Monday, November 16, 2020

The U.S. federal government has signed an agreement with drug stores and pharmacies to distribute free coronavirus vaccines once they become available

The deal covers 3 in 5 pharmacies in all 50 states and U.S. territories. It includes major pharmacy chains such as Rite Aid and Walgreens, supermarket drug stores like Albertsons and Publix, and large retailers like Costco and Walmart. The United States Health and Human Services Secretary said that since most Americans live within five miles of a pharmacy, the agreement represents “a critical step” toward ensuring that the vaccine is widely available. Priority groups including health care workers and nursing home residents will be vaccinated first. CVS and Walgreens have signed a separate agreement to deliver vaccines to nursing homes. Pfizer and BioNTech said that preliminary data showed that their vaccine is 90% effective. (Associated Press)


Temperature checks and symptom-based screenings to identify potential coronavirus cases are costly and ineffective, a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found

“Symptom-based screening programs are ineffective because of the nonspecific clinical presentation of COVID-19 and asymptomatic cases,” the CDC wrote. “Passenger entry screening was resource-intensive with low yield of laboratory-diagnosed COVID-19 cases.” The study outlined a number of possible reasons why symptom-based screening led to so few coronavirus cases being identified. The CDC speculated that so many people choosing not to fly might have resulted in “an overall low COVID-19 prevalence in travelers.” The CDC also said that the two-week incubation period, asymptomatic cases, and travelers “who might deny symptoms or take steps to avoid detection of illness” by taking cough suppressants could also have contributed to the small number of coronavirus cases detected by symptom-based screening. (Washington Examiner)


Chevrolet Bolt being recalled due to fire risk

General Motors is recalling nearly 69,000 Chevrolet Bolt electric cars worldwide because the batteries have caught fire in five of them. The company says it doesn’t know yet what’s causing the fires, but engineers are working around the clock to figure it out. Two people have suffered smoke inhalation due to the blazes. Bolt Executive Chief Engineer says dealers will install software that limits charging to 90% of the battery’s capacity until a permanent fix is developed. The recall covers Bolts from the 2017 through 2019 model years, including nearly 51,000 in the U.S. It comes one month after the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that it was investigating. The agency said in documents filed last month that the fires began under the rear seat while the cars were parked and unattended. The engineers have traced the fires to Bolts with battery cells made at an LG Chem factory in Ochang, South Korea, from May of 2016 to May of 2019. The fires have happened when the batteries were close to being fully charged. Some 2019 Bolts and all 2020 and 2021 versions have cells made at an LG Chem plant in Holland, Michigan, and are not included in the recall, he said. Until the software updates can be done, GM is asking owners to manually change adjustable settings to keep the batteries from being charged fully. Owners who aren’t able to do this should park their Bolts outdoors and contact a dealer. (Fox News)


American homes are getting pricier

American homes are becoming more expensive. Across the U.S., the median single-family home price was 12% higher than a year earlier, at $313,500, according to the National Association of Realtors, marking the biggest yearly jump in seven years. The move is broad, too: In the third quarter, the median price for existing homes in each of the 181 metro areas tracked by the NAR was higher than a year earlier for the first time since 1980. People are valuing their homes more during the pandemic, while record-low mortgage rates and an intensifying shortage of homes for sale have boosted prices. (Bloomberg)


Is college even worth it anymore?

Conventional wisdom holds that a four-year degree is the key to a promising future. But amid a growing student debt crisis, declining generational wealth and a pandemic that has pummeled higher education, traditional college just isn’t working for millions of Americans. It’s pushing people to seek out faster, cheaper and more specialized alternatives to post-secondary education, intensifying the allure of short-term credential classes, boot camps, apprenticeship programs and vocational certifications that could eventually “supplant the symbolic value of a four-year degree.” (The Wall Street Journal)


TikTok lives on in the US

TikTok has been granted a reprieve, with the U.S. government announcing that it would comply with the terms of a temporary injunction preventing it from shutting down the video-sharing app. It comes after the company earlier this week filed a petition in a U.S. Court of Appeals claiming that it hadn’t heard from the committee tasked with overseeing the move in weeks. President Trump approved a proposal that would allow Oracle and Walmart to buy the operation but the deal was never approved by the Chinese government and remains in limbo. (The Verge)


Avoid the remote work groupthink trap

Remote work environments are particularly susceptible to groupthink. This is largely because the favored meeting tools, namely, video calls, discourage people to raise their voices and create the kind of conversational awkwardness that pushes us to want to get meetings over and done with as soon as possible. There’s a way out of this mess, according to researchers: You can shake up who hosts your meetings, giving more people a shot at shepherding discussion. And you can develop opportunities for quieter team members to express themselves, both during and outside of meeting times. (Fast Company)


