Welcome to Thursday. A quick observation from our team: It’s now lighter outside our Austin HQ at 5:30 am than it is at 5:30 pm… and we’re still trying to figure out how to feel about it. Any help would be appreciated. 😬
“The future depends on what you do today.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
The number of Americans currently hospitalized with COVID-19 rose to its highest level since the pandemic began, reaching nearly 62k on Tuesday according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.
A deeper dive… The U.S. reported more than 134k new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, a new single-day record according to data compiled by the CDC.
The U.S. death toll surpassed 239k on Wednesday, with the CDC recording 1,859 new deaths, its highest number since June 25. (Reporting on fatalities varies by state, and deaths recorded on a certain day may have happened on a different date.)
U.S. intensive care units are also facing an upsurge. As of Tuesday, nearly 12k Americans with COVID-19 are in ICUs across the country according to the COVID Tracking Project, the highest level since May 7.
Around The World Many European countries are experiencing an uptick in cases and deaths similar to the U.S., leading to reimposed lockdowns over the past month in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, the Czech Republic, & the Netherlands.
Australia said it will consider re-opening its borders to low-risk Asian countries, such as Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, and parts of China after recording three straight days without any local COVID-19 cases.
Russiaannounced preliminary results from a Phase 3 clinical trial of its vaccine candidate, “Sputnik V,” with early and incomplete data suggesting it was 92% effective at protecting participants when compared with a placebo.
What’s Next? Many U.S. public health officials expect the number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths to increase as the winter progresses, placing an increased strain on the country’s healthcare system due to the geographically widespread nature of the current wave of cases.
There are four potential COVID-19 vaccines already in large-scale studies in the U.S., with two of them expected to seek emergency approval from the FDA before the end of the year.
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GA Calls Statewide Hand Recount
Georgia will conduct a statewide hand recount of the votes cast for the presidential election, Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger (R) announced yesterday. According to unofficial tallies, projected winner Joe Biden leads President Trump by more than 14K votes out of nearly 5M votes cast. Raffensberger said the recount would be completed before a Nov. 20 deadline to certify statewide election results.
The Associated Press called the Alaska Senate race yesterday, awarding the victory to incumbent GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan.
Image via Politico. Two runoff elections remain in GA.
World’s Longest Serving PM Dies
Bahrain’s Prime Minister, Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, died yesterday of undisclosed causes at 84. Khalifa was the world’s longest-serving prime minister, with his 50-year tenure beginning just before the country gained independence in 1971. Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa will inherit the late prime minister’s duties.
📈 Top of the Singles Chart
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba reported record sales for Singles Day, its massive annual shopping event, on Wednesday. The company extended the buying window of this year’s Singles Day from one day to 11 days (dating back to Nov. 1), over which Alibaba recorded ~$74B worth of revenue — up from $38.3B last Singles Day.
⏰ TikTok… TikTok…
TikTok parent ByteDance filed a petition in a federal appeals court late Tuesday seeking to delay a CFIUS-imposed deadline set for midnight tonight that would force TikTok to unwind its 2018 merger with Musical.ly that effectively created the social media app. The company challenged the U.S. government’s decision to force a divestiture deal, and said talks to establish a new U.S.-based company called TikTok Global with Walmart and Oracle are still ongoing.
More: The Nov. 12 deadline imposed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) is separate from President Trump’s Nov. 12 deadline, which was stayed by a federal judge. CFIUS has the ability to extend the deadline by 30 days, but has not yet done so.
⛳ A Tradition Like No Other…
The 84th annual Masters Tournament begins later today at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. Tiger Woods looks to defend his 2019 title against 91 other golfers competing for first place and the famed green jacket. The first threesome tees off at 7:22 a.m. ET, with live coverage on ESPN from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
🌯 Digital Dash… Chipotle’s first digital-only restaurant is scheduled to open on Saturday in Highlands, New York. Dig deeper.
