Coronavirus

Are they any use? With Europe’s black-box coronavirus apps it’s hard to tell

By Padraic Halpin and Douglas Busvine

DUBLIN/BERLIN (Reuters) – Europe’s experiment in using technology to fight coronavirus has achieved some early successes: millions of people have downloaded smartphone tracker apps and hundreds have uploaded the results of positive COVID-19 tests.

Yet most European countries so far lack solid evidence that their apps – which identify close contacts via Bluetooth connections with nearby users – are actually alerting people who may have caught the disease before they can infect others.

The reason? Design choices made by governments and their app developers to protect people’s privacy.

In many of the 11 European territories using architecture designed by Alphabet’s Google and Apple , apps have been made to be ‘blind’ to warnings of potential exposure to COVID-19 flowing through the system.

In Switzerland, for example, the Federal Office of Public Health acknowledged that “the effectiveness of the SwissCovid App is difficult to measure

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How a mysterious company tied to ‘Titanic’ villain landed government coronavirus contracts

Billy Zane, the Hollywood actor best known as Rose’s villainous fiance in “Titanic,” was the celebrity pitchman for a venture capital firm that specializes in flashy global networking events.

It’s the same company that taxpayers paid $2.4 million for ventilators and protective garb this year as the firm set its sights on the global coronavirus pandemic. And the U.S. government appears to have grossly overpaid for it.

But trying to track down information about the company and its product exposes the tangled web the government has created for itself by relying on a growing number of middlemen, brokers and newcomers to secure emergency supplies.

Parkpine Inc. is a Delaware company registered to a single-family home in Los Angeles, with a mailing address at an apartment in Chinatown, and tied to a business with “offices” in Silicon Valley and Hollywood that really are just UPS Store mailboxes.

Founder and managing partner

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How Planet Fitness, Ulta Beauty, And Kohl’s Changed Their Business Models To Successfully Whether The Storm Of The Coronavirus and Surge Forward Towards Profitability.

“If you want to succeed in retail, you need to fully commit to off-price or online,” -Jim Cramer, Mad Money, March 5, 2020

Retailers have been struggling for sometime to compete with the giant Big-box stores such as Amazon (AMZN), Walmart (WMT), Home Depot (HD), and Costco (COST), who offer massive discounts, great selection, and an easy shopping experience. Then the Coronavirus pandemic engulfed America this past March, and most retailers, other than essential ones like pharmacies and grocery stores, were forced to close their doors because consumers were self quarantined. After that took place, retailers needed to make changes to their stores to allow for proper social distancing and hygiene so they could open them safely. Brand loyalty gave way to buying whatever was cheapest. Some retailers, including JC Penney, Neiman Marcus and Brooks Brothers have already succumbed to the virus and have filed for bankruptcy. Others have laid

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How Big Tech Surged in the Coronavirus Era

The U.S. economy’s free fall may be nauseating for some sectors, but for the four tech giants that posted earnings results on Thursday, the past three months have been more like a thrill ride.

The day after taking tough questions from the House Judiciary Committee on whether they’ve become too powerful, chief executive officers from Google-parent Alphabet, Amazon, Apple and Facebook revealed that their influence is only growing.

These captains of tech industry posted a collective $28 billion in profits and added $214 billion in market value, a gobsmacking set of figures even in the best of times. But it stands out against a doom-filled backdrop of a U.S. economy that shrank 33 percent, while fears stretch worldwide across other businesses — from Main Street mom-and-pops to the arbiters of global luxury — that are dancing on the knife’s edge of real or potential extinction.

That may be stunning, but

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Coronavirus pandemic gives CES 2021 an opportunity to attract an online audience

The CES show, the largest trade gathering in the United States and the premier annual meeting of the tech industry, will not be greeting the public in January, as planned, due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Instead, the organizers say they’re going all-digital, with several days of online entertainment planned for Jan. 6-9, 2021. 

Good luck with that. 

As a longtime attendee, with more years of attendance than I care to admit, I think the odds of success here are very tough. Yes, we can devote three days of our lives to getting to Las Vegas and roaming the show floor. It’s a lot harder to do it in front of a computer for hours. 

