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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Social Distance Immediately

Cancel Everything by Yascha Mounk (The Atlantic)

A compelling argument that governments and corporations need to immediately reduce human contact that spreads Covid-19 in order to reduce the total number of people who contract the virus. [Link; soft paywall]

The City That Never Sleeps Is Brought to Standstill by Virus by Olivia Rockeman, Katya Kazakina, and Henry Goldman (Bloomberg)

A summary of what sort of massive impact Covid-19 is having on the swirling heart of finance and media for the entire world. [Link; auto-playing video]

Housebound Italian Kids Strain Network With Fortnite Marathon by Daniele Lepido and Niclas Rolander (Bloomberg)

With tens of millions (if not more) people shuttered into their homes across Europe and the rest of the developed world, networks which facilitate streaming and gaming are under increasing strain. [Link]

Coronavirus is mysteriously sparing kids and killing the elderly. Understanding why may help defeat the virus. by William Wan and Joel Achenbach (WaPo)

While a tiny fraction of those under the age of 40 (and an even smaller one under the age of 20) suffer serious cases of Covid-19, the WHP estimates a death rate of over 20% for those above 80. [Link]

Coronavirus case from November could be patient zero by Amanda Woods (New York Post)

The earliest-known coronavirus patient was a 55-year old man in Wuhan during mid-November, one of more than 250 infections from 2019, long before the virus burst on to the scene. [Link]

About Half of Cruise Virus Cases Asymptomatic, Study Suggests by Tim Loh (Bloomberg)

Comprehensive testing regimes for of small populations suggest that a very large fraction of those who have Covid-19 either do not ever or do not yet present symptoms of the disease. [Link; soft paywall]

Two Women Fell Sick From the Coronavirus. One Survived. by Sui-Lee Wee and Vivian Wang (NYT)

The line between easily overcoming Covid-19 and falling victim to the virus is often imperceptible to the naked eye, even among workers who draw huge viral loads from constant exposure to the disease. [Link; soft paywall]

More Coronas

The Dismantled State Takes on a Pandemic by Alex Pareene (The New Republic)

A multi-decade project to strip the federal government of capacity is coming home to roost amidst a bungled and haphazard response to a global pandemic that is now running entirely out of control in the United States. [Link; soft paywall]

Coronavirus burial pits so vast they’re visible from space by Erin Cunningham and Dalton Bennett (WaPo)

With Covid-19 running unchecked throughout Iran, the Shia holy site of Qom has proven ground zero for both cases and deaths, leading to so many bodies that authorities appear to be burying them in mass graves. [Link]


Gates-funded program will soon offer home-testing kits for new coronavirus by Sandi Doughton (Seattle Times)

As Covid-19 spreads widely, rapid testing has been a focal point of innovation which might allow those with the virus to be able to avoid spreading it; one kit offers at-home testing kits that would not require leaving the house. [Link]

Colorado changes policy for drive-up COVID-19 testing facility by Blair Miller (NBC KOAA)

A drive-through testing facility that makes it possible for Colorado residents to get tested without leaving their vehicles has seen massive demand. [Link]

The Cost of Not Getting Tested For Coronavirus: A $10k ER Bill (The City)

After coming back from Italy, a Brooklyn public school teacher was told she couldn’t be tested for the deadly epidemic but the total cost of her brief ER visit was still five figures. [Link]

Covid-19 Effects

U.S. Recession a Coin Toss as Chances Climb to 53% Within Year by Reade Pickerty, Yue Qiu, and Alexander McIntyre (Bloomberg)

Exploding credit spreads, plunging bond yields, and stock prices 25% below where they sat a few weeks ago; these are just some of the financial market signals that indicate imminent recession. [Link; soft paywall]

Coronavirus will change how we shop, travel and work for years by Enda Curran (MSN)

An exploration of how the current global pandemic might change consumer behavior, from tourism hiring to regulation of cleaning regimes. [Link]

Leaked Emails: Norwegian Pressures Sales Team to Mislead Potential Customers About Coronavirus by Alexi C. Cardona (Miami New Times)

In an effort to prevent cancellations, salespeople from Norwegian Cruise Lines tried to play down the risks Covid-19 posed to guests as the industry teetered on the edge of total free-fall. [Link]


Germany to offer companies unlimited credit to withstand coronavirus crisis by Jill Petzinger (Yahoo!)

In order to keep companies’ doors open during a catastrophic collapse in demand, the German government is getting ready to grant billions in loans, with no upper limit on the liquidity being deployed. [Link]

‘We Are Like Animals’: Inside Greece’s Secret Site for Migrants by Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Patrick Kingsley, Haley Willis, Sarah Almukhtar and Malachy Browne (NYT)

As finger-pointing and recriminations resound across the Greco-Turkish border (as has been the case for a very long time indeed), migrants are caught in the crossfire…sometimes literally. [Link; paywall]

How We Live Now

A no-savings generation is cashing in its sneaker collections by Ronald D. White (MSN)

As precarity mounts even in the midst of a long economic expansion, consumers are turning to some unusual places to find some cash during times of need. [Link]

Sit, stay forever: Americans willing to pay top dollar to keep old dogs alive by Barbara Goldberg (Reuters)

Americans are investing thousands in health care to prolong the lives of pets that were once regarded as a much less important destination for funds. [Link]

Why 30-50 Feral Hogs Went Viral After Two Mass Tragedies by Casey Johnston (Vice)

An investigation into the virality of a uniquely horrible (but also darkly hilarious) argument against gun control in the wake of multiple mass shootings. [Link]


SEC Votes to Ease Audit Requirements for Smaller Companies by Paul Kiernan (WSJ)

In a move that seems almost guaranteed to radically increase the number of frauds operating in US equity markets, the SEC voted this week to remove the requirements that small companies have external auditors review their systems for external controls. [Link; paywall]

Secret Users Of Clearview AI’s Facial Recognition Dragnet Included A Former Trump Staffer, A Troll, And Conservative Think Tanks by Ryan Mac, Carolione Haskins, and Logan McDonald (BuzzFeed News)

As part of our ongoing tally of misdeeds from facial recognition company Clearview, this story reviews the long line of non-law enforcement users who had access to the software. [Link]

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