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Our analysis of 7 months of polling data shows friendships, the economy and firsthand experience shaped and reshaped views on COVID-19 risks

Multiple factors determined whether or not individual Americans adopted COVID-19 safety measures, according to statistical analysis of public opinion data.

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Political leanings and community features predicted support of COVID-19 mitigation measures. wildpixel/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Even though Americans shared the experience of living through a global pandemic, their individual attitudes towards it differed and evolved – sometimes dramatically.

We study risk perception. Using public opinion polls and state-level data, we conducted an in-depth analysis of how American attitudes and behaviors changed over the course of the pandemic.

Since the first confirmed COVID-19 case in the U.S., over 33 million Americans have been diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 and more than 600,000 have died. We set out to see how attitudes and beliefs correlated with Americans’ risk perceptions, mask wearing and support for other COVID-19 mitigation measures.

Here’s what we discovered.

Public health and politics are intertwined

Using statistical modeling, we dug into data from public opinion polls conducted by Pew Research Center, National Opinion Research Center, Democracy Fund and UCLA – as well as our own survey combined with state-level data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Moody’s Analytics and National Conference of State Legislatures.

In a presidential election year characterized by intensifying polarization, public health got caught up in politics.

In March 2020, with uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, contrasting cues from political leaders undoubtedly played a crucial role in shaping risk perception of the virus.

Conservatives who had more confidence in President Trump and his team’s handling of COVID-19, perceived less risk from the virus compared to conservatives with less confidence in Trump.

Three middle-aged women at a rally wearing Trump hats.
Political leaders shaped risk perception. Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images News

The powerful influence of political cues persisted. Based on our analysis of a poll conducted in June 2020, Republicans who were in favor of Trump were less supportive of mitigation measures – like canceling gatherings, closing businesses and schools, restricting non-essential travel and fever testing before entering public buildings – compared to Republicans who were less supportive of Trump.

Symmetrically, Democrats who were in favor of then candidate Joe Biden were more supportive of mitigation measures, compared to Democrats who were less supportive of Biden.

By May 2020, national political influence began to be mirrored at the state level. Americans who lived in states with both Democratic governors and legislatures were more likely to perceive COVID-19 as a threat and adjust their behaviors and support policy measures to mitigate transmission of the virus.

Connected communities more likely to slow the spread

When the pandemic was rapidly spreading in early summer of 2020, the CDC recommended wearing masks. Americans with more extensive social connections and stronger trust in others were more likely to engage in mitigation behaviors such as mask wearing.

Individual behavior is influenced by one’s community – such as family, friends and neighbors. As information on the pandemic spread, counties where residents had stronger and closer connections with others started to show a slower increase in COVID-19 cases, as people adopted more infection mitigation measures.

Masked riders on the subway
People in areas with greater social connection were more likely to change their behaviors. Robert Nickelsberg via Getty Images News

Also, people with stronger and closer connections with others were more likely to act for the common good with the expectation that others would do the same. Trust promoted social coordination, which provided incentive for people to take similar actions such as wearing masks in response to COVID–19.

COVID-19 survivors less likely to support distancing

In summer 2020, when COVID-19 continued to infect thousands of Americans a day, the CDC recommended mitigation measures such as canceling gatherings, closing schools and restricting non-essential travel.

Americans who contracted COVID-19 – or whose family members had been sick with the coronavirus – didn’t necessarily support mitigation measures after their illness. Perhaps acquiring some measure of immunity by surviving COVID-19 lessened their perceived threat. As philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “What does not kill me makes me stronger.”

Interestingly, Americans who had coworkers and others in their social circle get COVID-19 were more likely than others to support mitigation measures. It may be those with indirect experience became more anxious about contracting the virus themselves by hearing “horror stories” from others.

Economic recovery falsely signaled safety

In late August to early September 2020, Americans from states whose economies had recovered close to pre-pandemic levels became less concerned about the pandemic and were more likely to forgo mitigation behaviors. We suspect economic recovery provided people with the impression that a return to normal was around the corner, which helped form a false sense of safety.

Risk mitigation closely linked to cases and deaths

COVID-19 case numbers and death rates influenced whether or not people adopted risk mitigation behaviors. Generally speaking, more cases and deaths influenced people to see the virus as a more urgent threat, which resulted in active mitigation behaviors.

