Good morning. It's Monday, June 29, and coronavirus cases are continuing to surge, Facebook is battling an ad boycott, and Mississippi is set for a flag change. Have feedback? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The US passed 2.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases over the weekend, with almost 126,000 deaths. The figure equals roughly one-quarter of the world's total reported cases—which now exceed 10 million, with 500,000 deaths—despite the US accounting for under 5% of the global population. The seven-day moving average for new daily cases in the US is more than 36,000, roughly 5,000 higher than the previous April peak (explore data).
The virus continues to accelerate in states like Arizona, Texas, Florida, and elsewhere. Both Florida and Texas reversed reopening plans, limiting capacity and service at bars and restaurants. California closed bars in Los Angeles and across the Central Valley. Vice President Mike Pence canceled public campaign events scheduled for this week in Arizona and Florida. See states with the largest increase in cases and deaths over the past week here.
Despite the spike in new cases, death rates have thus remained much lower than in April. Public health experts say this may be a combination of the lag between new cases and severe symptom onset, an undercount of existing cases in April, and an increasing infection rate in young people. Some estimates report patients under 35—less likely to fall seriously ill, but more likely to drive asymptomatic spread—account for half of new cases in recent weeks.
Here's a look at the risk factors for severe COVID-19 symptoms.
Facebook Ad Boycott
An advertiser boycott against Facebook snowballed over the weekend as Unilever, Coca-Cola, Honda, and others said they would suspend spending over claims the platform too loosely regulates hate speech and misinformation. Many advertisers have complained their ads often appear next to questionable paid content, and more than 130 companies will pause ads through at least July (see list).
Direct revenue loss may be minimal—the company's nearly $70B in ad revenue is spread across millions of ad buyers—but Facebook's stock fell 8.3% Friday, erasing more than $56B in market value. Organizers have said they are not focused on financial impact, but rather forcing the company to change its content moderation policies. Company officials said they set policy independent of revenue dollars, though CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company would do more to tamp down on hateful content in a virtual town hall Friday.
One experiment showed how easily misinformation slips through Facebook's review process.
Flag Change in Mississippi
Mississippi lawmakers voted yesterday to initiate a process to remove a Confederate emblem from the state flag. The bill, expected to be signed by Gov. Tate Reeves (R), would create a committee to submit a new design for approval by November. Critics had pushed for a change for years, but recent nationwide protests over racial justice—and the state's college athletics
programs—accelerated the decision.
The current design, adopted in 1894, features a version of the Confederate battle flag in the upper left corner; its inclusion was said to honor fallen Confederate soldiers. Mississippi is the only remaining state to include the symbol in its flag. Many have noted a change is particularly warranted given Mississippi has the country's largest percentage of Black residents, at almost 38%. See the Stennis flag, one of the leading contenders to replace the banner.
Separately, Princeton University will drop former President Woodrow Wilson's name from its school of public policy.
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BONE BROTH FOR BETTER LIVING
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>Former NFL MVPCam Newton signs one-year deal with New England Patriots, will compete for starting quarterback job left vacant by Tom Brady(More)
>Milton Glaser, New York Magazine cofounder and creator of iconic “I (Heart) NY” logo, dies at 91 (More) | “The Graduate” author Charles Webb dies at 81 (More)
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Science & Technology
>Dolphins learn new methods to hunt prey and search for food from their peers, not just their mothers, study finds (More)
>Theorists calculate a new upper limit for the quantization of a unit of time, at 10^-33 seconds; Einstein's general relativity says time should be continuous, while quantum mechanics says it should be discrete
>DNA analysis on a 9,500-year-old Siberian dog suggests sledge dogs evolved much earlier than previously thought; study impacts the timeline for when and how Arctic settlers adapted to the environment (More)
Business & Markets
>US stock markets down Friday (S&P 500 -2.4%, Dow -2.8%, Nasdaq -2.6%) as pandemic cases grow (More) | Shares of grocer Albertsons trade down 3% in first day as public company after pricing IPO below target range (More)
>Apparel retailer Gap shares surge 42% after announcing partnership with Kanye West to develop “Yeezy Gap” line (More) | Fracking pioneer Chesapeake Energy files for
Chapter 11 bankruptcy amid pandemic-induced decline in energy prices (More)
Politics & World Affairs
>One dead after a gunman opens fire outside a Louisville protest zone; suspect had reportedly been part of protests but was asked to leave after causing a disruption (More) | President Trump draws backlash after sharing, then deleting, a video that includes a Florida senior yelling "white power"; aides say he never saw the comment (More)
>Russian intelligence units reportedly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing US and foreign soldiers in Afghanistan (More)
>Saharan dust cloud reaches the Southeastern US, with health warnings issued for those with
respiratory ailments; Gulf states expected to be hit later in the week (More) | See photos (More)
WHOLE INGREDIENTS, NO BS
Too many health problems boil down to bad food. Many of the "foods" that are convenient and available to us are pumped full of addictive sugars and artificial ingredients—with zero nutritional value.
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Historybook: Original Globe Theatre burns to the ground (1613); HBD Kawhi Leonard (1991); US Space Shuttle docks with Russian space station for first time (1995); RIP Hollywood legend Katharine Hepburn (2003); Apple releases first iPhone (2007).
"Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get—only with what you are expecting to give."
- Katharine Hepburn
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