Amazon lobbying on legalization

marijuana, california
Welcome to Insider Cannabis.

Welcome to Insider Cannabis, our weekly newsletter where we’re bringing you an inside look at the deals, trends, and personalities driving the multibillion-dollar global cannabis boom.

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Happy Friday everyone:

What’s going on this week? Turning Points Brands, a NYSE-listed company, turned a few heads in the industry this week by announcing an $8 million investment into Old Pal, a California cannabis brand.

Companies that want to maintain their listings on marquee exchanges like the NYSE usually won’t touch US cannabis with a 10,000-foot pole. But Turning Points Brands got around that with some clever moves, as Marc Hauser, who co-leads Reed Smith‘s cannabis practice, noted in his Cannabis Musings newsletter (which you should read).

First, the investment is a convertible note – a form of debt that converts to equity at a later date – and that Old Pal, while nominally a “plant-touching” company, actually operates on a licensing model. So, as Hauser said, TPB is merely lending to a licensing business – not directly investing in a company that traffics in a Schedule I controlled substance.

It’ll be interesting to see if other companies follow this model.

What else is happening?

Cannabis was first domesticated in neolithic China, making it one of the oldest domesticated crops known to humanity. New York airports won’t seize cannabis found at TSA checkpoints anymore. New Jersey is dismissing 88,000 marijuana possession cases.

Sen. Cory Booker clarified his stance on the SAFE Banking Act, a bill that would let cannabis companies access the banking system in an interview with Yahoo. He called the bill – which has bipartisan support, unlike the broader, social justice-focused legalization bill he, Sen. Schumer, and Sen. Wyden proposed last week – a good “sweetener” to sway moderates to a more progressive vision of full-scale legalization.

He previously said he would try and stop SAFE Banking from advancing ahead of his broader legalization bill at all costs, as you may remember from last week’s newsletter.

– Jeremy Berke (@jfberke) & Yeji Jesse Lee (@jesse_yeji)

If you like what you read, share this newsletter with your colleagues, friends, boss, spouse, strangers on the internet, or whomever else would like a weekly dose of cannabis news.

Here’s what we wrote about this week:

Check out the pitch decks that hot cannabis startups used to raise millions from top investors

Cannabis startups have raised millions in the last few years, targeting everything from tech, to distribution, to branded products. We’ve published over a dozen pitch decks from startups like Cann, Dutchie, and Eaze, and gone deep with the founders about their best tips for raising money in an emerging sector like cannabis.

‘A generational wealth opportunity’: 4 top Wall Street analysts share the cannabis stocks to buy now

Four top Wall Street analysts named their top cannabis stock picks. Here’s a look at which companies analysts from Cowen, Jefferies, and others say you should place your bets.

Huge consumer companies from Nestle to Altria are vying for a slice of the exploding CBD market

CBD is already a $2 billion industry in the US, but the cannabis compound’s legal status is murky. Still, that hasn’t stopped large consumer companies from striking up deals and partnerships to jump into the industry.

See the pitch deck that Compass Pathways used to raise $80 million and fuel its rise into one of the world’s biggest psychedelics companies

Compass Pathways is the second-largest psychedelics company in the world by market cap. But in 2019, the company was just getting started. Insider got a hold of a leaked pitch deck the company used to raise $80 million from investors like Otsuka and Founders Fund.

Amazon, investment banks, and even big tobacco are spending millions of dollars to try to get favorable marijuana laws

A record 167 special interests lobbied on cannabis in the second quarter of 2021, an Insider analysis of new lobbying disclosures found. Amazon, Altria, and Morgan Stanley were among the companies lobbying on cannabis banking or legalization.

The CEO of the biggest psychedelics company lays out the 3 challenges he has to address before treatments hit the market

Florian Brand is now the CEO of the biggest psychedelics company in the world. In an interview after Atai’s IPO, Brand laid out the three challenges he has to address before treatments hit the market

Top VCs in psychedelics say Big Pharma is knocking at the door – and it could fuel a wave of deals

Insider talked to 11 top VCs in the psychedelics space and asked for their predictions. Three of them said that pharmaceutical companies are eyeing the space and looking for a way in. This article is the first of three that will detail VCs’ predictions for the psychedelics industry.

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Employees tend to medical cannabis plants at Pharmocann, an Israeli medical cannabis company in northern Israel.

Executive moves

  • California-based cannabis company Harborside announced on Monday that chairman Matt Hawkins would be stepping in as interim CEO. Hawkins runs the cannabis investment firm Entourage Effect Partners. Former CEO of Sublime Ahmer Iqbal has been appointed to COO.
  • Psychedelics company Compass Pathways said on Wednesday that it had appointed Danielle Schlosser to senior vice president of clinical innovation.
  • Cannabis edibles startup Hervé has appointed a pair of marketing execs in California, including Cheyne Nadeau who joins from Canndescent, and Emily Ryan, from Plus Products. Read our story on Hervé’s Series A here.

Deals, launches, and IPOs

  • Multistate operator Ayr Wellness announced on Tuesday that it would acquire Illinois-based Herbal Remedies Dispensaries in a $30 million cash and stock deal.
  • Cannabis-focused hydroponics company GrowGeneration said on Tuesday that it had acquired Oregon-based Aqua Serene. The investment bank Stifel estimated the deal amounts to $7 million in a note.
  • Turning Points Brands, an NYSE-listed company that owns Zig-Zag rolling papers and other smokeless tobacco brands, is investing $8 million into cannabis brand Old Pal through a convertible note.
  • Silver Spike Investment Corp. said on Tuesday that it had plans to make an initial public offering on the Nasdaq until the symbol “SSIC.”
  • Psychedelics company Field Trip Health announced on Friday that it had obtained conditional approval to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol “FTRP.”

Research and data

  • A new study from the Cannabis Research Center at UC Berkeley found that cannabis grows in California often tap unregulated groundwater sources which may have negative effects on streamflow and wildlife.
  • A new study published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society did not find a link between adolescent cannabis use and reduced motivation, but the authors said that greater cannabis use was associated with a devaluing of school.
  • A new study published in the journal Science Advances found that cannabis was first domesticated in Neolithic China.

