Number of the Day

Pfizer says it can vaccinate up to 12.5 million Americans by the end of the year

Marker Number of the Day — 25 million: Roughly how many people Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine can protect by the end of the year
Marker Number of the Day — 25 million: Roughly how many people Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine can protect by the end of the year
Photo Illustration, source: Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

25 million: That’s how many people the pharmaceutical company Pfizer says its Covid-19 vaccine can protect by the end of 2020, according to Reuters.

This month, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and, most recently, AstraZeneca-Oxford all published promising results from robust trials of Covid-19 vaccines. Given the indications that these vaccines are effective, the question now turns to when they can be rolled out to the public.

Last week, Pfizer asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve its vaccine for emergency use. The FDA will meet to make that call on December 10. Unlike Moderna, which received $2.5 billion to develop its mRNA vaccine from the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed, Pfizer did not use government money to develop its vaccine. …


NUMBER OF THE DAY

Social distancing requirements have sent Santas online and behind plexiglass

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Photo illustration, source: RichLegg/Getty Images

500%: That’s the increase over last year in virtual Santa Claus visits on HireSanta, a platform where retailers and event organizers can book Santa appearances, via Bloomberg Businessweek.

Santa Claus has been an in-person fixture at shopping malls every holiday season for decades. But as the third wave of coronavirus infections continues to rage across America, Santa — one of the malls’ biggest end-of-year draws — is largely missing this year, imperiling the already meager footfall for retail stores. Just 45% of Americans say they plan to visit a mall this holiday season, down from 64% last year.

Still, not all retailers have given up on making St. Nick available to the families who want to greet him. Some have him wearing a mask and keeping a safe distance from the families who come to visit, others are putting Santa behind plexiglass. Bloomberg reports that HireSanta also offers custom plexiglass “Santa shields” that allow children to sit beside Santa and talk to him without the risk of infection. …


What We’re Reading

Some of the great articles on Medium that we’ve been reading and talking about. Happy reading (and highlighting)!

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Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Everything has changed so much in the past eight months, including the business world. This week, the editors at Marker cataloged the most brilliant business decisions, embarrassing blunders (*cough* Quibi *cough*), inspiring moments, and downright oddities (hello, Sharpiegate). Relive all the wild business moments of the pandemic — from Amazon firing its whistleblower to mask-manufacturing mania to the NBA bubble to the ongoing TikTok drama. —Bobbie Gossage, Deputy Editor, Marker

K-pop has been dominating headlines lately. From the recent roller coaster IPO of the company behind BTS, to K-pop stans fighting QAnon on social media, to Bloomberg declaring Korean girl group Blackpink the biggest pop band in the world, no cultural phenomenon has made this millennial feel quite so old—or out of touch. In GEN’s series How I Got Radicalized, Nia Tucker relays her experience of how, despite being a die-hard K-pop stan, as a young Black girl from a working-class family, she simply couldn’t cope with the sheer financial cost of keeping up with the fandom, which involved buying concert tickets, music downloads, and exclusive merchandise. …


NUMBER OF THE DAY

A $13 billion jump in the stock market made the Tesla CEO the third-richest person on the planet

$123 billion: Elon Musk’s net worth as of Thursday, making him the world’s third-richest person. Source: Bloomberg
$123 billion: Elon Musk’s net worth as of Thursday, making him the world’s third-richest person. Source: Bloomberg
Photo illustration, source: Patrick Pleul/dpa-Zentralbild/ZB/picture alliance/Getty Images

$123 billion: That was Elon Musk’s net worth by the end of stock trading Thursday — a $13 billion jump from Monday — making him the world’s third-richest person.

After a dozen years of the brow-furrowed tut-tuts of naysayers galore, Tesla on Monday was approved for entry to the halls of the establishment: the S&P 500 Index. As a result, index-tracking institutional investors that had thumbed their nose for years were forced to snap up its shares. That pushed up the company’s stock price — and Musk’s net worth.

The vindication of the bad boy of the auto industry was justified. It’s hard to think of another entrepreneur in memory who has so overturned a legacy industry by joining it. Not Jeff Bezos, who created his own industry — the e-book and later e-commerce store. Nor even Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, similarly at the front-end of burgeoning sectors. Instead, the annals of brash business are filled with the detritus of Icaruses that broke into existing industries and reached great heights only to tumble to the ground — DeLorean, People Express, and Quibi, to name a few. …


Number of the Day

Startups are working to replace America’s favorite meat

Number of the Day — 360 million tons: How much greenhouse gas emissions the global poultry industry produces every year.
Number of the Day — 360 million tons: How much greenhouse gas emissions the global poultry industry produces every year.
Photo illustration, source: Martin Harvey/Gallo Images/Getty Images Plus

360 million tons: That’s how much greenhouse gas emissions the global poultry industry produces every year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, per Future Human.

