No Revenue Is No Problem in the 2020 Stock Market

First, Nikola. Now SPAC mania targets the next wave of untested electric vehicle companies.
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89,000 new Covid-19 cases per day. And the worst may be yet to come.
A nurse checks on a Covid-19 patient at Tampa General Hospital in Tampa, Florida. States like Florida are now facing rising numbers of Covid-19 cases. | Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images The US was warned. The United States has reached a new terrible milestone in the Covid-19 pandemic. This past week, the country saw, on average, 75,561 new cases per day — the highest on record in a pandemic full of atrocious records. On Thursday, 89,000 Americans received a positive test result. From north to south, east to west, the virus is spreading uncontrolled again. This is not a peak. We’re in the midst of a climb. Next week, we can expect yet another record: leaping from more than 9 million total cases to 10 million cases in a matter of a few days. The number of people in hospitals across the country is ascending, too, hitting 46,000 on Thursday. And this will likely be followed by rising numbers of deaths in the coming weeks. Why? Because this is the pattern we’ve seen in every Covid-19 surge during the pandemic. It’s not going to change now. There’s a momentum to this virus. Cases incubate silently for days in a human body, and it can take several days for a person to be tested, and more to find out the results. Next week’s record number of cases is already festering in the population now, waiting to be uncovered. All the while, the infected can continue spreading this very contagious virus exponentially, especially in places that don’t have mask mandates or restrictions on bars and restaurants being open for indoor dining. Covid Tracking Project Yet the disconnect between this grim reality and President Donald Trump’s words has never been greater. The president wants the public to believe the recent spikes are something of a mirage, based solely on expanded testing. More Testing equals more Cases. We have best testing. Deaths WAY DOWN. Hospitals have great additional capacity! Doing much better than Europe. Therapeutics working!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 30, 2020 “We’re rounding the turn,” Trump told his supports at a rally on Monday. “Our numbers are incredible.” A rise in Covid-19 cases means we’ll see a spike in hospitalization. Again. While part of the increase in cases can indeed be explained by more testing, that’s far from the whole story. Look no further than the test-positive rate to understand why. The national rate has climbed more than a percentage point over the past two weeks, reaching 6.3 percent. That average obscures far higher test positive rates in states with some of the worst-controlled outbreaks: Virus 49, US States 1Off-the-chart test positivity extends beyond MidwestSouth Dakota 46.3%Idaho 34.0%Wyoming 31.8% (down from 55%)Iowa 30.6%Kansas 27.6%Alabama 25.9%Nebraska 23.8%Nevada 23.3%— Eric Topol (@EricTopol) October 30, 2020 This means a growing number of Americans being tested have the virus — and health officials aren’t keeping up with the rising demand for testing, nor are they keeping on top of outbreaks. Covid-19 hospitalizations are also rising again, following a sharp drop through August and early September. Over the past month, the number of US patients in hospitals with the disease increased by more than 50 percent, according to the COVID Tracking Project, surpassing 46,000 on October 29. Covid Tracking Project As Vox’s Dylan Scott reports, this has already forced radical measures across the country: Wisconsin and Texas are building field hospitals; Idaho is planning to transfer patients out of state; Utah is ready to ration care. “Although we are not yet close to the hospitalization peaks of almost 60,000 that we observed in the spring and summer,” the editors at the Covid Tracking Project observed, “the average number of people hospitalized this week rose to 42,621, a very substantial increase from the lows of about 30,000 that we saw just a month ago.” If cases keep rising — as they’re expected to with the cold weather and more indoor gathering — this means we’re on track for a new hospitalization record. And, again, that will be followed by a new surge in deaths. .@IHME_UW now projects 399,000 #COVID19 cumulative deaths by February 1. If states do not react to risingnumbers by re-imposing mandates, cumulative deaths could reach 514,000 by the same date.— Ali H. Mokdad (@AliHMokdad) October 30, 2020 People with the disease are more likely to survive today. But the gains doctors have made treating critically ill patients could rapidly be undone as hospital wards become overwhelmed again. “Each hospital’s overwhelmed point is different now than it was in April, but there is a point that’s too much for any hospital,” Theodore Iwashyna, a professor of critical care medicine at the University of Michigan who has been treating Covid-19 patients, told Vox. “There are only so many hands. You can only be in so many rooms.” This was not a surprise, nor was it inevitable What makes this moment so frustrating is that researchers and health officials have been warning for months that a fall and winter spike in Covid-19 cases was looming. “There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield told the Washington Post in April. “And when I’ve said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don’t understand what I mean.” We were warned, as early as March, that there would be no going back to normal life until community transmission of the virus had been suppressed. We were warned that any successes achieved through business closures and social distancing would have to be replaced by equally effective public health measures if we were to take steps toward returning to life as normal. In many parts of the country, those alternative strategies never came. Scientists