Since mid-March we’ve been pretty much stuck in an unending bad movie or Twilight Zone episode called COVID-19 that’s now infected 12,818,000 Americans and claimed some 262,000 lives.

Among the virus’s other miserable side effects:

  • Finds the U.S. Census Bureau, about 5.5 million children have had no contact with a teacher.
  • From March through October, mental health-related hospital emergency visits rose 24% for children 5 to 11 and 31% for 23- to 27-year-olds compared to 2019.
  • Given the autumn surge, 64% of us would approve of a one-month lockdown—87% of Democrats, 30% of Republicans.
  • Stephen Elledge, the Gregor Mendel Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital recently calculated what would have been the life expectancy of the more than 200,000 killed by COVID-19 and found that it has cost Americans 2.5 million years of life.
  • According to a recent Gallup survey, only about 58% of adults are willing to get vaccinated against COVID-19, so now the AD Council will spend $50 million to get more to roll up their sleeves.
  • Speaking of money, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, $14 billion was spent in the 2020 election, well above 2016’s $7 billion.
  • As reported in the FTC’s latest Consumer Protection Data Spotlight, we spent more than $117 million on social media scams started on such sites as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter during the first half of 2020.
  • Economists estimate that of the 40 million jobs lost during the pandemic’s peak, 42% are gone forever.
  • Gun background checks hit a record 28,826,449 as of September, more than all prior full years.

On a lighter note:

  • 25% of us finished our holiday shopping back in mid-October, according to a Lending Tree survey.
  • To support the U.S. Postal Service, 43% plan to buy stamps, and 39% will send more snail mail.
  • While it takes nature billions of years, gigantic amounts of pressure, and extremely high temperatures to make diamonds, scientists in Australia did it at room temperature and in minutes.

With well wishes and thanks, Carol