Inside Daily Brief

In today’s Inside Daily Brief:

  • We look at the latest COVID-19 numbers and developments from around the world. 
  • As some politicians push for schools to reopen this fall, new research from South Korea shows older children can spread the virus as effectively as adults. 
  • The Toronto Blue Jays won’t be allowed to play at the Rogers Centre when the MLB season re-starts. 
  • Taco Bell is removing some items from its menu.


Johan

The number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow around the U.S., as more than 3.7m Americans are now infected, per data from John Hopkins University. Over 140,120 Americans have died from the virus, as states like California, Florida, and Texas become new global epicenters for COVID-19 outbreaks.

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  • While the number of COVID-19-related deaths is growing from the spread of the virus in Western and Southern states, CDC data shows the number of deaths is still below highs reached in April.
  • The FDA approved pooled COVID-19 testing, which tests up to four samples at once. This will help speed up the testing process and ease backlogs. 
  • COVID-19 hospitalizations have reached a new low in New York. 
  • Globally, there are over 14.3m COVID-19 cases, with 602,757 deaths. Following the U.S. in terms of caseload, comes Brazil (over 2m), India (over 1m), Russia (770,311) and South Africa (350,879).
  • Asian counties, for the most part, have been able to contain the spread of COVID-19. Yet mainland China reported 16 new COVID-19 cases, including 13 originating from the Chinese province of Xinjiang.
  • Hong Kong recently tightened restrictions, amid fears of a resurgence of the virus in the region. Those flying into Hong Kong from other countries will require a negative COVID-19 test before flying in, another test administered upon arriving in the country, and a 14-day quarantine in a hotel. Face masks will also be mandatory in all public places.
  • More governments and businesses are requiring the public to wear face coverings. Melbourne, Australia, is the latest major city to implement a face-covering requirement. This is while retailers, including Walmart, Lowe’s, Aldi, and Target, will also require face coverings in-store.


The Trump administration is attempting to block the inclusion of additional funds for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing in the latest coronavirus relief bill. Senate Republicans have suggested allocating billions for the CDC, Pentagon, and State Department to address the virus, which the administration is also working to ax.

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  • Some GOP senators have been angered by the administration’s stance on eliminating the funding for the bill, but the Trump administration argues that much of the previously secured federal funding for COVID-19 testing and tracing remains unspent.
  • People close to the situation say about $25b was allocated for testing and contact tracing, but the Trump administration wants to eliminate that spend entirely.
  • It is likely the relief bill will be the final one before the November general election, placing pressure equally on Democrats and Republicans as COVID-19 cases continue to grow in the U.S.
  • This comes as Congress works to pass a stimulus package before the end of July, which is when an additional $600 in weekly unemployment benefits end. Even if Congress is able to find a resolution on additional benefits, the payments could be delayed.
  • President Trump continues to encourage a payroll tax reduction or elimination, as well as additional direct payments to Americans.


As President Trump urges schools to reopen, new research from South Korea shows that children between the ages of 10 and 19 can spread COVID-19 as effectively as adults do. Research from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that children under the age of 10 do transmit the virus at a lower rate of transmission than adults do, but there is still a risk.

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  • Some states, including California, have announced rules that would keep most school campuses closed and require remote learning.
  • Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said U.S. students, in particular, are at greater risk of contracting more severe COVID-19 symptoms because they are sicker. There are higher rates of childhood obesity and asthma for U.S. students when compared to those of other European countries.
  • Researchers only tracked children who were sick with COVID-19 symptoms. However, children are less likely than adults to develop symptoms for the virus, and transmission rates for asymptomatic carriers remain unknown.


GOOD NEWS: Beginning in 2022, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will be available nationally by dialing “988.” The three-digit number will be less difficult to remember than the current hotline phone number (1-800-273-8255), which will make it easier for Americans to receive the mental health assistance they need.

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  • The initiative was spearheaded by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), after stating last year that a three-digit dialing code would improve access to the hotline.
  • One Democratic FCC Commissioner, Jessica Rosenworcel, was disappointed the agency didn’t take steps to offer a texting service, which would appeal to younger people.
  • Privately-funded suicide prevention and mental health assistance services, like the Crisis Text Line, do offer text message-based services. In the U.S., anyone can text START to 741741 to receive support on any crisis.


Thousands of protesters marched on the streets of Bangkok, Thailand, to denounce the leadership of Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. The protesters called for an end to Section 112 of the Thai criminal code, which punishes anyone that defames, insults, or threatens the country’s royalty with jail time.