also told us that we’d be living with the pandemic for potentially years without a vaccine. That’s still true. In May, we were warned that state reopenings were coming too soon, and that case spikes, and later hospitalizations and deaths, would follow. And they did. Over the summer, we were warned that falling temperatures in the autumn, along with continued lax precautions, might lead to another surge. And here we are. Yet earlier this month, as it became more apparent that the United States was on track for a major increase in Covid-19 cases, states like Florida were relaxing restrictions, allowing bars and restaurants to reopen for indoor patrons. (A similar pattern emerged this summer as cities and states relaxed restrictions even as cases were rising, fueling a spike in new infections in June.) The current rise in cases is starting from a much higher baseline, with the added element of increased transmission in winter conditions. As people spend more time indoors in the cold weather, and as lower humidity makes it easier to transmit a respiratory virus, the air is fertile for viral spread. That means the next Covid-19 surge could break more records. Scientists say it didn’t have to be this way. “Through comparative analysis and applying proportional mortality rates, we estimate that at least 130,000 deaths and perhaps as many as 210,000 could have been avoided with earlier policy interventions and more robust federal coordination and leadership,” researchers at Columbia University reported this month. Other parts of the world have also done a far better job of containing the spread of the virus. Officials in Taiwan reported this week that the island has gone 200 days without local transmission of Covid-19. South Korea, which confirmed its first Covid-19 case on the same day as the US, managed to keep its per capita infections far lower throughout the pandemic. Even with a recent rise in cases, South Korea’s infection rate remains much lower. The country also reported that its economy is even starting to grow. These countries maintained much more aggressive restrictions on movement, while investing far more in testing for Covid-19 and tracing contacts of the infected. They also embraced mandatory face masks. These lessons have been repeatedly emphasized throughout the pandemic, in the US and around the world. But these are lessons the US has still failed to learn. America is still struggling with basic pandemic control measures like social distancing. And now, with the days getting shorter, the country is facing the darkest stretch of the pandemic yet. Help keep Vox free for all Millions turn to Vox each month to understand what’s happening in the news, from the coronavirus crisis to a racial reckoning to what is, quite possibly, the most consequential presidential election of our lifetimes. Our mission has never been more vital than it is in this moment: to empower you through understanding. But our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources. Even when the economy and the news advertising market recovers, your support will be a critical part of sustaining our resource-intensive work. If you have already contributed, thank you. If you haven’t, please consider helping everyone make sense of an increasingly chaotic world: Contribute today from as little as $3.
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You don’t have to love Star Wars to dig The Mandalorian
Disney+ Here’s a few things to know about Disney+’s Star Wars TV show if you’re not a Star Wars fan. Most people have likely seen at least one Star Wars film, if not all nine episodes of the Skywalker Saga (the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy that kicked off in 1999, and the new trilogy that wrapped up in 2019). But when it comes to delving into the deeper lore, that’s when the mainstream viewer may get lost. Which may make The Mandalorian, the first TV drama set in the Star Wars canon, seem intimidating. The Disney+ series is based almost entirely on new characters from planets untraveled in the movies. There aren’t any Wookiees or Skywalkers for the most base-level Star Wars viewer to point at and get stoked about. Instead, our hero is a bounty hunter who refuses to ever remove his helmet, which means that we unfairly don’t get to enjoy the face of the actor beneath it, the beautiful Pablo Pascal. Along the way, the Mandalorian works alongside other bandits and bounty hunters of all stripes. Aside from the Child — a.k.a. Baby Yoda, the painfully cute, tiny version of the beloved, sagely green alien — there aren’t any immediately familiar faces or characters for the cursory Star Wars viewer to latch onto. But The Mandalorian is fascinating for what it adds to the Star Wars universe, while also being accessible to the more rudimentary viewer because it doesn’t rely so much on preexisting storylines or characters. Instead, the show takes the semantics of Star Wars — space battles, unique creatures, a Big Bad that a Morally Gray Good Guy needs to vanquish — and applies them to the classic TV Monster-of-the-Week model. The result is something very fun, engaging, and just Star Wars-y enough. In case the cuteness of Baby Yoda and the age-old desire for new TV to watch is somehow not the only sell you need on the show, perhaps its awards track record can offer impetus. The Mandalorian’s first season was nominated for 13 Emmys, including the top trophy, Outstanding Drama Series — a huge deal for a streaming-exclusive genre show on a new streaming service. The Mandalorian ultimately took home seven statuettes, all in creative categories, on the strength of its fantastic world-building and stylish look. If you’re thinking of watching The Mandalorian but still haven’t checked it out, here’s a brief guide to get you started on the show just in time for season two, which debuted Friday, October 30. In-depth knowledge of the Star Wars movies is not required Disney+ The Mandalorian (Pablo Pascal) himself. There’s no need