Meanwhile, in places with a low number of confirmed cases or deaths, residents were likely to perceive the risk as abstract and distant. Consequently, their motivation to control the transmission of the virus was weak.

Overall, our research shows the combination of timely information with trusting, well-connected communities, is most likely to result in collective risk mitigation behavior. Perhaps these insights can help the U.S. prepare better for the next pandemic.

[Research into coronavirus and other news from science Subscribe to The Conversation’s new science newsletter.]

The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Government

Top Stories This Week: Gold Manipulators Go to Court, Silver’s Industrial Side in Focus

Catch up and get informed with this week’s content highlights from Charlotte McLeod, our editorial director.
The post Top Stories This Week: Gold Manipulators Go to Court, Silver’s Industrial Side in Focus appeared first on Investing News Network.

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The gold price held above US$1,800 per ounce this week, finishing the period around that level, which is down from last week’s July high point of around US$1,830. 

Marc Lichtenfeld of the Oxford Club is one market watcher who’s struggling to understand why gold isn’t doing better this year. We had the chance to speak this week, and he pointed to money printing, the impact of COVID-19 and inflation as factors that should be pushing gold to record highs.

So far in 2021 those elements have have failed to do the trick, and Marc said he sees a disconnect between the yellow metal’s traditional fundamentals and what’s happening in the market.

 

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“There just seems to be a disconnect between what are the traditional gold fundamentals and what’s happening out in the world … it’s really difficult to try to figure out what is happening with gold and why gold isn’t at record highs” — Marc Lichtenfeld, the Oxford Club

Of course, some would argue that price manipulation is the reason gold isn’t moving, and this week there was more news on that front. Chat logs were released in a spoofing trial for two former precious metals traders from the Bank of America’s (NYSE:BAC) Merrill Lynch unit, and they show one of the traders bragging about how easy it is to manipulate the price of gold. The trial isn’t over yet, but in its opening arguments that trader’s attorney said he stopped spoofing after he found out it was illegal.

Looking over to silver, I heard this week from Collin Plume of Noble Gold Investments, who thinks industrial demand will help push the white metal above the US$40 per ounce mark in the next 12 to 18 months. Silver has struggled to pass US$30 so far this year.

Solar panels are one of silver’s key uses, but it’s also found in other high-tech applications such as electronics and electric vehicles. Collin isn’t aware of any commodities that can replace silver in its end-use markets, and with demand “through the roof,” he expects to see shortages of silver by next year.

With silver in mind, we asked our Twitter followers this week if they think its industrial or precious side is driving the most demand right now. By the time the poll closed, about 70 percent of respondents said they think the precious angle is more important.

 

Uranium Soared Last Year While Other Resources Tumbled

 
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We’ll be asking another question on Twitter next week, so make sure to follow us @INN_Resource or follow me @Charlotte_McL to share your thoughts.

We’re going to finish up with the cannabis space, where there was a major announcement last week.

A group of Democratic senators headed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer introduced a draft of the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, which among other things would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act. The long-awaited bill will need 60 votes to get through the Senate, and opinion is split on whether that will actually happen.

INN’s Bryan Mc Govern spoke with Dan Ahrens of AdvisorShares Investments, who thinks it has “no chance of passing,” but remains optimistic about prospects for American cannabis companies.

“No one should expect US (cannabis) legalization anytime soon. We should expect reforms; they’re not coming as fast as anyone would like to see, but everybody agrees we’re going to get some form of banking reform in the near future … we’ll see baby steps” — Dan Ahrens, AdvisorShares Investments

Why? In his opinion, these stocks remain undervalued compared to their Canadian counterparts, and are operating well even without federal cannabis approval. Any legalization progress would be a bonus.

Want more YouTube content? Check out our YouTube playlist At Home With INN, which features interviews with experts in the resource space. If there’s someone you’d like to see us interview, please send an email to cmcleod@investingnews.com.

And don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time updates! 

Securities Disclosure: I, Charlotte McLeod, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.

 

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The post Top Stories This Week: Gold Manipulators Go to Court, Silver’s Industrial Side in Focus appeared first on Investing News Network.

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Economics

Top 5 Rubber Stocks to Buy in 2021

Here are some of the best rubber stocks to buy right now. Increased demand and supply chain disruptions are putting pressure rubber prices.
The post Top 5 Rubber Stocks to Buy in 2021 appeared first on Investment U.

