Author: williamboutte

 

Beijing is flexing its muscles on multiple fronts but Trump’s retreat from world leadership leaves it ill-placed to helm a fightback

The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, on China: ‘The free world must triumph over this new tyranny.’
 The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, on China: ‘The free world must triumph over this new tyranny.’ Photograph: Wu Hong/EPA

The confrontation between the US and China is gathering pace with each passing week. In the past few days, the Chinese consulate in Houston has been shuttered amid allegations it was a spy hub, and the US mission in the south-western city of Chengdu was closed in retaliation, on similar grounds.

The FBI has started arresting Chinese researchers at US universities with suspected links to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), one of whom temporarily took refuge in the consulate in San Francisco, before surrendering.

US academics and businessmen are being put under greater scrutiny for ties to Beijing and have been warned to come clean about them under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

The tougher legal moves have been accompanied by a concerted set of speeches assailing China by the Trump administration’s major national security and foreign policy officials, culminating in an address on Thursday by the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, declaring: “The free world must triumph over this new tyranny.”

Pompeo travelled to Yorba Linda, California, home of the Richard Nixon presidential library, to declare that the Republican president’s historic opening to China in 1972 had begun an exercise in failure in east-west detente.

“The kind of engagement we have been pursuing has not brought the kind of change in China that President Nixon hoped to induce,” Pompeo said. “The truth is that our policies – and those of other free nations – resurrected China’s failing economy, only to see Beijing bite the international hands that fed it.”

Some of the grand geopolitical language can be put down to the importance of anti-China sentiment in Donald Trump’s bid to salvage his presidency in the November election. And some of it is inspired by Pompeo’s own efforts, increasingly at the expense of his day job, to position himself for a presidential run in 2024.

But much of what Pompeo had to say will have global resonance thanks to Beijing’s rising aggression on multiple fronts around the globe. At the same time as rounding up more than a million Muslim Uighurs in internment camps, the regime has quashed the liberties enjoyed by Hong Kong, taken over disputed atolls, reefs and shoals in the South China Sea and turned them into concrete redoubts, and conducted a dangerous land grab on its border with India.

Pompeo argued that combatting the grip of the Chinese Communist party “is the mission of our time”, a declaration likely to get heads nodding in large parts of Asia and the Pacific at least. But his claim, in his next breath, that “America is perfectly positioned to lead it” will ring hollow among many of Washington’s bewildered allies.

In their eyes, China has expanded in a vacuum left by the US retreat under the Trump administration into “America First” jingoism and unilateralism.

This March 2017 image provided by Maxar Technologies shows a satellite image of the Chinese-occupied Fiery Cross Reef in Spratly island chain in the South China Sea, one of several disputed islands, reefs or shoals in the area.
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 This March 2017 image provided by Maxar Technologies shows a satellite image of the Chinese-occupied Fiery Cross Reef in Spratly island chain in the South China Sea, one of several disputed islands, reefs or shoals in the area that China has fortified. Photograph: AP

One of Trump’s first foreign policy moves was to pull the US out of negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership which was designed as an economic coalition to prevent China being able to dictate the terms of trade in the 21st century. US allies in the region went ahead anyway but it was severely weakened by the absence of the US administration, which sought instead to unpick existing trade arrangements with its partners.

Similarly, the US effort to persuade China to join arms control negotiations would carry more weight on the world stage if the Trump administration had not walked out on three arms control agreements to date and is apparently in the process of jettisoning a fourth, the New Start agreement limiting US and Russian strategic nuclear weapons.

The abrupt US departure from the World Health Organization in the midst of a pandemic, accompanied by a campaign of unsubstantiated allegations against its officials led by Pompeo, is also often cited by diplomats posted to Washington as an example of the US abdicating its global leadership role.

The failure of governance evident in the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic – which has left the US as the biggest, most enduring hotspot, and Americans banned from travelling to much of the world – has also made it hard for US diplomats to cajole foreign governments into a common cause against China, without drawing pained smiles.

The same could be said for the spectacle of unidentified and seemingly unaccountable paramilitary units making arrests in Portland. In terms of scale, it could not be more different from the mass incarceration of the Uighurs, but it is not a good look for a nation seeking to reclaim the mantle of leadership of the free world.

It is a stroke of luck for US diplomacy that, at a time when it is at its weakest when trying to recruit allies, China is doing much of the job on its behalf.

 

America is at a crossroads …

… and the coming months will define the country for a generation. These are perilous times. Over the last three years, much of what the Guardian holds dear has been threatened – democracy, civility, truth.

Science is presently in a battle with conjecture and instinct to determine policy in the middle of a pandemic. At the same time, the US is reckoning with centuries of racial injustice – as the White House stokes division along racial lines. At a time like this, an independent news organisation that fights for truth and holds power to account is not just optional. It is essential.

The Guardian has been significantly impacted by the pandemic. Like many other news organisations, we are facing an unprecedented collapse in advertising revenues. We rely to an ever greater extent on our readers, both for the moral force to continue doing journalism at a time like this and for the financial strength to facilitate that reporting.

We believe every one of us deserves equal access to fact-based news and analysis. We’ve decided to keep Guardian journalism free for all readers, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay. This is made possible thanks to the support we receive from readers across America in all 50 states.

As our business model comes under even greater pressure, we’d love your help so that we can carry on our essential work.

Trump Administration ordered the shutdown of the consulate that was ‘hub of spying’

U.S. officials pried open the doors of the Chinese consulate in Houston on Friday and took over the building shortly after Chinese officials vacated the facility on orders from the Trump Administration.

Federal officials and local law enforcement surrounded the Houston facility Friday afternoon as the Chinese officials moved out of the building that the Trump Administration contends was a hub of spy activity by the Chinese Communist Party.

Forty minutes after the 4 p.m. eviction deadline passed, U.S. officials broke into a back door of the consulate and a man believed to be a State Department official led the way of the U.S. takeover, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Federal officials and a locksmith pull on a door to make entry into the vacated Consulate General of China building Friday, July 24, 2020, in Houston. On Tuesday, the U.S. ordered the Houston consulate closed within 72 hours, alleging that Chinese agents had tried to steal data from facilities in Texas, including the Texas A&M medical system and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Federal officials and a locksmith pull on a door to make entry into the vacated Consulate General of China building Friday, July 24, 2020, in Houston. On Tuesday, the U.S. ordered the Houston consulate closed within 72 hours, alleging that Chinese agents had tried to steal data from facilities in Texas, including the Texas A&M medical system and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. (Godofredo Vasquez/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Photographs show federal officials and a locksmith trying to force their way into the vacated Consulate General of China. U.S. officials had tried three other entrances but couldn’t get in. Security teams donning U.S. State Department emblems on their shirts stood guard. The Houston Chronicle reported that the local fire department entered the building, too.

Tuesday night, hours after the Trump Administration announced its directive for the Chinese to vacate, the Houston Fire Department responded to fires at the courtyard of the building — an apparent effort to destroy documents. Chinese officials refused to allow the first responders to enter to put out the fires, Fox 26 in Houston reported.

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Federal officials and a locksmith work on a door to make entry into the vacated Consulate General of China building Friday, July 24, 2020, in Houston. On Tuesday, the U.S. ordered the Houston consulate closed within 72 hours, alleging that Chinese agents had tried to steal data from facilities in Texas, including the Texas A&M medical system and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Federal officials and a locksmith work on a door to make entry into the vacated Consulate General of China building Friday, July 24, 2020, in Houston. On Tuesday, the U.S. ordered the Houston consulate closed within 72 hours, alleging that Chinese agents had tried to steal data from facilities in Texas, including the Texas A&M medical system and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)

CHINA THREATENS RETALIATION AFTER U.S. CLOSES CONSULATE

All morning Friday, consulate workers were spotted loading up two U-haul trucks and vehicles and tossing trash bags into a nearby Dumpster in an attempt to meet the U.S.’s 4 p.m. eviction deadline, the Chronicle reported.

Consular staff pack items into their vehicles as they vacate the Consulate General of China building Friday, July 24, 2020, in Houston. On Tuesday, the U.S. ordered the Houston consulate closed within 72 hours, alleging that Chinese agents had tried to steal data from facilities in Texas, including the Texas A&M medical system and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. (Godofredo Vasquez/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Consular staff pack items into their vehicles as they vacate the Consulate General of China building Friday, July 24, 2020, in Houston. On Tuesday, the U.S. ordered the Houston consulate closed within 72 hours, alleging that Chinese agents had tried to steal data from facilities in Texas, including the Texas A&M medical system and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. (Godofredo Vasquez/Houston Chronicle via AP)

“We can confirm that the PRC Consulate General in Houston is closed,” a State Department spokesperson told Fox News.

After the Chinese officials packed up and left, U.S. teams began to force their way in. After two hours of gaining entry, the government officials loaded into a van and drove away, leaving the Houston Police and security teams behind at the scene, the Houston Chronicle reported.