to have watched any of the previous Star Wars films to make sense of The Mandalorian’s first season. What you need to know is that the show takes place five years after Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi, released back in 1983. Return of the Jedi ends with Luke Skywalker and company having thwarted Darth Vader and his evil Empire, so Vader is well out of the picture when we meet Mando (as he’s lovingly known). Since the galaxy is so dang big, it’s totally plausible that Mando has no interaction with any of our main Star Wars heroes. So, for the purposes of the show, he does not. Instead, Mando is an independent bounty hunter who does jobs for questionable dudes in exchange for cash. The most important gig he’s taken on so far has been to deliver an ultra-powerful, very rare creature (the cooing, precious Child/Baby Yoda) to someone who clearly has some evil plans for it. By season one’s midpoint, Mando and Baby Yoda become a father-and-son pair, and Mando decides he’s not going to hand over his new charge to the bad guys and instead protect him and raise him as his own. The bad guys don’t like this. Fighting ensues. The Mandalorian is thus far divorced from the main Star Wars canon, but the contours of Star Wars are there. It’s an engrossing plot — can Daddy Mando keep super-strong Baby Yoda safe from the bad guys? And what’s Baby Yoda’s whole deal, anyway?— but it’s also breezily episodic. This aspect might change some in season two, as the season premiere leans a bit more into established Star Wars lore. Still, season one should get you comfortable with the world to the point that you’ll be able to embrace it even if you haven’t been a huge Star Wars fan in the past. The Mandalorian is a super-easy TV drama to watch In contrast to something like Succession or The Handmaid’s Tale, The Mandalorian is rarely too layered or overly dense. There’s the overarching “Protect the Child” plot, but otherwise, most of the first season feels very self-contained. The first handful of episodes play out like acts in their own mini-Star Wars movie, as Mando nearly delivers the Child, decides not to, and escapes the consequences of shirking his duties. It’s gripping and quick enough to watch in one sitting. Then the rest of season one unfurls, and nearly every episode feels like a stand-alone story. Mando goes on new jobs that take him to exciting locations around the galaxy. There’s an adorable episode where Mando and Baby Yoda find what might be a perfect place to settle in, a village where everyone loves and dotes upon Baby and Mando reunites with an old friend/love interest. Then the next episode is one guest-starring Amy Sedaris that is almost entirely forgettable. So it goes with The Mandalorian’s first season: It’s a little uneven, a little slow, but who cares! Almost nothing specifically matters from episode to episode, and the episodes run between 30 and 45 minutes long. There are only eight of them. It’s super-easy to blitz through, with very little active thinking required and plenty to enjoy along the way. There are lots of big names attached, and they’re all great Jon Favreau co-created The Mandalorian and serves as its showrunner; he also wrote most of the episodes of both seasons. If you’re a fan of his Marvel work (Iron Man, Spider-Man: Homecoming) or his Disney adaptations (The Jungle Book, The Lion King), then you know what to expect. Favreau has an eye for combining eye-catching action with strong humor, and keeps The Mandalorian from ever feeling grim or plodding. Behind the camera, Bryce Dallas Howard and Taika Waititi each took a turn in the director’s chair during season one (as did Star Wars: The Clone Wars writer-director Dave Filoni, which is a huge deal for Star Wars nerds). But in front of the camera is where the real magic happens: Giancarlo Esposito, Werner Herzog, and Carl Weathers all play recurring characters. Herzog is only briefly jarring to see as the guy who hands over Baby Yoda to Mando; he fits in really well to the Star Wars universe otherwise. Esposito is intense and horrifying as the show’s major villain, recalling his days on Breaking Bad. And Carl Weathers is Carl Weathers. You have to love Carl Weathers. Taika Waititi also voices a character in the season one premiere and the season one finale, a very funny, ultimately heartbreaking droid. Baby Yoda alone makes the whole show worth it Disney+ All I want is to hold him. Just once! Please! Everything you’ve heard about Baby Yoda is true. On top of being a lucrative merchandising opportunity for Disney, Baby Yoda is so cute that he will absolutely make you cry. He will leave your heart so full of love and affirmation that, for at least a short while, you’ll wonder if the world is perhaps less dreadful and harrowing than it often seems. I never understood why people liked babies so much until I saw Baby Yoda and his tiny hand stretching weakly toward his Daddy Mando. His powers are a little bit scary — there’s a moment in season one where he uses the Force to almost choke someone, which is a lot, especially for a character depicted as a baby — but all babies are unpredictable. At least this one is solidly the most precious one in any galaxy. Help keep Vox free for all Millions turn to Vox each month to understand what’s happening in the news, from the coronavirus crisis to a racial reckoning to what is, quite possibly, the most consequential presidential election of our lifetimes. Our mission has never been more vital than it is in this moment: to empower you through understanding. But our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources. Even when the economy and the news advertising market recovers, your support will be a critical part of sustaining our resource-intensive work. If you have already contributed, thank you. If you haven’t, please consider helping everyone make sense of an increasingly chaotic world: Contribute today from as little as $3.
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