Policy moves

  • New York State Senator Jeremy Cooney proposed a new bill that would let cannabis growers harvest and sell cannabis ahead of the final rules and appointments for the state’s Office of Cannabis Management. The bill would let growers start next year.

Chart of the week

Thirty-five to 44-year-olds in the US make up the largest portion of medical cannabis patients in the country, according to New Frontier Data. Twenty-five to 34-year-olds trail closely behind, making up 21% of all medical patients in the US.

cannabis weekly newsletter chart about the medical cannabis patients by age
medical cannabis patients by age

What we’re reading

What truck drivers really think about new federal regulations to crack down on drug use (Insider)

‘It’s going to be a bloodbath’: Why some Toronto pot store owners are giving up (BNN Bloomberg)

Your shopping mall’s latest tenant? A pot dispensary (NBC News)

Thieves are stealing California’s scarce water. Where’s it going? Illegal marijuana farms (CalMatters)

A man failed workplace drug test days after N.J. legalized weed and was fired. Now he’s suing. (NJ Advance Media)

Read the original article on Business Insider

The US saw the largest single-year decline in life expectancy in 2020 since World War II, a CDC report found

us 500,000 covid-19 deaths
El Paso County Medical Examiner’s Office staff roll bodies in bags labeled “COVID” from refrigerated trailers into the morgue office on November 23, 2020.

  • US life expectancy fell by a year and a half in 2020, largely due to the pandemic, the CDC found.
  • The average life expectancy is now around 77 years, down from nearly 79 years in 2019.
  • Researchers say it may take a few years for life expectancy to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Average life expectancy in the US plummeted by a year and a half in 2020 – the largest single-year decline since World War II, according to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Life expectancy went from nearly 79 years in 2019 to just over 77 years in 2020, the report found.

For Black and Hispanic Americans, that decline was even more pronounced: around three years.

The average Black American had a life expectancy of nearly 75 years in 2019, but less than than 72 years in 2020. And the average Hispanic American had a life expectancy of nearly 82 years in 2019, but less than 79 years in 2020.

The last time Black Americans saw such a sharp decline in life expectancy was during the Great Depression. Last year also marked the largest single-year decline in life expectancy among Hispanic Americans, though the CDC just started tracking life expectancy among this group in 2006.

Dramatic drop-offs in life expectancy are “highly unusual” in modern US history, Elizabeth Arias, the report’s lead author, told Insider.

“Human mortality, in developed countries especially, is pretty stable and constant,” Arias said. “It changes very little from year to year.”

But the pandemic has lowered the average life expectancy to levels last reported in the early 2000s. Black Americans now have the same life expectancy that they did in the year 2000, as shown in the chart below.

During the first half of 2020, Black Americans had the sharpest decline in life expectancy of any racial group. By the end of the year, however, Hispanic Americans showed a more significant drop-off.

The CDC researchers found that 68% of all COVID-19 deaths among the Hispanic population occurred during the second half of 2020, whereas COVID-19 deaths among Black Americans were fairly evenly distributed across the year.

Arias said she’s not sure why that is yet, but it could have something to do with where the majority of these populations are located.

“We know that the Hispanic population tends to be concentrated in various states, so they’re not distributed throughout the country,” she said.

States with high shares of Hispanic residents – including California, Texas, Florida, and Arizona – saw particularly devastating surges of COVID-19 cases last winter.

COVID-19 also represented a higher share of deaths among Hispanic Americans than among Black or white Americans: 90% of the decline in life expectancy among the Hispanic population was due to COVID-19, compared with 68% of the decline among white Americans and 59% of the decline among Black Americans.

Life expectancy could take a few years to bounce back

coronavirus covid-19 death funeral burial coffin casket mourners
Aracely Iraheta touches the casket of her husband, Jose Agustin Iraheta, in Malden, Massachusetts in May 2020. Iraheta died from COVID-19.

Life expectancy isn’t an indicator of when people will die – rather, it’s a marker of the general health of the population. It represents the average number of years a person might live if they were to experience the current death rate throughout their entire life.

COVID-19 deaths were responsible for roughly 74% of the life expectancy decline in 2020, the CDC found. As these deaths taper off, life expectancy in the US could start to bounce back – but researchers expect that process to take a few years.

“We won’t see life expectancy go back to what it was in 2019 this year,” Arias said. “It might increase a little bit if we stay below the number of deaths that we saw in 2020. It may go down even further if – for example – because of the Delta variant we have significantly more deaths before the end of the year.”

The CDC has already reported more than 230,000 COVID-19 deaths in 2021, Arias said, compared with around 375,000 COVID-19 deaths in 2020.

“Even if we were to able to eradicate COVID deaths completely, we will have the indirect effects of the pandemic present themselves in increases in other causes of death,” she added.

In 2020, for instance, deaths from drug overdoses rose nearly 30% compared with the year prior – from around 71,000 to 93,000. Arias said it’s possible that many of these deaths could also be linked to social or economic hardships from the pandemic.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Schumer’s legalization plan

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As the legal cannabis market grows in the US, there are many ways for investors to gain exposure to the industry.

Welcome to Insider Cannabis, our weekly newsletter where we’re bringing you an inside look at the deals, trends, and personalities driving the multibillion-dollar global cannabis boom.

Sign up here to get it in your inbox every week.

Most of our time this week was spent covering a sweeping, long-shot bid to legalize cannabis from Sens. Chuck Schumer, Cory Booker and Ron Wyden.

The trio introduced a draft version of the bill, The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA), on Wednesday. If you need the key takeaways, we’ve got you covered here.

In short, and I said this on NBC LX on Thursday, the bill goes after the ‘whole enchilada’ (yes, terrible metaphor) for marijuana legalization: It would fully remove cannabis from the list of federally controlled substances, expunge some criminal records, tax and regulate the industry, create funds that help minority entrepreneurs, and eventually allow for interstate commerce.

This is the first time the senate majority leader has outlined cannabis reform as a top priority, and he’s joined by Wyden, chair of the Senate Finance Committee – arguably the most powerful committee – as well as a former presidential candidate in Booker.