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The U.S. alleged that the consulate was a nest of Chinese spies who tried to steal data from facilities in Texas, including the Texas A&M medical system and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Police officers install barricades outside the Consulate General of China Friday, July 24, 2020, in Houston. Workers at China's consulate loaded up moving trucks Friday ahead of an afternoon deadline to shut down the facility, as ordered by the Trump administration. (Godofredo Vasquez/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Police officers install barricades outside the Consulate General of China Friday, July 24, 2020, in Houston. Workers at China’s consulate loaded up moving trucks Friday ahead of an afternoon deadline to shut down the facility, as ordered by the Trump administration. (Godofredo Vasquez/Houston Chronicle via AP)

RUBIO: CHINESE CONSULATE IN HOUSTON WAS ‘MASSIVE SPY CENTER’

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week called the Houston complex “a hub of spying and IP theft.” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said the consulate was a “massive spy center [and] forcing it to close is long overdue.”

China called the allegations “malicious slander” and responded by ordering the U.S. to close its consulate in the western Chinese city of Chengdu.

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CHINA ORDERS US TO CLOSE CHENGDU CONSULATE IN APPARENT RETALIATION FOR HOUSTON SHUTDOWN ORDER

U.S. officials were spotted packing up and moving out of the Chengdu consulate Saturday as thousands of people gathered to watch the Americans forced to exit on Beijing’s orders.

Federal officials arrive to make entry into the vacated Consulate General of China building Friday, July 24, 2020, in Houston. On Tuesday, the U.S. ordered the Houston consulate closed within 72 hours, alleging that Chinese agents had tried to steal data from facilities in Texas, including the Texas A&M medical system and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Federal officials arrive to make entry into the vacated Consulate General of China building Friday, July 24, 2020, in Houston. On Tuesday, the U.S. ordered the Houston consulate closed within 72 hours, alleging that Chinese agents had tried to steal data from facilities in Texas, including the Texas A&M medical system and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)

The South China Morning Post reported that three trucks and a bus were seen entering and leaving the U.S. compound while other workers left on foot with the arms full of boxes and files. Reuters reported the American consulate emblem was taken down and security was tight outside the facility for the moveout in the tit-for-tat consulate closures.

 

The Ultimate Guide to Vitamins and Minerals

We see cartons of juice and boxes of cereal trumpeting their vitamin and mineral content, but why are these microscopic nutrients so important? From helping the body turn food into fuel, to fortifying bones and eyesight, vitamins and minerals are health superstars for sure. While the average diet usually includes adequate amounts of the essential nutrients without issue, it doesn’t hurt to be a little more aware of the vitamins and minerals that keep us living and smiling. But first, let’s iron out some key terms.

Getting Started

Vitamins: Organic substances required for normal cell function, growth, and development. There are 13 essential vitamins. (More on that below)

 

Fat-Soluble VitaminsFat-soluble vitamins are those that bind to fat in the stomach and are then stored in the body for later use. We are less likely to become deficient in these vitamins (A, D, E, and K), but more likely to build up to toxic levels, usually due to extreme overconsumption or overzealous supplement use. (Or maybe just an unhealthy obsession with kale chips…)

Water-Soluble Vitamins: The rest of the vitamins are water-soluble, meaning they can be absorbed directly by cells. When in excess, these vitamins are flushed out of our system with each bathroom break. The water-soluble vitamins — biotin, vitamin C, niacin, folic acid, pantothenic acid, and the four B complex vitamins — need to be restored more frequently, but the body can tolerate higher doses.

MineralsMinerals are inorganic substances (meaning they contain no carbon), and all hold on place on the good ol’ periodic table (flashback to 6th grade chemistry class!). They’re also necessary for normal body function and development. There are two groups of minerals: macrominerals (which the body needs in large doses) and trace minerals (only a pinch required).

Chromium: You may have chrome wheels, but do you have chromium-dense meals? Though this trace mineral is thought to enhance insulin activity and the breakdown of the sugars that we eat, it’s only needed in small amounts and is not considered “essential”. Though some chromium supplements tout muscle building and weight loss benefits, there is no solid research evidence that backs up the claims. In fact, overconsumption of chromium supplements could cause kidney damageTrusted Source. So shelf the supplement and try an absperiment instead for rock-hard abs.

What You Need: Men = 35 mcg; Women = 25 mcg How to Get It: There’s heavy metal (chromium metal, that is) in broccoli (22 mcg per cup), grape juice (7.5 mcg per cup), and whole-wheat products like whole-wheat frozen waffles (6.7 mcg per waffle) or whole-wheat English muffins (3.6 mcg per muffin). What’s Too Much: Not determined

Copper: Don’t be penny-pinching with this shiny mineral, which is an essential trace element and antioxidant. Frontline in the creation of red blood cells, copper is also important for proper energy metabolism, immunity, and nervous system function. Though few and far between, copper deficiencies may manifest as anemia, a low white blood cell count, and bone deteriorationTrusted Source. While copper toxicity from dietary intake is rare, cases of acute copper poisoning (which leads to some not-so-nice tummy troubles) have occurred due to contaminated water supplies or leaching from copper containers.

What You Need: 900 mcg How to Get It: Instead of gnawing on pennies, try cooked liver—yum! (4,049 mcg per ounce), oysters (670 mcg per medium oyster), crabmeat (634 per 3 ounces), nuts (cashews, for example, offer 629 mcg per ounce), raw mushrooms (344 mcg per cup), and semisweet chocolate (198 mcg per ounce). What’s Too Much: 10,000 mcg

Fluoride: This non-essential trace mineral helps keep those pearly whites cavity-free and bones less breakableTrusted Source. Before snacking on some toothpaste, know that most tap water in the U.S. is already fluorinated, taking care of those elemental needs.

What You Need: Men = 4 mg; Women = 3 mg How to Get It: Food sources include grape juice (0.05-0.64 mg per cup), canned sardines (0.2-0.4 mg per 3.5 ounces), and chicken (0.06-0.10 mg per 3.5 ounces). What’s Too Much: 10 mg

Folic Acid (a.k.a. folate or folacin): Folic acid is such a key part of our diet that the U.S. government decided to fortify most commercial flour with this water-soluble vitamin. So what’s all the hoopla over folic acid? Well, it’s vital for pregnant women to ensure the baby’s proper development, helping prevent birth defects in the brain and spineTrusted SourceTrusted Source. No baby on board? Folic acid also helps create most all cells in the body and may reduce the risk of heart disease and colon cancer.

What You Need: 400 mcg How to Get It: Look out for fortified grains and cereals (200-400 mcg per cup), asparagus (134 mcg per 6 spears), spinach (132 mcg per half cup), orange juice (83 mcg per cup), and lentils (179 per half cup). What’s Too Much: 1,000 mcg

Iodine: Definitely dine with iodine: This essential trace mineral is a crucial component of thyroid hormones, which maintain our basal metabolic rate (BMR). Iodine also helps to regulate body temperature, nerve and muscle function, and plays a role in the body’s growth and developmentTrusted Source. Too little iodine can lead to thyroid dysfunction, developmental abnormalities, and even goiters, a swelling of the thyroid gland (that ain’t pretty)Trusted Source. Iodine is found in most table salt (it does say “iodized” on the container, right?). Now and then, an excess of iodine can cause hyperthyroidism, goiters, and in severe cases, GI discomfort and burning of the mouth, throat, and stomach, though rare.

What You Need: 150 mcg How to Get It: Add some iodine with cod (99 mcg per 3 ounces), shrimp (35 mcg per 3 ounces), canned tuna (17 mcg per half can), milk (56 mcg per cup), baked potatoes (60 mcg per medium potato), and (small amounts of) seaweed (more than than 4,500 mcg per ¼ ounce!). What’s Too Much: 1,100 mcg

Iron: Pump some iron (…into your meals) to help hemoglobin, a component of red blood cells, and myoglobin (hemoglobin’s counterpart in muscles) bring oxygen to all the cells that need it. Iron is also important in the production of amino acids, collagen, neurotransmitters, and hormonesTrusted SourceTrusted Source. Since this mineral is more easily absorbed from red meat and poultry, vegetarians and vegans may want to consider iron supplements, or at least consume more iron-rich fruits and leafy green vegetablesTrusted Source. But don’t go too crazy for iron: Acute overdose of iron can be lethal, and general excess can cause GI irritation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation.

