News by the numbers: Aug 17–23
Apple hits $2T valuation
Apple became the first U.S. company to hit a $2 trillion valuation on Wednesday, with shares reaching $468.65. Apple reached its first trillion valuation in August 2018, 42 years after the company was founded. It took only two years for Apple to grow by another $1 trillion, with almost all of that growth happening during the COVID-19 pandemic.
House approves $25B for Postal Service
In a 257-150 vote split along party lines, the House passed a bill to provide $25 billion to the U.S. Postal Service on Saturday. The bill, which also bans further operational changes until after the November election, comes after the Trump administration and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy faced backlash for changes recently implemented, including the removal of high-volume mail sorting machines, shortened operating hours, and the elimination of overtime pay.
Flint reaches $600M deal to compensate residents for tainted water
Michigan agreed to a deal last week to establish a $600 million fund for Flint residents whose health was impacted by lead-tainted drinking water. Residents can file a compensation claim and funding released will be determined by the extent of damage sustained. Flint residents have been living with tainted water since 2014 when the city began sourcing water from the Flint River instead of the city of Detroit.
1.1 million file for unemployment
More than 1.1 million people filed for unemployment the week ending Aug. 15 according to the Department of Labor—an increase of 135,000 from the previous week. This marks the second consecutive week of rising claims, indicating that layoffs are still happening even as economies around the country continue to slowly reopen and ramp up.
Convalescent plasma used on 60,000 patients receives emergency use authorization
On Sunday, the Food and Drug Administration issued emergency use authorization for convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19. Convalescent plasma, taken from the blood of patients who have recovered from COVID-19 and replete with critical antibodies, has been used on more than 60,000 patients ill with coronavirus. While trials have shown some promising results, randomized clinical trials are needed to more accurately assess plasma’s efficacy.
585 new fires ignite in California
As many as 585 new wildfires were ignited by 12,000 lightning strikes in California over the weekend, burning nearly 1 million acres of land including Big Basin Redwoods State Park, and forcing more than 119,000 residents to evacuate. Roughly 137,000 firefighters are battling blazes around the state which is now in a state of disaster.