advertisement
advertisement
  • 9:17 am

Massive study of 101 species shows that females outliving males is not just a human thing

Massive study of 101 species shows that females outliving males is not just a human thing
[Photo: Isabella Jusková/Unsplash]

It is well-known that women live 7.8% longer than men, but what about orcas and gorillas and bats and lions? Scientists had long observed the lives of female mammals, but no one had quantified their lifespans across species worldwide.

A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences does just that, compiling data on 101 species of mammals. Drumroll: Female mammals live 18.6% longer than male mammals throughout the animal kingdom. This is news!

The researchers found that in 60% of the 134 animal populations they looked at, females outlived males. They attribute the differences to genetic and environmental factors, as well as differing reproductive costs. For example, in some species, males and females may live equal lifespans in favorable environments, but when famine strikes, the sex that expends less energy on size and sexual dominance may live longer. Researchers emphasize that there are many variables involved.

No overt difference in aging rates between male and female animals was observed.

Lifespan differences can be notably large: Female lions in the wild live, on average, 50% longer than male lions.

advertisement
advertisement

Facebook pledges $100 million to support news industry during COVID-19 pandemic

Facebook pledges $100 million to support news industry during COVID-19 pandemic
[Photo: The Climate Reality Project/Unsplash]

As lockdowns and stay-in-place orders continue to be extended in countries around the world, millions of people are spending their days frequenting online publications to find out the latest about the COVID-19 pandemic. While websites find the extra traffic boost a welcome, they also have to struggle with companies reducing their ad spend because of the economic effects of the pandemic.

That’s part of the reason Facebook has announced it will spend an additional $100 million to support the news industry during the crisis. Announcing the new initiative, Facebook said:

The news industry is working under extraordinary conditions to keep people informed during the COVID-19 pandemic. At a time when journalism is needed more than ever, ad revenues are declining due to the economic impact of the virus. Local journalists are being hit especially hard, even as people turn to them for critical information to keep their friends, families and communities safe.

As part of the $100 million package, $25 million will go to directly funding local news organizations through emergency grants via the Facebook Journalism Project. Though the $25 million will be distributed globally, the first round of the emergency grants will be distributed to 50 local newsrooms in the U.S. and Canada.

One such example of the use of the grant comes from The Post and Courier of South Carolina. It took down its paywall for all coronavirus stories so everyone could have access to the latest information about the pandemic. The Post and Courier will use Facebook’s grant to extend its coverage to rural and underreported-on sectors of the state. Facebook’s funds will also be used to cover travel costs and remote work capabilities of the publication’s journalists.

But the largest chunk of Facebook’s $100 million pledge comes in the form of additional marketing spend. Facebook will spend an additional $75 million above its existing marketing spend on advertising on news organization websites around the world.

As Facebook points out in its blog post announcing the initiative: “If people needed more proof that local journalism is a vital public service, they’re getting it now. And while almost all businesses are facing adverse financial effects from this crisis, we recognize we’re in a more privileged position than most, and we want to help.”

advertisement
advertisement

Amazon isn’t letting COVID-19 get in the way of its annual Prime Day sale

Amazon isn’t letting COVID-19 get in the way of its annual Prime Day sale
[Photo: www.quotecatalog.com]

Despite major tech companies canceling their annual events due to the COVID-19 pandemic (or in Apple’s case, going digital-only), Amazon appears to be moving ahead with its annual Prime Day sales bonanza, which normally takes place around July.

That’s according to leaked emails obtain by Business Insider. Those emails were sent from Amazon to third-party sellers and vendors urging them to be ready to ship their Prime Day inventory to Amazon fulfillment centers by May. Considering the volume of items Amazon shifts each year during its Prime Day sale, the emails surprised some who assumed the event wouldn’t take place as scheduled this year given the logistics and delivery problems Amazon has suffered from as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads.

But it’s also a surprise that Amazon is already openly planning for Prime Day this year, considering the company has come under scrutiny for worker safety issues at its warehouses during the pandemic. It’s not a good look for your company to be willing to put workers at risk for a glorified consumer-capitalist shopping holiday.

That being said, just because Amazon is instructing sellers to prepare their inventory for Prime Day doesn’t necessarily mean the company is planning to go ahead with it in July. Amazon could very well be taking a wait-and-see approach, planning for it, but willing to postpone it if necessary.