What You Need: Men = 8 mg; Women = 18 mg How to Get It: Consider beef (2.32 mg per 3 cooked ounces), oysters (5.04 mg per 6 medium oysters), raisins (0.81 mg per small box), prune juice (2.28 mg per 6 fluid ounces), potatoes (1.87 mg per medium potato), cooked lentils (3.30 mg per half cup), tofu (2.15 mg per ¼ block), and cashews (1.89 per ounce). What’s Too Much: 45 mg

Magnesium: Magnetically drawn to calcium, magnesium is a macromineral that partners with calcium to assist with proper muscle contraction, blood clotting, cell signaling, energy metabolism, blood pressure regulation, and building healthy bones and teethTrusted Source! Rest easy because magnesium deficiency is super rare and so are toxicities, unless popping magnesium supplements is your thing. If so, watch out for diarrhea, lethargy, heart rate disturbances, and muscle weakness.

What You Need: Men = 400 mg; Women = 310 mg How to Get It: Magnify magnesium intake with oat bran (96 mg per half cup), almonds (78 mg per ounce), brown rice (86 mg per cup), cooked spinach (78 mg per half cup), bananas (32 mg per banana), and molasses (48 mg per tablespoon). What’s Too Much: There is no upper limit for dietary magnesium, but supplemental magnesium should not exceed 350 mg/day.

Manganese: Hailing from the Greek word for magic, manganese can be a double-edged sword. Though an essential trace mineral and antioxidant, it is also potentially toxic in excessTrusted Source. Important for energy, bone development, and wound healing, overindulgence of this magic mineral — usually a result of water contamination — may cause a dip in intellectual function.

What You Need: Men = 2.3 mg; Women = 1.8 mg How to Get It: Get a limited portion of this potion with pineapples (0.77 mg per half cup), pecans (1.28 mg per ounce), oatmeal (0.99 mg per instant oatmeal packet), brown rice (1.07 mg per half cup), and green tea (0.41-1.58 mg per cup). What’s Too Much: 11 mg

Molybdenum: Though we can’t help with the pronunciation of this essential trace mineral, we can confirm that it’s a necessary factor of many enzymes, which speed up the body’s biochemical reactions that break down dietary and stored nutrients into energyTrusted SourceMolybdenum deficiency has never been documented in healthy people, and toxicity is similarly rare.

What You Need: 45 mcg How to Get It: Grub rich in molybdenum includes legumes like black beans (130 mcg per cup) and split peas (148 mcg per cup), and nuts like almonds, chestnuts, and peanuts (all about 42 mcg per cup). What’s Too Much: 2,000 mcg

Niacin ( a.k.a. Vitamin B3 or Nicotinic Acid): On the lookout for beautiful skin, hair, and red blood cells? Niacin is here to help! Like other water-soluble B vitamins, niacin is essential for converting food into energy. It’s also central for the health of skin, hair, eyes, liver, and the nervous system, and is believed to lower risks of high cholesterol and heart diseaseTrusted SourceTrusted SourceTrusted Source. Extreme deficiencies in niacin may lead to pellagra, which is associated with the “the four D’s”: dermatitis (skin irritation), diarrhea, dementia, and death (yikes!)Trusted Source. But don’t overdo it either: Pellagra is exceptionally rare. High doses of niacin can be toxic, and may cause rosy tingling — the so-called “niacin flush” — if doses exceed 50 mg per day.

What You Need: Men = 16 mg; Women = 14 mg How to Get It: Nosh on peanuts (3.8 mg per ounce), chicken (7.3 mg per 3 ounces), salmon (8.5 mg per 3 ounces), fortified cereals (20-27 mg per cup), and coffee (0.5 mg per cup). What’s Too Much: 35 mg

Pantothenic Acid (a.k.a. Vitamin B5): This vitamin is important in food metabolism and helps synthesize neurotransmitters, steroid hormones, red blood cells, and more. Toxicity is virtually nonexistent, and while B5 deficiency is fairly rare (it tends to accompany severe malnutrition) neurologic symptoms such as burning feet may crop up.

What You Need: 5 mg (AI) How to Get It: Steer clear of tingling toes with foods like chicken (0.98 mg per 3 ounces), eggs (0.61 mg per large egg), whole grains (0.19 mg per slice of whole wheat bread), mushrooms (0.52 mg per half cup), sweet potato (0.88 mg per medium potato), avocados (1.99 mg per whole avocado), and yogurt (1.35 mg per cup). What’s Too Much: Not determined

Phosphorus: Keep bones and teeth prosperous with phosphorus, a macromineral that primarily builds and protects those choppers and your skeleton. Phosphorus is also a component of DNA and RNA, helps convert food into energy, and aids in shuttling nutrients to the organs that need themTrusted Source. While the kidneys dislike phosphorus in excess, acute poisoning with phosphorus is virtually nonexistent. On the flipside, rare cases of phosphorus deficiency can lead to anemia, muscle weakness, loss of appetite, rickets (in children), and numbness and tingling in the legs.

What You Need: 700 mg How to Get It: Foods abounding in phosphorus include all-things dairy, like milk (257 mg per cup), yogurt (385 mg per cup) and cheese (131 mg per ounce). Not a dairy lover? Consider salmon (252 mg per 3 ounces), eggs (104 mg per large egg), beer (173 mg per 3 ounces), chicken (155 mg per 3 ounces), and—get this—carbonated cola drinks (40 mg per 12 ounces). What’s Too Much: 4,000 mg

Potassium: Our hearts beat for potassium, a macromineral and electrolyte that’s essential for a steady heartbeat, the transmission of nervous system signals, and muscle functionTrusted Source. Alongside sodium, potassium is also an MVP in balancing fluids by helping the kidney save fluids when we are dehydrated or excrete fluids that are in excess. And wait, there’s more! Potassium is thought to lower blood pressure and benefit bones, tooTrusted Source. Short-term potassium deficiencies (often from prolonged vomiting or diarrhea) may cause fatigue, muscle weakness and cramps, bloating, abdominal pain, and constipation — thanks but no thanksTrusted Source! But don’t get too pumped up on potassium: consuming high doses (typically from supplements) can lead to muscle weakness, tingling in hands and feet, GI symptoms, and abnormal heart rhythms.

What You Need: 4,700 mg How to Get It: Kick up your K (potassium’s letter on the periodic table) with baked potatoes (926 mg per medium potato), artichokes (343 mg per medium artichoke), plums (637 mg per ½ cup), raisins (598 mg per ½ cup), and bananas (422 per medium banana). What’s Too Much: Not determined

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)Flavorful riboflavin definitely has street cred. This water-soluble B vitamin helps convert food to fuel, encourages iron absorption in the intestines, and also enhances the health of hair, skin, muscles, eyes, and the brainTrusted Source. And some research suggests that riboflavin may be effective at combating migraines, tooTrusted Source. Riboflavin deficiency is uncommon, but is associated with a sore throat, cracks and sores around the lips, an inflamed “magenta tongue” (say what?!), and scaly skinTrusted Source. While enormous intake of riboflavin may turn your pee bright yellow (a phenomenon called flavinuria), this side effect is harmless.

What You Need: Men = 1.3mg; Women = 1.1mg How to Get It: Rev up riboflavin with milk (0.34 mg per cup), almonds (0.23 mg per ounce), cheddar cheese (0.11 mg per ounce), eggs (0.27 mg per large egg), and enriched grains and cereals (0.59-2.27 mg per cup). What’s Too Much: Not determined

SeleniumSelenium is a smooth-operator of thyroid hormone regulation, and also acts as an antioxidantTrusted SourceAntioxidants kick the “bad-guy” cells (free radicals) out of the body in order to prevent them from damaging the “good-guy” cells. Chronic excess of this trace mineral (usually from supplements) is known to cause nausea, GI discomfort, and hair and nail brittleness, so supplement selenium in moderationTrusted Source.

What You Need: 55 mcg How to Get It: Brazil nuts (544 mcg per six kernels) are sky-high in selenium, and shrimp (34 mcg per 10-12 shrimp), crabmeat (41 mcg per 3 ounces), salmon (40 mcg per 3 ounces), enriched noodles (38 mcg per cup), beef (16 mcg per 3 ounces), and pork (35 mcg per 3 ounces) have a decent slice of it too. What’s Too Much: 400 mcg

Sodium Chloride (a.k.a. salt): Chemistry buffs know this pair of minerals as NaCl. The rest of us call it table salt. Before shaking it up, know that sodium chloride is found in high quantities in most meals, snacks, and even drinks. While it is essential for fluid balance, nerve signal transmission, muscle contractions, digestion, and blood pressure, it is possible to have too much of this savory mineral setTrusted SourceExcess sodium intake can raise blood pressure above normal limits, increasing the risk for hypertension and cardiovascular disease down the roadTrusted Source. Since the average daily diet already includes salt waaaay in excess, consider low-salt alternatives like olive oil (instead of butter), unsalted nuts in favor of salted ones, and fresh fruit!

