Daily Digest 5/16 – ‘Stealth Bailout’ Sends Millions To Oil Companies, Vitamin D Deficiency May Be Linked To COVID-19 Mortality


What Real-Time Indicators Say About The True State Of The US And Global Economy (Roger B.)

Cinemas remain dead around the globe, retail sales have managed a modest recovery in Germany if not in the US, while there was more good news in the real estate sector where transactions are trending upward in Korea and the US.

‘Stealth Bailout’ Shovels Millions of Dollars to Oil Companies (Adam)

As it headed toward bankruptcy, Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. took advantage of a little-noticed provision in the stimulus bill Congress passed in March to get a $9.7 million tax refund. Then, it asked a bankruptcy judge to authorize the same amount as bonuses to nine executives.

The pandemic could drive homelessness up as much as 45%, an economist projects (Sparky1)

With much of the US economy shut down in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the unemployment rate soared to 14.7% in April — its highest level since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started tracking the monthly rate in 1948.

An outbreak of severe Kawasaki-like disease at the Italian epicentre of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic: an observational cohort study (Rebecca H.)

In the past month we found a 30-fold increased incidence of Kawasaki-like disease. Children diagnosed after the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic began showed evidence of immune response to the virus, were older, had a higher rate of cardiac involvement, and features of MAS. The SARS-CoV-2 epidemic was associated with high incidence of a severe form of Kawasaki disease. A similar outbreak of Kawasaki-like disease is expected in countries involved in the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic.

Hyperinflammatory shock in children during COVID-19 pandemic (Rebecca H.)

Clinical presentations were similar, with unrelenting fever (38–40°C), variable rash, conjunctivitis, peripheral oedema, and generalised extremity pain with significant gastrointestinal symptoms. All progressed to warm, vasoplegic shock, refractory to volume resuscitation and eventually requiring noradrenaline and milrinone for haemodynamic support. Most of the children had no significant respiratory involvement, although seven of the children required mechanical ventilation
for cardiovascular stabilisation.

Gilead should ditch remdesivir and focus on its simpler and safer ancestor (Paul D.)

Some background: Remdesivir works by interfering with the cellular machinery that allows viruses to replicate inside a human host. It is a pro-drug, meaning it must be metabolized and undergo a sequence of five bioactivation steps before it becomes GS-441524 triphosphate, the active compound that impedes viral replication.

Study: Vitamin D deficiency may be linked to COVID-19 mortality — how a common vitamin could become pivotal (Sparky1)

Vitamin D is critical for bone and muscle health and has shown effectiveness in combating depression. Nicknamed the “sunshine vitamin,” it is naturally produced by the skin when exposed to sunlight, but it can also be absorbed through vitamin-D-rich foods, such as salmon and whole eggs, as well as supplements. Deficiency in this vitamin, which is more common among black people, can lead to problems like bone issues and hair loss and can compromise the immune system.

New Genetic Analysis Shows COVID-19 Coronavirus Did Not Spill Over From Pangolins (Scaly Anteaters) (Howard)

Last December, an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) emerged in Wuhan, China. Recent studies have shown that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) — the virus that causes COVID-19 — could have originated in bats. But SARS-CoV-2 may have spilled over to humans from another intermediate host, and the source of this virus is still unknown. To effectively control the disease and prevent new spillovers, it is critical to identify the animal origin of this newly emerging coronavirus. In the new study, Chen and colleagues examined whether pangolins could be an intermediate host for SARS-CoV-2.

Better Bedtime Stories (FAQs) (Phil D.)

We can share the secret with you, and while we can’t save the world all by ourselves, once you see it, you can start to improve things for your family. You start to connect the dots and better shape the pieces around you. It’s just easier when you can see behind the curtain.

Can you imagine the advantage your kids will have, to “get it” early?

Coronavirus Could Disrupt Weather Forecasting (JK)

In the United States data declined by 75 percent during the pandemic, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Under the observational program, established in the 1960s, data from 3,500 aircraft operated by Delta, United, American and Southwest, and by the cargo carriers United Parcel Service and FedEx, is transmitted directly to National Weather Service forecasting operations.

Why Covid-19 plant shutdowns could make the Big Four meatpackers even more profitable (Sparky1)

That’s not to say that plant closures are economically beneficial across the board—far from it. Pandemic-related disruptions in meat processing have imperiled workers’ livelihoods, made meat more expensive in grocery stores, and have cost livestock producers millions in lost profits. But the four meatpackers who control more than 80 percent of cattle slaughter in the U.S.—Tyson, Cargill, JBS, and National Beef, known collectively as the Big Four—will likely be just fine. In fact, they’re structured in a way that insulates them from the worst economic impacts of this crisis—and may emerge from it even stronger.

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