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When it comes to investing, all the attention tends to go to healthcare, tech and increasingly renewable energy. But these aren’t the only stocks on the block, and some old mainstays can also add value to your portfolio. One of those old, reliable industries is rubber: it always has some level of demand, and that won’t likely change anytime soon. But recent economic conditions make rubber even more intriguing than usual. One of the biggest uses of rubber is car tires, and sharp economic recovery is likely to mean a sharp demand for new cars. Hence, we may also see a sharp increase in demand for rubber as many people head to the dealer to buy a new car. There’s more to it than just the auto industry, of course. CNBC reported that disruptions in the supply chain are also causing major disruptions. And we use rubber for many different essential items, including personal protective equipment and countless other items. With increased demand and supply chain disruptions, rubber stocks are poised for a rise. Here are some of the best rubber stocks to buy:
  • Goodyear Tire & Rubber (Nasdaq: GT)
  • Trinseo (NYSE: TSE)
  • Michelin (OTC: MGDDY)
  • Carlisle Companies (NYSE: CSL)
  • Protolabs (NYSE: PRLB)
If you’ve never invested in rubber stocks before, you might be wondering if they are a good investment. Let’s consider that question before looking at each stock more closely. And if you want to see how your investment portfolio might grow, check out our free investment calculator.

Is Rubber a Good Investment?

Rubber can certainly be a good investment because it is nearly ubiquitous; it is used in many different products, including tires, footwear, pharmaceuticals, textiles and many other products. As Zacks notes, rubber is among the most profitable industries when it comes to natural resources. But rubber isn’t exactly the most innovative product. Perhaps it was decades ago, but these days, it’s something most of us are just used to seeing. We don’t really demand rubber so much as the products that contain it. Hence, it’s only when demand for those products increases that the demand for rubber spikes. And as mentioned earlier, we are at a point right now where many people are looking to buy new cars, and rubber’s use in tires could cause a surge in demand. However, these things can be very cyclical. The Zacks page linked above highlights this very well. There, you can see the rubber tires industry has a YTD performance of 42.90% compared to 16.09% for IVV, an S&P 500 fund. But as good as that sounds, the 5-year performance for rubber tires is -33.71% compared to 112.67 for IVV. Given the downside risk, rubber is probably best used as part of a balanced portfolio containing more well-round assets, such as funds like IVV.

Rubber Stocks to Buy Now

If you want to “bounce” your returns upward with rubber stocks, here are some of the best rubber stocks to buy right now. Keep an eye on them as the situation with the auto industry progresses.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber

Goodyear Tire & Rubber is a tire manufacturer that makes tires for a variety of uses. Tires for automobiles are one of the biggest uses of Goodyear tires. However, they are also used on buses, trucks, aircraft, motorcycles, mining equipment, industrial equipment and farm equipment. In addition to the Goodyear name, it also has Dunlop and Kelly tires under its belt. Goodyear has been around since 1898 and was the first global tire manufacturer to enter the Chinese market. It produces a range of tires, rubber products and chemicals across the U.S. and Canada.

Trinseo

Trinseo is a global materials company that manufactures latex, plastics and synthetic rubber. Notably, it produces plastic for Lego. When it comes to rubber, Trinseo produces styrene-butadiene rubber (SSBR). This material is primarily used in high-performance tires. In addition to Legos, its plastic is used in automotive applications, LED lighting and medical devices. Trinseo is growing rapidly, with 17 manufacturing and 11 research facilities worldwide. In addition, it is already seeing healthy revenue increases as it continues to grow. Its website notes Trinseo is “dedicated to making a positive impact on society,” and it will support the “sustainability goals of our customers in a wide range of end-markets.”

Michelin

Michelin is another name that is big in the tire manufacturing business, and the demand for new cars places it squarely on this list. In addition to the Michelin tire brand, the company also owns BFGoodrich and Uniroyal. BFGoodrich is a premium tire brand for sports cars, offroad vehicles and light trucks. Michelin is the largest tire manufacturer in the US and the second-largest in the world. It has 34 plans in two countries and had over $8 billion of sales in 2020. Its revenue has been increasing, as has its stock price. As the situation with the auto industry evolves, it will be interesting to see how Michelin fares.

