Tag Archives: Pandemic

Covid-19 Analysis: The Negative Health Effects Of Microbiome Loss (PNAS)

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Morning News Podcast: President Biden’s First Day, Covid Actions & Numbers

President Biden’s top priority is getting the pandemic under control. What do his first executive actions tell us about how he plans to do that? Biden also released a sweeping reform bill to overhaul the U.S. immigration system.

And in 35 states, coronavirus numbers are falling. Researchers believe the U.S. has hit a peak in the pandemic, but some public health officials are skeptical.

Delivery-Only Dining: ‘How Covid Accelerated Rise Of Ghost Kitchens’

Ghost kitchens are kitchens designed for delivery-only businesses, without dine-in areas or customer facing storefronts. The pandemic has ravaged dine-in eateries, and companies that have focused on delivery could come out on top if the current trends continue. Watch the full video to see why ghost kitchens are taking over the restaurant industry.

Here are some of the top Ghost Kitchens:

Kitchen United

With a $10 million dollar investment from Google Ventures, Kitchen United has been one of the leanest (and fastest-growing) startups in the space. Founder Jim Collins has turned down hundreds of millions of investment dollars to focus on growing more organically. Currently, Kitchen United plans on conquering the global restaurant space — with 5,000 kitchens planned in the next four years.

All in all, Kitchen United offers a turn-key, light-capital model, delivering a complete, code-safe kitchen replete with appliances and cooking implements. All that’s left to do is to…cook.

CloudKitchens

The fastest-growing and most investor-friendly ghost kitchen startup, CloudKitchens, has already taken in over $400 million from investors. $150 million interestingly invested by its founder (former Uber superstar) Travis Kalanick. Like Kitchen United, CloudKitchens offers fully-equipped kitchens (branded as “smart kitchens”) for the delivery-only model. Honestly, you can’t ignore a project that Travis is a part of.

DoorDash Kitchens

Another not-so-surprising entry into the ghost kitchen space is DoorDash, which has already premiered locations in San Francisco and Redwood City. Currently, DoorDash’s model is focused on catering to high-delivery areas for established brands like Chic-Fil-A, but we’re sure they have plans in the works for new locations, as well.

For the time being, DoorDash Kitchens is still in the experimentation phase, with only a few locations. And, like others on this list, it provides everything a restauranteur would need for a single monthly fee.

UberEats

For the moment, we’ll set aside the possible conflicts associated with Uber’s ex co-founder Travis Kalanick — who’s also operating CloudKitchens. We’re sure that bridge will need crossing at some point if Uber expands its operations. For the time being, the ridesharing company has been keeping a low profile in the ghost kitchen space. To date, it has been testing ghost kitchens in a few markets, though it remains curiously reluctant to share the delicious details pertaining to its Paris operations.

Virtual Kitchen Co.

Another new entry is Virtual Kitchen Co. — which already operates several successful ghost kitchens. They plan to open 15 more kitchens over the next few years, driven by $15 million dollar Series A.  Again, Virtual Kitchen Co. offers a similar pricing structure: Restaurants can pay a monthly fee for everything.

The one small difference here is that Virtual Kitchen Co. seems to be targeting existing restaurants that want to enter the delivery space.

Covid-19: What Are The New Variants & How Are They Monitored (Podcast)

Over the course of the pandemic, scientists have been monitoring emerging genetic changes to Sars-Cov-2. Mutations occur naturally as the virus replicates but if they confer an advantage – like being more transmissible – that variant of the virus may go on to proliferate. 

This was the case with the ‘UK’ or B117 variant, which is about 50% more contagious and is rapidly spreading around the country. So how does genetic surveillance of the virus work? And what do we know about the new variants? Ian Sample speaks to Dr Jeffrey Barrett, the director of the Covid-19 genomics initiative at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, to find out Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage.

Economy: Americans’ 2021 Financial Hardships

The coronavirus pandemic has forced many Americans to accept new financial realities. WSJ’s Shelby Holliday traveled to a diverse neighborhood in Philadelphia to learn how neighbors are facing different struggles brought on by the same virus. Photo: Adam Falk/The Wall Street Journal

Morning News Podcast: Fallout From Washington DC Riots, Covid Job Losses

Two members of President Trump’s cabinet resigned on Thursday. Democrats in Congress say it’s not the secretaries who need to go, but Trump himself. Many signs suggested this week’s pro-Trump rally would be a riot.

Why didn’t authorities seem to believe it? And the pandemic continues to drag the job market down. The Labor Department says 19 million Americans are still depending on unemployment benefits. 

Analysis: The Shrinking U.S. Population (CNBC Video)

The US is facing an aging population, falling birth rate and economic recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic. These issues will have huge implications on the size of the workforce and the consumer base. Watch the video to find out why America could be confronting an underpopulation problem and what business leaders and policymakers can do about it.

Climate Change: Bill Gates On How Best To Fund The ‘Green Revolution’ (Video)

Bill Gates outlines his vision for a global green revolution. He tells Zanny Minton Beddoes, our editor-in-chief, how renewable energy is merely the first step in combatting climate change.

Video timeline: 00:00 – How to fund a green economy 00:38 – Lessons from the pandemic 01:52 – Behaviour change v innovation in technology 03:36 – Most promising renewable technologies 04:31 – Private sector investment in green technology 06:30 – How essential are carbon prices? 07:50 – Net-zero emissions targets for businesses 09:39 – America’s role in climate-change action 12:40 – What are the odds for success of green innovation?

Covid-19 In 2021: End Is In Sight, Challenges Remain

We enter 2021 surrounded by these rays of hope that the end of the pandemic might be in sight. But monumental challenges remain. Vaccine manufacture, distribution, and uptake are substantial pieces of a complex puzzle that must be completed to reach the 75–90 percent vaccination rate that global health experts say is key to stopping the spread. 

And the virus itself is almost sure to change as it infects more people, possibly becoming more transmissible or dangerous. For instance, as I write this in late December 2020, public health officials in the UK are reporting the rapid spread of a new strain of SARS-CoV-2 that seems to be highly infectious.

This is a perfect example of the continued surprises this pandemic may yet throw at us. But virologists, epidemiologists, drug developers, and other scientists will continue to band together to study this virus and share information that can help humanity address this and future issues appropriately. In addition to careful monitoring of the virus as it mutates and spreads, I fully expect there to be regular monitoring of vaccinated individuals, further refinement of vaccine, and continued development of new COVID-19 therapies. And I can promise that The Scientist will continue to track these developments closely and provide up to date and accurate information about the COVID-19 pandemic and other scientific issues in 2021 and beyond.

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