đź’Ą Fireworks – August 31 2020



Happy Last Day of August. Let’s see if September has some more good news to offer.

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In Case You Missed It. Lady Gaga dominated the MTV Video Awards last night with a remarkable collection of masks. Before her speech she asked everyone to “mask up”. And she led by example donning everything from horns to a mask that lit up with each note she sang. She wins the night.

Coronavirus Update: Total confirmed U.S. cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,997,163 â€” Total deaths: 183,069 â€” Total recoveries: 2,153,539

College reopening plans are crumbling across the country.

  • The University of Alabama has had the worst outbreaks, with 1,200 students now testing positive and 600 in just one week.
  • UNC Chapel Hill sent students home after discovering outbreaks linked to parties at dorms and frats.
  • Notre Dame moved students to remote learning after its own outbreaks.

In Today’s Newsletter:

  • Job losses continue to climb
  • Unemployment = uninsured
  • The vaccine as a political football


Program Rate Change APR Change
30 year 3.22%  0.11% 3.29% 0.11%
15 year 2.75% 0.01% 2.91% 0.03%

The Lead: Can We Trust The Vaccine?

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We all want a COVID vaccine to end this pandemic, but we don’t want it so quickly that we all grow a 2nd head due to a rushed product. Amiright!?

Physicians and experts have expressed concern that the FDA will rush out a vaccine due to political and economic pressure and ask that an independent commission review the vaccine trial data before anything is pushed to market.

Low confidence

The FDA is a federal agency, and let’s say that confidence in federal agencies is not at an all-time high these days. The physicians calling for this independent counsel are not anti-vaxxers, opposed to all vaccines. They’re just skeptical about this one, where the FDA has pushed trials through to Phase 3 faster than the typical trial time for other vaccines.

The FDA has said that they are taking extra precautions to ensure any vaccine that comes to market is safe and committed to using an advisory committee of independent experts. Still, a CNN poll showed that 40% of Americans do not want to volunteer for the first round of COVID vaccines.

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Our House is Very, Very, Large House 

credit: Houston chronicle 

Sales of large homes is up 21% this year, according to Redfin. It seems if you’re going to be stuck working from home surrounded by your family, you’d want more space to seek out some precious peace and quiet!

Redfin defines large homes as those between 3,000 and 5,000 square feet. The 21% increase in sales from July 2020 and July 2019 was compared to the increase in sales of medium sized homes, which was only 10%, and small homes, which was 2.3%.

The Burbs

Obviously these sales increases are concentrated in the suburbs where space is less of an issue than a crowded city.

This trend looks to continue. The average size of home sold in August was 1,772 square feet, 3.7% larger than the average size at this time last year. All this space seems like a great idea, until you realize that it is also more space to clean!

News By The Numbers

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0%. The polls are in and 0% is the percentage positive bounce President Trump received from all the fireworks and speeches at The Republican National Convention last week. Trump’s week of celebration did not improve his favorability, even among his own base, and the country still remains widely critical of his handling of the major crisis of his presidency: COVID-19.

7 million. That is the number of times Fall Guys was downloaded since its launch, making it the most downloaded PlayStation Plus game of all time. The game is free and comes from UK developer Mediatonic.

5 hours. That is the amount of time a plain old red building brick could provide energy to a home. Researchers have converted a red brick into a “supercapacitor” of energy by using the porous structure of the brick into a conductor of energy. In a trial, a piece of brick was charged to 3 seconds and lit an LED light for 10 minutes.

1 million. That is the number of Americans who filed for unemployment last week as the pandemic keeps on keeping on. That number had briefly dipped below 1 million in August but it’s back again, according to the Labor Department.

Economy: Climbing To The Peak of Mount Job Loss

giphy.gif credit: executive digest

This week’s big companies to announce job losses include MGM Resorts International and Coca-Cola Co. This brings the total to roughly 200,000 people just in the last few days alone.

Coca-Cola is offering “early departures” to approximately 4,000 workers. MGM, which owns casinos in Las Vegas and New York, is laying off 18,000. Estee Lauder is having to reduce staff by 3%, Bed Bath & Beyond is having to lay off 2,800 people. Victoria’s Secret owner L Brands Inc will cut 15% of its workforce, or 850 jobs. It’s a similar story for so many consumer-facing brands. Goldman Sachs estimates that almost a quarter of US workers that were temporarily laid off won’t come back.

We wish it was better news for you this Monday morning.

Unemployment = Uninsured

Many of those who have lost their jobs during the pandemic have lost their medical insurance that went along with it. New research shows that as many as 12 million Americans may have lost their health insurance at a time when we need it the most.

Approximately 6 million people have lost jobs since the spring. Many of those people had employee-sponsored health coverage for themselves and their families. The report shows that public health services are expanding, but not fast enough to absorb the new number of people who need it. The report calls for “expanded public role” in health care that would help with our current emergency needs but also “function more efficiently during normal times.”

Latte With One Shot of Time Off to Vote

credit: Pinterest 

Walmart and Starbucks have announced that they will give employees time off to go vote this November for the national election. Both are asking employees to work with their managers to schedule time to get to the polls.

Apple is allowing employees four hours to cast their vote, hoping that is plenty of time to battle poll lines. Coca-Cola, Twitter, Cisco, and Uber are allowing employees the entire day off. Ford, General Motors, and FiatChyrsler have actually always done that.


The government has not shown interest in making Election Day a federal holiday to insure time off for participation so companies are taking things into their own hands. ElectionDay.org, a nonpartisan group run by Vote.org, is asking companies to pledge to give employees time off to vote and distribute voting information. Six hundred companies have already agreed including Lyft, Airbnb, and Paramount.

Hawaiian Punch

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Hawaii lost control of the coronavirus in a matter of weeks.

Just two months ago, the 50th state was a shining example. The island state had the fewest cases per capita in the country at less than two dozen per day. People were fawning over Democratic Gov. David Ige’s response. He was praised for acting early to close Hawaii’s borders and impose strict quarantines. Not easy for a state that relies heavily on tourism.

Long time ago…

But that was two months ago. Now Hawaii faces a ten-fold surge in coronavirus infections and hospitalizations over the last month. New shutdowns are underway, and officials are scrambling to place public health measures that they failed to do before reopening.

Health officials say the failure to build up for reopening and growing public complacency around social distancing measures allowed the outbreak to spiral out of control.

Now they get to try again.

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