Daily Digest 7/23 – Rural Industries Adapt to Coronavirus Reality, Why America Is Running Out Of Aluminum Cans


In North Carolina, unpaid electric and water bills are driving families and cities to the financial brink (TourGuideDC)

The trouble stems from the widespread economic havoc wrought by the coronavirus, which has left millions of workers out of a job and struggling to cover their monthly costs. Together, they’ve been late or missed a total of $218 million in utility payments between April 1 and the end of June, according to data released recently by the state, nearly double the amount in arrears at this time last year.

Trump threatens to deploy federal agents to Chicago and other U.S. cities led by Democrats (tmn)

With his poll numbers sinking amid widespread frustration at his response to the coronavirus pandemic, Trump has cast himself as a law-and-order strongman who will pacify U.S. communities roiled in recent months by spreading disease, the economic crisis and large street protests for racial justice. Trump has wielded images of violent demonstrations, though the vast majority of racial justice protests have been peaceful.

Morgan Stanley Is First US Bank to Measure How Dirty Its Investments Are (Bill M.)

“This is a journey, and I think that this is an incredibly important piece of it because as we all know it’s harder to make people respond to something when there’s no data, it’s hard to have data when you don’t have measurement,” Audrey Choi, chief sustainability officer for Morgan Stanley and CEO of its Institute for Sustainable Investing, told Politico. “This is an important step toward getting more clarity.”

Novavax executives stand to collect millions even if covid-19 vaccine doesn’t work (TourGuideDC)

Executive compensation experts and patient advocates were troubled by the idea of tying a massive payout to a short-term milestone. “Drug companies like Novavax are getting billions of dollars from taxpayers to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, so it’s certainly concerning to see their executives get massive payouts before we know if the vaccine actually works,” Eli Zupnick, a spokesman for consumer watchdog Patients Over Pharma, told Reuters.

Why America is running out of aluminum cans (Sparky1)

​​Demand for the can was already strong before the pandemic. Brewers increasingly turned to the vessel during the past 10 years. Beer sold in cans accounted for 50% of all beer sold in 2010 and 60% in 2019, a 20% increase, according to the National Beer Wholesalers Association, a trade association for US beer distributors.

Impact of children’s loneliness today could manifest in depression for years to come (Base12)

Dr Maria Loades, clinical psychologist from the Department of Psychology at the University of Bath who led the work, explained: “From our analysis, it is clear there are strong associations between loneliness and depression in young people, both in the immediate and the longer-term. We know this effect can sometimes be lagged, meaning it can take up to 10 years to really understand the scale of the mental health impact the covid-19 crisis has created.”

Why Covid-19 might just be the end of the penny (Sparky1)

“Three months into the lockdown, I realized that the paper money and coins I had in my pocket were the same paper coins and money I’d had in my pocket three months before. I just wasn’t using them,” said Henry Aaron, Bruce and Virginia MacLaury Chair senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution. “In that environment, the disruption that would be caused by buying back outstanding coins would be zilch.”

Countering COVID-19 impacts on children from low-income households (Base12)

To counter the increased disparities brought about by the pandemic and help prevent children from low-income households “experiencing consequences for a lifetime,” the authors recommend that future COVID-19 legislation target child health and well-being. They say that this effort should include expanding services and increasing funding for health and nutrition assistance programs, improving child tax credits, and expanding access to high-speed internet and versatile electronic devices so that all children can participate in distance learning.

Lung, immune function in kids could protect from severe COVID-19 (Base12)

“These profoundly decreased rates of symptomatic infection, hospitalization, and death are well beyond statistical significance, require further examination, and may hold the key to identifying therapeutic agents,” the authors wrote.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2s, called ACE2, are the doors that allow SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, to enter the body’s cells. Children naturally have less ACE2 in the lungs than adults.

The Quarterly, 2Q2020: Rural Industries Adapt to Coronavirus Reality (Base12)

Over the past four months, every rural industry has grappled with how to adjust its business to remain relevant and sustainable in the pandemic. Agricultural supply chains have been massively disrupted and lost revenue. Water and power suppliers have adapted as commercial and industrial customers went dark and demand shifted to residential customers. And the communications industry is seizing a moment when home broadband access has become vividly essential, to help expand access to everyone, everywhere.

Arms industry: Gun buys up 95%, ammo 139%, sales to blacks jump 58% (thc0655)

The evidence is everywhere. I recently went to a handful of Virginia gun stores and found shelves bare. One shop had only two old pistols on consignment. And the popular 9mm ammo is nearly impossible to find. A reloading store in Winchester, Virginia, didn’t even have 9mm bullets.

“Approximately 90 percent of retailers reported an increase in firearm and ammunition sales during the first half of 2020 versus the first half of 2019,” said the report.

World population likely to shrink after mid-century, forecasting major shifts in global population and economic power (Base12)

The new population forecasts contrast to projections of ‘continuing global growth’ by the United Nations Population Division, and highlight the huge challenges to economic growth of a shrinking workforce, the high burden on health and social support systems of an aging population, and the impact on global power linked to shifts in world population.

Wells Fargo plans $10 billion in cuts, posts first quarterly loss since 2008 (Bill M.)

Industries that were acutely hit by the pandemic, like the oil business and commercial real estate, drove much of the weakness in the bank’s large corporate lending book. 47% of the bank’s past-due corporate loans were from the oil, gas and pipeline industry alone in the second quarter. That industry makes up only 3% of the bank’s outstanding commercial loans.

Renewable Energy Is Seizing Market Share During The Pandemic (Michael S.)

The European Union is going further. The bloc just agreed to a 500-billion-euro green stimulus to ramp up renewable energy, electric vehicles, EV infrastructure, and other clean technologies. The European Commission is also considering ratcheting up the ambition, raising the emissions reductions target to as high as 55 percent from 44 percent.

First active leak of sea-bed methane discovered in Antarctica (ZWW)

The reason for the emergence of the new seep remains a mystery, but it is probably not global heating, as the Ross Sea where it was found has yet to warm significantly. The research also has significance for climate models, which currently do not account for a delay in the microbial consumption of escaping methane.

The active seep was first spotted by chance by divers in 2011, but it took scientists until 2016 to return to the site and study it in detail, before beginning laboratory work.

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