Though the bill will likely change significantly over the next few months, the chances it gets over the 60-vote filibuster threshold are almost nonexistent. It’s even unlikely they’ll get all 50 Democratic Senators onboard, as we’ve reported.

There’s a broader fight brewing within the industry as well as the popular activist movements that view legalization as the tip of the spear of broader police reform.

The industry’s investors and executives want access to banking. Senate Democrats and their progressive base want criminal justice reform first.

Booker drew a bright red line in a Wednesday press conference, indicating that we would stop bills like SAFE Banking, which would allow cannabis companies to access the financial system without broader legalization, from advancing ahead of criminal justice reform.

– Jeremy Berke (@jfberke)

If you like what you read, share this newsletter with your colleagues, friends, boss, spouse, strangers on the internet, or whomever else would like a weekly dose of cannabis news.


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Here’s what we wrote about this week:

Top Senate Democrats just released a 30-page draft that lays out their vision for legalizing cannabis. Here are the 8 things you need to know.

The discussion draft for the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA) was released on Wednesday. The bill isn’t expected to garner enough votes to pass the Senate – and the White House has not signaled support for the legislation – but Insider looked through the 30-page document to highlight eight key points in the draft.

A top Wall Street analyst lays out why Schumer’s legalization bill isn’t a slam dunk for US cannabis companies

In a Thursday note, Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Pablo Zuanic said that while de-scheduling – a key aspect of the CAOA – would be a big win for the industry, a hefty federal tax would pose a “new burden” to consumers who already have to pay high state and local taxes. Zuanic broke down the draft into 7 points and noted how each one would affect current cannabis companies.

A top Wall Street analyst lays out 4 cannabis stock picks after Schumer’s sweeping marijuana legalization proposal

Analysts say that the recent pullback in US cannabis stocks the day Democrats released their bill draft has created a prime buying opportunity and laid out his top four picks. “Make use of yesterday’s weakness,” the analysts said in a Thursday note, adding that investors should avoid financially stretched companies that lack “state-level depth.”

Meet the top 11 VCs who’ve bet the most cash on turning MDMA and magic mushrooms into medical treatments

The psychedelics space has burgeoned over the past year and VCs are largely responsible for all the capital that’s flowing into the space. Insider put together a list of the top investors that have bet the most cash on psychedelics companies.

Executive moves

  • Curaleaf announced that Ranjan Kalia, former executive vice president and CFO of tech firm Virtusa Corp, would be joining the company as CFO.
  • MedMen announced that Tom Lynch, who had been serving as interim CEO, would be stepping into the role on a permanent basis.
  • President Joe Biden tapped Dr. Rahul Gupta as the new director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Gupta is the former chair of the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.
  • Cannabis retail company Zoned Properties named Berekk Blackwell as its new COO.
  • Psychedelics wellness retreat company Dimensions Health Centres said that Dr. Douglas Cook, head of neurosurgery at Queen’s University, will be joining the company as chief medical officer. Hospitality veteran Linda Griffin will be joining as managing director of hospitality.

Deals, launches, and IPOs

  • Michigan cannabis company C3 Industries closed a $25 million funding round led by Welcan Capital and Navy Capital, bringing the company’s total capital raised to $65 million.
  • Psychedelics company Wesana Health announced that it acquired therapeutic software company PsyTech in a C$21 million all-stock deal.

Policy moves

Research and data

Chart of the week

Florida dominates the US medical cannabis market, selling $1.2 billion worth of products in 2020, according to New Frontier Data. Trailing closely behind are Arizona and California, at $1.1 billion and $857 million in sales respectively:

A bar chart about the top 10 medical cannabis market by revenue in 2020
Top 10 medical cannabis market by revenue in 2020

What we’re reading (and listening too)

The trucking industry is doubling down on booting marijuana smokers, and it’s getting a little ridiculous (Insider)

Lab-grown weed designed to give you the munchies without feeling high could be a life-saving cancer treatment (Insider)

The lawyers making money behind the scenes of emerging fields like crypto, cannabis, and the influencer economy (Insider)

Can Marijuana Make You a Better Athlete? (New York Times)

Illegal pot invades California’s deserts, bringing violence, fear, ecological destruction (LA Times)

One of the biggest names in craft beer is hopping over to the cannabis business (CNN)

Opinion: How should we do drugs now? (New York Times)

Mr. Marijuana and the Drug Czar (Slate)

Read the original article on Business Insider

Insider Advertising: CMOs need to get smart on price

Hello and welcome to Insider Advertising, a weekly newsletter where I break down the most important news and trends on Madison Avenue and beyond. I’m Lara O’Reilly, Insider’s media and advertising editor. If this was forwarded to you, sign up here.

Thanks so much to everyone who offered their feedback on last week’s edition. Please do continue to send your comments, tips, and pun suggestions to loreilly@insider.com.

On with this week’s news:


Price, price baby

groceries grocery store grocery shopping coronavirus

Summer’s here and for many marketers, that typically means it’s budgeting season once again.

But this time it’s different: US consumer prices rose at their fastest monthly rate since 2008 between May and June this year – and at a higher rate than analysts had forecast.

While lots of companies raise their prices at a regular frequency, businesses this year are also contending with supply chain issues and rising commodity costs that are eating into their margins.

Many marketers and academics consider “Pricing” as the most important of the “4Ps of marketing” (product, price, place, promotion) – or more specifically, the ability to build a brand strong enough to maintain sustainable pricing power.

PepsiCo certainly thinks it has. Consumer-products companies including P&G and Kimberly-Clark also set out intentions earlier this year to raise their prices.

Marketing consultant and former AB InBev CMO Chris Burggraeve tells me the topic of pricing is coming up at every board he speaks with right now: “In unusual times like this, more than ever.”

Burggraeve, who recently published a book entitled “Marketing IS NOT a Black Hole,” said it’s important for marketers to make sure they’re in the mix as these conversations happen. It’s not just about raising prices either – there can be opportunities to hold or even lower prices strategically and capture market share or volume from competitors.

Marketers without the luxury of having already built a strong brand may get away with raising their prices in the short-term, Burggraeve said. But he added that it’s likely they may have to immediately pull back and discount again to counter negative dips in volume and share.