As an Amazon spokesperson told Business Insider, the company hasn’t made “any announcements about Prime Day.” The spokesperson went on: “We remain focused on ensuring the safety of our associates and serving our customers, while naturally evaluating future plan[s].”

advertisement
advertisement
advertisement
advertisement

March Madness 2020 was supposed to be happening right now. Instead, schools are out $375 million

March Madness 2020 was supposed to be happening right now. Instead, schools are out $375 million
[Photo: sanchesnet1/iStock; dan carlson/Unsplash]

Turns out March Sadness has a price tag: $375 million. That’s how much it cost the National Collegiate Athletic Association to cancel March Madness this year.

advertisement

The widely viewed Division I men’s basketball tournament is a huge moneymaker for the NCAA, generating nearly 80% of the nonprofit’s revenue. In March, officials called off the marquee event amid COVID-19 concerns, and that decision is now having a ripple effect on hundreds of colleges across the country that receive funding from the NCAA.

While the NCAA had planned to distribute $600 million to its 350 Division I member schools this year, that number has dropped to $225 million, the group said Thursday.

NCAA cash is the lifeblood of many college athletic programs, most of which are unprofitable on their own. Basketball and football programs are typically most lucrative, but sports such as swimming and softball rely heavily on contributions, and with this year’s decrease they could see cuts to roster sizes and coaching salaries.

The Athletic paints an even grimmer picture, forecasting that “the massive cut will affect Division I athletics departments in myriad ways, likely starting with staffing reductions or salary freezes and eventually causing schools to reduce scholarships and potentially cut sports entirely.”

While schools with major football programs—those that compete in Big Ten and Southeastern conferences under multi-billion-dollar television deals—will weather the drop in funds more smoothly, schools that compete in mid-major conferences without the flash will be dealt a bigger blow. And the cost of the coronavirus pandemic is adding up for colleges: As many schools have closed early, they’ll likely have to refund student tuitions and grant an extra year of eligibility to spring season athletes.

Today would’ve been Day One of the Elite Eight games had March Madness played on. Instead, the world of college sports is now facing a future of financial uncertainty. Let’s pour one out for what could’ve been.

advertisement
advertisement

Economists say these cities will be hardest hit by a COVID-19 recession

Economists say these cities will be hardest hit by a COVID-19 recession
[Photo: Flickr user GoToVan]

While our health is at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic, the repercussions on the economy are certain to affect almost everyone’s livelihood as the disease decimates businesses globally. Here in the U.S., economists and policymakers are increasingly anticipating a recession. Goldman Sachs recently estimated that the U.S. GDP will wither about 24% between April and June 2020.

advertisement

Some areas of the country will be more vulnerable to a recession than others. Among the hardest hit by this potential recession are Nevada, Hawaii, and Wyoming, according to an analysis of census data by SmartAsset.

[Image: SmartAsset]
That data revealed that more than one in four jobs in those three states is at risk because they rely on vulnerable industries such as tourism, arts and recreation, food service, and hospitality. The analysis revealed that nearly a quarter (23%) of Nevada’s and almost 17% of Hawaii’s workforce were employed in leisure and hospitality.

The third most likely state to suffer the effect of a coronavirus-related recession is Wyoming, which plays host to more mining, oil, and gas workers.

On the flip side, South Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota are the most likely to be shielded from the coming recession because very small percentages of their workforces are employed in vulnerable industries.

SmartAsset also identified the 10 cities where workers in vulnerable industries make up the largest part of the workforce. Moody’s Analytics economist Mark Zandi estimates that 20% of those vulnerable workers in each of these cities could lose their jobs. They are:

  1. Paradise, Nevada
  2. North Las Vegas, Nevada
  3. Las Vegas, Nevada
  4. Memphis, Tennessee
  5. Henderson, Nevada
  6. Newark, New Jersey
  7. Laredo, Texas
  8. New Orleans, Louisiana
  9. Orlando, Florida
  10. Santa Ana, California

To see the complete analysis by industry, click here.

advertisement
advertisement

Here are the most infuriating details and corporate giveaways in the COVID-19 stimulus bill

Here are the most infuriating details and corporate giveaways in the COVID-19 stimulus bill
[Photo: Louis Velazquez/Unsplash; Jp Valery/Unsplash]

Even amid the urgency of the coronavirus pandemic, the massive $2 trillion stimulus plan voted on by the House this afternoon saw its share of partisan wrangling (because . . . Washington). But more infuriating was the long list of special interests lobbying for big chunks of money or other benefits, despite the fact that many of these interests clearly don’t have the most compelling need.

