2:00PM Water Cooler 3/31/2020 | naked capitalism



By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
#COVID-19
At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart:

The data is the John Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. I am using a linear, not a logarithmic scale, because the linear scale conveys the alarming quality of the multiplication better (don’t @ me, math nerds). I did not adjust for population, because it seems to me that the epidemics spread through a population in a fractal matter; within reasonable limits, the shape of the curve will be the same. Show me I’m wrong!
Politics
“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51
“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune
“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord
Key dates coming fast now, so I added some counters:

* * *
2020

We encourage readers to play around with the polling charts; they are dynamic, and there are a lot of settings, more than I can usefully show here. Here is a link to alert reader dk’s project. You can also file bug reports or feature requests using the same contact process as for Plants, below. Thanks — but no promises!
We have a new national poll from HarrisX, as of 3/31/2020, 11:00 AM EDT. The sample size is miserably small:

The numbers:

It does seem that the strategy of keeping Biden out of the public eye pays off. Earlier in the year, we often had occasion to comment on the mysterious strength of the Biden Juggernaut, on display here; but it’s also true that Biden’s ups and downs have been of much greater amplitude than other candidates.
* * *
Biden (D)(1): Joe Biden steps on another rake:

For those interested, here is @JoeBiden’s full answer to @YasminV on opposing single payer health care: pic.twitter.com/gxjTN83NCg
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) March 30, 2020

Biden (D)(2): “Poll: Biden leads Trump by 10 points as economic pessimism grows” [The HIll]. “The latest Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll finds Biden getting 55 percent support, versus 45 percent for Trump. Biden has 96 percent support from Democrats, while Trump has 89 percent support from Republicans. Independents break for Biden by a 54 to 46 percent margin…. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has yet to drop out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, also leads Trump, winning 53 percent to Trump’s 47 percent.” • So, Democrats can pick a second FDR, or somebody Obama-adjacent. They’re picking somebody Obama-adjacent. The irony is that, in 2008, many — including non-delusional people like Thomas Frank — thought Obama was a second FDR. The most successful con in American political history…
UPDATE Biden (D)(3): “Wall Street Donors Sit Tight Just When Biden Needs Cash the Most” [Bloomberg]. “With stocks falling, businesses shrinking and unemployment soaring, donors of all sizes are feeling the effects. Billionaires counted on to fuel super PAC spending have seen their net worth plummet by anywhere from 10% to as much as 75%.” • That’s a damn shame. I wonder if that’s one reason the donor class is consolidating (see below).
UPDATE Biden (D)(5): “Joe Biden has a #MeToo problem” [The Week]. “As a practical matter, though, it behooves Democrats to make a rigorous investigation — inasmuch as it is possible — of Reade’s accusation. Trump and his allies will almost certainly use the story against him. In 2016, when the notorious Access Hollywood tape surfaced, Trump responded by bringing Bill Clinton’s accusers to his next debate with Hillary Clinton. The president won’t hesitate to utilize similar tactics against Biden. If only for the sake of winning the election, Democrats have to make a real effort to resolve this allegation — and do it in a way that doesn’t drag Reade’s name through the mud. If her story is found to have merit, Biden should be forced out of the race. Truthfully, that seems unlikely to happen. Too much time has passed to arrive at a definitive answer. But the party of ‘believe women’ will lose all credibility if it simply brushes off Reade and makes no effort at all to ascertain the truth” • I think the Democrat Establishment “lost all credibility” a long time ago. The loyalists who gave Biden his 30% pop won’t care about this, any more than the same loyalists cared about the Big Dog’s unsavory and well-documented history; “It’s OK if our guy does it.” I think the damage will come from Sanders supporters who’ll find getting on board the Biden bandwagon something they just don’t have the stomach for. It also gives Sanders a reason, if he is looking for one, to rethink his commitment to the Democrat nominee.
UPDATE Cuomo (D)(1): “Cuomo Helped Get New York Into This Mess” [The Nation]. “The same Cuomo who is racing to expand New York’s hospital capacity and crying out for more federal resources is quietly trying to slash Medicaid funding in the state, enraging doctors and nurses, and elected officials of his own party. The same Cuomo who holds press briefings at a major New York City convention center, now the home of a temporary 1,000-bed hospital, presided over a decade of hospital closures and consolidations, prioritizing cost savings over keeping popular health care institutions open….What’s striking to [Sean Petty, a pediatric nurse at a public hospital in the Bronx and a high-ranking member of the state’s politically active nurses’ union] and other health care experts is how Cuomo has not backed off his plan to cut Medicaid, despite the horrific Covid-19 outbreak. Earlier this year, Cuomo empaneled what is called a Medicaid Redesign Team to slash Medicaid spending in New York after a $6 billion budget shortfall, driven largely by rising Medicaid costs, became evident in late 2019. Medicaid enrollment has been growing about 13 percent a year and is now a $70 billion program in the state. More than 6 million New Yorkers are on Medicaid, which has meant just 4.7 percent of the state is uninsured, a historic low. The Affordable Care Act has boosted Medicaid enrollment in New York. Though Medicaid is a federal program that provides low-cost, comprehensive health care to the poor, the state still picks up almost half the costs, with county governments also bearing a small share. Some of the budgetary abyss has been the Cuomo administration’s own making: postponing Medicaid payments and failing in the past to iron out inefficiencies like the state’s paying Medicaid costs for relatively wealthy, private hospitals that don’t need the aid in the first place. Despite his reputation as a big-government progressive, Cuomo has held to a self-imposed caps on state spending and property tax increases, putting additional strains on local governments trying to fund municipal services.” • That’s our Democrats….
UPDATE Sanders (D)(1): “One Big Reason Bernie Sanders Must Stay in the Race” [Larry Cohen, In These Times]. “But Bernie should remain in the race for at least one important reason. All the rules changes that resulted from the 2016 movement to make the Democratic Party more democratic have been written into the rules for the 2020 convention but not for those conventions in 2024 and beyond. If delegates at this year’s convention fail to make these reforms permanent, we could be back to business as usual—on superdelegates, caucus and primary voting rules, party registration and much more…. Without action by the DNC convention rules committee (of which I am a member) the changes we implemented this on the recommendation of the Unity Reform Commission (of which I was vice chair) will, following the convention, be left to the sole discretion of the regular party Rules Committee.” • And Perez purged all Sanders supporters from the RBC.
UPDATE Sanders (D)(2): Good individual effort:

