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Biden has tested positive for COVID yet again in case of Paxlovid rebound

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Biden has tested positive for COVID yet again in case of Paxlovid rebound

U.S. President Joe Biden has tested positive for COVID yet again—after taking Paxlovid—in what a White House physician Saturday called a case of “rebound.”

Biden—who initially tested positive July 21, after a week of traveling across the Middle East—tested negative for the virus on Tuesday night and again on Wednesday morning of this past week, when he ended his isolation.

He additionally tested negative Thursday and Friday mornings before testing positive again Saturday morning, according to a letter from presidential physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, obtained and posted to Twitter by a Reuters correspondent.

On Saturday the president said via Twitter that he would return to isolation despite the fact that he’s not experiencing new symptoms.

“Folks, today I tested positive for COVID again,” he wrote. “I’ve got no symptoms, but I am going to isolate for the safety of everyone around me. I’m still at work, and will be back on the road soon.”

What is Paxlovid?

The president was treated with the COVID-19 antiviral Paxlovid the day he was diagnosed, according to multiple news outlets. It’s a pill approved for treatment of COVID-19 in high-risk adults and has emergency-use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

But the drug is known for “rebound” cases, referred to by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “a brief return of symptoms.”

When diagnosed with COVID in June, chief presidential medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci was prescribed the antiviral due to his advanced age, which put him at greater risk for a severe outcome from COVID, despite being fully vaccinated and twice boosted.

Fauci later said he had experienced a Paxlovid rebound.

“After I finished the five days of Paxlovid, I reverted to negative on an antigen test for three days in a row,” Fauci, 81, said during an event at Foreign Policy’s Global Health Forum, Bloomberg reported. “And then on the fourth day, just to be absolutely certain, I tested myself again.”

“I reverted back to positive,” he said. 

Fauci later told the New York Times that Paxlovid kept him out of the hospital and stopped his infection from becoming more severe initially, saying, “Paxlovid did what it was supposed to do.”

Fauci began a second course of Paxlovid when symptoms emerged “much worse than the first go-around,” he said. In May the CDC issued a health advisory about such rebounds, saying there was no evidence that additional treatment is needed for rebound cases. It is unclear why Fauci apparently acted against CDC advice.

In June, Pfizer, which manufactures Paxlovid, announced that it would stop adding new participants to a trial of the drug among COVID patients at low risk of hospitalization and death. The study failed to demonstrate that the drug reduced symptoms, or hospitalizations and deaths in a statistically significant way, according to Bloomberg.

How long to quarantine?

The CDC currently advises COVID-positive individuals to quarantine for five days before returning to normal life (and masking in public for an additional five days). The recommended isolation time was 10 days until December, when the federal health agency halved its recommendation.

But “there is not data to support five days or anything shorter than 10 days,” Amy Barczak, a physician at the Massachusetts General Hospital Infectious Disease Division, recently told Nature.

Scientists have questioned the scientific rationale behind the policy since the CDC introduced it late last year. And now critics have more data to back up their claims: Viral shedding can occur beyond 10 days in even healthy, vaccinated adults, according to a preprint out of London published this month.

Some scientists advise that people should stop quarantining only once they test negative using at-home tests, rather than relying on the CDC’s five-day rule.

Biden did so, however, testing negative at five and then six days after infection before ending his quarantine, during which he worked from home. The White House had said that Biden would go “above and beyond” the CDC’s five-day guidance and wait until he tested negative before returning to public life.

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Coinbase’s near-term outlook is ‘still grim’, JPMorgan says, while BofA is more positive about firm’s ability to face crypto winter

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Coinbase's near-term outlook is 'still grim', JPMorgan says, while BofA is more positive about firm's ability to face crypto winter

Coinbase is well positioned to successfully navigate this crypto winter and take market share, Bank of America said in a research report Tuesday. It maintained its buy recommendation following the exchange’s second-quarter results.

The results warrant “a muted stock reaction,” the report said. Net revenue of $803 million was below the bank’s and consensus estimates, while its adjusted $151 million loss before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization was better than the street expected. Importantly, the company remains “cautiously optimistic” it can reach its goal of no more than $500 million of adjusted EBITDA loss for the full year, the report added.

Coinbase shares fell almost 8% in premarket trading to $80.74.

Bank of America notes that Coinbase had no counterparty exposure to the crypto insolvencies witnessed in the second quarter. The company also has a “history of no credit losses from financing activities, holds customer assets 1:1, and any lending activity of customer crypto is at the discretion of the customer, with 100%+ collateral required.” These rigorous risk-management practices will be a “positive long-term differentiator” for the stock, the bank said.

JPMorgan said Coinbase had endured another challenging quarter, while noting some positives.

Trading volume and revenue were down materially. Subscription revenue was also lower, but would have been much worse were it not for higher interest rates, it said in a research report Wednesday.

The company is taking steps on expense management, and in addition to the June headcount reductions, is scaling back marketing and pausing some product investments, the note said.

The bank says the company’s near-term outlook is “still grim,” noting that the exchange expects a continued decline in 3Q 2022 monthly transacting users (MTUs) and trading volumes, but says Coinbase could take more “cost actions” if crypto prices fall further.

