Daily Digest 7/15 – Fertility Rate At Record Lows, TX Hospitals Running Out Of Drugs, Beds, Ventilators, Staff

Economy

Welcome to the micro-hood: A new vision for downtown San Francisco (tmn)

Kuth and Ranieri chose this pocket of downtown for its existing structures: the soon-to-be-empty headquarters of PG&E and other pre-war office buildings whose designs facilitate conversions better than modern high-rise towers.

Kroger Stops Giving Customers Change As Nationwide Coin Shortage Worsens (Donna J.)

In late June, supermarket chain Meijer Inc. told customers at 250 stores that “self-checkout registers” will only accept “electronic payment only” due to a “national coin shortage.”

Time for China to decouple the yuan from US dollar, former diplomat urges (thc0655)

Zhou’s comments come as Washington is set to impose new sanctions on Chinese officials and financial firms for their part in the new national security law for Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Autonomy Act, passed by Congress last week, requires the administration to punish foreign banks if they continue to do business with sanctioned officials, including possibly denying them access to the global US dollar payment system.

Seattle Just Passed a New Tax on Jobs in the Middle of an Economic Crisis—But Exempted Government Workers (thc0655)

According to Payscale.com, the average salary in Seattle is $79,000. It’s the fifth most expensive place to live in America, with the highest rents anywhere in the country outside of California. With this context in mind, workers making $150,000 are far from members of “the 1%.” More realistically, many of the targets of this new tax are middle class by Seattle standards. So while the tax isn’t massive, it does showcase an important trend: In their class warfare charge, left-wing officials aren’t constraining themselves to “soaking the rich,” but are quickly reaching down the income ladder for fresh wallets to tap.

Fertility rate: ‘Jaw-dropping’ global crash in children being born (SillyTheEnemy)

It has nothing to do with sperm counts or the usual things that come to mind when discussing fertility. Instead it is being driven by more women in education and work, as well as greater access to contraception, leading to women choosing to have fewer children.

In many ways, falling fertility rates are a success story.

Israeli Data Show School Openings Were a Disaster That Wiped Out Lockdown Gains (TourGuideDC)

The road from anti-coronavirus paradigm to rampant infection in this country of 9 million people followed two months of almost total lockdown. May 17 also was the day Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his former rival Benny Gantz swore in their “corona emergency government,” whose sole declared purpose is to fight the spread of the virus. Netanyahu’s decree that the nation’s entire school system would reopen was a political flourish to signal everything was under control.

The announcement followed a more cautious experiment of several weeks in which only children in the first, second, and third grades were brought back to classrooms, and taught in small, non-intersecting groups called “capsules.”

What Is Betsy DeVos Thinking? (jdargis)

It is hard to say with certainty why the secretary of education would put public schools in this difficult position. But Ms. DeVos is, in effect, promoting a new form of school choice: If your child’s school can’t afford to open safely, you need to find one that can — probably a private or charter school — or keep your child at home.

Texas hospitals are running out of drugs, beds, ventilators and even staff (Adam)

“It used to [be that] if one hospital got kind of overwhelmed … you would start transferring out ICU patients to other facilities that had ICU beds available,” said Dr. Robert Hancock, president of the Texas College of Emergency Physicians. “And there really is none of that now, because everybody’s in the same boat and they’re struggling to get their own patients admitted.”

How to fix the Covid-19 dumpster fire in the U.S. (VeganDB12)

The virus suppression gains earned through the painful societal shutdowns of March, April, and May — the flattened epidemiological curves — have been squandered in many parts of the country, dejected public health experts agree. A vaccine for the masses is still months away. What can be done?

One thing is clear, according to public health experts: Widespread returns to lockdown must be a last resort — and may not be doable.

Heart scans of Covid-19 patients show range of abnormalities (tmn)

Because the virus causes inflammation and fluid buildup in the lungs, the heart often has to work harder to pump oxygen-carrying blood around the body. The heart can fail from working too hard, or the lack of oxygen can cause tissue damage to the heart. In other patients, the virus can infect the heart muscle directly and make it inflamed.

MIT team collaborates with 3M to develop rapid Covid-19 test (edelinski)

The National Institutes of Health selected the rapid Covid-19 test for accelerated development and commercialization support, after rigorous review by an expert panel. The test is in the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics Tech (RADx Tech) program, an aggressively paced Covid-19 diagnostics initiative from the NIH’s National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.

In The Pipeline: Pfizer’s Progress (Roger B.)

Bourla goes on to say that they will be starting manufacturing soon on a risk basis (something they’ve never done with a vaccine candidate), and that the company plans to be ready with up to 100 million doses by the end of the year – and over a billion doses next year. When the Time reporter asked what they’ll do if the vaccine doesn’t turn out to work in Phase II/Phase III, Bourla responded “We will just have to write it off and call it a day. We will throw it away. It’s only money we’re going to lose.”

US And Russian Intel At War: Propaganda & Coronavirus (davebenton)

Western intelligence has become heavily invested in preserving what the USA calls its ‘vital national interests’, a euphemism for Western corporate control of the world’s resources and markets. All of this plays in the model envisioned by Bernays (pervasive lying to the public while incorporating principles of psychology), refined and applied to the modern media with a robust assist from the USA’s Central Intelligence (to which the NATO and European states intelligence agencies are practically feudal vassals.)

A Perspective From a COVID-Infected Household (tmn)

Even before I contracted the coronavirus, I stressed and worried for our community. I spoke with countless doctors, nurses, frontline workers and infectious disease experts. I spoke with business owners, craft breweries, eating disorder clinics, financial analysts, and food banks. I knew the impact and risks that COVID-19 had on our community. I knew the financial setbacks it had on our economy. I knew the fear it instilled in our at-risk populations. It was my job to research and report on these things, to know and to tell.

I didn’t know anything until my roommates and I all contacted the virus.

E-waste eating protein creates rare earth elements (TourGuideDC)

“Leveraging biomolecules for metal extraction technologies is appealing since most biochemical processes occur with quantitative yields, fast kinetics and high selectivity and fidelity,” said Deblonde. “Our work also shows that bio-sourced macromolecules can outperform man-made chelators (small synthetic molecules that bind very tightly to metal ions) and may bring a shift to the currently highly constrained and non-sustainable methods used for REE extraction and purification.”

Trump to Weaken Environmental Rules to Speed Infrastructure Permits (jdargis)

Revising the 50-year-old law through regulatory reinterpretation is one of the biggest deregulatory actions of the Trump administration, which to date has moved to roll back 100 rules protecting clean air and water, and others that aim to reduce the threat of human-caused climate change.

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