While @BernieSanders fights for us in the Senate, his foot soldiers (me) are supporting striking tenant organizers in the ground with groceries. #Rentstrike #teamwork pic.twitter.com/y70hcrIQYE
— Moumita🌹Bernie for President (@disruptionary) March 30, 2020

* * *
Grifters gotta grift:

2 top Democratic groups — Unite the Country and American Bridge — are partnering to help elect Joe Biden. The partnership will be co-chaired by Deval Patrick, who dropped out of the 2020 race in February, and former Gov. Jennifer Granholm of Michigan. https://t.co/DocWetVZt4
— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 30, 2020

American Bridge, for those who came in late, is sleaze merchant David Brock’s outfit. Unite the Country is a Biden SuperPAC. Axios comments:
This partnership is another example of the consolidation of Democratic groups in 2020 to try to concentrate power. Earlier this month, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced he will donate $18 million to the Democratic National Committee instead of creating his own PAC.
But imagine thinking Trump could be defeated with oppo…
UPDATE “Congress eyes avoiding Washington for at least a month” [Politico]. • Shows you who’s essential, I guess…

RussiaGate

I’m shocked (MR):

Remember when the newly beloved liberal heroes of the security state — the FBI, NSA & DOJ agents who now make up huge parts of CNN & MSNBC and the liberal pantheon — kept telling you the FISA process is very rigorous & immune to abuse?
They lied: https://t.co/nbgDukahfx pic.twitter.com/xsZLSmGKSY
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) March 31, 2020

Many Biden voters being big believers in that liberal Pantheon, no doubt.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Pelosi Floats New Stimulus Plan: Rolling Back SALT Cap” [New York Times]. “Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested the next package include a retroactive rollback of a tax change that hurt high earners in states like New York and California. A full rollback of the limit on the state and local tax deduction, or SALT, would provide a quick cash infusion in the form of increased tax rebates to an estimated 13 million American households — nearly all of which earn at least $100,000 a year.” • Nice to see Pelosi focusing on property owners, not wage workers. Clarifying about where she sees her base.
“The Coronavirus Killed the Progressive Left” [Tyler Cowen, Bloomberg]. “The egalitarianism of the progressive left also will seem like a faint memory. Elites are most likely to support wealth redistribution when they feel comfortable themselves, and indeed well-off coastal elites in California and the Northeast are a backbone of the progressive movement. But when these people feel threatened in their lives or occupations, or when the futures of their children suddenly seem less secure, redistribution will not be such a compelling ideal.” • Coastal elites — globalizers — are not the backbone of the Sanders campaign. Pehaps libertarian Cowen is so confused he things liberals and the left are the same, and that’s why he falls back on weird formulations like the “progressive left” (the reactionary left?).
“What Happens in November if One Side Doesn’t Accept the Election Results? [Salon]. “Vote by mail is an important step in ensuring that even if the virus keeps people away from physical polling places, millions of Americans will have a means of avoiding disenfranchisement. But it is not perfect. Vote-by-mail ballots are more likely to be rejected than other ballots because of problems like signature mismatches. We also know that rejection rates for signature mismatches can disproportionately affect minority voters. Some states do not alert a voter whose ballot has been rejected about the rejection, failing to give the voter a chance to cure something like a purported signature mismatch. Signature matching is also a notoriously subjective endeavor. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the issue has led to litigation over whether those voters are being unconstitutionally denied their right to vote.” • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The only voting technology either party will accept must enable election fraud. That is the fundamental requirement, and that is why hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public, are anathema to them. For example, here’s how you’d work fraud with mail-in ballots and signature matching:

14/ Another scary hack is the automated signature verification equipment. It can be set to require varying levels of exactness. (Easy to filter/hack by party or zip code, etc). Not nearly enough controls on such systems. pic.twitter.com/xHAO3bRLUR
— Marilyn Marks #StayHome (@MarilynRMarks1) March 27, 2020