Carlisle Companies

Founded in 1917 and based in Scottsdale, Arizona, Carlisle Companies is about more than just rubber. It is more of an umbrella under which there are a number of different operations. Its products and services include healthcare, commercial roofing, aerospace and electronics, lawn and garden, agriculture, energy, mining and construction equipment, and dining. Of course, there are many uses for rubber and plastic across these industries. In 2018, Carlisle Companies released a plan called Vision 2025 in which it detailed how it will continue to grow over the next 100 years.

Protolabs

Protolabs is an intriguing company. It produces low-volume 3D printed, CNC-machining, sheet metal fabrication and injection-molded custom parts. These parts are then used for short-run production and in prototypes. The company describes itself as the “world’s fastest digital manufacturing service.” It also provides rubber, metal and commercial plastics. Given its business model, it was able to produce several items during the coronavirus pandemic, including face shields, plastic clips and items used in test kits. They were in turn used in Minnesota hospitals, where the company is based.

More Investing Opportunities

The rubber stocks above might produce some big returns for investors. Although, there are many industries and stocks to choose from. So, here are some more investing opportunities and research… If you’re looking for expert analysis delivered straight to your inbox, consider signing up for Profit Trends. It’s a free e-letter that’s packed with investing tips and tricks. Whether you’re new or already an experienced investor, there’s something for everyone. The post Top 5 Rubber Stocks to Buy in 2021 appeared first on Investment U.

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Government

Federal Court Rules CDC’s COVID-19 Eviction Moratorium Is Unlawful

Federal Court Rules CDC’s COVID-19 Eviction Moratorium Is Unlawful

By Jack Phillips of Epoch Times

A federal court on Friday ruled that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) overstepped its authority by halting evictions.

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Federal Court Rules CDC's COVID-19 Eviction Moratorium Is Unlawful

By Jack Phillips of Epoch Times

A federal court on Friday ruled that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) overstepped its authority by halting evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Cincinnati-based U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously agreed (pdf) with a lower court ruling that said the CDC engaged in federal overreach with the eviction moratorium, which the agency has consistently extended for months. Several weeks ago, the CDC announced it would allow the policy, which was passed into law by Congress, to expire at the end of July.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), testifies during a Senate hearing in Washington, on July 20, 2021. (Stefani Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)

“It is not our job as judges to make legislative rules that favor one side or another,” the judges wrote. “But nor should it be the job of bureaucrats embedded in the executive branch. While landlords and tenants likely disagree on much, there is one thing both deserve: for their problems to be resolved by their elected representatives.”

The ruling upheld one handed down by U.S. District Judge Mark Norris, who in March blocked enforcement of the moratorium throughout western Tennessee.

Under the moratorium, tenants who have lost income during the pandemic can declare under penalty of perjury that they’ve made their best effort to pay rent on time. The CDC claimed the measure was necessary to prevent people from having to enter overcrowded conditions if they were evicted, which would, according to the agency, impact public health.

Previously, the CDC’s lawyers argued in court filings that Congress authorized the eviction freeze as part of its COVID-19 relief legislation, while simultaneously asserting that the moratorium was within its authority. Those arguments were rejected by the three-panel appeals court on Friday.

Demonstrators call for a rent strike during the COVID-19 pandemic as they pass City Hall in Los Angeles, Calif., on May 1, 2020. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

“What’s the difference between executive-branch experts and congressional ones? Executive-branch experts make regulations; congressional experts make recommendations,” the appeals court wrote. “Congressional bureaucracy leaves the law-making power with the people’s representatives—right where the Founders put it.”

But last month, the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision rejected a different plea by landlords to end the ban on evictions.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh had written in an opinion (pdf) that while he believes that the CDC had exceeded its authority by implementing the moratorium, he voted against ending it because the policy is set to expire July 31.

“Those few weeks,” he wrote, “will allow for additional and more orderly distribution” of the funds that Congress has appropriated to provide rental assistance to those in need because of the pandemic.

The CDC moratorium has faced pushback from property owners as well as the National Association of Realtors.

“Landlords have been losing over $13 billion every month under the moratorium, and the total effect of the CDC’s overreach may reach up to $200 billion if it remains in effect for a year,” said the organization in an emergency petition to the Supreme Court.

It’s not clear if the CDC’s attorneys will appeal the ruling. The Epoch Times has requested a comment from the agency.

Tyler Durden Fri, 07/23/2021 - 19:40

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