Though many core elements within the 900-page bill have been praised (it includes $250 billion set aside for direct payments to individuals and families, $350 billion in small business loans, $250 billion in unemployment insurance benefits, and $500 billion in loans for distressed companies), others have been roundly criticized. So, to balance out your general anxiety right now with some righteous rage, I present the lowlights of the bill:

  • Buried on page 203 of the bill is a tax break that could save wealthy real estate investors $170 billion over 10 years, as reported by the New York Times‘s Jesse Drucker.
  • $454 billion of the package goes toward backing up a new Federal Reserve program that largely benefits big business. And since banks tend to maintain a 10-to-1 ratio between loans disbursed and capital on hand, that amount is “sufficient to supply corporate America with more than $4 trillion in subsidized financing,” reports New York magazine, noting acidly that it makes the bill a “plutocracy-stabilization fund.”
  • The sunscreen industry caught a break when the product was lumped in with other over-the-counter drugs that will get speedier approval by the Food and Drug Administration in Subtitle F of Part V (“Miscellaneous Provisions”), spotted by Taxpayers for Common Sense.
  • For-profit colleges, which tend to have high dropout rates and have a troubling record of misleading students about their ability to get jobs upon graduation, will be included in a provision that allows all colleges to keep funds given to educate students, even if they drop out due to COVID-19 emergencies.
  • The bill gives $25 million to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, which seems a little unnecessary at this time.
  • It includes a six-month extension of federal funding for abstinence-only education (heavily supported by social conservatives), which has nothing to do with the pandemic or its health impacts.

In addition, the Fed tapped asset-management giant BlackRock to direct three of its bond-buying programs, “which under the arrangement could buy some of its own funds on behalf of the central bank,” notes Bloomberg. Conflict of interest much?

Just as troubling are some of the things not included in the massive package:

  • While some federal student loan borrowers get a short reprieve from making payments, that didn’t include 1.2 million borrowers with other types of federal loans, notes Persis Yu, director of the National Consumer Law Center’s Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project.
  • Though tens of millions of low-income Americans lack broadband internet, which is critical during a health crisis (as noted by Fast Company‘s Mark Sullivan), the bill doesn’t include additional funding for the emergency Lifeline broadband program.
  • And the bill doesn’t include any emergency rental or mortgage assistance beyond homeless assistance and doesn’t include “limitations on foreclosure or eviction where homeowner’s or landlord’s mortgage is not federally assisted,” notes the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
advertisement
advertisement

Watch how quickly the coronavirus has spread across the globe, country by country

Watch how quickly the coronavirus has spread across the globe, country by country
[Animation: The Economist]

The Economist Group’s Intelligence Unit published a slick graphic showing how confirmed cases of COVID-19 have stacked up by country over time:

advertisement

It’s a compelling, if not terrifying watch. Tracking begins on January 22, with a total of 555 coronavirus cases worldwide, and continues up to March 26, when 529,591 people had been infected.

What’s notable is how exponential the pandemic’s growth has been in the last three weeks.

The epidemic was growing almost exclusively in China until mid-February: On February 13, China had amassed 59,895 cases—and this is before the country broadened its definition of the disease—while other countries included in the graphic each had less than 100 cases.

But once the disease started spreading—first to South Korea, then Italy and Iran, and then to the United States—cases exploded at an exponential rate. On March 5, China had 80,537 confirmed cases; South Korea had 6,088, Italy had 3,858, and the U.S. had 217.

On March 26, just three weeks later, China and South Korea had seen minimal increases, with 81,782 cases and 9,241 cases respectively, but numbers in Italy and the U.S. had shot up to staggering heights: Italy had 80,589 cases, and the U.S. was the new world leader, with 83,836 cases.

By and large, this jibes with what we know of how countries have handled their outbreaks. After the outbreak originated in Wuhan in December, China barred all citizens from crossing into or out of the city on January 23—at the apex of Lunar New Year travel—which may explain why China’s growth rate was relatively constant from late January to mid-February. On February 2, China kicked it up a notch with a variety of draconian tactics within Wuhan itself, including turning hotels and schools into quarantine centers and shipping people off in human-sized safe boxes. By late February, China’s growth rate had nearly flatlined.

