Engineered decoys trap virus in test tube study; healthcare workers at high risk even with protections

Elva Mankin

By Nancy Lapid

(Reuters) – The following is a brief roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

Open https://graphics.reuters.com/HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/yxmvjqywprz/index.html in an external browser for a Reuters graphic on vaccines and treatments in development.

Engineered decoys trap virus before it can enter cells

The new coronavirus enters cells by attaching to a protein on the cell membrane called the ACE2 receptor. Scientists have now developed a decoy version of ACE2 that lures the virus and traps it, preventing it from infecting human lung cells in test tubes. “We have engineered our ACE2 Trap to bind 100 to 1,000 times tighter to the virus than normal ACE2 that is on victim cells. This provides even more potent blockage that is comparable to neutralizing antibodies,” Dr. James Wells of the University of California

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Take Back the Economy From Economists

Elva Mankin

When I answer the phone, Zephyr Teachout quickly explains our call might be shorter than planned. Both she and I are at the whim of her two-year-old toddler, who is sleeping and could wake at any time.

Teachout, a law professor at Fordham University in New York, is best known for her runs for governor of the state and for Congress from New York’s 19th district (both races she lost). She has also written numerous books, including her latest, “BREAK ‘EM UP: Recovering Our Freedom from Big Ag, Big Tech, and Big Money.” Our discussion comes the day after historic Big Tech antitrust hearings in Congress. 

Teachout sees the antitrust discussion as a flashpoint for understanding how democracy and corruption collide. To her, concentrations of private power, as with the Big Tech companies, can’t be fixed with, say, campaign finance reform. These companies are a threat to the public sphere

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Tom Brady Has An iPhone 6 Plus And That Has Fans In Shock

Elva Mankin

Tom Brady won’t be heading to the Hall of Fame for his choice in smartphones.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback posted a photo from his car dashboard display on Saturday showing the steamy 99-degree temperature. But the car monitor’s connection to “Tom Brady’s iPhone 6+” earned a collective online gasp that the NFL superstar would still be using a six-year-old phone.

Brady signed a $50 million contract with his new team after leaving the New England Patriots, so he can probably afford the latest and greatest of technology.

But ya gotta hand it to the six-time Super Bowl champ for staying with the tried and true. Or you can make jokes about it, as many people did on Twitter.

Brady turns 43 today. Maybe somebody will get him an upgrade for a gift. 

Brady later wisecracked about his low-key gadgetry. Check out his tweet at the end. 

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California unemployment agency workers say internal problems are stalling claims process

Elva Mankin

As California grapples with a deluge of requests for unemployment benefits amid the COVID-19 pandemic, some state workers processing claims say they are buckling under pressure, hampered by outdated technology, bureaucratic red tape and a shortage of trained, experienced staff.

The state Employment Development Department is so overwhelmed that Gov. Gavin Newsom acknowledged last week that nearly 1 million unpaid claims may be eligible for payment but require more information, with estimates that the backlog won’t be eliminated until the end of September.

Inside the EDD, full-time employees and temporary hires say they are working long hours, including weekends, but often feel helpless to resolve problems for desperate Californians who have been out of work for months and often call crying or angry.

In interviews with The Times and testimony during a legislative hearing last week, current and former EDD workers say they have been hindered in assisting those who

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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.

Elva Mankin

“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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3 ways to promote social skills in homebound kids

Elva Mankin

<span class="caption">Too much time screen time can lead to lower self-esteem.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/photo/teen-boy-plays-game-on-digital-tablet-at-home-royalty-free-image/1146552988" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:SDI Productions/E+ via Getty Images">SDI Productions/E+ via Getty Images</a></span>
Too much time screen time can lead to lower self-esteem. SDI Productions/E+ via Getty Images

With the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic getting worse in most of the country, a growing number of school districts from San Francisco to Atlanta have determined that a return to daily in-person instruction isn’t yet safe or viable. They aim to to stick with remote learning as the school year gets underway.

