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Trump Raises $170 Million as He Denies His Loss and Eyes the Future

The New York Times (NYT) (11/30/2020)
  • Trump has raised about $170M from supporters funding his efforts to legally overturn election results.
  • However, the fine-print reveals that 75% of these donations goes to Trump’s new political action committee “Save America”.
  • These funds can be used for Trump’s future political activities and to pay down campaign debt.
  • On Trump’s donation site, a box is automatically checked to make all donations recurring weekly until the Electoral College vote (December 14th).
  • The $170M raised over 4 weeks rivals Trump’s peak campaign donation periods.

Should Isolation Periods Be Shorter for People With Covid-19?

The New York Times (NYT) (11/29/2020)
  • New research revealed that people with COVID-19 are most infectious 2 days before and 5 days after symptoms begin.
  • While the CDC currently recommends 10-day isolation after infection, it’s considering shortening isolation guidelines.
  • Shortening isolation periods could increase compliance, reducing the overall spread of COVID.
  • Many Americans don’t get tested until 1-2 days after feeling ill and wait 2-3 days to receive test results, or towards the end of their infectious period.
  • Still, some experts aren’t convinced that shorter, targeted isolations will limit transmissions.

COVAX plan boosts Covid-19 vaccine hopes for developing countries

Daily Maverick (12/02/2020)
  • Four pharmaceutical companies have announced vaccines with high effectiveness, although none have been approved yet.
  • COVAX, a global collaboration launched by the World Health Organization(WHO), is aiming to provide vaccines to the most vulnerable 20% of developing countries’ populations.
  • The WHO and its partners have provided a guide for African countries to prepare for effective vaccine distribution.
  • AstraZeneca’s vaccine is the most promising for African countries, as it is the cheaper than other companies’ vaccines and can be stored in normal refrigerators.

40 million Americans could face eviction as the CDC eviction moratorium expires at year’s end

Vox (11/27/2020)
  • Nearly 40 million Americans potentially face eviction as the CDC’s coronavirus eviction moratorium nears expiration on January 1st (2021).
  • The moratorium was passed in September (2020) to limit the spread of coronavirus from overcrowding living arrangements and homelessness.
  • Once the moratorium ends, tenants could owe up to $70 billion in back-rent.
  • Small ‘mom-and-pop’ landlords who control 41% of America’s rental housing are also suffering from rent shortfalls while still being liable for mortgages and property taxes.
  • Without federal relief, America faces a housing catastrophe.

Politics, Science and the Remarkable Race for a Coronavirus Vaccine

The New York Times (NYT) (11/24/2020)
  • Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and upstart Moderna took different approaches to developing COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Seeking minimal political interference, Pfizer and German partner BioNTech declined US government funding.
  • In contrast, Moderna accepted $2.5 billion in federal funding and actively partnered with NIH researchers.
  • Both vaccines involve a new, previously untested method of making human cells develop harmless proteins that stimulate the immune system.
  • Vaccine development was accelerated thanks to abundant and willing trial patients and government support.
  • Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have shown over 90% effectiveness.

China Rise to Global Superpower Is a Restoration, Not an Ascent

Bloomberg (10/27/2020)
  • China views its recent into superpower status as a restoration of past glory.
  • Before periods of decline, China dominated global trade in commodities such as silk and porcelain (900s-1200s) and controlled more seaborne routes (1500s-1800s) than Europe.
  • Despite China’s remarkable history of rebuilding after major declines, US foreign policy often treats China as if it never prospered.
  • To limit China’s influence, the US should strengthen ties with regional allies and target bad actors (eg individuals, companies) as opposed to China as a whole.

New York’s hotel crisis puts pressure on $4bn mortgage bond sector

Financial Times (FT) (11/12/2020)
  • Due to the cornavirus pandemic, 80% of NY’s hotels backed by commercial mortgages are under financial distress.
  • 37.7% of NY hotel loans packaged into commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) are on an investor warning list that the mortgage loans could soon be transferred to debt collectors.
  • Another 44.7% of NY hotel loans have been transferred to special servicers for help getting the hotels to pay their mortgages or foreclose on the properties.
  • A hotel executive deemed half of NY’s hotels surviving a “great” outcome.

How to stop restaurants from driving COVID infections

Nature (11/10/2020)
  • Research analyzing mobile phone location data from March to May (2020) revealed that restaurants, gyms and hotels are hotspots for spreading COVID.
  • The location data covered movements in America’s 10 largest cities including Chicago, Philadelphia and NYC.
  • Researchers have used the data to model and accurately forecast future infection rates and potential infection rates under different scenarios.
  • For example, limiting Chicago’s restaurant, gym and hotel capacity to 20% would reduce infections by over 80%.
  • Given that information, large-scale total shutdowns may not be necessary.

What Happens to Your Body on No Sleep?

Outside (04/02/2019)
  • Scientists have found that the effects of acute sleep deprivation, or all-nighters, kicks in after being awake for 16-18 hours straight.
  • The first sign is a sluggish mind, with reaction times lagging to the equivalent of being legally drunk by the 24th hour awake.
  • After 24 hours, your brain starts forcing you into 10-20 second periods of “micro-sleep”.
  • After 35 hours, the brain’s emotion-emitting amygdala becomes 60% more reactive and the ability to regulate emotions declines.
  • Hallucinations are common after 48 hours awake.