I’m reminded of that often-quoted Warren Buffett adage: It’s only when the tide goes out that you see who’s been swimming naked.


I get knocked down, but I get up again

a chart about the 2021 ad spend growth forecasts for the marketing newsletter on July 14
2021 ad spend growth forecasts by industry

Global ad spend is expected to grow by 10% to $634 billion in 2021, according to an upgraded forecast from Dentsu. That would mark a swift recovery from last year, which was the weakest-performing since the global financial crisis.

But, wait a minute! Gartner’s latest annual CMO Spend Survey found that marketing budgets as a proportion of companies’ revenue have fallen to 6.4%, down from 11% in 2020, as the WSJ’s CMO Today reported.

Why the discrepancy between these two datapoints? The suggestion is that much of the surge in ad spending anticipated by Dentsu and other forecasters this year will be driven by smaller, often online-only businesses and not necessarily the larger companies that Gartner surveys.

For those marketers, it’s as good a time as ever to get closer to the finance decision makers in their business. As Burggraeve put it to me, marketers need to “out the comfort zone of storytelling and advertising, and go back to Kotler and the 4Ps,” referring to Philip Kotler, the renowned marketing author and professor who has been dubbed “the father of modern marketing.”


You can find me in the club

Red velvet rope for VIP Slack group list
Advertisers, marketers, and PR professionals are vying to get into VIP Slack groups.

At the end of the working day, the very last thing on my mind is the idea of logging back in to Slack to continue the industry chatter where it left off. (Not offence to my lovely, witty, and talented colleagues, readers, and sources.)

But it turns out a bunch of advertising pros are champing at the bit to join a set of highly exclusive VIP Slack groups.

This fun piece from my colleague Lindsay Rittenhouse details how some of these industry Slack groups have thousands of people years-long waiting lists to get accepted in. Many have a list of rules to follow once you finally do get behind the coveted velvet rope.

While some of these Slacks – described by some as digital versions of the Soho House private members’ club – were established years ago, the pandemic has added extra urgency to the clamor to join these groups to network and hunt for work opportunities.

I’d like to know whether any private industry groups are also popping up on newer platforms. A Discord for digital buyers? A Mumble for marketers? Let me know if you can sneak me in on the guest list.


The 90-second slot

In this semiregular corner of the newsletter, I’ll bring you a rapid-fire, 90-second interview with the industry’s most influential executives who are dominating the week’s advertising news.

This week I spoke with Mediaocean CEO Bill Wise, hot on the heels of the company’s announcement of its intention to acquire adtech company Flashtalking, in a deal reportedly worth $500 million.

Mediaocean Bill Wise
Mediaocean CEO Bill Wise.

How did the acquisition talks first come about?

They have been a longstanding partner for us so it kind of came together naturally. We were trying to solve similar things philosophically and it just made sense.

Are you still on the hunt to make more acquisitions of similar sized companies?

We are always on the hunt. This is our 11th acquisition in about five years. We are already in another discussion. There is a massive opportunity to be the leading, independent, and neutral operating system because Big Tech just has so much of the ad dollars that the world needs us to do this.

Adtech dealmaking is off the charts at the moment. How do you think the pace of M&A is going to ebb and flow over the next year?

I think whereas maybe five or six years ago it was advantageous to be a startup, scale matters now. And global presence matters. Marketers want proven companies at scale who can expand globally. So I think the best companies are going to continue to consolidate.

What does that consolidation mean for marketers?

It means marketers have more choices. They don’t just have to rely on Google, Facebook, and Amazon for their digital marketing. They are going to be able to have neutral alternatives.


Recommended reads

There are plenty of extracts doing the rounds this week from “An Ugly Truth,” a new book from New York Times reporters Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang, which takes readers behind the scenes at drama inside Facebook. While the book doesn’t delve too deeply into the nuances of its ads business, it does portray an apparently withering relationship between Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, and also how Facebook often prioritized its image first, and fixing things later – The New York Times

Speaking of Facebook: Kate Kaye reports that its brand safety audit with the Media Rating Council – an olive branch promised in July 2020 in the wake of an advertiser boycott – is on ice for now – Digiday

The new “Space Jam” is set to be a product placement and brand-collab bonanza – Ad Age

Travel influencers are finding their work is picking up again as the tourism industry returns to spending on marketing – Insider

Goldman Sachs’ consumer bank Marcus takes digs at other banks’ perks in its biggest ad campaign since launching in 2016 – Insider

See you next week – Lara

Read the original article on Business Insider

Grocery stores are stockpiling food and cleaning supplies amid rising costs and demand

Frozen meat section grocery store

Grocery stores are stockpiling food and other items in anticipation of rising prices and demand.

Paul McLean, the chief merchandising officer of Stew Leonard’s, told Insider that the supermarket chain is purchasing 50% more inventory than usual, and that they’ve “bought ahead whenever possible” to protect margins. He specifically mentioned buying more paper products and imported goods like pasta sauce, pasta, and olive oil.

“We’re buying more ingredients for home cooks – including flour and spices,” McLean said. “We are also buying ahead on cleaning products for the fall and back to school.”

McLean added that they’ve seen an increase in sales of lobster, shrimp, prime meat, and organic produce, with frozen food sales increasing 20% over the past year.

Some grocery stores are running into issues getting everything they ordered from suppliers, The Wall Street Journal first reported on Tuesday. “It runs the risk of making a bad situation worse,” Mark Griffin, president of B&R Stores Inc., told the Journal.

Stew Leonard’s does not anticipate rising prices substantially any time soon. “We are holding our pricing for the most part,” McLean said. “Since we buy direct, there’s been no disruptions to our supply of fresh products like produce, meat, and fish.”

Grocery stores’ stockpiling puts additional stress on an already fragile US food supply chain, which is currently struggling with labor shortages and high shipping costs.

From lumber and chicken wings to Starbucks drinks, product shortages have continued as the US economy reopens. Shortages are just one result of surging shipping costs, as maritime trade continues to recover from the pandemic.

A leading economist told Bloomberg that people may be underestimating just how much the shipping crisis will raise prices of consumer goods, Grace Dean reported for Insider.

