Masks Worst

Best and worst masks to protect from coronavirus – New York Daily News

Not all masks are created equal.

Researchers at Duke University have tested 14 types of masks and other facial coverings and found that some are wanting when it comes to coronavirus protection, while others are quite good.

Using an easy-to-assemble laser and cellphone system, the team shined precise light onto the droplets emitted by someone wearing all varieties of mask, from none to the high-concept N95 that health care workers use.

The droplets people inadvertently spray out while coughing, sneezing, singing, shouting or even talking appear to be the most common form of transmission. The fewer of those we spew into everyone’s common air space, the lower the infection rate for SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.

Since as many as 40% of infected people don’t know they have it and can transmit the novel coronavirus to equally unsuspecting people they come in contact with, knowing what does and does not stop transmission is key, the researchers said. So is wearing a mask.

“If everyone wore a mask, we could stop up to 99% of these droplets before they reach someone else,” study co-author Dr. Eric Westman, a physician at Duke, said in a statement. “In the absence of a vaccine or antiviral medicine, it’s the one proven way to protect others as well as yourself.”

There were a few surprises, most notably that pulling fleece over your mouth and nose is apparently worse than no mask at all.

Breaking News Newsletter

As it happens

Get updates on the coronavirus pandemic and other news as it happens with our free breaking news email alerts.

“We were extremely surprised to find that the number of particles measured with the fleece actually exceeded the number of particles measured without wearing any mask,” study co-author Martin Fischer, a chemist and physicist at Duke, told CNN. “We want to emphasize that we really encourage people to wear masks, but we want them to wear masks that actually work.”

Folded bandanas and knitted masks were not much better, the researchers said.

The best one turned out to be an N95 without the valve, the researches said, followed by three-layer surgical masks and the types of cotton masks that people have been making themselves. Those hand-made cotton face coverings “provided good coverage, eliminating a substantial amount of the spray from normal speech,” the researchers said.

The proof-of-concept study appeared online Friday in the journal Science Advances.

The hope is that companies, museums and community groups will set up the tests to show both themselves and potential mask wearers the effectiveness of each method.

“This is a very powerful visual tool to raise awareness that a very simple mask, like these homemade cotton masks, do really well to stop the majority of these respiratory droplets,” Fischer told CNN. “Companies and manufacturers can set this up and test their mask designs before producing them, which would also be very useful.”

Read More

iPhone Worst

Now is the worst time to buy a new iPhone – MSN Money

When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

  • With Apple‘s much-rumored iPhone 12 expected to launch in the fall, now is the worst time to purchase a new iPhone.
  • If you’re already planning to spend hundreds of dollars on a new phone, it’s probably worth it to wait for the newest model that’s expected to come with 5G support and the latest Apple processor.
  • Even if you don’t care about having the latest iPhone, Apple typically discounts certain older models when introducing new ones.

If you’re considering splurging on a new iPhone in the near future, it’s probably best to re-think that decision.

Apple typically releases its new iPhones in the fall, meaning the next-generation model may only be less than two months away. If you were already planning to spend around $1,000 to upgrade your iPhone, you’d be best advised to wait until the much-rumored

iPhone 12

hits store shelves rather than investing in a phone that may soon feel outdated.Advertisement

This year’s iPhone is expected to come with 5G support, a new processor, different size options, a refreshed design that’s similar to that of the iPad Pro, and OLED screens across all models. That latter point is significant because Apple usually reserves OLED display panels, which are capable of showing richer blacks and bolder colors compared to LCD screens, specifically for its pricier “Pro” iPhone models.

Support for 5G connectivity may not be important right now while carriers are still in the process of building out their networks. But, if you’re spending hundreds of dollars on a new device, you’ll probably want it to last for at least two years, if not longer. Waiting for the 5G iPhone rather than spending a similar amount of money on last year’s model could be a great way to future-proof your device as 5G is expected to become the standard in the coming years.

Apple typically releases its new iPhones near the end of September, but it looks like the iPhone 12 lineup may launch a bit later than usual this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking on the company’s fiscal third-quarter earnings call, Luca Maestri, Apple’s senior vice president and chief financial officer, said the company expects supply of the new product to be available “a few weeks later” compared to last year’s

iPhone 11

and 11 Pro launch.


Those comments line up with some previous reports about the expected iPhone 12’s launch. Bloomberg, for example, reported in April that some versions of the new iPhone may debut a few weeks later but still in the fall time frame. Analysts at JP Morgan, however, have previously predicted that the next iPhone could be delayed by up to one or two months.

