Daily Digest 5/23 – Layoffs Spread Despite Businesses Reopening, Cash Has Become The New Typhoid Mary

Economy

U.S. labor market struggles as layoffs spread despite businesses reopening (Sparky1)

This also raises questions about the efficacy of the government’s Paycheck Protection Program. A broad lockdown of the country in mid-March to contain the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus, initially led to layoffs in mostly low-wage consumer-facing businesses such as restaurants and retailers. But economists say weak demand was causing layoffs in other industries like utilities, information, finance and insurance, and education.

Free money: Amid the coronavirus, a monthly paycheck from the feds doesn’t seem crazy (Sparky1)

The federal government, with near-unanimous support from Democrats and Republicans, is sending up to $1,200 to most people to blunt unprecedented job losses. Democrats in the Senate and the House have proposed even larger monthly payments.

During the 2020 presidential campaign, Yang proposed a universal basic income, with the U.S. providing $1,000 every month to every American adult. It seemed an unlikely proposal, but now leading Democrats have warmed to the idea.

Lockdown Delays Cost at Least 36,000 Lives, Data Show (tmn)

The enormous cost of waiting to take action reflects the unforgiving dynamics of the outbreak that swept through American cities in early March. Even small differences in timing would have prevented the worst exponential growth, which by April had subsumed New York City, New Orleans and other major cities, the researchers found.

Why These Regular Moms Dumpster-Dive to Feed Their Kids (Sparky1)

“When we began dumpster diving, the goal wasn’t financial; we simply couldn’t bear the thought of perfectly good food going to waste,” Jackie explains. “Given the amount of energy it takes to grow, harvest, process, package, and ship the products we consume, having them end up in landfill — especially when so many people are food insecure — feels criminal.”

In a pandemic, no one wants to touch it. Why cash has become the new Typhoid Mary (Sparky1)

The Almighty Dollar has lost some of its might in the time of COVID-19. While most struggling businesses will take payment in any form to make ends meet during the economic downtown, a minority reject cash, fearing that it could be a transmission vehicle for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Some experts predict that the pandemic will accelerate a steady flight by American consumers away from dollars and cents.

Lululemon won’t take cash as it reopens (Sparky1)

In January, the New York City Council approved legislation that prohibited stores and restaurants from banning cash. Philadelphia, San Francisco, and the state of New Jersey previously passed similar legislation. Roughly 6.5% of American households, or about 14.1 million people, are “unbanked,” meaning that they don’t have a checking or savings account and would not be able to make a purchase at stores that don’t accept cash.

Getting Back to Normal: The Need for a SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine (tmn)

In parallel to understanding both the natural history of COVID-19 disease and the correlates of immunity to this virus, research on candidate vaccines has moved forward very quickly. Following the first reported case in December 2019, the viral etiology, the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its genomic sequence were identified in record time. Soon thereafter, the structure of the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein was solved at high resolution, highlighting a potential vaccine target.

Exclusive: A quarter of Americans are hesitant about a coronavirus vaccine – Reuters/Ipsos poll (Sparky1)

Most respondents in the survey of 4,428 U.S. adults taken between May 13 and May 19 said they would be heavily influenced by guidance from the Food and Drug Administration or results of large-scale scientific studies showing that the vaccine was safe.

Less than two-thirds of respondents said they were “very” or “somewhat” interested in a vaccine, a figure some health experts expected would be higher given the heightened awareness of COVID-19 and the more than 92,000 coronavirus-related deaths in the United States alone.

Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis (Christian)

We were unable to confirm a benefit of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, when used alone or with a macrolide, on in-hospital outcomes for COVID-19. Each of these drug regimens was associated with decreased in-hospital survival and an increased frequency of ventricular arrhythmias when used for treatment of COVID-19.

In silico comparison of spike protein-ACE2 binding affinities across species; significance for the possible origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (Angus N.)

Here we show how computational chemistry methods from structure-based drug design can be used to determine the relative binding affinities of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein for its receptor, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE)-2, a critical initiating event for SARS-CoV-2 infection, across multiple common and exotic animal species.25-27 The aim of these studies was to better understand the species-specific nature of this interaction and see if this could help elucidate the origin of SARS-CoV-2 and the mechanisms for its zoonotic transmission.

‘How Can I Be Sick?’ Woman Who Took Hydroxychloroquine For 19 Years To Treat Lupus Still Got COVID-19 (DH)

“When they gave the diagnosis, I felt like it was a death sentence. I was like, ‘I’m going to die,’” she said. “I’m like, ‘How can I be sick? How? I’m on the hydroxychloroquine.’ They were like, ‘Well, nobody’s ever said that was the cure or that was going to keep you safe’ and it definitely did not.”

Wuhan and US scientists used undetectable methods of genetic engineering on bat coronaviruses (Kevin V.)

Now Dr Richard Ebright, an infectious disease expert at Rutgers University (USA), has alerted the public to evidence that WIV and US-based researchers were genetically engineering bat viruses to investigate their ability to infect humans, using commonly used methods that leave no sign or signature of human manipulation.

We Were Never Asked (thc0655)

If avoiding others, wearing masks, and social distancing are so effective, then—like refraining from smoking or skydiving—the people who feel strongly about risk have the means of protecting themselves. Perhaps vulnerable populations are well-served to follow these precautions. Just as people can choose not to get on a motorcycle, the vulnerable and cautious can engage in voluntary masking and social distancing.

The risks and benefits of living normally can be borne by those who want to live.

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