Some grocery stores are raising product prices to minimize losses, the Journal reported.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for food in May has increased by 0.4% compared to April, meaning that on average, purchasing food has gotten slightly more expensive in recent months.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A survey of 2,000 Americans found they’re more likely to talk about politics and relationships with their friends than money

two men talking to friends
Americans are more likely to talk to their friends about politics and sex than money, a Master your Money poll found.

  • A taboo around money persists in America, according to a new Insider poll.
  • Talking money with friends is unpopular across all generations, and more so among older Americans.
  • Money is a sensitive topic, but discussing it can lead to better financial outcomes.
  • This article is part of a series focused on millennial financial empowerment called Master your Money.

Even after a year in which personal financial hardship dominated the national conversation, results from Insider’s new Master your Money Pulse Poll suggest that Americans still aren’t comfortable discussing money with friends.

When asked which topics they regularly discuss with friends, each of the following outranked the topic of money: health, sex and relationships, politics, current events, and pop culture. The survey was conducted in May 2021 and included responses from 2,130 people 18 and older.

Although there is some variation among generations, the trend tracks across all age groups – Americans are most likely to talk about current events with their friends and least likely to bring up finances.

Old Americans say the are less likely to talk about money with friends:

  • 47% of 18-to-34 year olds regularly discuss money
  • 38% of 35-to-54 year olds regularly discuss money
  • 25% of 55-to-74 year olds regularly discuss money

These results underscore a longstanding taboo around discussing personal finances in America. This “society-wide gag rule” exists at varying degrees, Joe Pinsker wrote in an article for The Atlantic, particularly between socioeconomic classes, genders, and cultures.

“Many Americans do have trouble talking about money – but not all of them, not in all situations, and not for the same reasons. In this sense, the ‘money taboo’ is not one taboo but several, each tailored to a different social context,” Pinsker wrote.

Talking about money can lead to better financial outcomes

Money is an uncomfortable, emotionally charged topic for a lot of people. If you feel like you’re lacking or not saving as much as you’ve been told to, there may be embarrassment or shame. If you feel like you’re doing well compared to what you know (or assume) of others’ situations, there might be a tinge of guilt.

The negative associations go on and on, so it’s no wonder most Americans aren’t chomping at the bit to discuss their bank balances, debt journey, or salary with their social circle. But this tendency to be tight-lipped can be more harmful than we realize, particularly when it comes to solving issues like equal pay and the racial wealth gap.

Interestingly, when it comes to asking for advice, a higher share of the Master your Money survey respondents said they go to friends than a financial planner – though most turn to relatives and financial websites.

The younger a person is, the data revealed, the more likely they are to ask friends or relatives for financial advice. As a person approaches their retirement years, they are more likely to get advice from a financial planner.

Working with a professional, such as a financial planner, coach, or therapist, can help you navigate your current money struggles and even uncover the deeper beliefs and attitudes holding you back from making progress. Data show people who seek help from an advisor are more likely to report happiness, confidence, and stability in their financial and personal lives compared to those who go it alone.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The most and least vaccinated counties in each US state, mapped

vaccine line virginia
People wait in a observation area after getting a COVID-19 vaccination at an old TJ Maxx store in Lynchburg, Virginia, on March 13, 2021.

  • Across US counties, vaccination rates range from 0.1% to nearly 100%.
  • The contrasts between each state’s most and least vaccinated county reveals stark disparities.
  • Unvaccinated communities remain vulnerable to coronavirus outbreaks.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

No matter where you step foot in Chattahoochee County, Georgia – the library, church, or post office – chances are everyone you encounter will have been fully vaccinated. The county has the highest vaccination rate of anywhere in the US: nearly 100%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 210 miles east, however, Long County, Georgia is far more vulnerable to coronavirus outbreaks. Less than 2% of that county’s population is fully vaccinated – among the lowest vaccination rates in the US.

But Georgia is far from the only state with stark disparities in its vaccine rollout. Across the US, county vaccination rates range from 0.1% to nearly 100%.

The interactive map below shows the most and least vaccinated counties in each state. Hover over a county to see its vaccination rate.

In some cases, these divides form along rural and urban lines. In Kentucky, for instance, more than half the people in Franklin County – the state’s most populous county – are fully vaccinated. But in the more rural community of Spencer County, less than 16% of the population has been fully vaccinated. The two counties are less than an hour apart.

Residents of rural counties often face more barriers in accessing shots, including a lack of transportation or internet access.

Still, plenty of rural communities have immunized large shares of their populations. In Hamilton County, New York – a county with no hospital or pharmacy – the community transformed schools and a fire house into vaccination sites. Neighborhood volunteers also teamed up to help people register for shots. Now more than 67% of people there have been fully vaccinated, making it New York’s most vaccinated county.

Individual counties are still vulnerable to outbreaks

Around 40% of the US population is fully vaccinated in total – a much higher share than most of the world. But the pandemic is as much local as it is global, and largely unvaccinated communities are still vulnerable to outbreaks.

“When we say the United States has nearly 50% of people fully vaccinated now, that’s great, but that doesn’t mean anything for a particular place,” Lisa Lee, an epidemiologist at Virginia Tech, recently told Insider. (Just over 50% of US adults have been vaccinated.) “We really do need to think carefully about our own situation and our own community.”

Daily coronavirus cases in Wyoming, for instance, have risen nearly 30% in the last two weeks. In Campbell, that state’s least vaccinated county, daily cases have doubled during that time. Less than 17% of Campbell residents have been fully vaccinated so far.

vaccine los angeles
Jamilette Mota, 17, receives her Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from nurse Josselyn Solano at a mobile clinic in Los Angeles, California, on April 20.

Ideally, scientists would like to see every county vaccinate at least 75% of its population. That’s probably the threshold at which a county has reached herd immunity – the point beyond which the virus can’t easily pass from person to person.

“Some places are above 60%, so there are some pockets that are pretty protected,” Lee said. “We have to understand, though, that it just takes a couple of cases, a couple of people coming into a community, to pass this along.”

The US continues to struggle with vaccine hesitancy: As of April, around 13% of US adults said they wouldn’t seek out a shot even if it were available to them, according to a Kaiser Foundation poll.