What You Need: 500 mg of sodium; 750 mg of chloride How to Get It: Sodium chloride can be soaked up from white bread (850 mg per two slices), pickles (800 mg per 1 spear), hot dogs (1,300 mg per one wiener—hot diggity dog!), and canned goods such as chicken noodle soup (a striking 3,400 mg of NaCl per cup). What’s Too Much: 2,300 mg of sodium (the equivalent of 5.8 g of salt per day)

 

Thiamin (a.k.a. Vitamin B1): Another member of the water-soluble B pack, thiamin helps with food metabolism and boosts the health of hair, skin, muscles, and the brainTrusted SourceTrusted Source. Toxicity has never been observed, and though thiamin deficiency (also known as beriberi) is rare in the U.S., it’s not nonexistent. Symptoms affect the cardiovascular, nervous, muscular, and gastrointestinal systems in a variety of ways.

What You Need: Men = 1.2 mg; Women = 1.1 mg How to Get It: Dodge beriberi with a fair share of milk (0.10 mg per cup), lentils (0.17 mg per ½ cup), cantaloupe (0.11 mg per ½ fruit), enriched long grain white rice (0.26 mg per cup), and pecans (0.19 mg per ounce). What’s Too Much: Not determined

Vitamin A (a.k.a. retinol, retinal, retinoic acid): So what’s up with this vitamin, doc? Though known as being good for vision, vitamin A has many other vital tasks: It encourages red and white blood cell production and activity, keeps the immune system fit and blood vessels healthy, helps rebuild bone, regulates cell growth and division, and may reduce the risk for some cancersTrusted SourceTrusted Source. Retinoids, variations of Vitamin A, are also used in medications to treat various skin diseases and acneTrusted Source. Though infrequent in the U.S., vitamin A deficiency is not unheard of in developing countries, and can cause night blindness and, in extreme instances, complete blindness. Vitamin A deficiency also plays a role in diarrhea and increased susceptibility to infectious diseases in developing countriesTrusted Source. So make like Bugs Bunny and crunch on some carrots for high doses of beta-carotene, which is readily converted to vitamin A once digestedTrusted Source.

What You Need: Men = 900 mcg; Women = 700 mcg How to Get It: Consider kale (443 mcg per ½ cup), eggs (91 mcg per large egg) and cod liver oil — ymmmm (1,350 mcg per teaspoon). And think orange: consider carrots (538 mcg per ½ cup) baked sweet potatoes (961 mcg per ½ cup), canned pumpkin (953 mcg per ½ cup), cantaloupe (467 mcg per ½ a melon), mango (79 mcg per fruit), and butternut squash (572 mcg per ½ cup). What’s Too Much: 3,000 mcg

Vitamin B6 (a.k.a. pyridoxal, pyridoxine, pyridoxamine): Like a G6, this essential, water-soluble vitamin flies high above the others. Vitamin B6 helps out with the production of serotonin, a hormone that plays a hand in sleep, appetite, and moodTrusted Source. It also assists with manufacturing red blood cells and steroid hormones, influences cognitive and immune function, and is linked to reducing the risk of heart diseaseTrusted SourceTrusted Source. Diets lacking B6 are rare, but evidence of seizures and other neurologic systems are observed in extreme deficiency. Adverse effects from high doses are primarily seen in people taking supplements, and include pain and numbness in the limbs.

What You Need: 1.3 mg How to Get It: Foods soaring in vitamin B6 include salmon (0.48 mg per 3 ounces), chicken (0.51 mg per 3 ounces), bananas (0.43 mg per medium banana), baked russet potatoes with the skin (0.70 mg per medium potato), hazelnuts (0.18 mg per ounce), and cooked spinach (0.44 mg per cup). What’s Too Much: 100 mg

Vitamin B12: Another water-soluble B vitamin, vitamin B12 offers a helping hand in the metabolism of fatty acids and amino acids, cell creation, and the protection of nerve cells , and also may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’sTrusted SourceTrusted Source. Keep B12 close when it gets to those later, grey-haired years: deficiencies are common in the elderly and may cause memory loss, dementia, and anemiaTrusted Source. Toxicities are not observed, and vegetarians and vegans may even need supplements.

What You Need: 2.4 mcg How to Get It: Binge on bivalves like clams (84 mcg per 3 ounces) and mussels (20.4 mcg per 3 ounces). Not into bottom-dwellers? Beef (2.1 mcg per 3 ounces), salmon (2.4 mcg per 3 ounces), poached eggs (0.6 mcg per large egg), skim milk (0.9 mcg per cup), and brie cheese—fantastique! (0.5 mcg per ounce), are also buds of B12. What’s Too Much: Not determined

Vitamin C (a.k.a. asorbic acid): As we go on, we remember… that vitamin C is one of the best vitamins ever! Cartons of OJ are emblazoned with this famous vitamin’s name — and for a good reason. Vitamin C is thought to lower the risk for some cancers, including cancers of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and breastTrusted Source. It also helps make collagen, an important tool in wound repair. And let’s not forget its antioxidant properties and immune-boosting effectsTrusted Source! But before chugging that daily glass of Emergen-C to ward off a cold, know that evidence linking “mega-doses” of Vitamin C to staving off sickness are conflicting. How so? A review of 30 research trials that included over 11,000 people showed that the incidence of the common cold is not decreased with high Vitamin C intakeTrusted Source. What’s more, the potential for vitamin C overdose is not ruled out, though uncertain. But don’t skimp on C: After all, scurvy — the severe vitamin C deficiency linked to bleeding, bruising, join pain, and hair and tooth loss — is for pirates, not millennials. Arrgh!

What You Need: Men = 90 mg; Women = 75mg (Smokers should add 35 mg) How to Get It: Choose citrus, like OJ (100+ mg per cup) and grapefruits (76 mg per medium fruit), or consider strawberries (85 mg per cup), tomatoes (16 mgg per medium tomato), red peppers (95 mg per ½ cup), and broccoli (51 mg per ½ cup). What’s Too Much: 2,000 mg

Vitamin D: Who loves the sun? This essential fat-soluble vitamin — which is vital for normal calcium metabolism, immunity, nervous system function, and bone density — sure doesTrusted SourceTrusted Source. But before vitamin D can live up to its expectations, it must be activated by a burst of UV rays. Before you throw on a bikini and soak up the sun (putting you at risk for skin cancer!) consider supplements or cereals, milk, and juices that are fortified with the active form, which is equally effectiveTrusted Source. Dips in vitamin D are no joke: chronic deficiency puts you at risk for osteoporosis later in life. Make sure your diet shines with vitamin D (especially in the winter) to keep your bones healthy and reduce risks of cancer.

What You Need: 15 mcg How to Get It: Dive into vitamin D with fortified cereals (1.0-1.3 mcg per cup), fortified milk (2.4 mcg per cup), canned salmon (13.3 mcg per 3 ounces), and egg yolks (0.53 mcg per large egg. What’s Too Much: 50 mcg

Vitamin E: E is for the Excellent Eight. A family of eight antioxidants, vitamin E protects essential lipids from damage, battles free radicals, and maintains the integrity of cell membranesTrusted Source. Drop some E (the vitamin!) to avoid impaired balance and coordination, muscle weakness, and pain and numbness in the limbs — all signs of extreme deficiencyTrusted Source. Think you’re in the clear? Turns out that more than 90 percent of Americans do not meet the recommendations for this vitamin’s daily intake.

What You Need: 15 mg How to Get It: Close the gap with vegetable oils like olive oil (1.9 mg per tablespoon), canola oil (2.4 mg per tablespoon), almonds (7.4 mg per ounce), avocados (2.7 mg per avocado), and hazelnuts (4.3 mg per ounce). What’s Too Much: 1,000 mg

Vitamin K: Not to be confused with its mineral chum potassium (which is also noted as a “K” on the periodic table), this essential fat-soluble vitamin is a must for normal wound healing and bone developmentTrusted Source. K is for “koagulation,” the German word for coagulation, or clotting. While blood clots sound menacing, consider the importance of scabs, which are simply patches of clotted blood to protect cuts and scrapesTrusted Source. Ladies taking birth control pills should be careful with overconsumption of vitamin K, as a combination of the birth control pill and excess Vitamin K could put you at risk for unwanted clotsTrusted Source. Deficiencies in vitamin K include easy bruisability, bleeding, nosebleeds, and heavy menstrual periods.

What You Need: Men = 120 mcg; Women = 90 mcg (AI) How to Get It: Attain the RDA with cooked broccoli (220 mcg per cup), kale (547 mcg per cup), parsley (246 mcg per ¼ cup), and Swiss chard (299 mcg per cup). What’s Too Much: Not determined

Zinc: Zippity doo dah for zinc, a trace element that is a building block for enzymes, proteins, and cells. It is also responsible for freeing Vitamin A from its holding tank, the liver, through its enzymatic activityTrusted Source. But that’s not all for the last on this list: zinc also plays a role in boosting the immune system, mediating senses such as taste and smell, and wound healingTrusted Source. Zinc toxicity is rare, but zinc deficiency (most commonly occurring in the developing world) may lead to delays in growth and development, rough skin, cognitive impairment, a weakened immune system (leading in increased susceptibility of infectious diseases, particularly in kids), and moreTrusted Source.

