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

New Thinking on Covid Lockdowns: They’re Overly Blunt and Costly by Greg Ip (WSJ)

Back in March and April, detailed research around COVID transmission wasn’t available, so lockdowns were used in order to avoid the catastrophic overload of hospitals seen in Italy and Wuhan. Since, better understanding of the spread suggests looser restrictions on gatherings, mask wearing, and shifting activities outdoors are all preferable to full lockdowns in terms of the economic tradeoffs involved. [Link; paywall]

Biogen conference likely led to 20,000 COVID-19 cases in Boston area, researchers say by Jonathan Saltzman (Boston Globe)

A new study attributes a staggering 20,000 cases of COVID to an international Biogen (BIIB) conference in Boston during the month of February; it turned just a few cases from different parts of the world into a mass of infections for attendees and local people alike in one of the most stark “super-spreader” events from this pandemic. [Link; soft paywall]

Personal measures taken to avoid COVID-19 (YouGov)

Survey data tracking the experience and response to COVID from respondents around the world, including a number of both developed and emerging markets with outbreaks of varying sizes. [Link]

Their school refused to require masks, but bans spaghetti straps. These girls protested — and won. by Caroline Kitchener (The Lily)

Two girls were frustrated that their school had enforced a rigorous dress code, but wasn’t willing and claimed to be unable to enforce mask-wearing. Their protest over the contradiction forced the school to introduce mask wearing. [Link]

Conquering Disease

Africa declared free of wild polio in ‘milestone’ by Naomi Scherbel-Ball (BBC)

Widespread vaccination appears to have eradicated polio in Africa, leaving Pakistan and Afghanistan as the only remaining wild disease reservoirs left. [Link]

Groceries

Walmart’s Supermarket Rivals Are Eating Into Its Grocery Share by Matthew Boyle (Bloomberg)

While still dominant in grocery, Walmart is facing huge competition and shifting wallet share in that market due to COVID and its impact on the eating and spending habits of American consumers. [Link; soft paywall]

Local News

City officials cheekily vow to name sewage plant after John Oliver following his anti-Danbury rant by Bryan Alexander (USA Today)

After a rant on his Last Week Tonight show targeting Danbury, CT, the town is planning to name its sewage treatment plant after the comedian. [Link]

In Southfield, a ‘thorough investigation’ into how woman declared dead returned to life by James David Dickson (The Detroit News)

A Michigander was still alive while being delivered to a funeral home after half an hour of revival attempts appeared to have failed; she is now recovering in an area hospital. [Link]

Is This The Top?

Former House Speaker Paul Ryan Starts Blank-Check Company by Maureen Farrell (WSJ)

Blank-check companies that go public with the intention of buying a private company and therefore skirting the IPO process have seen a surge in popularity and interest, and former Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan is getting in on the game. [Link; paywall]

Counter-Hacking

Tesla employee foregoes $1M payment, works with FBI to thwart cybersecurity attack by Simon Alvarez (Teslarati)

When he was approached by a Russian national seeking a way to deploy malware at Tesla, a Nevada employee flipped and helped the FBI nab the attempted heist. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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