Already, the nation’s vaccine rollout appears to be slowing down: At its peak in April, the US was administering around 3.3 million daily doses, on average. Now it’s administering just 1.5 million daily doses, on average.

So many states have started to offer incentives to get more shots into arms. Ohio awarded $1 million on Thursday to a 22-year-old woman who entered its “vaccine lottery.” And California just launched a $116.5 million lottery to incentivize residents to get vaccinated. New York, meanwhile, is piloting a program to give scratch-off lottery tickets to people at select vaccination sites.

“The hope is that if we can get enough people vaccinated, we’ll get transmission to be so low that we won’t have to worry about variants – that we won’t give the virus a chance to figure out how to evade the vaccine,” Lee said. “That’s really what we’re after.”

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Teens experience side effects after Pfizer’s shot slightly more than adults do. A chart shows the most common.

kid pfizer vaccine
Malikai McPherson, 16, receives Pfizer’s vaccine at a clinic in Melbourne, Florida, on May 17, 2021.

During the initial week of Pfizer’s vaccine rollout for 12- to 15-year-olds, roughly 600,000 adolescents received their first shots.

Scientists expected the vaccine to be effective in young people even before trial results were released – our immune systems get weaker with age, so children and adolescents typically develop strong protection from vaccines. Indeed, Pfizer’s clinical trials showed that the vaccine was 100% effective among 12- to 15-year-olds: Out of more 1,100 adolescents who received the shot, none developed COVID-19.

Moderna, meanwhile, announced on Tuesday that its vaccine was also found to be 100% effective among 12- to 15-year-olds in clinical trials. The immune responses among adolescents appeared comparable to that in adults.

But adolescents seem to develop side effects more frequently after Pfizer’s shot than adults. That’s likely because kids’ immune systems do an excellent job of revving up quickly.

“That feeling of yuckiness and fatigue and fever is your body making a great immune response,” Dr. Sharon Nachman, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, told Insider.

The chart below shows the most common side effects among adolescents and young adults (people ages 16 to 25) after Pfizer’s vaccine, depending on the dose.

For the most part, these side effects aren’t too different from those recorded among older adults.

Fatigue and headaches were more prevalent among adolescents than adults

The most common side effect among adolescents in Pfizer’s trial was injection-site pain: Nearly 91% of 12- to 15-year-olds reported that after either vaccine dose. Fatigue was the second-most common, with 78% reporting the symptom. About 76% reported headaches.

Nearly half of adolescents also reported chills after either dose of Pfizer’s shot, while 42% reported muscle pain. Fever and joint pain weren’t as prevalent, though: 24% and 20% of adolescents reported these side effects, respectively.

kids pfizer vaccine
Children ages 12 to 15 get vaccinated at the Cross River Center in Lowell, Massachusetts, on May 13, 2021.

In general, almost all of the vaccine’s side effects were more prevalent among adolescents than adults. About 84% of people ages 18 and older who participated in Pfizer’s clinical trials reported injection site pain, while 63% reported fatigue and 55% reported headaches.

Pfizer’s second shot amplifies an existing immune response, so people typically feel more run-down after that dose. That was true overall for both adults and adolescents in clinical trials. Both age groups also saw the side effects stop within a few days.

Clinical trials are studying the vaccines among kids younger than 12

mother stroller vaccine
A mother with her baby girl awaits her turn to be vaccinated in Sardinia, Italy, on May 15, 2021.

Pfizer’s shot isn’t the first to be distributed to teens – the Food and Drug Administration authorized Moderna’s vaccine for 16- and 17-year olds in December.

Moderna’s chief executive officer, Stéphane Bancel, said in a statement that the company will ask the FDA to authorize its shot for 12- to 15-year-olds in early June. Johnson & Johnson, meanwhile, started testing its single-dose vaccine in adolescents ages 12 to 17 in April.

Moderna and Pfizer are both still testing their vaccines’ safety and efficacy among younger children. Pfizer expects to have data about its shot’s effectiveness among kids ages 2 to 11 by September, followed by data for children ages 6 months to 2 years in November. Moderna could produce similar data for kids between 6 months and 11 years soon after.

Public-health experts widely agree that vaccinating kids could help the US reach herd immunity – the threshold beyond which the virus can’t spread easily from person to person – much faster.

“As you have new children enter the population, they’re going to be susceptible,” Rahul Subramanian, a data scientist at the University of Chicago, told Insider. “When we vaccinate children, it helps us maintain herd immunity.”

This story has been updated with new information. It was originally published on May 19, 2021.

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Palm Beach County has around 44 billionaires. The super-rich are flocking there for business opportunities, convenient transport links, and a chance to live in ‘paradise.’

West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach is attractive for both workers and their families.

  • Palm Beach County’s grew twice as fast as the US average over the past decade.
  • This has accelerated during the pandemic as remote workers sought a sunnier climate during lockdown.
  • Three locals explained why both people and businesses are flocking to the county.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Florida has been one of the few states to see real economic progress during the pandemic.

Both businesses and companies have flocked to the US’ third-largest state over the past year because of its pro-business environment, including a lack of personal-income tax, alongside its sunny climate that made it an alluring place to spend lockdown.

And Palm Beach County, located just north of Miami, has stood out. Elliott Management is planning on moving its headquarters there, Citadel Securities based its trading-floor’s COVID-19 bubble at a hotel there, and hundreds of families have relocated to the county.

Read more: IBM is hunting for a smaller NYC office now that 80% of its employees won’t come in every day. It’s a sign of the times.

Insider spoke to parties involved in the local economy, including the mayors of Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, and Palm Beach town, to understand what’s driving people to move to the area.

‘We punch above our weight in terms of business strength’

Palm Beach County has been working to drive a migration of businesses for around 10 years, Kelly Smallridge, CEO of the county’s Business Development Board (BDB), told Insider.

West Palm Beach
The county is popular among boaters.

The county realized that executives were buying second houses or coming for vacations in Florida, but owned a large business in another state. So the BDB approached them about bringing their business to Florida, Smallridge said.

“That initiative has turned out to be the most lucrative economic development initiative in the last 40 years,” Smallridge said.