JPMorgan is less optimistic than Bank of America about the company in the near term, saying pressure on revenue from falling crypto markets will have a negative impact on the stock price. Still, it sees positives including higher interest rates, from which the firm will generate revenue. It also sees opportunities for the exchange to grow its user base, leveraging almost $6 billion of cash. The surge in crypto prices in July, and the forthcoming Ethereum Merge are also seen as positive catalysts, it added.

The bank maintained its neutral rating on the stock and raised its price target to $64 from $61.

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Elon Musk sold $6.9B in Tesla stock in case he’s forced to buy Twitter

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Elon Musk sold $6.9B in Tesla stock in case he's forced to buy Twitter

Elon Musk sold $6.9 billion of his shares in Tesla Inc., the billionaire’s biggest sale on record, saying he needed cash in case he is forced to go ahead with his aborted deal to buy Twitter Inc.

“In the (hopefully unlikely) event that Twitter forces this deal to close *and* some equity partners don’t come through, it is important to avoid an emergency sale of Tesla stock,” Musk tweeted late Tuesday after the sales were disclosed in a series of regulatory filings. 

Asked by followers if he was done selling and would buy Tesla stock again if the $44 billion deal doesn’t close, Musk responded: “Yes.”

Tesla’s chief executive officer offloaded about 7.92 million shares on Aug. 5, according to the new filings. The sale comes just four months after the world’s richest person said he had no further plans to sell Tesla shares after disposing of $8.5 billion of stock in the wake of his initial offer to buy Twitter.  

Musk last month said he was terminating the agreement to buy the social network where he has more than 102 million followers and take it private, claiming the company has made “misleading representations” over the number of spam bots on the service. Twitter has since sued to force Musk to consummate the deal, and a trial in the Delaware Chancery Court has been set for October. 

In May, Musk dropped plans to partially fund the purchase with a margin loan tied to his Tesla stake and increased the size of the equity component of the deal to $33.5 billion. He had previously announced that he secured $7.1 billion of equity commitments from investors including billionaire Larry Ellison, Sequoia Capital, and Binance. 

“I’ll put the odds at 75% that he’s buying Twitter. I’m shocked,” said Gene Munster, a former technology analyst who’s now a managing partner at venture-capital firm Loup Ventures. “This is going to be a headwind for Tesla in the near term. In the long term, all that matters is deliveries and gross margin.”

At the weekend, Musk tweeted that if Twitter provided its method of sampling accounts to determine the number of bots and how they are confirmed to be real, “the deal should proceed on original terms.” 

Musk, 51, has now sold around $32 billion worth of stock in Tesla over the past 10 months. The disposals started in November after Musk, a prolific Twitter user, polled users of the platform on whether he should trim his stake. The purpose of the latest sales wasn’t immediately clear.  

Tesla shares have risen about 35% from recent lows reached in May, though are still down about 20% this year. 

With a $250.2 billion fortune, Musk is the world’s richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, but his wealth has fallen around $20 billion this year as Tesla shares declined.    

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The rent is too d*mn high for Gen Z: Younger generations are ‘squeezed the most’ by higher rents, BofA says

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The rent is too d*mn high for Gen Z: Younger generations are 'squeezed the most' by higher rents, BofA says

Most of Gen Z is too young to remember the 2010 New York gubernatorial candidate Jimmy McMillan.

But over a decade later, they would probably agree with his signature issue (and catchphrase): the rent is too damn high.

This July, median rent payments were 7.4% higher than during the same period last year, according to a Bank of America report released Tuesday. 

The national median price for a one-bedroom apartment has been hitting new highs nearly every month this summer. It was $1,450 for July, according to rental platform Zumper. In the country’s largest city, New York, average rent exceeded a shocking $5,000 a month for the first time ever in June. 

But inflation in the rental market hasn’t hit each generation equally, and no one is getting squeezed harder by the higher monthly payments as Gen Z. Those born after 1996 have seen their median rent payment go up 16% since last July, compared to just a 3% increase for Baby Boomers, BofA internal data shows. 
“Younger consumers are getting squeezed the most by higher rent inflation,” BofA wrote.

The great rent comeback

Early in the pandemic, landlords slashed rents and gave significant COVID discounts to entice tenants to stay instead of leaving urban areas. Once those deals started expiring in 2021, many landlords suddenly raised payments once again, sometimes asking for over double their pandemic value. 

Young people across the board have been hit hard, and rent burdens compared to age can be seen even within a single generation. Younger millennials had their median rent payment grow 11% from last year, while the median payment for older millennials rose 7%. Gen X experienced a 5% median rent increase, according to BofA. 

It’s not a surprise, then, that Gen Z feels so strapped for cash. The majority of young people, 61%, said they want to receive their wages daily instead of twice a week, a practice typically reserved for workers living paycheck to paycheck, according to a report from the Center for Generational Kinetics, which specializes in research across the generations. Rising rent inflation has even priced nearly a third of Gen Zers out of the apartment search altogether. Around 29% of them have resorted to living at home as a “long-term housing solution,” according to a June survey from personal finance company Credit Karma.

It’s no wonder—the rent really is too high.

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