While China’s harsh measures were criticized, the U.S. has been criticized for its slow, lackluster response to the pandemic. It took President Trump weeks to acknowledge the coronavirus as a serious threat, and then a baffling blunder by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention left states in dire shortage of test kits. Experts suspect the country’s reluctance to lock down major cities has contributed to the virus’s growth, as it may have in Italy as well.

What’s clear in any case is that this trend does not look good! Watch the EIU’s whole animation here.

advertisement
advertisement

Princeton researchers discover how loners and introverts will save society

Princeton researchers discover how loners and introverts will save society
[Photo: Umberto Shaw/Pexels]

Loners are not dysfunctional failures of the herd. They save the herd. They are herd heroes.

This is the finding of Princeton researchers who empirically demonstrated that across the animal kingdom, loners—defined as “individuals out of sync with a coordinated majority”—likely serve as evolutionary insurance plans, ensuring species survival. For example, if a pandemic of a coronavirus called, say, COVID-19, hit a species, the introverted shut-ins who stayed alone in their homes until they received vaccines would have a 100% survival rate. Their antisocial tendencies would make them invulnerable to the group threat.

Loners exist across the animal kingdom, such as small herds of mammals that skip group migrations and plants that flower days before or after the rest of the species. They’re everywhere. “Now that we’re starting to look for it, we realize that a whole lot of systems are not perfectly synchronized,” says the study’s coauthor Corina Tarnita, an associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton. Loner humans are widespread. “We call them misfits or geniuses, contrarians or visionaries, very much depending on how the rest of the society feels about their behavior.”

But until now, evolutionary biologists have struggled to determine whether loners are random or part of a survival strategy, because studying unpredictable outliers is difficult. So the researchers identified loner amoebas in a slime mold—the ones that, in times of starvation, fail to coalesce with other amoebae into blobs that eventually attach onto passing insects. They found the loners are likely to survive if food returns, and also likely to survive various amoeba blob misfortunes and ailments. Collective action, after all, carries the risk of collective failure.

They also discovered that the loners are not at all random: The ones that hang back have heritable loner behavior, and that their numbers flatline as the amoeba population grows. This means that individual loners exist as functions of their environment and communication with other amoebae—and they can produce social offspring, depending on conditions. (You know this: Witness the super popular girl whose parents are oddballs.)

The researchers write that loners are “critical to understanding collective and social behaviors” across the animal kingdom. So there you have it. Carry on, loners. You’re winning evolution.

advertisement
advertisement
advertisement
advertisement

Amazon’s Alexa can now tell you your COVID-19 risk level

Amazon’s Alexa can now tell you your COVID-19 risk level
[Photo: Rahul Chakraborty/Unsplash]

Amazon has announced that it has added features to its Alexa voice assistant that can help users determine their risk level for having contracted the COVID-19 coronavirus. As of now all Alexa users in the United States can ask Alexa questions like, “Alexa, what do I do if I think I have COVID-19?” or “Alexa, what do I do if I think I have coronavirus?” upon which Alexa will begin triaging them.

Once one of the above questions is asked, Alexa will ask the user about their symptoms, travel history, and any possible exposure they may have had to someone infected with the disease. Depending upon the user’s response, Alexa will offer the user guidance that comes directly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about what they should do next.

Another cool feature added to Alexa is the ability to ask the personal assistant to sing a song for 20 seconds while you wash your hands. Twenty seconds is the minimum washing time with soap and water people need to perform on their hands in order to destroy traces of the virus they may have picked up.

Users can take advantage of Alexa’s new COVID-19 features on any device Alexa runs on, including smartphones, tablets, Kindles, and more. It should also be noted that Amazon isn’t the first to empower its voice assistant to offer CDC COVID-19 information. Earlier this week Apple pushed an update out to Siri that allows users to ask, “Hey Siri, do I have the coronavirus?” and get advice based on CDC information.

advertisement
advertisement

An official World Health Organization COVID-19 app is coming soon

An official World Health Organization COVID-19 app is coming soon
[Photo: Neil Soni/Unsplash]

One of the most dangerous things about the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is the misinformation spreading about it. While tech giants such as Apple, Facebook, Google, and Twitter have taken steps to stem COVID-19 misinformation on their platforms, it’s still incredibly easy to stumble upon misleading or incorrect information about the disease while we’re thumbing away at our smartphones trying to pass the time in self-isolation.

But the World Health Organization will soon be launching an app that makes finding factual and up-to-date information about COVID-19 a breeze, reports 9to5Google. The app will reportedly be called WHO MyHealth and is scheduled to be released for iOS and Android as early as Monday, March 30.

