‘For much of this year, if not longer, testing will be essential’

Vaccine distribution is underway, but states and cities across the nation will have to remain vigilant about testing its residents on a daily basis to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus during the cold winter months. According to the Harvard Global Health Institute, states like Minnesota will have to process 17,500 tests each day to slow the spread and 63,500 daily tests to fully suppress the virus. To reach these numbers, the state has organized an ambitious yet effective pandemic task force, drawing expertise from its renowned public health systems as well as forging partnerships with health tech startups that have a strong consumer focus. …


A strategy from “Black Wall Street” may hold the key to saving struggling Main Street businesses today argues author Douglas Rushkoff. The Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was a thriving Black community during the early 1900s before being razed to the ground by a white mob that killed as many as 300 people on May 31, 1921. Greenwood pioneered circular economics, a vehicle for “locally grounded, mutually supportive, sustainable business networks,” where Black businesses would invest in each other through cooperatives, as Rushkoff writes in GEN. …


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Ling Jin / Getty Images

The $99 billion pet-retail economy is booming, thanks to a surge in pandemic puppies and kittens: Chewy’s shares have more than doubled since the start of the year, Petco rebranded itself as a health and wellness company ahead of its IPO, and dog-supplies startup, BarkBox, recently announced it would go public in a $1.6 billion deal.

As Minyoung Lee wrote in The Bold Italic, the majority of America’s pet parents are millennials who find comfort and stability in their “fur children” after experiencing a series of economic setbacks. “We own less than 5% of the country’s wealth, starting our adult lives in the deep shadows of the 2008 housing crisis, working through the rise of the gig economy and stagnant wages,” Lee writes. …


A global network of Santas and Mrs. Clauses are reconfiguring how to entertain children via Zoom this holiday season, but it turns out there are silver linings. Families can bypass…


With fewer hours of daylight and countless workers on the brink of mental exhaustion, writer Maya Kosoff argues that it only makes sense to take winter Fridays off. Earlier this spring, Marker made a similar recommendation for corporate America to use this year’s remote work upheaval to adopt a four-day workweek and cancel Fridays. Without daily commutes and other distractions, most workers have gained a couple of hours back into their workday, which has led to increased productivity as well as burnout. “Why not try it?” Kosoff asks. “We have nothing to lose, aside from our futile attempts to force our two remaining brain cells to function from 4 to 6 p.m. …


Experts are concerned about whether U.S. health officials have prepurchased enough doses and additional vaccine supplies — as an insurance policy against manufacturing issues or scientific delays — to cover the entire population. A Bloomberg analysis of more than 80 country agreements with vaccine makers reveals that the United States ranks behind 31 other countries, per capita, in its allocations to reserve Covid-19 vaccines that are still in development. “[W]hile the U.S. locked up a deal with Pfizer to buy 100 million doses of vaccine for its population of about 330 million, the EU pre-bought 200 million doses for its about 450 million people,” Bloomberg reports. “The Moderna shot is the only one for which the U.S. has made a bigger allotment, with 100 million doses versus the EU’s 80 million. Together with the Pfizer shot, it’s enough for the U.S. …


How the pandemic is mobilizing the next generation of service-minded doctors

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Photo: Kristine Wook via Unsplash

Inspired by the example set by community physicians and public health advocates working tirelessly on the front lines of the Covid-19 crisis, many medical schools across the country are reporting a noticeable influx of applications: Stanford University School of Medicine saw a steep 50% spike in applications from last year; the University of Washington School of Medicine reported a 26% increase in applicants across its six campuses, and Tulane University School of Medicine rose 35% compared to last year.

As NPR reported earlier this week, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) said that the overall number of medical school applications is at an all-time high and is up 18% from last year. For context, over the past decade, the year-over-year increase in applications is typically less than 3%, according to AAMC data. The uptick in applications has led some medical school admissions officers to dub the phenomenon the “Fauci effect.” It’s a deferential nod to Dr. Anthony Fauci, MD, longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), who has emerged as the public face of the coronavirus response and is considered to be one of the most trusted and effective, nonpartisan public health communicators. …


Earlier this summer as the class of 2020 IPOs took off in a frenzy, Marker made the case for why the Day One IPO pop is highly overrated. Whereas a large day one pop fuels excitement and buzz, a lackluster spike or dip in the stock price is interpreted as anticlimactic and may harm a company’s external reputation. Venture capitalist Hunter Walk summarizes the dilemma aptly with companies facing a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t outcome of headlines” and offers a more nuanced approach to assessing companies as they go public, ahead of Airbnb and DoorDash’s long-awaited IPOs this week. …


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Illustration: Alex Kiesling

Gyms, long heralded as the “final frontier of the IRL economy,” were among the first businesses to shut down due to the pandemic, wrote Natalia Mehlman Petrzela in Marker. Now, with a third surge of Covid-19 infections, the survival of the brick-and-mortar fitness industry hangs in the balance, despite trying everything from outdoor classes to plexiglass-encased treadmills.

According to the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association, roughly 1 in 4 of the nation’s 40,000 to 50,000 gyms will close their doors for good — “a sobering and sudden reversal of decades of uninterrupted, inevitable growth in brick-and-mortar fitness, valued at more than $30 billion earlier this year.” …


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Photo Illustration: Dora Godfrey | Photos: Drew Anthony Smith

Not even $3.6 billion worth of committed capital will keep top VCs in Silicon Valley anymore. Founding partner of 8VC, co-founder of Palantir, and lifelong Californian Joe Lonsdale wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal explaining his decision to move to Texas, “the new land of opportunity.” He joins a growing diaspora of disenchanted tech entrepreneurs fed up with San Francisco’s crumbling infrastructure and bureaucratic policies. …

About

Gloria Oh

Senior Ideas Editor for @Marker/@Medium. Previously, @TheAtlantic. Pitches: goh@medium.com

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