What You Need: Men = 11 mg; Women = 8 mg How to Get It: Zinc can be zeroed in on in oysters (76.3 mg per 6 oysters), beef (6 mg per 3 ounces), turkey (3.8 mg per 3 ounces), milk (1.8 mg per cup), and cashews (1.6 mg per ounce). Vegetarians and vegans take note: zinc is less easily absorbed from vegetables so consider supplements or munching on more zinc rich foods. What’s Too Much: 40 mg Last but not least, don’t forget your daily dose of Vitamin G!

 
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If you’re overwhelmed and have no idea how to make money blogging in 2020, well you’ve come to the right place.

I’ve been blogging since summer of 2016 and all I have to say is starting a blog was one of the best decisions of my life.

My biggest mistake was treating it like “a hobby” for the longest time instead of treating it like a business.

Everyone else out there preaching on how to make money blogging says to “follow your passions” and the money will come eventually.

I tried that for the first 2 years and failed miserably.

So what changed?

Learning how to monetize my blog without the stress, tech confusion, or overwhelm when it comes to finding ways to make money online.

Here are the 7 ways that I make money online now.

How to Make Money with Your Blog in 2020

Before we begin, if you haven’t yet, make sure you sign up for bluehost right here so you can build your very own website or blog in under 5 minutes for only a couple of dollars per day.

After you visit the link I recommend you go through the full in depth tutorial on how to start a blog and make money before going through the rest of this guide.

Now when it comes to blogging, there’s an easy way and a hard way when it comes to making money with your blog. I have tried them all. I have wasted years of my life crying on my keyboard praying to the blogging gods to turn my pathetic little blog into a money making online machine. But no matter how many blog posts I’ve read, I just couldn’t help but feel disempowered thinking that I could never succeed.

That’s when I realized that everyone teaching people how to make money blogging are giving outdated advice. Most of which make money by just recommending hosting which requires a huge audience to make money. I did not have the luxury of that when starting off so I had to get created. Here was exactly what I did.

1. Make Money With Low Ticket Affiliate Marketing

I am horrible when it comes to low ticket affiliate marketing. This is what every “blogger guru” out there will tell you to focus your time and attention on and I am telling you straight up that it is a waste of time especially when starting off.

If you check out my dashboard on the amazon associates platform. I’ve only made a total of $.04 for the entire month.

This was one of my biggest frustrations when I first got started because I was told that this was what I should be focused on. What was a big shift for me was when I pivoted to high ticket affiliate marketing by partnering with expert product creators to do the selling for me.

2. Make Money With High Ticket Affiliate Marketing

(Source: My Affiliate Dashboard on Thrive Cart)

I stumbled onto this by accident. I was blogging for years before I ever tried high ticket affiliate marketing. Because of the way I was raised, I had this belief that success comes from hard work. Seeing my parents work 16 hours per day to make ends meet just to make sure my sister and I could have a better future than they did when they were children, I had this belief that for me to make more money I had to work extremely hard and trade my time for it.

These traits carried over to my blog. When I first got started I thought that I had to do all the hard work..

For me to make money blogging I had to spend years building an audience, and another year or so to sell those audiences courses that I created.

But I had this fear of failure and imposter syndrome that made me believe that no one would actually ever buy from me.

That’s when I accidentally stumbled onto high ticket affiliate marketing.

Here’s exactly how I was able to do it.

Step 1. Build an audience

While trying to make low ticket affiliate marketing work, I accidentally built up a decent size audience on my blog, Pinterest, and YouTube channel.

But even though the numbers were going higher my income was still not existent.

One way of building an audience fast is by interviewing influential people. The product that we began partnering with was because a podcast accidentally started going viral on my YouTube channel of one of my mentors that makes $1m per month profit.

Step 2. Ask the audience what they want

As more and more people came in, instead of me trying to create a product to sell, I surveyed the people coming in on my email list exactly what was their biggest problems and challenges

Step 3. Find the solution

Once they told me their biggest pain points, I decided that I did not have what it takes to solve their challenges. But I didn’t just give up and left them hanging. Instead I reached out to people online to see if they could solve their problem.

This was the birth of my podcast which was my way of documenting reaching out to experts to see who could help solve my audience’s problem.

Step 4. Sell their solution not yours

I am horrible at selling. I was last place in the boy scouts when we had to sell popcorn to my uncles and aunts. But because I leveraged someone else’s expertise, they were the ones that did all the hard work. Which leads me to the next way of how I make money.

3. Make Money With Webinars

(Source: My Dashboard on WebinarJam)

Here’s a run down behind my webinar software analytics on how we sold high ticket affiliate marketing. As you can see this is where the sales came from on the screenshot above. This was the sales from the live webinar room. The remainder transactions came from the email marketing sequence and the upsells.

How this worked was I found the perfect expert to sell the product for me. I invited my audience to a free webinar. They attended. The expert did all the selling for me.

This is where the majority of my income came from on my blog.

And it is something I wish I had done sooner.

Here is the webinar that we drive YouTube and Facebook ads to that retargets everyone that hits this blog from all traffic sources.

4. Make Money Selling Courses

(Source: foundertips.com)

I used to sell my own courses on teachable but they were a pain to manage. I had to constantly go back in and update things and it was taking away my time from actually growing my blog as a business. So for that reason I have for the time being stopped selling my own courses because leveraging experts to do the high ticket selling for me has been so much easier.

What I am doing instead is finding expert course creators and creating strategic partnerships with them instead.

This way I don’t have to actually create my own course, and instead I can take a pick on the top courses out there that I could sell without having to do any of the customer service or product updates.

If you’re new and just getting started, I would stay clear in trying to sell your own course unless you have the guidance or the mentorship to make sure you create an excellent product that creates transformation in people.

5. Make Money Selling Books

(Source: Amazon Direct Publishing)

One of the ideas I had to make money online was selling ebooks and physical copies on Amazon.com.

I went through a little experiment where I would see if I could make money with a book that I wrote because I saw other people were making money with ebooks so I thought why not.

This is not recommended for beginners.

After intensely writing the book and got it published, I was surprised to see that the sales did not just come pouring in. I had to do so much promotion for it and the max amount of money I have ever made in a given month selling books was only $500.

6. Make Money With Strategic Partnerships

(Source: Providential Marketing)

This is the part of my blog that I am most excited about. When it comes to making money blogging you have to realize that even though many people start off blogging as a hobby, that it should be treated like an actual business.

When I started viewing my blog as a business that is when everything changed.

I realized that I cannot and SHOULD not be doing everything.

I have to choose all the things that I enjoy doing and that I am good at, and all the things that I hate doing and am horrible at. I should partner up with other people.

This is my approach with courses. I realized I am not the best course creator out there. It takes up too much of my time, and I am severely impatient. But what I AM good at is creating content and networking.

So much of my time now while running my blog is spent networking with people that have complementary skill sets to me.

Where my strengths cover their weaknesses, and where their strengths cover my weaknesses.

This is a significant part of blogging that I hear no one else talk about.

But here’s the thing..

What if making money with your blog didn’t have to be so difficult?

What if there was an easy way to do things?

I’m here to tell you that there is. And that is by finding what is known as your “zone of genius.”

Once you figure that out, you should spend all of your time and energy to cultivate and grow your zone of genius. All of the other complicated stuff, let other people who enjoy figuring that out handle it.

7. Make Money By Selling Consulting

(Source: FlexJobs)

This is an area that I am transitioning into. I see that there is a big gap in the market place when it comes to businesses taking their products and services online. And if you’re someone with digital marketing skills like running paid advertising, building websites, email marketing, or managing social media, there are businesses out there that are willing to pay you big money to manage or consult on these areas.

My sister for example is only 22. She was supposed to be a nurse. Now she gets paid $125 an hour to consult with big health and wellness companies how to improve their online marketing strategy.

How do beginner bloggers make money?

Most beginner bloggers make money from affiliate marketing and selling their own courses. This in my opinion is not only the amateur way to make money with a blog, but it is extremely difficult to get traction. Most beginner bloggers spend years trying to make their blog make an extra $500 per month.

What I would recommend instead is realizing that a blog is much bigger than just talking about “your passions.” It can be your foot in the door to make some big deals when you deal with businesses on the B2B level. Instead of making $2 of your ebook, you can make $2000 for your services doing the EXACT same things you normally would with your passion blog.

How much money can you make from a blog?

If you treat your blog like a hobby, you won’t make much. If you treat it like a business, then well the sky’s the limit.

There are people that are able to make an extra $1000 on the side of their full time job. There are also people like me who scale to over $30,000 per month. Then you have rare individuals like Making Sense out of cents and Pat Flynn who were able to take their blogs to over $100,000 per month.