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  • The protests, largely led by younger people and students, are centered around the economic impacts of COVID-19, but follows years of implementing tough laws to thwart freedom of speech.
  • An op-ed published in The Diplomat said a person born in Thailand in 1990 had experienced three major economic crises and two military coups.
  • In 2019, the unemployment rate in Thailand sat around 0.75%, which is pushed low due to informal labor and other factors.
  • Currently, there are about 3,240 COVID-19 cases, and 58 confirmed deaths from the virus in Thailand.


Joe Biden is leading Donald Trump by 15 points amongst registered voters in the latest ABC News/Washington Post presidential election poll. More voters trust Biden over Trump when it comes to handling the pandemic by a 20 point margin (Biden’s 54% compared to Trump’s 34%), the poll also reveals.

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  • Trump still has a slight edge when it comes to who voters trust more with the economy. Trump is leading Biden by 2 points (Trump 47%, Biden 45%). But Trump previously had an 8 point advantage over Biden in March.
  • The poll also found more Americans trust Biden when it comes to race relations, with Biden leading by 25 points over Trump (Biden 58%, Trump 33%).
  • Biden will run campaign ads in battleground states during President Trump’s interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday today. The ads, which carry a positive tone and do not directly address Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, will focus on stopping the spread of the virus.
  • On Thursday, Trump replaced his re-election campaign manager, Brad Parscale, with GOP operative Bill Stepien. Parscale will remain as an advisor. 


TikTok is considering moving its headquarters to London to separate itself from its Chinese ownership. Government agencies worldwide are concerned about the possible influence of the Chinese government on Bytedance, the owner of TikTok.

More:

  • While one person close to the situation told the Sunday Times the company had shelved plans to move its HQ to London, discussions remain between the U.K. government and the company. 
  • India has banned access to TikTok, while the U.S. has also considered a similar ban.
  • In China, ByteDance operates Douyin, which does reportedly censor political content in line with the government.
  • TikTok has claimed it is not a Chinese company and is based in the Cayman Islands. The service has also said its U.S. servers are located in Virginia.


Canada’s government will not allow the Toronto Blue Jays to play at their stadium this summer because of COVID-19 risks. The Blue Jays normally play the Rogers Centre in Downtown Toronto. However, the government does not believe it is safe for Blue Jays players to travel between the country and the U.S., which has been hit hard by COVID-19.

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  • The team initially gained clearance from city and provincial governments to play at the Rogers Centre this season but did not receive approval from the federal government.
  • The Blue Jays are looking at alternate sites to play this season, including its training facility in Florida and a site in Buffalo, New York. These alternate sites are smaller, which may make it harder to socially distance in the clubhouse.
  • Non-essential travel is currently not allowed between the U.S. and Canada, with this agreement likely being extended through August 21. The MLB season starts on July 23.


Taco Bell is removing 12 items from its U.S. menu. The fast-food chain will be removing some fan favorites – including the Quesarito, potato dishes, and 7-Layer Burrito –  to streamline its operations.

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QUICK HITS 

  • President Trump said he is not offended by the Confederate flag, which for many Americans, symbolizes racism and is a reflection of the South’s history of slavery. He also said he is “not offended by Black Lives Matter either.”
  • Linkin Park successfully removed a campaign video from President Trump’s Twitter account by filing a copyright claim. The video featured the band’s song “In the End.”
  • Disney has reportedly cut its ad spend on Facebook. Major companies have protested the company’s policies on hate speech and controversial content.
  • Pumpkin Island in Australia’s Southern Great Barrier Reef is on sale for $17m.
  • Most security companies send a technician to your home. SimpliSafe doesn’t. Order online. Set it up in 30 minutes. After that, you’re protected 24/7.*

This is sponsored content.


Johan Moreno is the writer and curator of Inside’s mobility-focused newsletters (Inside EVs and Transportation). He joined Inside.com in February 2017 and has written over 700 issues collectively, so he knows a thing or two about the development of electric vehicles, autonomous cars and more.

Johan is also a contributing writer for Forbes and works for J.D. Power, an automotive data and analytics firm. For this reason, Johan does not include his own Forbes’ article links or discuss anything related to J.D. Power in newsletters, to avoid conflicts of interest. Before that, he wrote for The Orange County Register’s “Wheels” section, alongside veteran automotive journalist Susan Carpenter. 

Editor

Sheena Vasani is a journalist, passionate techie, and UC Berkeley alumna who writes Inside Dev. She started her coding journey at Dev Bootcamp and Thinkful, and is proficient in Javascript and Ruby. In her free time, she runs a project dedicated to breaking mental health stigmas in South Asian communities. She’s also currently working on gathering stories about people transcending divides for a new project, A Human First. 

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