Stats Watch
At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats. If anybody knows of other aggregators, please contact me at the email address below.
Consumer Confidence: “March 2020 Conference Board Consumer Confidence Declines Sharply Due To Coronavirus” [Econintersect]. “Consumer confidence had been on a multi-year upswing, the upswing paused in 2019 – but the coronavirus killed the upswing.”
Manufacturing: “March 2020 Chicago Purchasing Managers Barometer Remains In Contraction” [Econintersect]. “The Fed manufacturing surveys were mostly in contraction this month because of the coronavirus impacts.”
Housing: “S and P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20 City Home Price Index January 2020 Year-over-Year Growth Now 3.1%” [Econintersect]. “All home price indices are continuing to show home price growth is accelerating year-over-year. It will be interesting to watch the effect of the coronavirus on home prices.”
* * *
Commodities: “There’s no shortage of demand around the world for farming’s staple grains, but getting it to the right places is proving a problem. Consumers are loading up on pasta, rice and bread, and the WSJ’s Jacob Bunge and Jesse Newman report the stockpiling is pressuring broader grain markets and pushing some countries to restrict agriculture exports. Industry analysts say there is plenty of wheat around the world, but disrupted supply lines are driving up wheat and rice prices, bucking a coronavirus-induced downturn that has hurt commodity markets” [Wall Street Journal]. “Difficulties moving grain, coupled with frenzied consumer buying, could exacerbate the impact of the pandemic on food markets. Quarantine measures have made it difficult to transport grain in countries such as France, where truck transport is in short supply and truckers are raising rates to carry farm goods to ports because there is little to carry back inland”
Commodities: “The Oil Glut Is Filling Up the World’s Supertankers Fast” [Bloomberg]. “The world’s oil tankers are being filled with crude at a record pace as the options to store a glut on land rapidly diminish, one of the industry’s largest owners said. A combination of surging production from key producers worldwide and capitulating demand in the face of the coronavirus outbreak means that land storage is being overwhelmed, said Robert Hvide Macleod, Chief Executive Officer of Frontline Management AS. The world is likely overproducing by about 20 million barrels a day, or 20% of normal consumption, he said, echoing wider industry views.”
Shipping: “Urgent Demand for Medical Equipment Is Making Air Cargo Fees ‘Absolutely Crazy’” [Bloomberg]. “‘Chartered prices have been pushed up from less than $300,000 four to six weeks back to $600,000 to $800,000 in the last few days,’ Anthony Lau, chairman and founder of logistics company Pacific Air (HK) Ltd., said in an interview Friday. ‘It is absolutely crazy.’”
Tech: “Nextdoor, the network for neighbors, grows in age of social distancing” [Agence France Presse]. “Daily usage of the network — an ad-supported privately held start-up which touts itself as a a local alternative to Facebook — soared 80 percent in March as people looked to connect more with neighbors…. Nextdoor is free. The only caveat is that users must verify who they are and live in the real-world location that comports with the boundaries of the online neighborhood network they wish to join…. Launched in late 2011 as a variation on town squares where people could get to know neighbors and catch up on local news, San Francisco-based Nextdoor now boasts 260,000 neighborhoods across 11 countries including Australia, Britain, France, Italy, Spain, and the US.”
Manufacturing: “There is little overlap between making cars and the labor-intensive job of building ventilators. But car companies are being called on because they typically work with thousands of parts suppliers and are accustomed to manufacturing at a large scale” [Wall Street Journal]. • Oh:

An underrated storyline during this pandemic is how US manufacturing is so destroyed that it cannot even manufacture basic stuff like cotton swabs, which (partly) caused the testing kit shortage.
— T.K. of AAK! (@AskAKorean) March 29, 2020

Honey for the Bears: “Goldman Sachs Sees 34% Plunge in U.S. GDP and 15% Unemployment” [Bloomberg]. “The world’s largest economy will shrink an annualized 34% in the second quarter, compared with an earlier estimate of 24%, economists led by Jan Hatzius wrote in a report. Unemployment will soar to 15% by mid-year, up from a previous forecast of 9%, they wrote. The economists, however, now expect a stronger recovery in the third quarter, with gross domestic product expanding 19%.”
* * *
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 26 Fear (previous close: 25 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 13 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 31 at 12:30pm. Finally, the transition to mere fear.