The amount of money you make from your blog depends on how strategic you are with your partnerships, traffic sources, and offers.

All you need to make money blogging is:

  1. An audience with a specific pain point that you can gain from YouTube, Pinterest, or Google
  2. A way to get in front of them by ranking for a specific keyword related to their pain point
  3. An offer that solves their pain point (affiliate marketing)

What type of blogs make the most money?

Blogs that make the most money are the ones catered to solving business owners problems. If you spend all of your time writing cook books because it’s your passion, you will need millions of visitors to your blog to make even a considerable amount of income.

I’m no Rachel Ray, so I had to be more creative.

That’s why my blog is more positioned in the finance and business space where people are already inclined to want to increase their finances by growing their businesses with softwares like webinars and paid traffic.

One client from there can easily pay you $2000 for a simple service, and when you recommend a software to them that’s more expensive for the mainstream consumer. Not only can they afford higher priced solutions over $500, but some of the payouts with these affiliate programs can be $100+ per transaction.

Are blogs still profitable in 2020?

Long gone are the days where you can just write a bunch of words and luckily get ranked first page of google. To be a profitable blog in 2020 you need to have a strategy.

My strategy to not only maintain profitability but to grow it month after month is by pinpointing the highest level business owner, finding out their pain points, and creating the content that bridges the gap from their pain point to a solution. That solution would either be high ticket software or consulting.

How long did it take you to make a living from your blog?

It took a long time. But that is because I treated it like a hobby. The moment I went back to my blog with a different lens and saw it as a business instead was the moment things started picking up.

It took me years to make a full time living from my blog. But that was because I was lazy and I was making money in other side hustles and online businesses.

But when I revisited the blog back in 2019, I realized there was a huge untapped potential. And from the blog alone I was able to make a full time living within 90 days after treating it like a business.

How long does it take to make $500 per month blogging?

When I started treating my blog seriously again in mid 2019. It took me less than 90 days to make $500 per month blogging.

This is exactly how I did it:

  1. I found a high ticket offer (something that I can get high commissions for $100+)
  2. I asked myself, “Who are the people that are ALREADY looking for this solution but have no idea this solution exists?”
  3. “How can I create content that puts this offer in front of those people?”

If you ask yourself these questions with your niche or blog idea, you can accelerate your growth to hitting your income goals.

How To Make Money Blogging Summary

Well there you have it. Here are all the 7 ways to make money blogging. As you can see, some ways are far more profitable than others. So what you can do now is not waste any more time and focus on the 20% of things that will pull in 80% of the results.

What are those things you asked?

Simple.

  1. Create your blog in the next 5 minutes or less (it cost less than $4 per month when you sign up for bluehost here)
  2. Make a long list of 100 people you can partner with that are experts at what they do (you can check out how I did it with my podcast)
  3. Have them do the selling to the audience that you build

Wala there it is. The secret to make money blogging. If you don’t procrastinate and really start asking yourself these questions, the world you’ll be able to open up for yourself on the other side of starting your blog would be life changing. Start your blog today.

Like this post? Don’t forget to pin it!

NOTE: This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info. This adds no cost to you but it helps me focus on giving as much value as possible in every single post by being compensated for recommending products that I love using.

The psychology behind to-do lists and how they can make you feel less anxious

Updated 5:16 AM EDT July 14, 2020

1. Wake up.

2. Make coffee.

3. Write this story.

In a time when it seems like we may have less to do, a to-do list actually could be quite helpful.

As the days blend together for many people living in lockdown, crossing things off a to-do list can feel even more satisfying. To-do lists can be great tools for decreasing anxiety, providing structure and giving us a record of everything we’ve accomplished in a day.

The trick is to reframe your to-do list as a set of miniature goals for the day and to think of your checklist items as steps in a plan.

Research on the psychology of goal-making has revealed that an unfinished goal causes interference with other tasks you’re trying to achieve. But simply making a plan to facilitate that goal, such as detailing steps on a to-do list, can help your mind set it aside to focus on other things.

“Goals are interesting as they are almost these autonomous agents that kind of live inside you and occupy space in your mind,” said E.J. Masicampo, an associate professor of psychology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

“When a goal is unfinished it might be a weight on your mind in terms of anxiety or worry and it colors how you see the world, because it’s sort of tugging at the sleeve of your conscious attention,” Masicampo said. “It can be omnipresent whether you’re aware of it or not.”

People with unfinished short-term goals performed poorly on unrelated reading and comprehension tasks, reported a 2011 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology by Masicampo and research co-author Roy Baumeister, a professor of psychology at The University of Queensland.

But when the 2011 study participants were allowed to formulate specific plans for their goals before moving onto the next task, those negative effects were eliminated.

“We were able to find that you don’t have to finish the goal to offload it — you really could just make a specific plan for how to attain it to get it to stop occupying that mental space,” Masicampo said.

But Masicampo cautioned that it won’t help to offload your mental burden by jotting it down on a list “without actually making a plan.”

“To-do lists often tend to be mental graveyards, but that said I think there’s some relief there,” Masicampo said, adding that sub-goals are important. “Something that’s been sitting there for too long is probably just stated in too big terms.”

With the uncertainty of the coronavirus crisis and the difficulty of making concrete plans, he said it could make sense to have your initial plan be simply to make a plan at a later date.

Stuck in the middle

In order to work effectively, your to-do list’s mini-goals also need to be well defined and have short time frames. That’s because people also tend to give up in the middle of goals, according to psychologists.

The solution is to make the “middles” of your goals and to-do list tasks short.

One place people get stuck is exercise, but a goal to exercise half the days each week will be easier to stick to than exercising half the days each month. Even then, exercise will make it onto your to-do list more often at the beginning and end of the week — but it’s difficult to motivate yourself on Wednesday.

“We celebrate graduations at work and cheer when we finish big projects. But there is no celebration for middles. That’s when we both cut corners and we lose our motivation,” said Ayelet Fishbach, a professor of behavioral science and marketing at the University of Chicago who is an expert on motivation and decision-making.

“We will still slack in that middle, and having long projects invites a long middle.”

To-do lists also need to be flexible. If your plans change or get interrupted by an endless flurry of Zoom calls, it’s important to recognize that’s not the end of the world.

“If we measure ourselves by how much we stick to the plan, that’s not good for motivation,” Fishbach said. “There’s a fine line between keeping structure and keeping your to-do list and also being very flexible. Because things change and they change on a daily basis.”

It’s not a wish list

For all the structure and stress reduction that to-do lists can provide, they can sometimes add to anxiety. That’s because tasks on your to-do list that linger for weeks or months are bad for mental health and motivation.

“To-do lists are interesting because they sometimes become commitments. Once you write an activity or goal down on a piece of paper, it’s work undone,” said Jordan Etkin, an associate professor of marketing at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and an expert on goals.

Do you want to complete extra work-related tasks aiming for a promotion and cook dinner for your family that night? Cue goal conflict.

“The more things people put on their lists, the more open they are to creating goal conflict and its sort of negative downstream effects,” Etkin said.

Conflicting goals can create stress and even that overwhelming feeling that there aren’t enough hours in the day, according to Etkin’s 2015 study in the Journal of Marketing Research.

To-doing it right

To use a to-do list the right way, Etkin said people need to clearly define their goals and differentiate the tasks they definitely want to get done today versus tasks they want to do “maybe someday.”

Tasks need to be clearly ranked in terms of importance.

“To-do lists can be very helpful for informing how you should be directing your time and cognitive resources,” Etkin said. “I think where challenges emerge is when people treat to-do lists like wish lists, rather than the things they definitely want to do today.”

Having a productive to-do list shouldn’t make you feel like you can’t take a break, Etkin also stressed, even if you haven’t crossed all those items off your list yet.

“It’s also important for people to have protective time in their lives where they’re not striving towards any goal,” she said.

To-do lists can be great tools to keep us going during this time of coronavirus boredom, uncertainty, and pandemic anxiety, but it’s important to not fill up your leisure time with productivity. One of the most important tasks we can add to our daily list, Etkin said, is “rest.”

“How do podcasts make money?” is a legitimate question to ask yourself as you pour time and resources into creating a show. If you want to do it seriously, finding a way earn money podcasting will help you produce it over the long term.

In this post, we’ll go over 20 different strategies to monetize a podcast to help you get started. Updated for 2020, we sourced advice from successful podcasters, industry veterans, and newbie hosts on how they monetized their podcast.

How Do Podcasts Make Money?

There are two main distinctions in how podcasts make money today. When combined together, they produce a steady revenue stream that can help you earn an income podcasting.

The strategies that are currently the most popular fall into the direct monetization category. Direct podcast monetization is when the show is the thing you’re selling. You can profit from creating original content, repurposing it, and granting exclusive access to paying members.

