Welcome to Bespoke Brunch Reads — a linkfest of the favorite things we read over the past week. The links are mostly market related, but there are some other interesting subjects covered as well. We hope you enjoy the food for thought as a supplement to the research we provide you during the week.

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COVID Country

COVID-positive nurses say they’re being pressured to work while sick, and they’re petrified of infecting patients by Allan Akhtar and Aria Bendix (Insider)

Nurses that still have symptoms of confirmed positive COVID infections are being asked to return to work in hospitals in Kentucky and around the country. [Link]

White House, USPS finalizing plans to begin shipping coronavirus test kits to U.S. households by Jacob Bogage and Dan Diamond (WaPo)

The White House and USPS are finalizing plans to ship half a billion at-home COVID tests across the country with the first packages rolling out the door by mid-January if everything goes according to plan. [Link; soft paywall]

Belief in Having Had COVID-19 Linked With Long COVID Symptoms by Anita Slomski (JAMA)

While there is no doubt that some COVID sufferers have symptoms which last much longer than the acute infection, there’s a lot of uncertainty over how pervasive and severe long COVID is. This study showed that while belief that a person had actually been infected with COVID wasn’t correlated with the presence of antibodies for the disease, that same belief was positively correlated with “long COVID” presentations, suggesting a material psycho-somatic effect. [Link]

Indiana life insurance CEO says deaths are up 40% among people ages 18-64 by Margaret Menge (The Center Square)

Indiana insurance company OneAmerica reported that death rates for 18-64 year-olds had risen 40% versus pre-pandemic, a historic increase that illustrates just how heavy the burden of COVID has been on American society. [Link]

COVID & Children

Characteristics and Clinical Outcomes of Children and Adolescents Aged <18 Years Hospitalized with COVID-19 — Six Hospitals, United States, July–August 2021 by Alentine Wanga et al (CDC)

A survey of COVID cases in Southern hospitals identifies potential risk factors for children: over 80% had an identified underlying medical condition, two-thirds were obese, and virtually none were vaccinated. [Link]

Pandemic babies displaying developmental delays — even if their mothers didn’t have COVID (Study Finds)

Pandemic babies are showing slower cognitive and social development than pre-pandemic children, regardless of whether or not expecting mothers had COVID. [Link]

No Way to Grow Up by David Leonhardt (NYT)

Children are falling behind in school, suffering more mental health crises including suicide attempts, exposed to more gun violence, and are exhibiting more behavioral issues as the weight of the pandemic falls on the youngest members of society. [Link; soft paywall]

Embrace The Cold

Could Being Cold Actually Be Good for You? by Max G. Levy (Wired)

A range of studies of showed that being cold regularly is a good way to stimulate your body’s metabolism and force adaptations that can help reduce the effects of diabetes. [Link]

BTCS First-ever Nasdaq-listed Company to Offer a Dividend Payable in Bitcoin (Yahoo! Finance/Globe Newsire)

A NASDAQ-listed company which has delivered 69% losses per year since the end of 2010 announced it would start paying dividends denominated in bitcoin. Shares were up 40% in response but if history is any indication will return to their habitual declines soon. [Link]


Harold Hamm: ‘Republican, Democrat . . . I’m an oilocrat’ by Derek Brower (FT)

The Continental Resources founder wants coal plants closed so his natural gas empire can profit (and with a side of carbon reduction. Battery-electric vehicles, wind, and solar? Right out. [Link; paywall]

Is Nuclear Power Part of the Climate Solution? by Gernot Wagner (WSJ)

As most of the world’s nuclear reactors age and approach retirement (along with the 10% of global electricity they produce), the technology is at a turning point amidst demands for decarbonized power. [Link; paywall]

Labor Markets

‘Hottest it’s ever been’: why US labour market is stronger than it seems by Colby Smith, Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson, and Christine Zhang (FT)

Official data points are finally catching up to anecdotes, as illustrated by this excellent round-up off labor market data. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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