The Biosphere
“Coronavirus lockdowns have changed the way Earth moves” [Nature]. “The coronavirus pandemic has brought chaos to lives and economies around the world. But efforts to curb the spread of the virus might mean that the planet itself is moving a little less. Researchers who study Earth’s movement are reporting a drop in seismic noise — the hum of vibrations in the planet’s crust — that could be the result of transport networks and other human activities being shut down. They say this could allow detectors to spot smaller earthquakes and boost efforts to monitor volcanic activity and other seismic events… Data from a seismometer at the observatory show that measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Brussels caused human-induced seismic noise to fall by about one-third, says Lecocq. The measures included closing schools, restaurants and other public venues from 14 March, and banning all non-essential travel from 18 March (see ‘Seismic noise’).” • Another proxy for successful social distancing (although not for remote stations, of course).
“Lead pollution in ancient ice cores may track the rise and fall of medieval kings” [Science]. “800 years ago, the wild moors and wooded gorges were “covered in toxic lead pollution,” says archaeologist Chris Loveluck of the University of Nottingham. ‘The royal hunting forest near the castle was an industrial landscape.’ Here, farmers mined and smelted so much lead that it left toxic traces in their bodies—and winds blew lead dust onto a glacier 1500 kilometers away in the Swiss Alps. Loveluck and his colleagues say the glacier preserves a detailed record of medieval lead production, especially when analyzed with a new method that can track deposition over a few weeks or even days…. Lead tracks silver production because it is often found in the same ore, and the team found that the far-flung lead pollution was a sensitive barometer of the medieval English economy. As they report in a study published this week in Antiquity, lead spiked when kings took power, minted silver coins, and built cathedrals and castles. Levels plunged when plagues, wars, or other crises slowed mining and the air cleared. “This is extraordinary—lead levels correlate with the transition of kings,” says historian Joanna Story of the University of Leicester, who was not part of the study…. For example, when Mayewski showed on a graph that lead pollution plummeted in 1170, Loveluck and Harvard historian Michael McCormick immediately knew why: ‘1170 was the year that Henry the II’s assassins killed the archbishop of Canterbury [Thomas Becket] and Henry was excommunicated,’ Loveluck says. ‘Nobody paid any taxes.’ Mining stopped.” •
“Stuck inside? Tips for indoor gardening to bring green to your space while quarantined” [USA Today]. • Lots of good tips, like remembering to dust leaves (which I never did; perhaps that’s why I never had good luck with houseplants). And from this article–
“Gardening Promotes Neuroendocrine and Affective Restoration from Stress” [Journal of Health Psychology]. I don’t know the number of study participants, because only the abstract is available: “Thirty allotment gardeners performed a stressful Stroop task and were then randomly assigned to 30 minutes of outdoor gardening or indoor reading on their own allotment plot. Salivary cortisol levels and self-reported mood were repeatedly measured. Gardening and reading each led to decreases in cortisol during the recovery period, but decreases were significantly stronger in the gardening group. Positive mood was fully restored after gardening, but further deteriorated during reading. These findings provide the first experimental evidence that gardening can promote relief from acute stress.”
Health Care
If you need any incentive to wear your mask and wash your hands:

This is how far back we have to put the swab to test you for #COVID19.
You might want to follow medical recommendations and #StayHome. pic.twitter.com/gCMqUdpsEk
— Jessica Peck, DNP APRN CPNP-PC (@DrPeckPNP) March 29, 2020

Darwin Award (1):

A must read.
The decision by the school’s president, Jerry Falwell Jr., to partly reopen his evangelical university enraged residents of Lynchburg, Va. Then students started getting sick. https://t.co/g9DZ1kbMJ9
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) March 29, 2020

Darwin Award (2):

so we’re just going to be in quarantine forever huh pic.twitter.com/loykFYkNRD
— internet baby (@kirkpate) March 30, 2020

Darwin Award (3):

How about these? Just search “Pier 90” on the Instagram location tags pic.twitter.com/XUTCT8VKMH
— GRETCHEN CONNELIE (@GCONNELIE) March 30, 2020

Yes, Manhattan flocks to Pier 90 to see the Hospital Ship come to treat victims of #SARS-COV-2, sans masks, sans social distancing, sans everything…. Many of them, no doubt, having snickered at the rubes from Lynchburg in that morning’s Times.
Our Famously Free Press
“Gannett Announces Pay Cuts and Furloughs Across Entire Media Company” [Daily Beast]. “In an email to staff, obtained by The Daily Beast, Gannett CEO Paul Bascobert said that the company will ask staff to make a ‘collective sacrifice’ to keep the mass-media holding company intact amid the crisis by cutting pay ‘as soon as this week.’ … According to Monday’s memo, many staffers will be furloughed for five days a month through June. The CEO also told workers that he will not take an annual salary until the furloughs and reductions had been reversed, and that other Gannett executives will take a 25-percent pay reduction.” • Just when we need reporting most….
Podcasters, too:

Commuting is the lifeblood of podcasting. https://t.co/ir9k6nl7t1
— Mike Duncan (@mikeduncan) March 31, 2020

Guillotine Watch
“New York Quickly Builds Thousands Of Emergency Hamptons Mansions To Shelter Wealthy” [The Onion (RH)]. • They got you, didn’t they?
Class Warfare
“‘Seize It’: Progressives Urge Philadelphia City Govt. to Take Hahnemann Hospital After Owner Demands $1 Million a Month in Rent” [Common Dreams]. “Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday joined a rising chorus of progressives demanding the city of Philadelphia seize the shuttered 500-bed Hahnemann hospital from its owner, investment banker Joel Freedman, and reopen the facility to handle the coming peak infections of the coronavirus in the city.” • Isn’t this why we have eminent doman? Pennsylvania seems unlucky in its rentiers:

