looking at implementing a vaccine passport program, with Hawaii saying the program could come as early as this summer.
Researchers are racing to understand the lingering coronavirus symptoms collectively known as “Long Covid,” but are struggling to identify exactly what they should be looking for. Symptoms like a lingering cough and shortness of breath as well as a prolonged loss of smell and taste are common, but entirely new symptoms could manifest later down the line and it’s not yet clear who’s most likely to experience them, experts say.
While the data is still coming together, some studies have found the condition is more common among women than men. People of color have also caught COVID-19 at disproportionately high rates, but information on Long Covid is not effectively reaching these communities. Black women in particular are fighting to be recognized as Long Covid patients.
A Baltimore woman wore her unused wedding reception gown to her coronavirus vaccine appointment after her wedding plans changed due to the pandemic. She said the momentous occasion was worthy of a momentous outfit. Though the original wedding plans were canceled, the couple still got married in an “unglamorous” civil ceremony earlier in the year.
Merck to continue tests of Covid pill, but stop trial in hospitalized patients – STAT – 4/15/2021
Merck said Thursday that it has seen “encouraging” results in a clinical trial of an antiviral pill to treat Covid-19 early in the disease’s course. At the same time, the company said it will stop efforts to develop both that drug and a second medicine for patients who have already been hospitalized with the disease.
Lower COVID-19 rates seen in US states with higher adherence to mask wearing – Science Codex – 4/14/2021
A new state-by-state analysis shows a statistical association between high adherence to mask wearing and reduced rates of COVID-19 in the U.S. […] Understanding the link between mask wearing and COVID-19 rates could help inform policies to mitigate stress on healthcare systems, economic instability, and death.
There Shouldn’t Be Vaccine Patents in a Health Crisis. Most Americans Agree: Waive Them. – The Intercept – 4/15/2021
The extremity of Covid-19 vaccine apartheid cannot be overstated. As of mid-February, the United States had acquired enough vaccines for three times its total population, while in 130 countries, not a single vaccine shot had been administered. This is no accident, but the direct and long-predicted result of a vaccine production and access model tied to privatized intellectual property and entrenched medicine monopolies.
2 important ways to alleviate the stress of getting back out after COVID – Fast Company – 4/15/2021
We were cautiously optimistic about the end of the pandemic in view of increasing vaccine availability and decreasing case numbers after the peak in January. Then, whether due to variants, pandemic fatigue, or both, cases and case positivity began to increase again–throwing into question whether the end was as near as we thought.
COVID-19 has harmed girls’ education. Here’s what needs to be done – World Economic Forum – 4/15/2021
The returns to schooling are especially high for women. That is, the earnings increment associated with more education is in fact higher for women than for men. One additional year of schooling and women’s wages go up 12% (compared with 10% for men).
WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING
Paul La Rosa @paullarosa 15 Apr Covid-19 cases are surging across the world, fueled by highly contagious variants of the coronavirus, but scientists say public-health measures can control the spread
Ravish Pal Singh @ReporterRavish 14 Apr Desi Variant double mutant of the Coronavirus that’s making it spread like wildfire across the country. Top medical experts explain how this desi strain is a hybrid of the South African, UK and Brazilian strains
Alice Woodhouse @alicemuwu 14 Apr Pandemic fatigue, rise of new strains: Why Asia is struggling amid surge in Covid-19 cases
Manchester News MEN @MENnewsdesk 15 Apr London’s regional health director has suggested vaccines and surge testing for new variants will become the ‘new normal’ – latest updates
WISN 12 NEWS @WISN12News 15 Apr A top health official this week suggested states dealing with a spring spike of coronavirus cases should “shut things down.” But with vaccination rates rising, warmer weather and an already virus-fatigued population, will any state listen?
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