The Future Human story by Andrew Zaleski centers on a startup that aims to produce plant-based alternatives to chicken on an industrial scale. While beef is notorious for its climate impacts, ranking first among foods for its greenhouse gas emissions (2.9 billion tons a year), the poultry industry’s emissions are not insignificant. …


Number of the Day

Insurers can’t afford to insure homes in wildfire-prone areas. California had to stop them from dropping homeowners.

$3.7 billion — The U.S. insurance industry’s average yearly payout for property damaged by wildfires between 2011 and 2018
$3.7 billion — The U.S. insurance industry’s average yearly payout for property damaged by wildfires between 2011 and 2018
Photo illustration, source: Mindy Schauer/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register/Getty Images

$3.7 billion: That’s roughly how much insurance companies have paid out for fire damage each year between 2011 and 2018, up from an annual average of $400 million between 1991 and 2010, and less than $100 million between 1964 and 1990, according to a report in Bloomberg Businessweek about how insurers are struggling to model the risk of wildfires and keep premiums affordable in fire-heavy states like California.

Insuring property against wildfires is becoming increasingly unprofitable, and insurers may stop offering coverage in high-risk areas altogether. Earlier this month, California announced a one-year ban on insurers dropping coverage for homeowners in high-risk areas. Insurers wanting to drop homeowners in wildfire-prone areas is similar to what happened with flood insurance in the ’60s, leading to the creation of a federal government flood insurance program, which today covers more than 5 million homes and owes more than $20 billion in debt to the government — much of that debt stemming from 21st-century hurricanes like Katrina and Sandy. …


The Mobilist logo wordmark
The Mobilist logo wordmark

Dear Readers,

Today, I’m thrilled to announce that the Marker family is growing with the addition of a new blog, The Mobilist, about the future of batteries, electric cars, and driverless vehicles. Every so often, we write about something that our readers clearly have an insatiable appetite for. That’s exactly what happened recently, when Medium editor-at-large Steve LeVine wrote a series of stories chronicling the fast-moving, ever-changing, high-stakes mobility industry unfolding before our eyes.

More than a year ago, Steve began writing for Marker about Tesla’s million-mile electric car battery and the EV industry’s woman problem. More recently, he wrote about stealth startup QuantumScape, its claim of a battery breakthrough, and the skepticism around whether there was any leap at all.


Number of the Day

The Mercer-backed “free speech–focused” social network has seen its popularity soar during the election

Marker Number of the Day: 10,000,000 Users of conservative-centric social media platform Parler (Source: Wall Street Journal)
Marker Number of the Day: 10,000,000 Users of conservative-centric social media platform Parler (Source: Wall Street Journal)
Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

10 million: That’s how many people have signed up to use the newish alternative social media platform Parler as of Monday. Users have doubled over the past week, according to the Wall Street Journal. (It was also the top-ranked download in the news category, and the 10th-ranked free app overall in Apple’s App Store, according to App Annie, which tracks app downloads.)

Although it was founded in 2018, Parler has attracted widespread interest in the aftermath of the presidential election for its reputation as a safe space for conservatives to say whatever they please, free from the mainstream social media platforms’ efforts to police misinformation. Right-leaning media stars have led the charge recently, setting up on Parler and exhorting fans to follow them there. …


Animation of various brand logos around a petri dish with a dollar sign that someone is dropping silver on.
Animation of various brand logos around a petri dish with a dollar sign that someone is dropping silver on.
Animations: Shira Inbar

Special Report

From the admirable to the audacious, the highs and lows that have defined the last eight months

Extreme times tend to bring out the best and worst in humanity — and the same can be said for business. …


NUMBER OF THE DAY

The workers who most need emergency funds are least likely to have a retirement account

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Photo illustration; source: Tipp Howell/Getty Images

4.5%: That’s the share of Vanguard 401(k) account holders who have taken advantage of a temporary period in which they can withdraw from their account without penalty according to the Wall Street Journal.

In late March, as part of the CARES act, Congress allowed Americans to raid up to $100,000 from their tax-advantaged 401(k) accounts without incurring the usual 10% early withdrawal penalty. But a raft of 401(k) providers, including Vanguard, Fidelity, and T. Rowe Price told the Journal that fewer than 10% of their account holders opted to do this so far.

The proportion of people who chose this option may be tiny partly because low-income workers who most need to tap into an emergency fund like a retirement account are least likely to have one. …

Marker Editors

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