On the other side is indirect podcast monetization. This is when you use your podcast as a tool to sell other things. Your podcast becomes the vehicle to promote products and create demand among your listeners.

With the general definition down, now let’s dive into specific podcast monetization techniques for each category. Remember, finding a balance between many strategies is the best way to make money podcasting.

How To Monetize A Podcast Directly

Here are our favorite direct podcast monetization strategies to explore. Choose the ones that fit best for your show.

1. Ask for donations

The simplest way to monetize a podcast is to ask people for money. Plenty of fans are happy to throw a few dollars to their favorite podcasters to ensure they continue to get great content. When people ask us how to monetize a podcast, this is always the first solution we recommend because it’s easy to set up and promote.

You can add a PayPal button or open a Stripe account and add a donation form to your site. Or set up a GoFundMe campaign for a simple collection page.

To avoid feeling slimy about this kind of self-promotion, keep your calls-to-action authentic. Are you asking for donations so you can spend more time creating new episodes? Tell your audience that.

If people understand where the money is going, they’ll be more apt to donate.

2. Create paid membership tiers

The latest trend in podcasting is creating paid membership tiers. Listeners can pay to access exclusive content, private Facebook groups, or podcast swag.

The best way to get this started is to create a Patreon account. It’s well-respected and simple to use. You can use their default settings or create your own system of levels and rewards for donors.

patreon example for the FYP Podcast
FYP Podcast’s Patreon landing page.

If you go with Patreon, play around with the level options. You can reward fans for their contributions with swag, content, or other perks. You may find more listeners are willing to support the show because they’re receiving either a physical product or exclusive episodes for their contribution.

Other membership site options include Glow.fm and Supercast.

3. Sell sponsorships or ads

Sponsorship is the most common way to monetize a podcast. Aside from accepting donations it’s also the easiest because you don’t have to create or sell anything. You just have to set up a deal with a sponsor.

You’ve probably heard podcasters start their show or break in with something like “This episode is brought to you by [some company]. If you’re looking for a…” You get the idea. That’s a sponsorship.

Sponsorships pay more depending on how many people listen to your show. As the number of people who listen increases, so will your revenue. But that also means this is a tough way to make money if you don’t have many listeners.

Generally, you can charge for “pre-roll” and “mid-roll” mentions. Mid-row (during your episode) pay more. Promote the sponsor at both points if you’re comfortable.

Here are a few places to find sponsorship deals:

Learn more at How to Get Podcast Sponsors (That Your Audience Won’t Hate)

4. Join an advertising network

Advertising networks like AdvertiseCastMidrollPodcorn, and PodGrid act as middlemen between hosts and sponsors.

When you apply to each platform, they will take a cut from the ad placements included in your show so be sure to read the fine print. Typically, the revenue share follows a CPM model where you are paid for every 1,000 impressions served to the ad unit.

Confused? Here’s what the math boils down to. AdvertiseCast has a 70/30 revenue share model where the podcast host takes 70% of the revenue earned and they take 30%. If a podcast has between 1,000-2,499 listeners per episode, the 30 second ad unit has a $23 CPM. After 2,000 listens, the sponsor pays $46. That’s $23 * 2 because the sponsor is charged per 1,000 listens. In the end, the podcast host will take home $32.20 and AdvertiseCast takes $13.80.

how to monetize a podcast advertisecast cpm rates 2020
AdvertiseCast’s average CPM rates depending on reach as of February 2020.

Depending on your reach, it’s important to estimate what you might earn from an advertising network. AdvertiseCast has a pricing calculator that estimates the total cost of ad units placed in your show. Just remember, you’ll only take home 70% of the total.

5. Sell premium episodes

Since you know your audience likes to listen to your podcast, there’s a good chance some of them will pay for premium versions of your content. All you have to do is create some special recordings that are only available for purchase.

You might sell:

  • Q&As with special guests
  • Early access to episodes that will be free one day
  • Ad-free episodes
  • Live-streamed episodes

The Daily Wire takes a unique approach to premium content. For $10/month, subscribers can access video versions of their podcast episodes.

the daily wire's premium content example
The Daily Wire’s premium content offering.

An easy way to create premium content is to record it while you record your free stuff. Let’s say you invite a guest on your show. Record a 30 minute discussion, then an additional 10 minutes to sell as a bonus. Make sure that extra 10 minutes includes something juicy people will want to buy.

A word of warning here: Make sure your free stuff still has plenty of value. You don’t want your listeners to assume you’re hiding all the good stuff in the paid content or they won’t bother.

6. Gate your back catalog

If you started a podcast ages ago and have built up a back catalog of episodes, try this strategy.

Instead of creating new premium content, you can restrict access to your older episodes. This means you’ll add a paywall for users to listen to the older material.

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History is a great example. His recent episodes are free to download, but his older stuff costs $1.99 on his website.

7. Sell repurposed content

A great way to create sellable content is to repurpose things you’ve already created. This reduces the time you would spend making something similar.

Take a few of your best podcast episodes that relate to similar topics. Transcribe them yourself or use Castos automatic transcription services right from your dashboard. Then edit the transcriptions, add more value and resources where you can, and package them together into a book.

If this strategy to monetize a podcast appeals to your listeners, invest a little money into a professional design from a service like 99Designs. Then you can put it in a format that’s suitable for Amazon. Selling books on Amazon is far more effective than trying to sell it through your own website.

Next, market your new book on your podcast. Point out that it’s a comprehensive way to learn everything you’ve taught.

8. Syndicate your show to YouTube

An easy way to squeeze some cash out of what you’ve already created is to publish your podcasts to YouTube as videos.

This is a quick process. All you have to do is enable monetization in your account settings and Google will handle the ads and distributing your money.

Enabling Monetization within YouTube.

You don’t have to do a lot of video editing. Just add a single image to your episode recording. Also think about YouTube SEO best practices to surface your videos in more search results.

How much can you make on YouTube? It depends on a number of factors, like video views, how long people watch, whether they skip your ads, and whether they click on your ads. Generally speaking, you can make between $0.50 and $2.00 per view.

Instead of simply uploading your entire recording, break it into consumable chunks that last three to five minutes. For instance, you might slice out a few buzz-worthy questions from your interview. Even though it all comes from the same recording, you’ll end up with more video content. Then give it a compelling headline that makes people want to click. “Mark Roberts Says Blockchain Will Take Over The Travel Industry in 2020” is a better title than “Episode 019 | Blockchain Technology with Guest Mark Roberts.”

How To Monetize A Podcast Indirectly

Here are even more ways to make money from your podcast. Check out some of these techniques to monetize a podcast indirectly.

1. Sell physical products

When an audience loves a podcast, they might be buying merchandise that shows off the show. You could sell T-shirts, mugs, stickers, or really anything that lets your audience connect with the show outside of listening to the latest episodes.

Showcase the podcast’s name, a repeated catch phrase, or an inside joke on the merch. Your calls-to-action can describe the moment a listener may pass a stranger on the street and realize they’re wearing a tee shirt from their favorite show. Instantly a bond is formed from their shared love of your show.

Joe Rogan, host of the popular Joe Rogan Experience, has its own store stocked with many of the products Joe wears.

The Joe Rogan Experience’s merchandise store.

And these days, you don’t need to actually handle any products in order to have your own E-commerce store.

With Teespring, you can design and showcase products that are only printed/created when someone buys. This way you don’t have to put any money down.

With Oberlo, you can create a drop-shipping store that automatically purchases products from another source when your customers make an order.

We advise that you use a print-on-demand service for merchandise at first. This way you won’t have to buy a pallet of inventory. If you buy a bunch of inventory, there’s a chance you won’t be able to sell it.

2. Public speaking

Public speaking is actually a simple transition for a lot of podcast hosts. If you’re comfortable speaking on your show, you’ll probably do well in front of a crowd. Admittedly, standing in front of a bunch of people is a unique challenge, but it’s less of a problem if you already know how to craft a script.

How much you can make on speaking fees varies widely. Some speakers get a small stipend and travel expenses. Other speakers make six figures or more.

How do you get into public speaking?

  1. Find local groups that meet to discuss your niche or industry. Try Meetup, Facebook groups, or even your local paper to source who organizes the event.
  2. Contact them and offer to present a topic, but be open to their ideas for topics. Let them know that you intend to plug your podcast.
  3. Prepare a presentation with visuals and outline a script.

You’ll have to start small in the beginning. Don’t expect to fill stadiums–or even auditoriums. Your first speaking gigs will have 5-8 people in attendance, but that’s okay. Use those gigs to hone your presentation skills and build relationships.

3. Sell mastermind slots

A mastermind group is a unique way to monetize a podcast because you get more value from it than just money.

A mastermind is a small group of people dedicated to supporting one another toward a common goal. They offer education, brainstorming, and accountability to help you stay on track with whatever you’re trying to learn or accomplish.