The private equity billionaires at Cerebus threaten to murder a bunch of Americans if they don’t get a bailout for their hospital. https://t.co/dOeAvbhafa
— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) March 31, 2020

UPDATE “Opinion: If you’re ‘essential’ enough to work through a pandemic, you’re essential enough to be paid a living wage” [Los Angeles Times]. “‘You guys deserve a serious raise,’ I told the worker who bagged my groceries. ‘Did you get one?’ She didn’t look up. ‘We got a onetime bonus,’ she eventually answered, her eyes still lowered. ‘It was a couple of hundred bucks.’ A couple of hundred bucks to put her life on the line to prevent mass upheaval and panic.” • “Her eyes still lowered.” Third World stuff….
News of the Wired
Yeast we forget–yeast we forget:

Today I achieved* something that I’ve been trying to do for a year. The slice of bread here was made with leavening cultures sampled from ancient Egyptian baking vessels, using ancient Emmer wheat, with an ancient Egyptian recipe, using ancient Egyptian baking tools, and NO OVEN. pic.twitter.com/msZpvlyK0F
— Seamus Blackley (@SeamusBlackley) March 30, 2020

* * *
Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (JU):

JU writes: “Arctic Snow White nectarine tree, with Fiddleneck flowers behind.”
Here is another reader project “while on lock-down (SS):

SS writes:
This site* said that vacuum cleaner bags are good filter material.
So I worked up a plan to make masks out of shop vac filter bags. Youcan use a sewing machine but I think sewing machine and hot melt glueis fastest. I’m really bad at sewing, but it works anyway.
Once I knew I could make my own, I gave my factory models to the local hospital.
SS went the extra mile and wrote up directions; here is a PDF you can download.
mask_making

* I know there’s discussion about the Smart Air Filters site, but I think since SS gave the factory masks he had to hospital personnel, that plus his own masks net out positive. In any case, an imperfect mask will still catch droplets from your coughing or sneezing, protecting others.
* * *
Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:

Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated.

If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!




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SEO Needs to Be Part of Your PR Strategy

SEO Needs to Be Part of Your PR Strategy



No, PR and SEO are not the same thing. But for best results, they belong together.

March
31, 2020

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Interestingly, although I lead a PR company, we don’t do SEO. However, I strongly consider SEO know-how one of the most essential advantages a PR business can have. The guiding rule of PR, in my estimation, is to provide relevant and value-add information for the people who want to receive it. The job of SEO, then, is to direct that content to ensure it is seen. So in that respect, PR and SEO are best friends. As my friend Dan Posner, business development lead for Big Leap, likes to put it: “PR and SEO are like diet and exercise. Why would you attend to one without the other?” I agree. Since Google updated its core algorithm in September, SEO practices have shifted yet again. And as usual, SEO experts are pivoting to adjust. The Google game is getting more sophisticated and abstract, with forces like BERT and ‘Entities’ making the algorithm ever more intelligent.Too often, companies are still approaching SEO from a utilitarian perspective, treating it simply as a way to harvest clicks. But forward-thinking CEOs are supporting and empowering their Chiefs of SEO, because that link on Google is often prospects’ very first point of brand contact. Considering that search engine results pages (SERPs) will provide your introduction to many of your future customers, clients and partners, it’s time to start thinking of SEO as an integral part of your PR strategy. Put on your best public face, first by ranking, and then by providing a clickable link that converts. Here’s why this crucial point of contact is good for more than inbound sales.Related: 10 Fundamentals to Understanding SEOStop chasing clicks and build a more authoritative presenceGoogle has been putting more effort into keeping people on the SERP instead of just clicking through. If you can earn a snippet or an answer box, you’ll be the one who answers many users’ questions. You may not get the clickthrough, but you’ve still won, by positioning yourself as an authoritative source in the conversation. This can be true even for a high ranking link without a snippet or an answer box.“A high SERP ranking establishes you as a trusted authority,” says Guy Sheetrit, CEO of Over the Top SEO. “It’s like being quoted in the Times (or the Post. Or even the Journal). Users will automatically associate higher ranked companies with being ‘top of their class.’”Sheetrit says smart SEO now means putting less emphasis on clickthroughs, and more on brand presence. Of course, this makes it trickier to measure ROI. But the long term payoffs of being an established authority are worth it, according to him.Google doesn’t want to rank you for free The SEO game was different when Google pages were comprised of the classic “10 blue links,” meaning the top 10 organic search results, with ads peppered off to the side. But there’s no use pining for the good ol’ days.According to Moz Data Scientist Pete Meyers, only 3 percent of Google SERPs now feature 10 blue links. Google pages du jour are dominated by ads, answer boxes, snippets, PAA question boxes and other flotsam. “This is not the exception,” he says. “It’s our new reality.”Most people focus a majority of their effort on the high-volume terms that face heavy competition and are plastered with paid ads in the search results. But the people searching for the topics at this end of the spectrum tend to be further along in the buying process, which means they’ve probably already interacted with many of your competitors. Jeremy Knauff, founder of Spartan Media and contributor to Search Engine Journal, believes there’s a better approach.“When you create and optimize your content to reach people earlier in the buying process, you’ll have a better chance of forming a relationship with them before your competitors do,” he says. “An added benefit is that it’s generally a lot faster and easier to rank for these types of long-tail terms.”That’s not all bad. It just means there’s a price for ranking consistently. If you want to be front and center on the SERP, above the fold and ready to make a good impression, you can buy the privilege. Whether it’s worth the price is a question for your marketing team. So make sure marketing and PR are collaborating closely with your SEO experts on shared goals and strategies.Related: 7 Reasons You Should Stop Managing Your SEO and Hire a ProShore up your reputation with best practicesAccording to Google, three out of four smartphone users go to search engines first to address their immediate needs. There are 3.5 billion smartphone users worldwide, so that makes for roughly 2.625 billion people who search mobile first. The importance of optimizing for mobile cannot be overstated. Consider this principle as well: The best defense for a strong reputation is to proactively be sure you are “on the record” for who you really are and what you really stand for before a crisis occurs. In many kinds of crises, your attorneys or company policy may not allow you to directly respond. So the evidence that already stands may be for a period of time your best (or even your only) response. In addition, you should follow the most current SEO and PR best practices:●      A secure website (https://) is now expected, not a differentiator.●      Optimize for voice search so Alexa and Siri are on your side.●      Quality text content should be longer than 2,000 words for optimal results.●      Quality video content should quickly answer users’ questions.●      As always, optimize for the best possible mobile UX!Following these tips will get you a ranking that leads others to conclude that you’re at the top. More than clickthroughs, more even than conversions, strategic SEO will make you seem like an authority in your field. Don’t allow yourself to get lost in the technical end of landing SERPs and winning snippets. Allow your SEO team to fret over those. Just make sure the team you choose is aligned with your best PR thinking, to allow the full force of your marketing effort to propel you to the top of the heap.Related: 6 SEO Marketing Trends in 2019 That Entrepreneurs Should Know …