The BDB isn’t the only group actively recruiting businesses to move to the county. West Palm Beach mayor Keith James told Insider that the city had been reaching out to financial-services companies for years – not just in New York but in other Northeast states including Vermont and Connecticut, alongside some companies as far afield as California.

“We’ve seen tremendous interest in companies relocating to Boca Raton,” Scott Singer, the mayor of Boca Raton, told Insider.

He said the city had been fielding “plenty” of inbound calls, but that it had also launched targeted advertising in the New York, Chicago, and San Francisco markets, including promoting its technology business hub.

The three mayors told Insider they had especially noticed increasing levels of interest from venture capital, private equity, hedge fund, and financial-services companies, feeding into a state-wide trend.

360 rosemary related companies office building west palm beach
360 Rosemary, a new West Palm Beach office building under construction, is luring out-of-state financial firms including New Day as tenants.

Hedge fund Elliott Management is in final-stage talks to move its headquarters from Manhattan to West Palm Beach, while Maryland-based mortgage company New Day USA is leasing 50,000 square feet of office space as a second headquarters in the city.

And Ken Griffin’s Citadel Securities chose Palm Beach’s Four Seasons as the location for its trading floor’s COVID-19 bubble in April 2020.

Almost 2,500 financial-service firms have offices in the county, employing 37,000 people in total, according to the BDB.

But other industries are growing, too. West Palm Beach is targeting the marine and medical industries for future growth, while Singer said that Bacon Raton has been a tech hub for decades, noting that IBM developed the first personal computer there in 1981.

Palm Beach's marina
Palm Beach County’s 47 miles of coastline mean that its marine industry is booming.

Singer said Boca Raton had the number of corporate headquarters you’d expect from a city of four or five times its size. These include the headquarters of The Office Depot, ADT, and Bluegreen Vacations.

“We punch above our weight in terms of business strength,” Singer said.

ADT's HQ
ADT’s headquarters are located in Boca Raton.

The county also has a 350,000 square foot convention center with 19 meeting rooms for businesses to hold events, conferences, and trade shows.

Palm Beach County Convention Center
The county even has its own convention center.

Florida doesn’t have a personal-income tax but it has a variety of other business benefits, too, Troy McLellan, CEO of Boca Raton’s Chamber of Commerce, said.

He said Boca Raton has a “rich entrepreneurial environment” and “an ecosystem that supports business and entrepreneurs,” in part thanks to actions of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. He also points to the collaboration between groups such as the Palm Beach’s BDB, the regional Chamber, and Enterprise Florida.

Boca Raton alone has three college campus that create a pipeline of intellectual capital for businesses relocating to the area, McLellan said.

Florida Atlantic University campus
Florida Atlantic University’s main campus is based in Boca Raton.

There are a lot of transport developments either in place or in the pipeline for Palm Beach County, too.

The county has an international airport, which more than six million passengers pass through each year. Even the most northern part of the county, Jupiter, is located just 90 minutes’ drive from Miami and Fort Lauderdale airports for a wider range of long-haul flights.

Boca Raton also has its own general aviation airport, while West Palm Beach is planning to launch a study into the feasibility of direct flights from the city to the Caribbean to benefit its marine sector.

And traveling from West Palm Beach to the rest of Florida is getting easier after it was connected to Miami through Brightline, a rail system with investments from Richard Branson’s Virgin, John Boyd of the Boyd Company said. The route will be expanded to include Orlando and its airport as well as Tampa, too.

Brightline train
The Brightline connect cities across southern Florida.

This transport network is luring both businesses and people to the county.

Singer said there had been “tremendous interest” from executives with businesses overseas, who wanted to open offices or even locate to Boca Raton because of its transport links. Meanwhile, West Palm Beach says it has “one of Florida’s most walkable central business districts,” reducing the need to commute.

People were already migrating – but the pandemic sped this up

Not only have businesses been moving to the county but people have flocked there, too.

Palm Beach County’s population grew by around 14.2% over the past decade, according to estimates from the US Census Bureau. This is almost double the rate of overall US population growth. Its population sits at around 1.5 million, making it Florida’s third-largest county by population and second-largest by size.

This growth isn’t just because of the natural population increases that you would expect over time. There has also been soaring rates of both domestic and international migration. The county’s net migration was around 11,500 in 2020, according to US Census Bureau estimates – compared to a net migration loss of 23,625 for New York County, which has a similar population.

West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach is a hotspot for for businesses and workers.

Florida is traditionally associated with retirees but McLellan said this trend seems to be fading as more and more families and young high-flyers move to the area.

Many of these migrants are coming from the Northeast. Around two in five people moving to Palm Beach County come from the New York City area, per a report by Unacast. But some also come from cities like Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco, or even from countries like India and Brazil, Boyd said.

Forbes identifies Palm Beach County as Florida’s billionaire hub. The 2,600-square-mile county has around 44 billionaires, Smallridge said. This is roughly as many as there are in the entirety of Los Angeles, according to Wealth-X’s 2020 Billionaire Census, and includes Interactive Brokers founder Thomas Peterffy, hedge-fund manager David Tepper, and food-and-drink entrepreneur Jude Reyes, per Forbes.

It’s also the home of Mar-a-Lago, the US’s second-largest mansion, owned by former President Donald Trump.

Mar a Lago better
Former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort is located in the county.

The county also has around 71,000 millionaire households, Smallridge said. Oracle Founder Larry Ellison recently bought an $80 million house in the county, though he plans to stay living in Hawaii full-time, and fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger sold his house in Greenwich, Connecticut to move to Palm Beach.

Danielle Moore, the mayor of the town of Palm Beach, said it had a reputation as “the hometown of ‘captains of industry,'” which she said motivated even more people to move there.

People had already been migrating to the county before the pandemic but COVID-19 forced people to address their work-life balance, alongside the deterioration of office culture, the mayors said.

Alongside companies opening up offices in the city, the rise in remote working during the pandemic has led to digital nomads flocking to the county.

Moore said the town of Palm Beach was experiencing the lowest inventory of available homes “in decades,” and house prices across the county have gone up around 10% over the past year as more and more people relocate.