Based on my research about the psychological effects of digital technology, I’ve seen that when children and teens spend a great deal of time isolated at home and gazing at screens their social skills and self-esteem can suffer and they may become lonelier. Fortunately, there are ways to lower those risks while young people spend way more time than usual at home.

Teenage boy sits in chair playing a video game on a big flat screen.
Teenage boy sits in chair playing a video game on a big flat screen.

1. Practice paying attention to other

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Dissatisfaction With Online Retailers Runs Deep

Elva Mankin

Spurred by COVID-19, consumers are buying like crazy online, generating double-digit online sales gains at many retailers and brands through spring and summer.

But that doesn’t mean consumers are loving the digital experience. The more time and money spent online, the more they lose patience with the level of service provided by digital marketers, encounter problems and become less loyal to any one brand.

More from WWD

That’s a key finding from research released today by the Wharton School’s Baker Retailing Center and WisePlum, a customer experience insights platform that helps managers determine where to invest in the customer experience to increase sales.

As Paula Courtney, chief executive officer of WisePlum, said, “Consumers are less forgiving and needing more from retailers during the global pandemic.”

According to Thomas S. Robertson, Joshua J. Harris professor and professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, “We are seeing brands looking

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Pandemic revs up race for U.S. online car sales

Elva Mankin

By Nick Carey

DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) – After years of being part of a future that never quite arrived, the coronavirus pandemic has put U.S. online car sellers on the map.

Now comes a race to spend vast sums on digital commerce platforms specifically designed to handle auto sales. Without deep pockets, many startups and others trying to join the online game will likely be left in the dust.

“The big three (auto) e-commerce players will grow substantially, but it will be hard to be a new entrant,” said Toby Russell, joint chief executive officer of Shift, which will go public to join rival Carvana <CVNA.N> and Vroom <VRM.O> later this quarter.

“The pay to play on this thing is in the hundreds of millions and the early journey is hard, especially building out the technology,” Russell said.

Online sales still only account for around 1% of the roughly

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High-Paying Jobs You Didn’t Know Existed

Elva Mankin

Everyone knows what a doctor or chiropractor does, but have you ever heard of an ayurveda healer or a hippotherapist? If you’re scratching your head, there’s a reason. They aren’t common, but these jobs are real and can pay quite well.

Last updated: Aug. 15, 2019

Feng Shui Consultant

Estimated pay: $20,000 to $250,000

Feng shui is an ancient Chinese practice that combines philosophy, science and art. If you have a strong energy and want to help others find balance, consider this career.

Feng shui consultants visit clients’ homes and offices to bring harmony and organization to the spaces by identifying ways to arrange belongings according to feng shui traditions.

Many online certification programs provide a path to this career. Those who charge a higher hourly rate and work with wealthy clients and celebrities have the highest earning potential — in the six figures.

Read: 20 Jobs That Pay

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Businesses pivot to meet the demand for COVID-19 disinfection

Elva Mankin

MILWAUKEE – As more people are allowed back into offices, restaurants and hotels under the City of Milwaukee’s re-opening plans, the need for disinfection is greater than ever.

Pest 2 Rest Pest Control, a family-owned extermination company, is one of the many businesses that now specialize in COVID-19 disinfection.

“There is a 0.1% difference between sanitizing and disinfecting,” said Jeffery Hardy Sr., the co-owner of Pest 2 Rest. “So, sanitizing, you’re cleaning; disinfecting, you’re killing the virus. And that’s what we’re encouraging people to do.”

He also encourages clients to have a plan of action after his job is done.

Hardy’s business, as its name would suggest, started out killing bed bugs, roaches, rodents and other critters. Since March, Hardy chose to pivot like many other entrepreneurs. Now, he and his wife, Brenda, and sometimes their three kids as well, spray interiors to rid keyboards, desks and doorknobs of the

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