What interesting about the app is it’s being built by an open-source collective of individuals made up of former Microsoft and Google employees and WHO advisors. Matter of fact, due to its open-source nature, anyone who wants to can get an immediate preview of the app by downloading the latest build over at GitHub.

When the app launches next Monday, it’s expected to be a hub of information about how to protect yourself from the virus as well as offering travel advice and calling out misinformation that’s readily floating around about COVID-19. However, the app is expected to add more features over time, including the ability to receive location-specific notifications and self-triaging tools to help a person understand whether they may have the disease.

Further down the line, the app makers are envisioning WHO MyHealth to be capable of what’s known as “contract tracing.” This is a technique that uses smartphone data to track individuals and alert them to whether they have been in a location that’s a COVID-19 hotspot or in direct contact with someone who has become infected with COVID-19.

advertisement
advertisement

Applying for a small business disaster loan? What to know about the COVID-19 stimulus package

Applying for a small business disaster loan? What to know about the COVID-19 stimulus package
[Photo: Clem Onojeghuo/Unsplash]

On Wednesday, the Senate passed a historic $2 trillion economic stimulus package. Never has so much money been plucked from the coffers of the Fed and pumped into the veins of the American free market. And while big businesses are seeing a lot of the big bucks, many are wondering, what’s in it for the little guys?

advertisement

Federal funds are vital for small businesses, which were—and will continue to be—hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Most already operated with razor-thin margins, so the COVID-19 economic disruption has plunged them deep underwater.

The stimulus bill’s primary item for small business aid is a $349 billion loan program: Under this “Paycheck Protection Program,” the Small Business Administration will distribute $349 billion to entities that apply and are approved.

If you’re looking to take part, here’s what you need to know:

  • Who can apply? Businesses and nonprofits with 500 or fewer employees are generally eligible for the loans. But the loans aren’t restricted to companies: Self-employed workers and gig workers, such as drivers for ride-share apps, also qualify. Qualified borrowers must have been in business before February 15, and must have paid employee salaries and payroll taxes or contractors.
  • How much? Businesses can receive loans up to $10 million at up to 4% interest rates, depending on how much they paid their employees between January 1 and February 29.
  • Who’s handling this? Loans will be provided through banks, credit unions, and other lenders, and will be guaranteed by the Small Business Administration. Loan applications should be submitted through lenders who are partnered with the Small Business Administration.
  • How long with it take? The loan process could become a same-day process as early as next week, in which case loans would be signed and disbursed within 24 hours.
  • What’s the catch? The program is called “Paycheck Protection Program” because it’s meant to ensure that businesses have the funds to pay their employees and to prevent layoffs. Loans offered through the program are forgivable, if used for their intended purpose: As long as a business receiving a loan maintains the average size of its workforce, it will only need to pay back the interest accrued, and the principal will effectively become a grant.

With the stimulus package having passed the Senate, the House is expected to vote on it tomorrow.

Update: Thursday, 4:30 p.m. ET:

The Main Street Alliance, a network of small business coalitions, released a statement, calling the stimulus package “a start on which we can improve,” and urging Congress to get started on the next one. “Small businesses simply will not take out loans to cover payroll with no revenue coming in, putting these loans at risk of not being eligible for forgiveness,” the group said. (Read the full statement here.)

advertisement
advertisement
advertisement
advertisement

All the ways to get free therapy during the coronavirus pandemic

All the ways to get free therapy during the coronavirus pandemic
[Photo: rawpixel]

Homebound? Anxious? On edge? Us too. This is a great week to discover that online therapy is just as excellent as the in-person variety. Here are free appointments you can make right now:

advertisement
advertisement

Walmart is waiving April rent costs for hair salons, eye doctors, and other in-store businesses

Walmart is waiving April rent costs for hair salons, eye doctors, and other in-store businesses
[Photo: Flickr user Mike Mozart]

Walmart will offer rent relief to its in-store business partners housed within Walmart Supercenters and Sam’s Clubs in response to COVID-19, the retail giant said Wednesday.

The company will waive rent for the month of April for more than 10,000 businesses operating within its properties—including hair and nail salons, optometrists, veterinary clinics, local and regional banks, and food franchises—and will “continue to monitor the need for additional support past April,” it said.

Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, has seen a boom in sales during the coronavirus pandemic as people stockpile groceries, hand sanitizer, and cleaning products. And while the megachain has thrived, it’s also taking steps to help its 1.3 million employees and 18,000 suppliers—two-thirds of which are small- to medium-sized businesses. Last week the company announced $550 million in bonuses for hourly workers, and this week it announced changes to its supply-chain financing program, which will speed up payments to suppliers.

But Walmart’s move comes at a time when many retail and restaurant chains themselves are struggling to make rent: Mattress Firm, Subway, and the Cheesecake Factory recently sent letters to their landlords stating that they would be unable to make rent payments due to conditions caused by the coronavirus. The chains join a chorus of commercial tenants calling for rent reductions or suspensions, but with many landlords on the brink of mortgage defaults, negotiations will likely get messy.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic: The U.K. just imposed a three-month “rent holiday,” during which landlords would be banned from evicting commercial tenants, after a number of businesses there threatened to withhold rents.

advertisement
advertisement

Crocs, Allbirds, and Clove are giving free shoes to healthcare workers during the COVID-19 crisis

Crocs, Allbirds, and Clove are giving free shoes to healthcare workers during the COVID-19 crisis
[Photo: courtesy of Allbirds]

The next few months are going to be difficult for doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers around the country who have been summoned to care for the people infected with the coronavirus. Around the world, there is a shortage of personal protective gear that will keep these workers safe as they care for patients in COVID-19 wards. While companies are scrambling to create masks and gowns, several shoe brands are donating shoes to medical professionals so they can stay comfortable as they spend long days on their feet. But demand for these shoes has been so high that many of these brands are having to place caps on the number of shoes they give away.

This week, Crocs announced that it will give away a free pair of clogs—either a Crocs at Work or Classic Crocs style—along with free shipping to medical professionals who can request a pair on the brand’s website. The company says it is prepared to donate 10,000 shoes a day through requests on its website, and also send 100,000 pairs to healthcare institutions around the country that have described a need for footwear. On Wednesday, Crocs hit its daily free pair limit. It is asking medical workers to come back at noon every day to get in line for their free pair.

Last week, Allbirds announced on Instagram that it would be donating free Wool Runners—its best known style—to healthcare workers. Anybody interested simply had to send an email to the company with their credentials and mailing address. In four days, the company donated $500,000 worth of shoes, which is about 5,000 pairs, exhausting the supply of shoes the brand had devoted to this cause.

There is a long wait-list of healthcare workers who have requested shoes, so starting March 24, Allbirds has pivoted to a “buy-one-give-one” model. Customers can bundle a shoe purchase with a donation that will split the cost of delivering a pair of shoes to someone on the list.

Clove, a brand new startup that makes shoes specifically for healthcare workers, has also started donating shoes to those on the front lines. The brand has been surprising teams of healthcare workers with free shoes in their size. Last Thursday, for instance, Clove showed up at the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia at 8 a.m., right before doctors, nurses, and nurse practitioners were about to start testing patients. The company is going to donate 200 shoes and more than 1,000 compression socks during this crisis.

View this post on Instagram

This is what the frontlines of healthcare looks like. Thank you @jeffersonhealth for letting us coordinate with the Covid task force team leader @jeffsall in surprising his team of nurses with Cloves as they got ready for their shift. Last night, we took stock of all inventory in our office around the corner so we could gift them right before they started testing patients this morning at 8. Cloves are easy to wipe down (with the same disinfectant wipes they use on the job), which is so important now more than ever. Our goal was to keep these healthcare pros protected (and comfortable) for their long shifts ahead. ⁣ ⁣ This is just the first step. Watch our stories to see how the morning unfolded.????????????

A post shared by Clove (@goclove) on

advertisement
advertisement

Eye-popping 3.3 million new unemployment claims: These states were hardest hit

Eye-popping 3.3 million new unemployment claims: These states were hardest hit
[Photo: John Minchillo/AP/Shutterstock]

Remember when, last week, the Trump administration asked states to stay hush-hush about how many people were applying for unemployment? Those numbers are now public: Nearly 3.3 million Americans filed new unemployment claims last week, meaning that more than 5 million Americans will soon be receiving unemployment benefits as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the economy. In graphics, the chart looks like this:

Many of those newly jobless applicants came from:

  • Pennsylvania, 378,908
  • Ohio, 187,784
  • Texas, 155,657
  • California, 186,809
  • New Jersey, 155,454
  • Massachusetts, 147,995
  • Washington, 133,478

States including Alabama, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Arkansas, Hawaii, Mississippi, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia remain less affected by COVID-19, with under 10,000 new applicants each. New York logged 80,334 new claims.

