Cases Mount, Plastic Bag Initiative, Mental Health Deteriorates, EU Socializes Borrowing Costs

Stock Market Roundup

Coronavirus Cases Top Another Round Number As World Keeps Counting, Worrying

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In the news today is the number 15 million, which is the number of people who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This, according to a tally of tallies compiled by Reuters. It is not clear if this tally includes the 100% positive tests that have been issued by many Florida hospitals, which would mean that every patient in every one of these hospitals near the “COVID capital of the world” admitted for any reason, would be considered as part of this tally, since all hospital patients get tested.

President Trump chimed in, saying that the pandemic would get worse before it gets better, which makes sense considering that the 2009 swine flu pandemic infected about a billion people, extrapolating from about 491 million confirmed cases, and we are not even close to this number yet. As lockdowns have been the preferred procedure for dealing with this so far, assuming an effective vaccine will take time if it is ever developed, it’s either lockdowns continue for several more years, or humanity deal with this as it has every other pandemic since the discovery of the cause of infectious diseases.

Some Good News About Plastic Bags, Or Potential Lack Of Them

Retailers, many of whom are struggling to pay their mortgages, still have found enough money to figure out how to get rid of plastic bags for good, maybe. Target (NYSE:TGT) has announced it will join an initiative called the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag as a founding partner together with CVS (NYSE:CVS) and Walmart (NYSE:WMT). Also involved are Kroger (NYSE:KR) and Walgreens (NYSE:WBA). “We believe in serving our guests and communities with actions that reduce our footprint on the planet,” said Amanda Nusz, Target VP. “We’re proud to partner with Closed Loop Partners and other leading retailers to take on a challenge facing the entire industry, and we welcome others to join us in this collective effort as we aim to design a better solution.”

“Beginning in August, the Consortium will invite all innovators to submit their designs for a new retail bag that’s easy to use and environmentally friendly,” the announcement said. “The winning ideas will then go through testing and potential piloting.”

Mental Health Worsens Amid Quasi Lockdowns, Mask Regulations, Disruption of Normal Life

The Covid-19 lockdown is hitting the mental health of women, young people and parents of children under 5 the hardest according to a study led by researchers at The University of Manchester, King’s College London and the National Centre for Social Research and the National Centre for Social Research. The study included data from 17,452 subjects that found that in April, a third of the people in the United Kingdom were experiencing clinically significant levels of psychological distress compared to about 20% before the pandemic began. The groups most affected by restrictions against living life normally were women, parents of young children, and young people. As this data was from back in April, it is likely that the situation has since worsened as the global economy has deteriorated. Men over 45 have been doing comparatively better though.

U.K. Glamour Model Rebecca is speaking up about these mental health struggles in Britain. According to her “Tomorrow needs us all,” for the day when restrictions against normal daily life end.

European Union Agrees on Common Bonds

In a move that is sure to annoy much of the German electorate and may inspire a “Gerexit” movement, European Union political leaders have agreed to socialize borrowing costs across the entire political project. Regardless of who spends what money, all EU countries will have to pay an equal share, encouraging the more spendthrift European economics to go even deeper into debt while the more fiscally conservative nations will end up having to pay for it.

Coating the bitter pill with some sugar are the banks. Analysts at Berenberg bank were all sunshine and rainbows about the move. “With the biggest-ever effort of cross-border solidarity, the EU is sending a strong signal of internal cohesion. Near-term, the confidence effect can matter even more than the money itself,” analysts said, also referring to the $2 trillion worth euro stimulus coming down the pike. Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) was equally cheerful. Analysts at Goldman were “encouraged that leaders were able to find agreement earlier than expected. Taken together, we therefore see the agreement as welcome, supporting our view that the Euro area is well placed to recover from the Covid shock.”


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