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Quebec sees coronavirus cases soar, faces equipment shortage By Reuters

© Reuters. Police and private security maintain quarantine orders in the Hasidic Jewish Tosh community of Boisbriand



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© Reuters. Police and private security maintain quarantine orders in the Hasidic Jewish Tosh community of Boisbriand

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By Allison Lampert MONTREAL (Reuters) – With more than half of Canada’s coronavirus cases, Quebec has become the country’s epicenter for the pandemic and could run out of some equipment in a week after missing an early opportunity to control the outbreak. The spring school break, a popular travel week, took place in the first week of March in Quebec, earlier than many other Canadian provinces. But Quebec did not have broad social restrictions in place and thousands of returning travelers went back to schools and work. It was on March 12, days afterward, that Quebec asked people coming back from abroad to self-isolate for 14 days and canceled large indoor gatherings. By then, a single wedding gathering in Montreal had led to multiple new cases in the province in addition to the hundreds of returning travelers exacerbating community spread of the highly contagious respiratory virus. In one Quebec town, a Hasidic Jewish community has been placed under quarantine after a trip to New York during that same period led to an outbreak among its members. Quebec subsequently introduced tougher measures to help curb the coronavirus including shutting all but essential services, introducing fines and setting up police checkpoints to restrict travel to parts of the province with lower rates of infection. The province has only three to seven days’ supply of some protective medical equipment, Quebec’s premier said on Tuesday, adding he expected new shipments to arrive in coming days. Quebec on Tuesday reported a 21% jump in cases to 4,162 and 31 deaths. Nationally, Canada has 7,708 confirmed cases and 89 deaths. As of Monday, Quebec had tested 59,715 people, compared with 54,112 for Ontario, the country’s most populous province. Just 2.5% of Ontario residents had tested positive, compared with 4.8% for Quebec.      ‘ONE FACE SHIELD PER DAY’ Quebec is now asking medical staff to disinfect and reuse N95 masks. In Montreal, Quebec’s biggest city, one hospital had already told staff to wipe down and reuse face shields, according to an internal memo, while an impromptu effort was under way across the city to produce more visors.    “We have been asked to be careful with pandemic supplies because there is a limited number and we need to conserve as our numbers of patients increase,” said the memo to Jewish General Hospital staff, seen by Reuters. “Kindly limit to one face shield per day.”     Workers were told to clean the clear shields when going in and out of COVID patient isolation rooms, one staff member said. “These masks aren’t supposed to be reused,” said the staff member who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with media. “It’s definitely a concern.”     A hospital spokesman said that “the practice of disinfecting face shields is being tested in certain units,” and noted that other hospitals were doing the same to deal with a shortage of shields.     An expected surge in cases and shortage of equipment led companies like sports equipment maker Bauer Hockey to modify its hockey visors into face shields at its Quebec facility.     Residents with basic equipment are also stepping up to laser-cut equipment for hospitals.
    “We’re just filling a gap here,” said Jordan Bowden, partner in a Montreal pinball bar, who is producing clear visors for face shields. “We heard the stories from the front-line workers and knew it was time to act.”



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Ask the Technicians: Is This A New Bull Market?