CES always attracts huge crowds
CES always attracts huge crowds

COVID-19 VICTIM: CES 2021 cancels in-person show, moves event online

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That said, can CES put on a great

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Fintechs face pressure to grow up as coronavirus casts a chill

By Iain Withers, Anna Irrera and Tom Wilson

LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Aritra Chakravarty, founder of London-based online accounts and investments provider Dozens, admits it’s a tough time to be seeking up to 15 million pounds ($19 million) for a start-up.

“It’s definitely a bearish market” said Chakravarty, who is seeking funding for Project Imagine, the company behind his fintech ventures. He is looking to crowd funding and government-backed COVID 19-support schemes for technology firms to make up for any reticence from venture capital investors.

Data suggest his caution is warranted. Fintechs, which have been one of the hottest draws for venture capitalists in recent years, raised $6.3 billion in the second quarter, down 41% on the year, according to data from analysts at Forrester shared with Reuters.

Investors and entrepreneurs say that while the COVID-19 pandemic has boosted demand for fintechs in areas such as digital payments and online

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What To Do If The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Forcing You Into Early Retirement

Until recently, the goal of early retirement was a lofty one. But with the chaos caused by the coronavirus pandemic, some older workers are being pushed into retirement ― whether they’re ready or not ― minus the sandy beaches and financial freedom.

During past recessions, it was common for older employees to drop out of the workforce completely rather than try to compete for new jobs. But now, there’s even more pressure to abandon working life.

“Since this is a global health pandemic, it has added a layer of complexity not seen in past recessions,” said Jeffrey Lewis, a financial advisor with Savant Wealth Management. Some older workers may be less inclined to return to the office for fear of contracting the virus themselves, or bringing it home to their spouse or kids who may have an underlying health condition, Lewis said. “If employers are not able to meet

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Tri-Valley School Donations May Be Curtailed By Coronavirus

TRI-VALLEY, CA — Only one thing is certain about the Tri-Valley’s upcoming school year, and that’s uncertainty.

With the coronavirus being far from under control, school officials have been debating when, or if, classrooms will reopen in the fall and, more importantly, how California’s economic crisis will ultimately impact the bottom line on budgets already stretched to the limit and largely dependent on revenue from the state.

Also impacted will be the flow of what has been millions of dollars donated by an extensive network of Tri-Valley nonprofit organizations, money used to supplement the increasing costs of educational activities.

During the 2016, 2017 and 2018 school years alone, nearly 80 individual tax-exempt nonprofit organizations provided some $40 million to the region’s four school districts — San Ramon Valley Unified, Dublin Unified, Pleasanton Unified and Livermore Valley Unified.

Chief among these benefactors is the San Ramon Valley Education Fund (SRVEF) based

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For HBCUs, the coronavirus pandemic hits especially close to home

Leaders of historically Black colleges and universities are grappling with a challenge others in higher education don’t fully share: how to reopen their campuses to a population that has proven especially vulnerable to Covid-19.

Black people are dying at 2.5 times the rate of white people, according to the Covid Racial Data Tracker. And nearly a third of deaths among nonwhite Americans were in people younger than 65, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, compared with 13 percent among white people under that age.

“We have to acknowledge and recognize that African Americans with comorbidities have fared far worse in this pandemic than any other group,” said Howard University President Wayne A.I. Frederick in an interview. “I think, for an HBCU in particular, there’s a lot of differences in terms of opening that are probably a little more accentuated because of our circumstances.”

Howard,

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Is There a Connection between Coronavirus and Air Conditioning?

The dramatic increase of COVID-19 cases in the states of Texas, Florida, Arizona, and California this summer has many scratching their heads. The summer months were supposed to slow infections due to activities taking place outdoors and more in-home ventilation, such as windows being opened up. This hypothesis has thus far proved true in many northern states — most dramatically New York — while the South has fared much worse.

There are a few possible explanations for the South’s infection spike.

The first is that a widespread lack of mask-wearing is causing these increases. The national media have been quick to note that Republican governors such as Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis were reluctant to impose a mask mandate.

The second, that these states opened up too soon and busy restaurants, beaches, and bars — and a fair bit of demonstrating — resulted in close contact. High infection rates

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