COVID cases hold steady while hospitalizations, deaths rise

Link: https://www.axios.com/covid-cases-hold-steady-hospitalizations-deaths-rise-aaff9ca2-9c52-42a5-b594-ca9985bfa722.html

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Details: A small number of states, including Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, still have high numbers but have continued to see an improvement over the past two weeks.

For instance, Florida saw a 23% drop in cases and a 17% drop in hospitalizations over the last two weeks. But the state still has 345 daily COVID deaths on average.

Meanwhile, the biggest increases in new cases continue to be clustered in the South — including Tennessee, Alabama and South Carolina — as well as in Ohio and West Virginia.

States around the country have reported that COVID surges are increasing the strain on hospital systems. This week, Idaho hospitals begin rationing health care amid COVID surges, West Virginia reported record high ICU and ventilator cases, and Wisconsin hospitals said their ICU beds are in short supply.

Author(s): Tina Reed

Publication Date: 9 Sept 2021

Publication Site: Axios

More than 300 million COVID vaccine shots administered in U.S.

Link: https://www.axios.com/us-300-million-covid-vaccine-shots-administered-a05f7677-cdd7-41ec-99c9-95d28a2ecabc.html?mc_cid=dd765ae547&mc_eid=983bcf5922

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More than 300 million COVID-19 vaccines doses have now been administered in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Sunday.

Why it matters: The latest CDC figures show that 41.9% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus and 51.5% has received at least one dose.

The vaccination milestone comes as the U.S. has seen new infections fall to the lowest level since March 2020, when the pandemic began.

Author(s): Rebecca Falconer

Publication Date: 7 June 2021

Publication Site: Axios

Colonial pipeline hack: Key takeaways from Biden’s first energy crisis

Link: https://www.axios.com/colonial-pipeline-hack-biden-energy-crisis-e004b745-43ee-4963-81d7-b10765215a9d.html

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It’s a stunning real-world example of how many types of infrastructure remain vulnerable to hackers.

The Atlantic Council’s Cynthia Quarterman, a top Transportation Department official in the Obama era, said it “exposes the soft underbelly of the nation’s critical energy infrastructure.”

Quarterman, in comments on the council’s site, notes that if a company like Colonial can be breached, smaller companies are even more vulnerable to attack.

Author(s): Ben Geman

Publication Date: 13 May 2021

Publication Site: Axios

Several states declare emergency over Colonial Pipeline shutdown

Link: https://www.axios.com/colonial-pipeline-shutdown-fuel-shortages-lines-ef087928-de36-41b4-ba26-a7fc0bf74439.html?mc_cid=c0c5baa839&mc_eid=983bcf5922

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Reports of fuel shortages across the U.S. emerged on Tuesday as the national average for gasoline prices soared to its highest level since 2014 amid a key fuel pipeline shut down, per Bloomberg.

What’s happening: Operator Colonial Pipeline aims to have service restored by the week’s end following last Friday’s ransomware attack that shut down some 5,500 miles of pipeline from Texas to New Jersey. The governors of FloridaGeorgiaVirginia and North Carolina declared states of emergency Tuesday due to shortage concerns.

Author(s): Rebecca Falconer

Publication Date: 12 May 2021

Publication Site: Axios

Bernie Sanders Is (Mostly) Right About the SALT Deduction

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“I want to tell you this: If I become majority leader, one of the first things I will do is we will eliminate it forever,” Schumer said during a July 14 press conference on Long Island. “It will be dead, gone, and buried.”

“It” in this case was the cap on the state and local tax (SALT) deduction, which was imposed as part of the 2017 federal tax reform bill passed by Republicans and signed by President Donald Trump. As a result of that law, Americans are allowed to deduct a maximum of $10,000 in state and local tax payments from their federally taxable income; previously the deduction was uncapped, and it overwhelmingly benefitted the richest households while shifting their federal tax burden to everyone else.

…..

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) is correct to point out, as he did in an interview with Axios this week, that the SALT cap creates a serious optics problem for Democrats. Sanders says he will oppose Schumer’s effort to attach the SALT cap repeal to the transportation bill because “it sends a terrible, terrible message when you have Republicans telling us that this is a tax break for the rich.”

Author(s): Eric Boehm

Publication Date: 11 May 2021

Publication Site: Reason

Graphing the pandemic

Link: https://www.axios.com/graphing-the-pandemic-6b62e35a-8481-4287-bcab-70d4b2fc2091.html

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2020: The year the y-axis broke

Why it matters: Changes that typically take months or years to show up on a trend line started happening in weeks — resulting in a year of numerical outliers that will be breaking the axis for decades to come.

The result was two-fold:

Y-axes need to be continually adjusted to accommodate ever-higher numbers.

Longer term, there’s now a year of graphical outliers that future charts will have to account for.

Author(s): Mike Allen

Publication Date: 13 March 2021

Publication Site: Axios

How GameStop exposed the market

Link: https://www.axios.com/stock-market-gamestop-reddit-exposed-d7eb06e2-f6c7-4aa8-99d7-24a51df27fa9.html

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Despite looking like a run-of-the-mill short squeeze, what’s happening in GameStop is anything but that, Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director of predictive analytics at S3 Partners, tells Axios. Short sellers overall are not being squeezed out of the trade, despite having lost more than $6 billion since Jan. 1.

“I’ve talked to several brokers, they’ve got a line of guys looking to short the stock if there’s any stock available to borrow,” even though shorting GameStop now costs a fee of 150%.

“The value shorts are getting squeezed out and being replaced by momentum shorts looking to ride the stock price down the back end of the roller coaster.”

Author: Dion Rabouin

Publication Date: 28 January 2021

Publication Site: Axios