📺 YouTubeexperienced a mass outage last night, leaving users worldwide unable to access the site for almost two hours. The company said service was restored shortly after 9 p.m. ET.
🎹 A Key Invention
Last year, at the age of 79, Brazilian classical pianist and conductor João Carlos Martins retired from musical performance after losing almost all motor function in his hands. João, who is considered one of the greatest interpreters of composer Johann Sebastian Bach’s works, had steadily lost the ability to move his fingers over the past two decades, undergoing a total of 24 surgeries to reduce the pain that resulted from a degenerative disease and a series of accidents.
Nevertheless, one of the pianist’s fans was convinced that the musician had retired too early.
Inspired by Formula One racing technology, industrial designer Ubiratan Bizarro Costa used a 3D printer to create a pair of “bionic” gloves for João, employing a series of springs to control the virtuoso’s impaired fingers (video). Previously reduced to playing with just his thumbs and index fingers, João is now practicing the piano with newfound agility, preparing for his first public performance on the instrument since 1995.
🛒 Get A Bag
Teo Jordan, an 18-year-old from Covington, KY, had worked as a bagger at his local Kroger grocery store for less than a month when, in late October, an older man who could not pay for his groceries came through his checkout line. Although Teo initially applied for the job at the grocery store to help support his family and save up for a car, the kindhearted adolescent did not hesitate to help the aged customer.
In fact, Teo used his hard-earned money to pay for the man’s groceries.
To him, such an act was no big deal – the total was $35 – but another customer, Brian McCarty, saw the selfless deed and took note, posting a message on Facebook commending the teen’s actions. The Facebook post, which made Teo’s mother very proud, also earned the young man a $1,000 college scholarship from the local news station.
🪂 Shoot The Breeze
During World War II, Jim Martin of Sugarcreek Township, OH, was the lightest member of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, earning him the nickname “Pee Wee.” Undeterred by his petite frame, Jim fought bravely as a paratrooper in the war, parachuting into Normandy on D-Day to liberate France in 1944. Now, at 99 years old, Pee Wee is helping to fight another, invisible enemy: COVID-19.
This fall, in an effort to encourage Americans to wear face masks as the nation battles the pandemic, as well as honor his fellow veterans, Jim parachuted from a “Huey” helicopter — a form of aircraft widely used during the Vietnam War (video). Pee Wee, who earned a Purple Heart for his service in the fight against the Nazis, said, “In this war against coronavirus, I wear my mask to protect others.”
📣 Calling All Dog Lovers
Town & Trail delivers all natural, human-grade treats — perfect for any dog.
Taking a less is more approach, Town & Trail treats are made from USDA beef and contain only five human-grade ingredients. These naturally shelf-stable treats are rooted in South African tradition and are air-dried, keeping healthy protein and nutrients in — and gross chemicals out.
🚕 Riding High… German startup Lilium signed a deal with the city of Orlando, FL, on Wednesday to launch the first U.S. “vertiport,” a hub for the company’s flying taxis.
📡 Under The Radar… using ground-penetrating radar, Norwegian archaeologists identified a “high status” Viking burial site featuring a feast hall, cult house, and remnants of a rare ship burial — all without having to dig into any land.
💰 Comin’ For That Number One Spot… LVMH Chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault added ~$7B to his net worth after European stocks soared on Monday, making him the second-wealthiest person in the world according to Forbes. (The full list)
🍊 Orange Is The New Green… a crate of Japanese oranges sold for nearly $9,600 at Tokyo’s central market last week in the season’s first auction of satsuma mandarin oranges.
Step Up to the Plate
What did the letters on the first license plates represent?
A) The owner’s initials B) The make and model of the car C) The owner’s city and state of residence D) They were random
(keep scrolling for the answer)
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New York became the first state to require license plates on cars in 1901. The plates were made by the vehicle owners themselves and featured their initials. It wasn’t until 1903 that the first state-issued license plates were distributed in Massachusetts under a numbered system.