These 4 Midwestern states are seeing worrying Covid-19 spikes

The coronavirus is always restless, always searching for new people in new places to infect. These days, even as the summer wave fades in the Sun Belt states, several Midwestern states are seeing case numbers rise. They look like the new Covid-19 hot spots.

“The Midwest is taking off,” William Hanage, a Harvard epidemiologist, told me over email. “It’s not going to skyrocket, but there is a clear signal there and it is close to making up for the gains across the Sun Belt.”

Here are the regional trends in chart form, via the Covid Tracking Project:

Covid Tracking

How a basic income experiment helped these Kenyans weather the Covid-19 crisis

Several years ago, researchers in Kenya decided to study the effects of a universal basic income (UBI) trial on people’s wellbeing. Some 6,000 recipients in a 12-year trial beginning around 2017 received 75 cents a day — not much, but enough, their research found, for people to be less food-insecure and more likely to start a business. Others received payments for just two years (that ended in December 2019), and still others received a lump sum payment.

In early 2020, the coronavirus hit. In response, governments like Kenya’s imposed harsh lockdowns that sought to prevent the virus’s spread but that …

China may double its nuclear arsenal in just 10 years. Don’t panic.

A new Pentagon report predicts China will double its number of nuclear warheads over the next 10 years. That certainly sounds scary, but the assessment actually offers a broadly reassuring message: Despite these expected advances, the US will remain the far stronger nuclear force well into the future.

The report released on Tuesday, titled “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2020,” is an annual report to Congress by the Department of Defense. While it doesn’t include any classified information, many China analysts eagerly await its findings to track what changes, if any, China has …

Why the no-tipping movement failed (and why it still has a chance)

One year after we first spoke in July 2019, Andrew Hoffman tells me I need a “disclaimer” for this piece. “This article was started pre-pandemic. Back in the Great Before,” jokes Hoffman, co-owner of Berkeley’s Comal and Comal Next Door, who eliminated tipping at his table-service restaurant around six years ago. I like that, I reply, repeating “the Great Before” with sardonic gusto. Hoffman laughs. “Take that playbook from the Great Before and throw it away,” says Hoffman. “You don’t need it anymore.”

Since COVID-19 spread through the United States, millions of food service workers have been laid off or …

Does convalescent plasma help treat Covid-19? The NIH says we don’t yet know.

The National Institutes of Health on Tuesday put out a blunt statement on the use of convalescent plasma to treat Covid-19, calling the evidence for its effectiveness “insufficient.”

“There are currently no data from well-controlled, adequately powered randomized clinical trials that demonstrate the efficacy and safety of convalescent plasma for the treatment of Covid-19,” according an NIH treatment guidelines panel that reviewed the evidence. “There are insufficient data to recommend either for or against the use of convalescent plasma for the treatment of COVID-19.”

The statement was clearly aimed at the Food and Drug Administration, which granted a controversial …

Ed Markey wins his Senate primary — fending off a challenge from Joe Kennedy 

Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) has won his primary, successfully holding off a challenge from Rep. Joe Kennedy, a scion of the famous Massachusetts political family.

Markey, a longtime US lawmaker, is known for being a stalwart champion of environmental policy including cosponsoring the Green New Deal, as well as landmark House legislation on cap and trade 11 years ago.

There had been a limited ideological case for Kennedy’s run since the two lawmakers both identify as progressives, and Markey leaned heavily into his legislative work on both climate and tech to carve out an advantage. A robust digital presence …

Richard Neal, one of the most powerful Democrats in Congress, fends off primary challenge

Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) has fended off a high-profile primary challenge in Massachusetts.

Neal, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee and represents Massachusetts’ First Congressional District, faced a tight race with Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse heading into Massachusetts’ primary on Tuesday. Morse, who is gay, was backed by Justice Democrats, the progressive group that recruits and supports progressive candidates to primary incumbents. He hoped to follow in the footsteps of figures such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman in New York and Cori Bush in Missouri in unseating an entrenched Democratic member of Congress.

Ultimately, Neal, who …