Even if you’re not interested in having the newest iPhone, it’s still probably worth it to wait. Apple typically discounts older iPhones when introducing its newest model. Last year, for example, it cut the price of 2018’s

iPhone XR

to $600 when it launched the iPhone 11 lineup. That’s a $150 discount compared to the XR’s original $750 price when it launched.
If you’re in a dire situation and need a replacement iPhone right away, you may not want to wait another month or two for the expected iPhone 12. In that case, we’d suggest an iPhone SE to tide you over.Advertisement

But, if your current iPhone is working well enough to get by for a couple of months, your best bet is to wait until the fall to upgrade.

Read More

Unemployment Worst

We Now Have the Worst Unemployment Rate Since the Great Depression – Slate

Man looking at his phone

A man stands in front of the closed offices of the New York State Department of Labor on Thursday in Brooklyn.

Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Thanks to the coronavirus crisis, the United States is now facing its highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression.

The economy shed 20.5 million jobs in April, and the official unemployment rate rose to 14.7 percent—its highest peak since the government began tracking the modern data series in 1948, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday.

A chart showing the U.S. unemployment rate since 1948.

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

April’s numbers are more on par with the 1931 unemployment rate, based on data drawn from the Historical Statistics of the United States.1 For the moment, we’re living in Hooverville.

A bar graph showing the U.S. unemployment rate from 1925 through 1948.

Jordan Weissmann/Slate

But today’s headline figure may understate the actual extent of joblessness at the moment. In an FAQ accompanying today’s report, the BLS explained that due to a data-collection mistake, up to 8.1 million Americans may have been categorized as employed but not at work, when they likely should have been classified as unemployed or on a temporary layoff. If you factor those individuals in, the April unemployment rate would jump to about 19.5 percent, the government’s statisticians wrote. That would place us roughly in 1932–33 territory.

A bar graph showing the unemployment rate from 1925–48 and the rate in April 2src2src.

Jordan Weissmann/Slate

If all this weren’t depressing enough for you, remember: Millions more Americans have filed unemployment claims since the middle of last month, when this data was actually collected. The picture we’re looking at now is still relatively bright compared with the current reality.

One notable thing about April’s job losses was that they occurred across virtually all industries. The largest chunk by far was in leisure and hospitality (including hotels and restaurants), which saw payrolls decline by more than 7.6 million, or more than one-third of the total. Retail contributed another 2.1 million. But basically every corner of the labor market—from construction to manufacturing to health care to professional services like law—saw declines. There were a handful of subsectors that saw small increases, but the only big gains were supercenters and warehouse clubs (think Walmart, Target, and Costco). We’re not looking at a few industries that have frozen up, but really a whole economy.

It’s not exactly a shock that we’re facing mass unemployment at a moment when entire states and industries are effectively shut down. But the new jobless figures do suggest that the government’s coronavirus response has fallen short in at least one key way. Much of the economic relief bill Congress passed in March, the CARES Act, was designed to keep workers attached to their jobs where possible. The fact that we are now staring at Great Depression–like unemployment numbers anyway should be regarded as a failure. Yes, it’s likely that even more people would be out of work were it not for efforts like the Paycheck Protection Program. And it’s possible that there has been some rehiring as businesses have received their government aid. But the continued flood of unemployment claims suggest that things are, if anything, getting worse rather than better.

The one reason these figures are not a complete catastrophe is that Congress created extremely generous $600-per-week federal unemployment benefits. As a result of those, many Americans will receive more in government aid each week than they were earning at their jobs. States have had difficulty coping with the avalanche of claims, and many people have had to wait weeks to receive their money, if they haven’t been prevented from applying entirely by crashing websites. But as of April 18, almost 19 million Americans at least had their applications processed. Hopefully most of the jobless are actually receiving some substantial help by now.

The federal unemployment benefits are only scheduled to last through the end of July, however. If they expire and people still aren’t ready for a return to work (or shopping or eating out), families are going to find themselves in increasingly desperate financial situations, and the economy will likely sink further into trouble.

In the end, this is just one month’s jobs report. What made the Great Depression the Great Depression was the yearslong slog through economic devastation. The question for us is whether the government can finally contain this virus and engineer a reasonably fast economic recovery. Unfortunately, it’s not at all clear that it will. Republicans in Congress currently don’t appear to have much appetite to pass further significant relief or stimulus measures, such as fiscal aid to states, extended federal unemployment benefits, or a bigger, better wage subsidy program to keep people connected to their work. Meanwhile, the White House seems to be betting its response on Jared Kushner’s ability to speed up the development of a vaccine, which … God help us. If none of this changes soon, there’s a good chance we really will be headed for a long depression of our own.

For more on the impact of the coronavirus, listen to the Political Gabfest.

1This data series counts Americans who were put to work through New Deal programs like the Works Progress Administration as employed. Some conservative historians count them as unemployed, basically because it helps them paint Franklin D. Roosevelt’s efforts to combat the Depression as a failure.

Read More