A number of media outlets, including Barron’s, CNN, and Marketwatch, have suggested that the 20% move off of the lows qualifies as a new bull market.
Does it really? To find out, I reached out via email to many of the savviest technicians and strategists on the street. Their insights were informative and thought provoking.
Before we get them, a quick confession of my priors: I have long believed traditional measures of bull and bear markets are wrong. My preferred measure of a secular bull market includes four factors:
–A broad economic expansion, with rising corporate revenues and profits;–Rising stock prices making new all-time highs;–Improving investor sentiment, and a willingness to pay more and more for each dollar of earnings;–Duration: Lasting over a substantial length of time – years and decades.1
I will address these in greater detail in a future post. Meanwhile, let’s see what the technical types who look at price action and history have to say.
Definitions  
Start with the 20% definition: It seems to be uniformly disliked by everyone. Ed Clissold, Chief U.S. Strategist at the highly regarded technical shop Ned Davis Research (NDR) notes the firm never liked the 20% rule: “Over 20 years ago, we created our own criteria because the 20% rule creates several bull and bear markets during volatile times that most would not consider bulls or bears. Many occurred in the 1930s, so they were not relevant to modern markets…until now.” Clissold notes NDR’s criteria for a cyclical bull market 2 “have not been met.”
Katie Stockton is founder and managing partner of Fairlead Strategies. She too dislikes “percentage qualifiers” for bull and bear markets. Instead, “they need to be characterized by a series of higher highs/lows or lower highs/lows, respectively.” Without those moves, we should assume this is merely an oversold relief rally. She also notes the definition of bull and bear markets “should be expanded to include duration.”
Peter Boockvar, Chief Investment Officer of the Bleakley Advisory Group and editor of The Boock Report, similarly calls it “nonsense.” “A stock that goes from $50 to $10 and then rallies to $12” is not suddenly in a bull market. His preferred measure of markets looks at breadth: When “most stocks are below their 200 day moving averages, I would consider that a bear market, and vice versa.”
Valuations
Meb Faber, Chief Investment Officer of Cambria Investment Management, reminds us that “bull markets begin at low valuations.” The 10-year PE ratio (Shiller CAPE) is his preferred measure. 2020 began with the CAPE ratio at 31, and as of last week had fallen to 24. Faber notes long-term valuations are “still expensive relative to the long-term average around 18 (and a low inflation average around 21).”
The issue, as he sees it, is that “secular bulls usually start at valuations in the low teens.” He reminds us that the Great Financial Crisis began with a CAPE of about 13, and notes that bear markets often begin when the CAPE ratio is around 28. “We’re still closer to high valuations vs. lower ones and a move to GFC lows is still a drop of 50% from here.” He looks at the move off of the lows as “a nice bounce in a bear market.”
Bear Market Rally
Speaking of which: Louise Yamada of Louise Yamada Technical Research Advisors also believes we should be skeptical of rallies during a downturn: “Until proven otherwise, we’d refer to it as a bear market rally, of which there can be many within an ongoing trend. 2002 had three bear rallies from 17-29% each, followed by another leg down; 2007 had four from 11-20%. So now we have one rally of 21% . . . we need to see if there are subsequent declines that go lower before calling it a new bull market.” 3
 Jonathan Krimsky, the Chief Market Technician at Baycrest Partners, also sees a similar pattern in the historical data. “The 20% rise off the lows is far an all clear signal. We need to only look back at prior bear markets such as 1929-1932, 200-2003, and 2007-2009. All of those saw at least one, and in some cases several, 20%+ rallies off the lows, only to go back and break those lows before the bear market ended.” Krimsky astutely points out that while “every Bull market begins with a 20% rally, but not every 20% rally leads to a new Bull market.”
Trend
JC Parets, CMT, President & Founder of Allstarcharts, makes the case that trend matterds a great deal: “Bull markets are a function of a majority of stocks moving in an uptrend simultaneously. Historic record amounts of new lows (like we’ve seen in the past week) is the exact opposite of a bull market. In case it wasn’t blatantly obvious, those are the things we see in Bear Markets!”
His colleague Tom Bruni, CMT, adds that “If this is a bull market, it’s the only one in history that’s occurred with the majority of stocks in the US and around the world in downtrends.”
Sentiment
Has the prior bull market – the one that dates to either the bear market lows of 2009 or the new highs made in 2013 – even ended? John Roque, former technician at George Soros’ hedge fund, and now managing director at Wolfe Research, notes we are “not even sure most believe the prior [bull] is over.” He sees the market behaving like a wounded athlete that “ran a long way very quickly.” Mr. Market has an Achilles’ injury, “the bounce over the last 5 days was that same athlete, pushing through the pain, purely on adrenaline and grit.”
Caution is Warranted
Some final cautionary notes come from the technicians. Parets writes: “It is incredibly irresponsible to claim that stocks are currently in a bull market when we’re in the midst of one of the biggest stock market collapses in history.” And Faber has one last cautionary warning: “Since we don’t know how this pandemic plays out, a thoughtful investor needs to consider both scenarios, a romp to all-time highs and a dive to new lows.  Are you prepared for both?”
 