West Palm Beach housing
Housing in the area is in high demand.

Some of these people are incredibly wealthy. Sales of million-dollar single-family homes in Palm Beach County increased by more than 140% year over year, according to the 2021 Luxury Outlook report by Sotheby’s International Realty.

Florida has remained largely open during the pandemic compared to other states. This led to people choosing to make Florida their primary residence for the pandemic.

“People can work from anywhere, so why not work from paradise?” Singer said.

“That trend is likely to continue because the office environment of New York City is not what it was,” he said. He added that New York State was also hiking its taxes.

“When they were closed down, we had plenty of recreation space and great weather year-round, and people are understanding more and more that this is where they want to be,” he added.

West Palm Beach marina
Palm Beach County’s sunny climate lures people to the area.

Alongside retirees, Florida is also associated with seasonal residents who move to the state for the colder winter months, and Moore said that the town of Palm Beach’s population more than doubles during the peak season.

But when people relocated to Florida, many started enrolling their children at nearby schools, and soon found themselves settled down in the state, Smallridge said.

Palm Beach County’s median age is 43.6, “and that number is probably going to stay steady even as we all age because younger people are being born and coming here every day,” Singer said.

The climate has attracted people, too. The county has an average temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to 53 degrees Fahrenheit for New York State, hasn’t had snow since 1978, and has around 47 miles of coastline.

Palm Beach
Smallridge said that some of the county’s c-suite workers go for a swim before work.

“Most executives will go take a swim in the beach before they even go to work,” Smallridge said. “They never have to shovel snow and they don’t have to ride with the subway.”

But even as more people migrate to the county, some to work remotely while others to work for the companies opening new offices in the area, this trend is ultimately creating more employment opportunities for local residents, James said. He added that West Palm Beach has offered financial incentives to companies moving to the city based on the number of jobs they create, including expedited permit reviews and tax exemptions.

McLellan, meanwhile, said Boca Raton was trying to create a pipeline of future talent for businesses in the area, and that the Chamber was working to discourage residents from migrating away from the city.

Ultimately Palm Beach County is positioning itself as not just a major financial-services hub, but also a destination for families, young graduates, and high-flying execs to move to.

This is perhaps best summed up by West Palm Beach’s tagline: “business, life, balanced.”

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One chart shows how dramatically the pace of vaccinations differs from country to country

india vaccine line
People wait in line to receive COVID-19 vaccines in Mumbai, India, April 24, 2021.

  • The global vaccine rollout is very uneven – some nations may reach herd immunity years before others.
  • Israel, the US, and UK are vaccinating people fastest, while Brazil, India, and Japan trail behind.
  • One chart shows when 18 different countries will reach three key vaccination milestones.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

By next week, around half the US population will have received at least one coronavirus shot – a milestone that could take other countries years to reach at their current pace.

The pace of vaccinations across the globe remains highly uneven: As of Monday, wealthy countries had received 83% of the world’s vaccine supply, despite making up just 53% of the world’s population, according to World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Israel, the US, and the UK have the world’s fastest vaccine rollouts so far. Israel vaccinated half its population in just two months, from December to February, while the UK reached that milestone two weeks ago. In roughly a month, around 75% of the UK could be vaccinated.

Meanwhile, plenty of other countries, including Egypt and South Africa, and aren’t expected to cross that threshold for about a decade at their current pace.

The chart below shows how long it will take 18 countries to reach these key milestones, based on their current vaccine rollout speed.

Epidemiologists have estimated that countries will need to vaccinate around 75% of their populations to reach herd immunity – the threshold beyond which the coronavirus can no longer spread easily from person to person.

For many nations, that’s a far-off goal. At the current rate of 110,000 vaccinations per day, it could take Japan eight months to immunize just a quarter of its population, and more than two years to immunize 75%. South Korea faces a similar predicament: The country’s 75% vaccination threshold is more than a year away.

That means it’s likely to take years to reach herd immunity on a global scale.

Limited vaccine supply has hampered many countries’ rollouts

Japan vaccine vaccination COVID-19
A medical worker receives a COVID-19 vaccine in Tokyo, Japan on March 5, 2021.

One of the biggest challenges to reaching global herd immunity is a lack of vaccine supply.

Early in the pandemic, wealthy countries like the US and UK struck deals with pharmaceutical companies – before it was even known whether their vaccines were safe or effective – to buy enough doses for their residents.

Lower-income countries couldn’t afford to make that gamble, so many are still vying for shots or waiting on supply from nations that manufacture doses domestically, like China and Russia.

But even some high- or middle-income nations have had slow vaccine rollouts.

Brazil, for instance, rejected an offer to purchase 70 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine in August, instead betting on AstraZeneca’s shot (which is significantly cheaper) to drive its vaccination efforts. But Brazil is now running low on vaccine supply, so it’s relying on backup doses of China’s Sinovac shot.

Language from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has also fueled vaccine skepticism. Bolsonaro previously joked that the Pfizer shot could “turn you into an alligator.” On Monday, however, Bolsonaro announced that the government would put an extra 5.5 billion reais ($1.05 billion) toward delivering more vaccines to the public.

Boxes containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at the Pfizer Global Supply Kalamazoo manufacturing plant in Portage, Mich., Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020.
Boxes containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at a Pfizer plant in Portage, Michigan on December 13, 2020.

In Japan and South Korea, some public-health experts have attributed slow rollouts to consistently low caseloads: Japan’s daily coronavirus cases have never exceeded 8,000, and South Korea’s daily cases have stayed below 1,000 for most of the pandemic. That created less urgency to procure doses quickly.

But there have been other holdups, too: Only doctors and nurses are allowed to administer shots in Japan, and the nation didn’t authorize its first coronavirus vaccine until February, months after the US and UK.

India has also lagged behind in delivering vaccines to the public. Its vaccination effort took a hit when cases began to skyrocket in February, amid the spread of new variants. Healthcare workers had to shift their focus away from administering shots to care for hospitalized patients.

Now, WHO officials are calling on wealthy nations to help other countries pick up the pace.

“COVID-19 has shown that our fates are inextricably linked,” Tedros said in February. “Whether we win or lose, we will do so together.”

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