Seven Reasons to Be Extremely Optimistic About the Economy Right Now

Link: https://slate.com/business/2021/06/economy-optimism-inflation-wages-hiring-jobs.html?utm_source=digg&utm_medium=email

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But there are good reasons to be upbeat about the answer. For starters, households saved record amounts of money while they were stuck at home in 2020, which suggests they still have pent-up spending power. Second, Americans have mostly recovered their collective earning power. Total wages and salaries quietly reached a new peak in May, and are trailing less than 1 percent behind their pre-plague trend. Pay has bounced back faster than employment, because the country’s missing jobs are largely concentrated in lower-wage service industries like hospitality.

Author(s): JORDAN WEISSMANN

Publication Date: 29 June 2021

Publication Site: Slate

How a Software Error Made Spain’s Child COVID-19 Mortality Rate Skyrocket

Link: https://slate.com/technology/2021/03/excel-error-spain-child-covid-death-rate.html

Excerpt:

“Even though I didn’t know what the problem was, I knew it wasn’t the right data,” Soler realized once he got his hands on the Lancet paper. “Our data is not worse than other countries. I would say it is even better,” he says. Pediatricians across the nation contacted Spain’s main research institutes, as well as hospitals and regional governments. Eventually, they discovered that the national government somehow misreported the data. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what went wrong, but Soler says the main issue is that patient deaths for those over 100 were recorded as children. He believes that the system couldn’t record three-digit numbers, and so instead registered them as one-digit. For example, a 102-year-old was registered as a 2-year-old in the system. Soler notes that not all centenarian deaths were misreported as children, but at least 47 were. This inflated the child mortality rate so much, Soler explains, because the number of children who had died was so small. Any tiny mistake causes a huge change in the data.

Author(s): ELENA DEBRÉ

Publication Date: 25 March 2021

Publication Site: Slate

North Korea Reportedly Tried to Hack Pfizer Servers to Steal Coronavirus Vaccine

Link: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2021/02/north-korea-kim-jong-un-hack-steal-pfizer-coronavirus-covid-vaccine.html

Excerpt:

North Korea, along with the usual suspects of Russia and China, have all been accused of trying to swipe vaccine data from pharmaceutical companies, researchers, and others. “Although it claims to be free of the virus, North Korea has requested coronavirus vaccines and is set to receive nearly two million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, according to the Gavi Alliance, part of the United Nations-backed Covax effort which aims to deliver vaccines to the world’s most vulnerable people,” the Washington Post reports. “The statement by South Korean officials is the latest in a string of accusations against North Korean hackers for attempting to steal vaccine technology, highlighting Pyongyang’s ongoing campaign to obtain sensitive information through nefarious means and its growing cyber capabilities.”

Author(s): Elliot Hannon

Publication Date: 16 February 2021

Publication Site: Slate

Why a COVID Skeptic Finally Took the Vaccine

Link: https://slate.com/human-interest/2021/02/vaccine-skeptic-covid-latinos-california.html

Excerpt:

When a vaccine became available, did your dad immediately want it?

Oh, no, of course not. He was still conspiracy minded, and even to this day. But when the vaccine starts, they’re saying it’s going to be for people over 65, and my sisters said that we’ve got to get our dad to get the vaccine. We told my dad, and that’s when he started saying, I don’t need it, they’re saying that’s going to kill you, they’re saying there’s a chip. I don’t need it. I have strong blood and a positive outlook on life and insurance.

Plus, the vaccine is a vaccine of privilege. Let’s clear about that, especially the way it’s rolling out in California. You have to do it online. For weeks, there was only English, no Spanish translation. If you’re 65 and older, and especially if you’re an immigrant, more likely than not you’re not going to be the most social media–fluent of people. So not only do you need somebody you can rely on to translate any internet stuff for you, but you also need someone who’s going to have a job that allows them to be on social media nonstop. It was the luck of the draw that my sister randomly saw a friend who told her about this Instagram post with vaccine info. So she was able to do it immediately.

Author(s): Mary Harris

Publication Date: 16 February 2021

Publication Site: Slate