 
 
____________
1. There are longer secular bull and bear markets with shorter, counter-trend (cyclical) moves. Think about all of the ups and downs in the secular bear market that lasted from 1966 to 1982, or 1982-2000 as examples.
2. The NDR definitions of bull and bear markets:
“A cyclical bull market requires a 30% rise in the DJIA after 50 calendar days or a 13% rise after 155 calendar days. Reversals of 30% in the Value Line Geometric Index since 1965 also qualify. A cyclical bear market requires a 30% drop in the DJIA after 50calendar days or a 13% decline after 145 calendar days. Reversals of 30% in the Value Line Geometric Index also qualify… As you can see, the criteria are a combination of time and price… A bigger decline over a shorter time frame, or a smaller decline over a longer time frame qualify. We use 30% reversals in the Value Line Geometric Index to catch market moves that may miss the time and price combination.”
3. She adds: “Of course the stimulus could end the decline, but when the earnings and credit quality of cos. gets revealed, downgraded, there could be another leg down in months… all non technical, but thinking ahead as to what could cause another leg down.”
 



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Cytodyn’s Leronlimab Could Be an Answer to COVID-19



Although the news about CytoDyn (CYDY) saying it could probably adapt its leronlimab drug to battle COVID-19, is two weeks old, the media finally caught up with the story when news that a small sample of patients with COVID-19 have responded positively to the drug treatment.In this article we’ll look at the potential opportunity this offers patients and CytoDyn, and also the many other diseases and conditions leronlimab could be useful for.Leronlimab and COVID-19The primary use and benefit of leronlimab is for patients having respiratory complications from COVID-19. At this time it is believed the treatment strengthens the “immune response mitigating the ‘cytokine storm’ that leads to morbidity and mortality in these patients.”Interim Chief Medical Officer of CytoDyn, Jacob Lalezari, M.D., said this about the treatment: “These preliminary results give hope that leronlimab may help hospitalized patients with COVID-19 recover from the pulmonary inflammation that drives mortality and the need for ventilators…”IncellDx CEO Bruce Patterson, M.D., said that after three days of therapy the immune profile of the patients improved returned to close to normal levels, with “the levels of cytokines involved in the cytokine storm were much improved.”While being a small trial sample, it does have a lot of potential to successfully treat COVID-19 going forward, and if the growing number of patients being treated by leronlimab respond in similar ways, it’s going to be an extraordinary boost to the value and share price of the company; but that’s only part of the story.More uses for leronlimabAlong with the treatment of HIV, leronlimab has also been found to be effective in treating the spread of breast cancer. In trials the drug has proven to successfully slow down the metastatic progress, and in some cases the circulating tumor cells (CTC) fell to zero.The company is working on treatments for a number of indications that include other types of cancers. With the company asserting it can adapt leronlimab to treat a variety of diseases, and so far has shown those assumptions have a significant chance of being successful, leronlimab could be a powerhouse drug that can be used for a platform do develop a wide variety of treatments.If that’s how it turns out for CytoDyn, it’s going to make the recent surge in price seem very small.Media and investors starting to discover CytoDynOne of the more important things from a business standpoint concerning the potential of leronlimab has been the recent media coverage of the drug, which has put CytoDyn on the map.That can be a double-edged sword if after the growing media attention the company is receiving, it ends up not being able to treat many people with COVID-19. It don’t believe that’s how it’ll play out, but it is a possibility.On the other hand, the company is receiving the type of attention that has resulted in investors looking further under the hood of the firm, and so far they like what they see.In the short term term COVID-19 will drive the share price of the company, but once further research reveals the significant potential of leronlimab in regard to a variety of diseases and symptoms, it could propel CytoDyn into being an elite player in the sector. It will of course also drive the share price far beyond where it stands today.Unsurprisingly, according to TipRanks, investor sentiment is Positive, with individual portfolios in the TipRanks database showing a net increase in CYDY.Story continuesConclusionCytoDyn has been propelled into the national and international spotlight with the potential to successfully treat COVID-19. So far it has handled the attention well, and has taken the right steps to balance the increasing media coverage.With a growing number of patients being treated, and the near-term revealing of the results, if the company is able to prove it can sustainably treat the virus effectively, all bets are off as to how high the share price is going to go.Even that’s a distinct possibility, it has been shown that in some of the nations being hit earlier and hard with the virus, that it starts to slow down. If that ends up being how it plays out over the next month or two, we may see some of the current urgency start to wane, especially if governments start to encourage citizens to get back to work and interact with one another once again.Under that scenario, CytoDyn may not get the boost it would get if the virus were to remain a totally disruptive factor in the lives of billions of people on the planet.Even so, leronlimab and CytoDyn are now on the radar of the market, and the company will never return to the obscurity it once operated under.No matter how it works out with COVID-19, leronlimab has emerged as a potential candidate to treat a wide variety of diseases and their symptoms; that means over time this company has a probable great future ahead of it, as do its shareholders.Concerning COVID-19, if the company does deliver on that, that future is going to be pulled back closer to the present in relationship to the impact on the value of the company. This company should be kept on our watch lists, as there will be a lot more media coverage in the days, weeks, and months ahead. It will provide a lot of opportunities to profitably trade CytoDyn.To find good ideas for healthcare stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.



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