☕️ Snow (Hey Oh)

So how's that reopening going?
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February 20, 2021 View Online | Sign Up

Daily Brew

Cariuma

Go0d Moorning. <-- That's how the Brew might look without our incredible copyeditor Holly, whose birthday was yesterday. Her sharp editing eye has saved us from numerous embarrassments, whether it's always forgetting there's a second "t" in Buffett or confusing dogcoin and dogecoin. 

Thanks for all you do, Holly!

MARKETS

NASDAQ

13,874.46

+ 0.07%

S&P

3,906.71

- 0.19%

DOW

31,494.32

UNCH

GOLD

1,783.10

+ 0.46%

10-YR

1.340%

+ 4.20 bps

OIL

59.01

- 2.50%

*As of market close. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Crypto: Bitcoin hit another milestone this week—a $1 trillion market capitalization. Let's check in with Citadel founder Ken Griffin for his thoughts: "I don't see the economic underpinning of cryptocurrencies...I don't know how to think about what is effectively a digital token."
  • Geopolitics: In a big foreign policy speech to the Munich Security Conference, President Biden called for coordination among the world's major democracies to face the challenges posed by Russia, Iran, and China. 

COVID

Re-Open Sesame

A lightbulb that looks like the earth flickering on and off

Giphy

When the pandemic hit last winter and countries began shutting down their economies, the No. 1 question became: When will things go back to normal? 

An entire year has passed. Much chess was played. But armed with multiple effective vaccines, countries are starting to think about reopening offices, school systems, and retail stores...for good. 

Israel is furthest along

Powered by the fastest vaccination campaign in the world, Israel's cabinet voted this week to open shopping malls and museums to the public. Gyms, sporting events, hotels, and swimming pools can also reopen...but only for those with a "green badge."

  • A green badge is a QR code that citizens can present to show they've been vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19. The badge gives them access to restaurants, events, and other leisure activities.
  • The government has stopped short of making vaccines mandatory, but hopes the green badge system incentivizes holdouts to join the 2.6+ million Israelis who have already received two doses. 

The UK wants to be next

With his country trailing only Israel, Seychelles, and the UAE in per capita vaccination rate, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will lay out his "cautious" but "irreversible" approach on Monday to Brexit the UK out of lockdown. Early reports from news outlets point to a two-tiered reopening campaign. 

  • Tier 1: Schools will resume on March 8 and outdoor leisure activities like parks, zoos, golf, and tennis may reopen in April. 
  • Tier 2: The UK's pubs and restaurants will probably have to wait until May or early June for a full reopening.

Reminder: The UK suffered its biggest economic drop in 300+ years in 2020.

The US is a little all over the place

NYC upped indoor dining capacity to 35% starting next week and California lawmakers have proposed a $6.6 billion plan to reopen elementary schools by April. But health officials warn that some plans, especially President Biden's goal of reopening most schools by his 100th day in office, are at odds with CDC guidelines.

Bottom line: Unlike when US states and many countries loosened restrictions last summer, we're about to see what reopenings look like when a large (and increasing) chunk of the population has developed immunity from the coronavirus.

        

COVID

Vaccine Tracker

Chart showing daily Covid-19 doses administered

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

In the US...

  • 59.1 million doses, or 17.8 for every 100 people, have been administered, according to the Bloomberg vaccine tracker.
  • 1.58 million doses per day were administered last week, on average.

Around the world...

  • 193 million doses have been administered in 87 different countries.
  • 6.47 million doses are being administered daily, on average.

The latest updates

Helping hand: Political leaders in the G-7 pledged to use their surplus vaccine stores to help immunize developing nations...but stopped short of saying how many doses they'd provide. 

One dose to rule them all: A peer-reviewed study conducted in Israel found that Pfizer's vaccine is at least 85% effective after the first of two doses. The same study also showed that the vaccine can be stored at normal freezer temperatures instead of the current recommendation of -60 to -80 degrees Celsius. 

Speaking of cold: The winter storms hitting Texas cooled off its vaccination campaign. On Thursday, the state administered 118,417 fewer doses than the Thursday prior, and the seven-day moving average fell 31% compared to last week. 

        

MEDIA

Roku Goes Super Saiyan in Q4

Shares in the streaming company Roku are nearing record-highs after revealing two major milestones in Q4 2020:

  1. Surpassed 50 million active accounts
  2. Raked in record revenue of $650 million, up 58% from 2019

In his Thursday evening earnings call, CEO Anthony Wood gave credit where Covid's due: "We think that the pandemic has accelerated and permanently changed the curve on the shift to streaming." As people filled their 2020 voids with CW dramas, Roku's users streamed 10% more per day in the fourth quarter of 2020 than they did in Q4 2019. 

