Retail Sales Dipped in July Amid Spiking Coronavirus Cases

Woman shopping

Retail sales in the U.S. declined in July as the number of coronavirus cases spiked, localities renewed some restrictions and businesses delayed their return to in-person work.

Sales dropped 1.1% in July compared to June and totaled $617.7 billion, according to the Census Bureau report released Tuesday. The decrease was driven mainly by declining used and new car sales, clothing purchases, building materials sales, sports goods sales and furniture purchases.

Economists expected retail sales to fall 0.3%, a relatively modest drop compared to the actual decline, CNBC reported. All major stock market indices declined between 0.5% and 0.8% on Tuesday morning following the worse-than-expected report.

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Number of Homeschooled Students Has Doubled Since Pandemic, Continues to Rise

Student working on school work at home.

As a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, the total number of students being homeschooled in the United States has more than doubled from pre-pandemic levels, and continues to rise even as schools begin to slowly reopen, according to Fox News.

By March of 2021, the total number of homeschooled students in America stands at over 5 million, in comparison to just 2.6 million in 2020. Christopher Chin, president of Homeschool Louisiana, said that “interest has exploded,” and that although some students may ultimately return to regular schools after the pandemic, “many parents [are] finding this is a better way of life for them and their children.”

Additionally, Chin says the homeschooling model has proven successful even for households where both parents work, due to the rise in remote work at many companies and places of business.

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U.S. Government Allocates $3.2 Billion for COVID-19 Antiviral Pills

Department of Health & Human Services

The Department of Health and Human Services will invest $3.2 billion to develop and manufacture COVID-19 antiviral medicines, it announced Thursday.

The initiative, funded as part of the American Rescue Plan, is designed to accelerate research into antivirals as well as build platforms for urgent response to future viral threats, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said in a statement Thursday. Specifically, the plan expands antiviral clinical trials, forms partnerships between health agencies and pharmaceutical companies, and funds “drug discovery groups” tasked with innovating new antiviral medicines.

“New antivirals that prevent serious COVID-19 illness and death, especially oral drugs that could be taken at home early in the course of disease, would be powerful tools for battling the pandemic and saving lives,” said chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci in the statement.

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Commentary: Make Communist China Pay for COVID-19

As the world slowly begins to emerge from the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic and American elites develop an interest in the formerly dismissed Wuhan lab leak theory, it is time to focus attention where it belongs: punishing a rogue Chinese Communist Party for what it has inflicted upon an unsuspecting world.

To many of us, it was obvious from the outset that COVID-19 was a “Chinese Chernobyl.” Regardless of whether the virus has as its provenance a zoonotic transmission at a wet market or an “escape” from the Wuhan Institute of Virology—to say nothing of the low, but still non-negligible, possibility that it was intentionally developed and weaponized as a bioweapon—the CCP’s gross negligence, recklessness and, indeed, malice all contributed to an initially localized virus metastasizing into a crippling global phenomenon.

The story is, by now, a familiar one: The CCP responded to the initial outbreak in Wuhan by arresting and muzzling scientists, suppressing journalistic investigation, and actively disseminating disinformation to the World Health Organization and other transnational institutions. As a study from Britain’s University of Southampton concluded well over a year ago, proper Chinese government intervention at the virus’ onset might have reduced its ultimate spread by as much as 95 percent.

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Vaccines Protect Against Multiple Variants, Additional Studies Suggest

Doctor with mask on holding COVID-19 Vaccine

The Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus vaccines are highly effective against and prevent illness from common variants of the virus, according to recently released studies.

The vaccine made by Pfizer is effective against the coronavirus variants that originated from the U.K. and South Africa, according to multiple studies released Wednesday that examined real-world vaccinations, The New York Times reported. Moderna reported that an early-stage trial suggested its vaccine is effective against the South African variant and a third variant originating from Brazil when given as a single-dose booster shot.

“At this point in time, we can confidently say that we can use this vaccine, even in the presence of circulating variants of concern,” London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine infectious disease researcher Annelies Wilder-Smith told the NYT.

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Gov. DeWine on CNN: President Trump’s COVID Diagnosis is a ‘Cautionary Tale’ for Mask Wearing

In an appearance of CNN’s State of the Union Sunday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine appeared to “mask-shame” President Trump, saying that the Chief executive’s diagnosis of the potentially deadly disease serves as a “cautionary tale” for people who are reluctant to wear masks.

DeWine, a fairly frequent guest on the news program told host Jake Tapper that “this should be kind of an alert to everybody that anybody can get the virus, even president of the United States can get the virus.”

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Critics: Changing Information about Coronavirus Transmission, Impact Leads to Backlash over Policy Decisions

Since March, when U.S. policy makers implemented restrictive policies to limit the spread of the coronavirus, government agencies have collected data and reported their findings, which have significantly varied over time. As the data comes in, agencies have amended their guidelines, often to the frustration of policy makers and media critics.

Initially, the Centers for Disease Control argued that the coronavirus could be spread via surface-based transmission. It has since changed its position on this after scientific studies have shown the opposite. It recently stated that doorknobs and other commonly touched surfaces are not consistent with transmission. Rather, spread of the virus is believed to be mostly through droplets from respiratory exchanges, it states in its revised guidelines.

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Commentary: We Are All Homeschoolers Now

What does education look like in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic?

At the K-12 level, you’ve got problems. At the collegiate level, you’ve got existential problems.

School is out for the year in most locales. More innovative districts are retooling like crazy and trying to do online classes. Parents are looking for cheap or free resources to do the job and keep their kids occupied during our enforced isolation.

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Mayo Clinic Says It Can Now Perform Up to 4,000 COVID-19 Tests Daily

Mayo Clinic announced last week that it can now test up to 4,000 clinical samples for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, on a daily basis.

Mayo officials said they now have the capacity to process COVID-19 test samples at all Mayo Clinic sites and have started processing test samples from their clients across the state, including eight major health systems.

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President Trump Says FDA Has Approved Testing of Anti-Malaria Drug Chloroquine for Treating Coronavirus

President Donald Trump announced during a Thursday press briefing that the anti-malarial drug chloroquine was approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a possible treatment for the coronavirus.

The announcement comes the day after Breitbart News reported that the medical establishment has known about chloroquine’s effectiveness in treating the virus since at least the 2005 SARS coronavirus outbreak.

“Clinical trials are already underway for many new therapies and we’re working on scaling these to allow many more Americans to access different drugs that have shown really good promise,” President Trump said.

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Governor DeWine Says Ohio Schools Could Remain Closed for Rest of Academic Year, Orders All Restaurants to Close

Gov. Mike DeWine said Sunday morning that Ohio’s public schools could remain closed for the rest of the academic year.

DeWine ordered all K-12 public schools to close for three weeks beginning at the end of the day Monday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), however, said that closing for eight weeks or more would have a greater impact on mitigating the spread of the virus.

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