COVID19 🦠 Newsbites
Despite Encouraging Downward Trend, U.S. Covid Deaths Remain High
Coronavirus cases are trending downward across the United States as the country’s vaccine rollout picks up speed. But despite the large drop in new infections since early this year, the U.S. death rate remains at nearly 1,500 people every day. That number still exceeds the summer peak, when patients filled Sun Belt hospitals and outbreaks in states that reopened early drove record numbers of cases, though daily deaths nationwide remained lower than the first surge last spring. The number of new reported cases per day remains nearly as high as the summer record.

At the same time, officials in Texas and Mississippi have lifted mask mandates while other states are ending capacity limits on businesses.
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/03/13/us/coronavirus-march-summer-peak.html

American billionaires could fund two-thirds of Biden's COVID-19 relief package just using profits generated during the pandemic, a report shows
  • The total wealth of US billionaires rose $1.3 trillion amid the pandemic, the ATF and IPS said.
  • This could fund two-thirds of Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 rescue plan.
  • The momentum for measures that address wealth inequality has grown during the pandemic.
American billionaires have earned so much money during the pandemic that they could fund two-thirds of President Joe Biden's COVID-19 relief package using profits generated in the last year, a report shows.

The combined fortune of American billionaires rose around $1.3 trillion, or 44%, from March 2020 to March 2021, Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) said.

This increase is equivalent to two-thirds of the $1.9 trillion cost of Biden's pandemic rescue plan, which he signed into law Thursday.

The total jump in wealth for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the pandemic would fund almost all of the relief plan's supplemental $300 weekly unemployment benefits for the next six months, the groups said.

The groups based their analysis on Forbes data.

As of Wednesday, the US' 657 billionaires were worth a combined $4.2 trillion, the ATF and IPS said. Under current tax laws, none of this would be taxed during their lifetimes, unless the underlying assets are sold at a gain, they said.
Read the full article: https://www.businessinsider.com/biden-covid-relief-plan-stimulus-billionaire-pandemic-profits-fund-economy-2021-3

Tesla Plant Elon Musk Reopened Logged Hundreds of Infections
More than 400 workers at a Tesla plant in California tested positive for the coronavirus between May and December, according to public health data released by a transparency website.

The data provides the first glimpse into virus cases at Tesla, whose chief executive, Elon Musk, had downplayed the severity of the coronavirus crisis and reopened the plant in May, in defiance of guidelines issued by local public health officials.

Automakers across the country halted production and closed plants for two months last year from mid-March until mid-May. After resuming production, other automakers publicly announced when workers had tested positive for the virus and halted production to prevent further infection among employees and to disinfect work areas.

Tesla, however, has released little information about employee coronavirus cases.


The data was obtained by the website PlainSite, which works to make legal and governmental documents publicly accessible. It showed that 440 cases were reported at the Tesla plant, which employs some 10,000 people. The number of cases rose to 125 in December from fewer than 11 in May.
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/13/world/tesla-elon-musk-coronavirus-outbreak.html

Gov. Ron DeSantis said 'any type of lockdown' in Florida is 'insane,' despite Biden's warning of possibly reinstating restrictions
  • Gov. Ron DeSantis said there would be no lockdowns in the state of Florida.
  • His remarks run contrary to President Joe Biden's warning one day earlier that the US might "have to reinstate restrictions" if the public isn't vigilant.
  • "To even contemplate doing any type of lockdown, honestly it's insane," DeSantis said.
"That's not gonna happen in the state of Florida," he continued. "We're gonna continue doing what works, but under no circumstances would we entertain anything of the sort."

... "That's not gonna happen in the state of Florida," he continued. "We're gonna continue doing what works, but under no circumstances would we entertain anything of the sort."
Read the full article: https://www.businessinsider.com/desantis-lockdown-in-florida-joe-biden-2021-3

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a contagious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first case was identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. It has since spread worldwide, leading to an ongoing pandemic.

Symptoms of COVID-19 are variable, but often include fever, cough, fatigue, breathing difficulties, and loss of smell and taste. Symptoms begin one to fourteen days after exposure to the virus. Most people (81%) develop mild to moderate symptoms (up to mild pneumonia), while 14% develop severe symptoms (dyspnea, hypoxia, or more than 50% lung involvement on imaging) and 5% of patients suffer critical symptoms (respiratory failure, shock, or multiorgan dysfunction). At least a third of the people who are infected with the virus remain asymptomatic and do not develop noticeable symptoms at any point in time, but can spread the disease. Some patients continue to experience a range of effects—known as long COVID—for months after recovery and damage to organs has been observed. Multi-year studies are underway to further investigate the long term effects of the disease.

Source: Coronavirus disease 2019 - Wikipedia