A thinking style that breeds success

Holding two competing or contradictory ideas in our head at the same time might sound stressful. But a growing body of research suggests this practice can boost our ability to develop creative ideas and solve thorny problems, according to research. Embracing this kind of “paradox mindset” helps us let go of our preconceived notions about how things “have to be,” freeing us to think more expansively about challenges. And it may not be as arduous as it sounds: According to one study, this kind of thinking may even make your job more enjoyable. (Science Direct)


Put work frustration to good use

If you’re in charge of a project or people, you’re no stranger to frustration, both your own and that of your colleagues. Too often, though, leaders let their colleagues’ work frustrations go to waste. That negative energy can be channeled and converted into productive motivation. Instead of trying to contain or alleviate your colleagues’ feelings, help them label and acknowledge it. Once the emotions are out in the open, then you can help steer their thinking to what steps they can take to make things better. (Harvard Business Review)


New Jersey man eats raw onion for TikTok’s “COVID taste test” trend, goes viral

When a 30-year-old man from Jersey City, New Jersey lost his sense of taste and smell, he figured it was the coronavirus. A positive rapid test confirmed his theory, but his friends didn’t believe that he really couldn’t taste anything. To prove it to them, he decided to join the “COVID Taste Test” trend on TikTok and made a video of himself eating a raw onion and garlic paste and drinking a shot of lemon juice and it soon went viral — garnering more than 15.4 million views. The man’s video begins with him chopping off the ends of a red onion as he explains that he has the virus, but can’t taste anything. “So here’s an onion,” he adds as he takes a huge bite out of it, as if it were an apple, but he hardly reacts. “Nothing,” he says, chewing the onion as he opens a bottle of lemon juice and pours it into a shot glass. Then he takes the lemon juice shot, which he gargles before swallowing — again, with almost no reaction. “Nothing,” he says again. Then, he picks up a small jar of garlic paste, saying “Oh that would hurt,” before putting a sizable spoonful of the paste in his mouth. “Nothing,” he says again. “This is a crazy virus.” The man has continued to make “COVID Taste Test” videos, which show him eating an Oreo with Wasabi in it, drinking orange juice after brushing his teeth with a huge glob of toothpaste, and drinking shots of vinegar. (Rustard Like Mustard TikTok)


Suicide claimed more Japanese lives in October than 10 months of COVID

Far more Japanese people are dying of suicide, likely exacerbated by the economic and social repercussions of the pandemic, than of the COVID-19 disease itself. While Japan has managed its coronavirus epidemic far better than many nations, keeping deaths below 2,000 nationwide, provisional statistics from the National Police Agency show suicides surged to 2,153 in October alone, marking the fourth straight month of increase. To date, more than 17,000 people have taken their own lives this year in Japan. October self-inflicted deaths were up 600 year on year, with female suicides, about a third of the total, surging over 80%. Women, who have primary responsibility for childcare, have borne the brunt of pandemic-induced job losses and insecurity. They’re also at greater risk of domestic violence, which help centers say has worsened here this year, as it has around the world. Japan has grappled with high suicide rates for a long time and for complex reasons, but the overall numbers had been on a downward trend this year, until they reversed course in July, possibly as the initial “we’re all in this together” pandemic positivity waned, and the buffering impact of public subsidies disappeared. (CBS News)


Canada bans methadone for racehorses

A well-known opioid used in addiction treatment has joined the likes of ketamine, fentanyl and tobacco in being illegal to give to racehorses. Methadone was classified as a potential “performance-altering drug” and made illegal to give to competing horses. The blood pressure drug amlodipine and allergy drug ciclesonide were also banned. The regulations state that because methadone is a potent painkiller it could be used to mask a horse’s pain, allowing it to race better even if its hurt. It also puts the horse at risk. It is common in Canada for people who are addicted to more potent opioids like fentanyl or heroin to be given methadone as part of long term treatment to try to wean them off the drugs entirely. It can also be licensed as a veterinary painkiller for cats, according to the regulations. (iPolitics)


Air Force chaplain arrested by San Antonio police in online sex sting

An Air Force chaplain stationed in San Antonio was arrested as part of a sexual predators sting, authorities said. The 41-year-old Major was arrested and charged with online solicitation of a minor. Air Force officials confirmed that he was a chaplain with the 433rd Airlift Wing, an Air Force Reserve unit stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. A spokesperson for the reserve unit confirmed his arrest, adding he was on active duty when he was taken into custody. A detective had been investigating online predators,” according to a preliminary report by the San Antonio Police Department. The investigation led to the booking of the Air Force Major for the listed offense. The arrest was made without incident. Police did not provide more specific information about what led to his arrest. He posted $30,000 bail and was released from jail, but is due back in court on December 15th. If the Major is convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison. (KSAT)


Monday Breaks The Law With:

  • Button Day
  • Fast Food Day
  • Indiana Day
  • International Day for Tolerance
  • Teddy Bear Day (Historic)




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