[Image: courtesy of U.S. Department of Labor]
The previous week, 281,000 Americans applied for new unemployment, a 33% jump, which at the time was considered notable. In U.S. Department of Labor-speak, the 3.3 million figure “marks the highest level of seasonally adjusted initial claims in the history of the seasonally adjusted series.” (Unemployment figures are adjusted to account for predictable variations, such as holidays and school closures.)

The 3.3 million new claims shatter the previous record from 1982 by a factor of about four and is a third higher than Goldman Sachs’s estimate six days ago, which at the time was greeted with eyebrows in hairlines. The new claims will more than double the total number of Americans receiving unemployment benefits, which was at just over 2 million three weeks ago.

Significant business destruction has continued this week as many Americans received shelter-in-place orders, and analysts expect this week’s new jobless rate to be equally catastrophic. Approximately 17 million Americans were previously employed by the leisure and hospitality sectors.

advertisement
advertisement

How to watch ‘Star Trek: Picard’ on CBS All Access for free during the coronavirus lockdown

How to watch ‘Star Trek: Picard’ on CBS All Access for free during the coronavirus lockdown
[Photo: Aaron Epstein/CBS]

If you’re looking for some new content to get you through another day of self-isolation, we’ve got some good news for you. CBS All Access is letting anyone watch the entire series of Star Trek: Picard between now and April 23 for free—even if you’re not a CBS All Access subscriber. None other than Sir Patrick Stewart made the announcement on his Instagram page.

The offer is available to anyone in the United States. Those who want to take part in it will still need to sign up for a CBS All Access account, which is free. However, if users enter the promo code “GIFT” during the sign-up process, they’ll get access to Star Trek: Picard without having to subscribe to the service.

Star Trek: Picard premiered earlier this year and has received positive fan and critical praise. The show follows the adventures of the best Star Trek captain (yeah, I said it) as he comes out of retirement to solve the mystery of a galaxy-wide threat.

Currently 9 of the 10 episodes of Picard season one have aired, with the season finale airing today. Now that you can watch the entire series for free, we can’t think of a better reason to travel to the stars while stuck in your house.

advertisement
advertisement
advertisement
advertisement

Coronavirus stimulus checks: What we know so far

Coronavirus stimulus checks: What we know so far
[Photo: cherrybeans/iStock]

Lawmakers in the U.S. have promised (but not yet delivered) a monumental $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package that’s expected to include $250 billion for direct payments to Americans. You may already be wondering: “Where’s my damn check?”

Crucially, the Senate and House have yet to vote on the bill, and it could wind up further revised and delayed. That’s why you should not bank on swift monetary relief from the Feds. Bearing that in mind, here’s what we know about the proposed stimulus checks so far.

  • Who’s eligible: If you make $99,000 per year or less (for couples: double it), you’ll qualify for something, CNN reports. The checks will be cut based on what the IRS has on file for you for 2019—or if you have yet to file, 2018. Retired seniors and college students not claimed as dependents should qualify, according to CNN.
  • How much: $1,200 for each adult earning $75,000 or less per year (for couples: double it), plus $500 per child in your household. Adults earning more than $75,000 per year but less than $99,000 can expect a partial payout, according to CNN.
  • When: If the IRS has your direct-deposit information, you could get it “within a few weeks of the bill being signed into law,” The New York Times reports, citing “Senate Democratic aides.” Otherwise, you could wait “up to four months” for a check in the mail, those aids reportedly said.
advertisement
advertisement

Spotify’s COVID-19 relief project promises up to $10 million for music industry workers in need

Spotify’s COVID-19 relief project promises up to $10 million for music industry workers in need
[Photos: Marat Musabirov/iStock; tarasov_vl/iStock]

Spotify announced today that it will match up to $10 million in donations to support artists and other workers in the music industry hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

With countless tours and festivals canceled, the streaming service says it’s working with three funds to start: the Recording Academy’s nonprofit MusiCares and U.K.-based charities Help Musicians and the PRS Foundation. Spotify pledged to match donations made through its COVID-19 Music Relief page “dollar for dollar up to a collective total of $10 million.”

Spotify says it’s also donating separately to the above groups, but when Fast Company reached out, the company declined to say how much it’s giving beyond the $10 million pledge. Spotify additionally teased an unreleased feature that will “enable artists to fundraise directly from fans.”

