Elon Musk’s Covid conundrum: Elon Musk, the SpaceX chief executive, has tested positive twice, and negative twice, for the coronavirus after taking four rapid virus tests, he revealed in a disgruntled tweet early Friday morning. The announcement came just days before his company’s much-anticipated launch of a Crew Dragon capsule that will carry four astronauts to the International Space Station. Read more here.
Let’s look at the global statistics:
Total Confirmed Cases: 53,385,255
Change Over Yesterday: 651,965
Total Deaths: 1,302,841
Total Recovered: 34,460,573
Nations hit with most cases: US (10,739,614), India (8,773,479), Brazil (5,810,652), France (1,915,677) and Russia (1,865,395)
US Covid-related deaths were close to a five-month high on Friday: The country added 2,238 new deaths Friday, the highest in almost five months. The seven-day average for fatalities in America was 1,052 on Thursday, close to the highest since mid-August. A consensus of models tracked by the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Reich Lab shows the daily pace poised to increase by about 200 by early December. Read more here.
Covid wave in Europe cresting: Over the past week the number of new cases has plateaued or begun to ease in the U.K., Germany and France. Harder-hit small countries such as Belgium, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic have posted big declines in daily infection rates. Belgium’s seven-day average of about 5,200 new cases, for example, was down from peak levels of more than 20,000 a day less than two weeks ago. Read more here.
Israel to buy enough of Pfizer’s vaccine to inoculate 4 million people: Israel has contracted to buy enough of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine to inoculate 4 million of its citizens, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, calling it “a great day on the way to our victory over the coronavirus.” The agreement is to supply 8 million doses of the two-dose vaccine to Israel beginning in January. Read more here.
At least 30 US Secret Service officers test positive: At least 30 uniformed Secret Service officers have tested positive in recent weeks for the virus, and about 60 have been asked by the agency to quarantine. It was unclear how the officers contracted the virus. Many traveled to campaign events for both candidates in the final weeks of the campaign. Read more here.
WFH is old news. The “near home” office is the next big thing: Those who find WFH too stifling might see the appeal of a satellite office in their nearest town, and it might be appropriate in countries where StanChart has big support functions such as Poland, Malaysia, China and India. Rather than commute into a big city, workers get the option of recreating the community aspects of office life closer to home. It would also help address technology deficiencies in some places. For example, some banks halted operations in India at the onset of the pandemic because employees lacked basic tools for remote working, including laptops. But the organizational challenges of managing all of these new locations cannot be underestimated. Will it work as well for frontline bankers as for back-office staff? And there’s no mention yet of the impact on cost. Read more here.
Covid long haulers describe the devastating aftereffects of the disease: Researchers are collecting patient data to determine the duration and depth of the health consequences. Meantime, post–Covid-19 clinics are opening to cater to an expanding population of so-called long haulers (survivors left with scarred lungs, chronic heart damage, post-viral fatigue, and other persistent, debilitating conditions), a sign that enduring disability will perhaps weigh on health systems and the labor force long after a vaccine becomes widely available. The phenomenon of what’s known as “long Covid” isn’t unique; post-viral syndromes occur after many infections, including with the common cold, influenza, and Epstein-Barr. Read more here.