How hucksters and would-be profiteers invaded California’s online COVID-19 marketplace

In early April, Gov. Gavin Newsom launched a website where people and companies could help California gear up for the coronavirus pandemic.

The portal was designed as a marketplace for middlemen, manufacturers and business giants to pitch deals and donations with the state, which was scrambling to obtain medical supplies to fight COVID-19.

For some, the site was a chance to clear out their closets.

Someone in Los Angeles found seven masks while cleaning out an apartment and asked to donate them. A Santa Rosa resident offered an ice machine, an orthopedic boot and two N95 masks that were leftover from the 2017 wildfires.

“Sorry,” the person said, “that’s all I had left.”

Along with these small gestures, the portal soon became cluttered with hundreds of questionable offers and a dizzying array of sales pitches, a Sacramento Bee review of more than 6,000 submissions found. Hucksters looked to cash-in on

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Big money may soon be chasing the ‘Robinhood’ investor: Morning Brief

Monday, June 15, 2020

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Institutional investors are underexposed to the stock market

One of the most fascinating stories in finance right now is the explosion of retail investors riding the stock market’s current three-month long rally higher.

“The global pandemic brought retail investors back into the equity market after being largely absent for a decade,” Deutsche Bank strategist Binky Chadha wrote last week.

“They were important buyers of the correction in equities.”

The phenomenon has caught the attention of more Wall Street experts, who are split on whether or not this ‘Robinhood’ class of investors is fueling the rally. However, they do seem to agree on one thing: as the retail class has been cleaning up, the big institutional money has largely been missing out.

“Institutional investor positioning in equities by contrast

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9 of the best skipping ropes from speed to weighted to beginners

Following three months of lockdown (read: three months of home workouts), it’s no wonder we’re turning our attentions to the best at-home fitness equipment. Top of our list? The humble skipping rope. Ropes can be the backbone of a solid workout, provide a cardio hit and are a super versatile tool – perfect for when your usual yoga or HIIT class is off the table.

“The first thing to consider when buying a skipping rope is what results you’re after – if it’s increased endurance, go for a speed rope. If you want to build strength, pick a weighted one,” advises Tom Jenane, a nutrition and fitness expert for Natures Health Box, adding that weighted ropes tend to be the bigger calorie burner. “Then you need to consider your ability level, there are both beginner and advanced ropes.”

“Cheap flimsy ropes are incredibly hard to improve your form on,” notes

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From materials to filters, here’s everything you need to know

The coronavirus pandemic has meant that face masks and coverings will become part of daily life.

The UK government and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have both advised wearing face coverings in a bid to reduce the infection transmission of Covid-19.

From 15 June, it will be mandatory in England to wear them while using public transport and in hospitals. Failure to follow these rules can result in an £80 fine on public transport. These rules apply to everyone, except for children under the age of two, disabled people and those with respiratory conditions.

Uber will also be making coverings mandatory for drivers and customers from 15 June and taking additional safety measures such as regularly sanitising their cars. Customers will also be reminded to sit in the backseat only and to roll down the windows for ventilation.

These new measures are initially being introduced in London while Uber assesses … Read More

Long queues as shops reopen in England after lockdown

Pent-up demand has prompted queues at some shops as rules are relaxed in England after a three month lockdown.

Long queues were reported outside Primark shops in London and Birmingham ahead of their 8am opening time.

The chain, which like other clothing shops has been closed since 23 March, does not offer online shopping meaning customers can only buy in the store.

All shops in England are allowed to open, although retailers have had to introduce strict safety measures.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged people to “shop with confidence”.

He said he was “very optimistic” about stores reopening – although acknowledged that retailers did not know whether there will be a “huge wave of customers” or a “trickle”.

Although food shops, pharmacies, banks and other essential retailers have stayed open, vast swathes of the High Street, from bookshops to clothes outlets, have been closed since 23 March.

HMV owner

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Do I need to wear a covering on public transport from today?

Anyone travelling on public transport in England must wear a face covering from Monday 15 June, according to new lockdown rules.

Since the coronavirus outbreak began there has been significant debate as to whether face masks and face coverings are effective at containing or preventing the spread of Covid-19.

In May, the government advised that people in England should wear face coverings in crowded or “enclosed public spaces”, such as in shops and on public transport, but it was not made mandatory.

However, on 4 June officials announced that face coverings would become compulsory in England when using public transport, in anticipation of further relaxing of coronavirus measures.

So who needs to wear a face covering and on what types of transport are they necessary? Here’s everything you need to know.

What are the latest rules surrounding face coverings in the England?

It is now compulsory for anyone travelling on

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Banning bushmeat could make it harder to stop future pandemics

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, eating the meat of wild animals has been getting a bad press.

Last month, more than 300 conservation groups signed an open letter asking the World Health Organization (WHO) to take measures to prevent new diseases emerging from wild animals. This included banning the sale of wild animal meat, also known as bushmeat. The request stemmed from evidence that SARS-CoV-2 likely originated in a wild animal, probably a species of bat, before jumping to an intermediate host, possibly a pangolin, and then infecting a human.

Although exactly where the first person picked up the virus is hotly contested, the media and researchers have focused on China’s wet markets, particularly those selling wild animals and their meat. At these markets, finding civet cats, turtles, bats and pangolins kept alive in small cages, often in close proximity, is not uncommon. In such conditions, wild animals

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Retailers welcome back customers after three months

Shops across England selling non-essential goods can welcome back customers on Monday for the first time in almost three months.

Retailers have had to introduce strict safety measures and the High Street experience will be very different to what shoppers are used to.

Amid fears about the health of the UK economy, getting a key part of the service sector running again is vital.

But retail experts warned shops were unlikely to see any immediate relief.

The unlocking comes as face coverings become compulsory when travelling on public transport in England from Monday. Children under the age of 11 will be exempt, and the rules might be waived for people who have a legitimate health reason for not wearing one.

Face coverings in shops will not be mandatory, with retailers hoping their introduction of an array of other safety measures will be sufficient.

Although food shops, pharmacies, banks and other

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New Study Shows Children Learn Better While Studying Outside

Click here to read the full article.

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the education of at least 1.5 billion school students. That’s more than 90% of the world’s children. Although many schools in the west, along with private schools in the developing world, have continued some school activities online, more than 50% of learners worldwide do not have a household computer. The absence of face-to-face learning and opportunities for playing with friends will have hugely impacted child mental health.

Countries are taking different approaches as to when, where and how to reopen schools, and some places are emphasising the benefits of outdoor learning.

Research has shown that an outdoor environment can improve children’s motivation and well-being, and can contribute to increasing children’s physical activity and learning outcomes. Learning in nature has been shown to reduce stress and boost mental well-being.

Outdoor learning was traditionally practised in countries across the African

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How much coronavirus risk is there in common travel activities? We asked an expert

Travel in the middle of a global pandemic presents challenges, with each activity carrying its own level of risk for coronavirus.

Joseph Khabbaza, a pulmonary and critical care physician at the Cleveland Clinic, said some of the biggest questions he’s getting relate to travel activities. 

Khabbaza, who treats coronavirus patients, said the primary path of transmission is contacts with respiratory droplets produced by infected people. Face masks, physical distancing, frequent hand-washing and cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces have become standard across the travel sector.  

“Every industry has interventions in place to make things safer,” he said.

The Cleveland Clinic has been helping United Airlines develop its coronavirus mitigation policies, including mandatory face masks, touchless kiosks and physical distancing.

“Companies are bringing in outside health experts,” Khabbaza said. “That can be a little bit reassuring.”

Khabbaza, who’s taking a 500-mile road trip with his family to Long Island, New York, offered

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