Along with Spotify, Billboard reports that YouTube Music, Amazon Music, SiriusXM (which owns Pandora), Tidal, and Facebook have also donated to the Recording Academy’s COVID-19 Relief Fund. And last Friday, Bandcamp waived the fees it normally collects from transactions and called on users to support artists through the service.

Meanwhile, Netflix announced a $100 million fund “to help with hardship in the creative community.” However, the company said the funds will primarily be used to help “workers on our own productions around the world.”

advertisement
advertisement

Here’s how many jobs each state could lose due to COVID-19

Here’s how many jobs each state could lose due to COVID-19
[Photo: Craig Whitehead/Unsplash]

Coronavirus-related job losses are already piling up, and now a new prediction from the Economic Policy Institute says 14 million jobs could be cut by the summer—even with $1 trillion in fiscal stimulus.

advertisement

The EPI published a map Wednesday showing how the estimated 14 million losses will likely be distributed between the 50 states:

In absolute terms: California and Texas are projected to lose the greatest number of jobs, with California losing 1,609,975 and Texas losing 1,180,580.

In relative terms: Nevada is projected to lose the greatest percentage of its private-sector workforce, with 14.2%, or 177,749 people, out of work. This is probably because leisure, hospitality, and retail—the industries hit hardest by coronavirus—account for 40.2% of the state’s private-sector employment, which is the greatest percentage among all 50 states.

These map projections are based heavily on states’ relative shares of leisure, hospitality, and retail jobs, the EPI explains. But the group also proffered a spreadsheet with states’ relative shares of natural resources, mining, and manufacturing jobs, so you can make your own projections by assigning weight to alternate at-risk industries. (Note: This requires math.)

While the EPI’s prediction includes $1 trillion in fiscal stimulus, the group estimates that we’ll need at least $2.1 trillion to “restore the country to a reasonable economic health.” The Senate is set to vote on a $2 trillion stimulus package later today; it’s unclear how the bill’s passing might impact job loss projections.

advertisement
advertisement

Handshakes and hugs are the new taboo for advertisers thanks to the coronavirus

Handshakes and hugs are the new taboo for advertisers thanks to the coronavirus
[Photo: Toa Heftiba/Unsplash]

In 1982, “Hugs not Drugs” was coined in a sweeping campaign to curb youth drug addiction.

advertisement

But today, hugs are the new drugs.

It’s coronavirus times and “close contact causes angst now,” said Roger Camp, chief creative officer of Havas Worldwide subsidiary Camp + King, according to a new report by research firm Morning Consult. “It could become like seeing someone smoking a cigarette in an ad.”

On Tuesday, Morning Consult released the results of a March 20-22 poll on “How Human Interaction in Ads Affects Purchasing Consideration.” The findings were either disheartening if you care for human affection, or very heartening if you value life-saving in the form of social distancing.

Fifty-five percent of the poll’s respondents said “People Hugging” would be inappropriate in an ad, and 58% said they would be less likely to purchase the product or service responsible for the ad. Fifty-seven percent said “People Shaking Hands” was inappropriate, and 57% said if it were shown in an ad, they’d be less likely to purchase the product.

[Morning Consult]
Thirty-three percent said “People Standing Less Than 6 Feet Apart” was inappropriate, and 47% would be less likely to make a purchase because of that.

This new public wind has dramatic repercussions for advertisers. Camp, whose clients include Papa John’s, Old Navy, and the Sacramento Kings, told Morning Consult his team has tossed all scenes that show hands—including gloved hands.

“There were so many red flags thrown up just by showing that glove,” he said.

Alcohol brands are also scrambling to figure out how to market their goods without putting them in social settings. Surprise: Vodka shots alone on the couch won’t push product, they say.

Some companies have been forced to pull ads after backlash over too much human interaction, such as Geico, whose commercial broke social distancing protocol by featuring multiple high-fives:

“Geico doesn’t care,” said a Twitter critic.

Hershey’s also pulled an ad from its “Heartwarming the World” series, which featured a 94-year-old man distributing Hershey bars to children by hand, and hugging another person, AdAge noted.

And Axe pulled a spot titled “Don’t Overthink It” that showed a man imagining his smelly armpits causing a crowded basketball arena to disperse in fear as oxygen masks drop from the ceiling, which seems to hit far too close to home.

advertisement
advertisement

16076 Stories