  • In total, users streamed 17 billion hours of TV in the final three months of last year, averaging 3.8 hours per day. 

Looking ahead...Roku recently bought Quibi's content library of 75 shows after muttering, "it's little, and broken, but still good." It's now on the lookout for more content to acquire, or even create some original programming of its own.

        

SPONSORED BY CARIUMA

'Gimme IBI'

Cariuma

"Gimme IBI." "Gimme IBI." "Gimme IBI."

That's what 20,000 people have been saying about CARIUMA's IBI sneakers. But don't worry readers, the flock of "gimme IBI"-squawking seagulls is about to quiet down, because the IBI is back in stock.

These fly-lookin' sneaks are made with bamboo knit, sugarcane, and recycled plastics, these machine washable sneaks are comfier than a kangaroo's pouch. 

And considering they're 100% vegan and basically lighter than air—all without ditching CARIUMA's famous comfort and style—it's no wonder 20,000 people lined up to toss the IBIs on their toes.

Avoid the "gimme IBI" tizzy and get your pair for 15% off right now.

GRAB BAG

Key Performance Indicators

Your daily dose of 1 eye-popping quote, 1 crunchy stat, and 1 informative read from yesterday's business news. 

Quote: "I must admit to being entertained by Mr. Kitty"—Former SEC Chair Jay Clayton reflected on the performance of Reddit trader Keith "Roaring Kitty" Gill during the GameStop hearing Thursday. Clayton told CNBC that the trading action wasn't a "pump and dump scheme." 

Stat: Americans lost $304 million to romance scams last year, a record high and about a 50% increase from 2019. The Federal Trade Commission said that's likely a result of everyone spending far more time in their houses looking for love instead of meeting people in person. 

Read: Every superhero movie is a policy failure. (Hawks and Handsaws)

        

WEATHER

So About Hawaii...

Hawaii volcanoes with snow

Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory

Yesterday, we wrote that—even though snow is covering more than 70% of the continental US—we doubted there was any powder on the ground in Hawaii. To our readers who emailed us that we were wrong, we're about to tell you the three greatest words in the English language: Breakfast for dinner You were right.

The above satellite image shows the snow-capped volcano peaks of the Big Island's Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, which get a light dusting every year. Maui's Haleakalā volcano also received a rare flurry in early February. 

+ Of course they have: Some locals have swapped their surfboards to snowboards to shred what they're calling "pineapple powder."

        

WHAT ELSE IS BREWING

  • Power is being restored across the South, but another challenge is emerging in the region: a shortage of clean drinking water.
  • Google fired the second co-lead of its Ethical AI team, Margaret Mitchell, after an investigation into her use of corporate email.
  • A UK court dealt a blow to Uber, ruling that its drivers should be classified as "workers," not self-employed. That means they'd be entitled to benefits such as a minimum wage. 
  • The US officially rejoined the Paris climate agreement.
  • NASA released new images of the Perseverance rover that just landed on Mars. 

SPONSORED BY CHOBANI

Chobani

Dream a dream of the perfect coffee cream. Now through February, Chobani is giving fans the chance to dream up the Coffee Creamer flavor of their fantasies. Whoever dreams up the winning creamer flavor will pocket $75,000, and see their flavor live on shelves IRL. Submit your dream Chobani® Coffee Creamer flavor here.

BREW'S BETS

Weekend Conversation Starters:

  • Would you rather work for Bezos or Zuck?
  • Do you own a printer? Why or why not?
  • How many toppings make avocado toast an open-faced sandwich?

What to watch: USA Today wrote an awesome roundup to help guide your streaming decisions this weekend, and we've heard Mythic Quest on Apple TV+ is worth a watch—especially if you're a gamer. 

TAXES

Confused About Your Taxes? Phone a Friend.

Tax illustration

Mark Wang

Can confirm it can be very helpful. We called up Kaitlin Menza, a freelance writer and editor based in New York, to walk us through how she does her taxes as a member of the gig economy. 

You'll learn…1) how to stay organized when juggling many projects 2) why forming an LLC isn't always the best option and 3) when you should call in a tax professional. 

Check out the interview

GAMES

Brew Crossword: Pet Projects

Crossword

Francis Scialabba

Today's crossword by Glen Anderson pairs nicely with a hot cup of joe, a peaceful workstation, and…a furry friend.

Try the puzzle here.

+ Think you have what it takes to make your own crossword? Spoiler: You do. Check out our tutorial, and then be sure to submit. If we select your crossword, we'll also send you the iconic Brewneck sweatshirt.

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** A Note From Chobani

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter Contest by: 2/28/21. To enter and for Official Rules, visit http://www.chobanicoffeecreamer.com/.

              

Written by Jamie Wilde, Neal Freyman, and Toby Howell

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