In a mastermind group, you’re a member too, which means you have to limit it to a small group of people who can add value to your business as well. You should not be a teacher, but you can still charge for slots because you’re the organizer.

The challenge with masterminds, however, is that members expect value. They put a lot of work in too, so they won’t be satisfied if you or anyone else who’s part of the mastermind disappears for a week or two. If you choose this avenue to promote your podcast, you need to commit to it.

You can meet in person if your members are close, but masterminds work well online too. We recommend using a private group, like a Facebook group or Slack work space.

4. Sell access to an e-course

If your podcast is educational or aims to teach listeners a new skill, creating a standalone e-course is the perfect way to earn some money.

To create a course, you can either do it on your own website (with a tool like MemberPress) or host it on a third-party platform like UdemyCoursera, or Skillshare.

Udemy's dashboard to create a mastermind course.
Udemy’s dashboard to create a mastermind course.

If you think courses are the right way for your to monetize a podcast, we recommend creating your first course on one of those third-party platforms. Yes, you’ll pay some fees for each person who takes the course, but you’ll skip having to build a functional system on your own website. If courses turn out to be your money-maker, then bring it all in-house.

5. Sell content upgrades

A clever way to monetize a podcast is to include a downloadable resource with each podcast episode that relates to that episode. This is called a content upgrade because it upgrades or enhances the listener’s experience.

For instance, let’s say you host a fishing podcast. In one episode, you talk about fishing for trout. At the end of the episode, you tell your fans to go to your website and buy your 99¢ map of the best trout fishing spots in the U.S.

To sell a content upgrade, you’ll have to place a payment form on your site somewhere for listeners to pay and download the form. The best place for this is the page where you publish your podcast download links and/or audio player.

And if you’re selling content upgrades to monetize a podcast, you may as well add an ecommerce shopping cart to your site so you can list your content upgrades individually. This way people can browse your previous upgrades in one place, rather than sorting through every post.

6. Sell information products

An information product is a type of content people buy to learn new things. It could be anything: A template, a resource, a guide, an ebook, a worksheet, etc. Unlike content upgrades, a general information product doesn’t have to relate to a specific episode, but would solve a broader issue or problem your listeners face.

The biggest benefit of selling information products through your podcast is that you can plug them as often as you like in your podcast script to prevent sales from falling flat. You can also source questions or comments from your listeners and answer them on your show, which adds more value to their purchase.

7. Sell an app

If you’re acutely aware of your listeners’ challenges and problems, you can monetize a podcast by designing an app that suits their needs. If you host a parenting podcast, you might sell a calendar app designed specifically for parents. If you host an astronomy podcast, you might sell a star-finder app.

Elsie Escobar of Elsie’s Yoga Class Live and Unplugged is a great example of this. She sells a $3.99 app that gives users access to 70+ yoga classes with PDF explainers.

Alternatively, you might sell a simple branded app that helps people interact with you and your content better. It could have your podcast episodes, blog content, updates, your schedule, and maybe a way to talk with you directly.

App development can be expensive if you don’t know how to do it yourself. Make sure you get plenty of information from a developer before you get started so you don’t burn too much cash or wind up with a half-finished product you can’t afford.

8. Host an event

If you have a local following or a devout audience who wouldn’t mind traveling to see you, sell tickets to a live event where your fans can meet you in person.

The type of event you host will depend on your audience and your podcast’s topic. You might give a lecture, run a workshop, teach a skill, or simply host a group discussion. Eventbrite is a great tool to sell your own tickets for a live event.

To be fair, this is a challenging way to monetize a podcast. We recommend holding onto this tactic until you have a loyal following. Events don’t need thousands of attendees to turn a profit but you do need some people to show up.

And if you’re considering traveling to new cities to host events, analyze where your listeners are first. Head to your podcast host’s analytics dashboard and go through the geographic reports. A no-brainer is hosting events in cities where you already have a following.

Get started with Castos today

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9. Sell consulting or coaching services

The biggest benefit of hosting a podcast is that you establish yourself as an authority in a niche. Your audience comes to respect you as an informed expert. So a great way to monetize a podcast is to offer services that tie in with your topic.

For instance, a productivity and wellness podcast might offer personal life coaching. A marketing podcast might sell personalized marketing strategies.

Getting started here is quite easy. You just need a landing page on your website with a form or widget for people to sign up for a coaching session with you.

What’s a coaching session? It can be anything you like. It might as simple as a phone call or Skype chat, or as complex as an in person visit at the client’s location. Put together whichever type of service is right for your customer.

10. Sell affiliate products

Some companies have open affiliate programs you can take advantage of. You don’t have to arrange a deal or get approved. You just sign up and tell them where to send your payments. You get paid whenever someone signs up with your link.

Instead of creating your own products to sell, you could sell other people’s products for a cut of their sales. There are two methods to do this.

The first method is to promote their products yourself. For example, Audible’s partner program is common among podcasters. They give you a free link to promote. You get $15 anytime someone signs up for a free trial using your link.

Audible’s Creator Program affiliate program.

The second method is to have the product owner come on your show to push their own products. The benefit here is that the product owner knows how to sell his own product better than you, so he can say the right things to drive more sales.

You’ll still need a special URL to track sales. We recommend something like yourdomain.com/product-name. Set up the URL with a redirect so you can see exactly how many people followed it. Make sure to establish a reasonable commission beforehand.

Make sure to disclose any affiliate relationships. If you don’t, your listeners might feel deceived.

11. Generate business leads

Many businesses start podcasts to support larger initiatives. Even back in 2018, Fast Company found “branded podcasts are the ads people actually want to listen to”.

If you host a podcast that complements your company, you’re in the perfect position to generate extremely qualified leads. For example, say you own an accounting company and recently started a podcast educating people on how to do their taxes. While you’re giving away free advice on the show, you’re also weaving in your company’s value in doing people’s taxes for them. When April comes around, who is the first company your listeners will think of to handle their complicated tax returns? Yours.

12. Start a podcast network

Some hosts love being part of a podcast network while others enjoy their independence. But one perk of a network is bargaining power.

Bargaining power is the relative influence someone has over someone else. When each party has relatively equal bargaining power, each has the same footing inside a negotiation. By building a podcast network, you’re positioning your podcast and others to have more equal power to the sponsors you want to attract.

Starting a podcast network can take many forms and be either a formal, contractual structure or something more DIY. Team up with complementary shows in your niche where you have some overlap or build a network full of unrelated shows to hit multiple niches.

In either circumstance, pooling the reach and influence of each podcast within a network allows you to pitch more lucrative sponsorship deals. You also have more of a chance to get on the radar of larger advertisers with bigger budgets because you’ve increased your bargaining power.

Experiment With Multiple Monetization Techniques

There are plenty of methods to monetize a podcast. There’s not one path or one right way to do it.

The trick, however, is to monetize your podcast in a way that doesn’t disappoint your listeners. This means finding the monetization technique they don’t find intrusive. In many cases, that means using a little bit of several techniques, rather than pushing one method too hard.

Frequently Asked Questions About Podcast Monetization

1. How do most podcasts earn money?

Recently Matt Wolfe and Joe Fier surveyed 1,000 podcast hosts on how they earn money podcasting for Podcast Magazine. Most were using a combination of the techniques we outlined above. Here’s what they found:

The February issue of Podcast Magazine details how podcasters make money.

2. Should I start a podcast to make money?

No! While podcast revenue is on the rise, starting a podcast solely to earn money isn’t advisable.

The foundation of how to earn money while podcasting is having a loyal audience. Loyal audiences follow hosts who are passionate about their topic. If the sole objective of a podcast is to earn money, there will be an obvious lack of enthusiasm and in turn, no eager fans tuning in each week.

Start a podcast because you want to share your unique voice with the world, not because you want to make a quick buck.

3. When should I start thinking about monetizing my podcast?

We’re firm believers in starting to thinking about podcast monetization even before you publish your first episode. If you haven’t started a podcast yet, be sure to consider how the show’s topic, style, format, and content will lend itself to future monetization strategies.

If you plan to talk about sensitive subjects or hotly debated topics, know you may alienate a specific set of sponsors. But fear not, podcast ad revenue is expected to reach $863 million in 2020. There will be sponsors out there who want to speak to your niche audience, and that’s just one monetization avenue to consider!

Once you start publishing a podcast, we recommend putting out 10 to 12 episodes first to build an audience.

4. How many downloads do I need to start monetizing my podcast?

There’s no hard rule here. Generally gathering 400-500 downloads per episode is a great time to starting monetizing a podcast but this is a guideline.

If you’re considering joining a podcast advertising network, they may have minimum download requirements before you can apply.

Texas has become another cautionary tale amid the pandemic.

A protester holds up a sign protesting wearing a mask at the Texas Capitol building on April 18, 2020, in Austin, Texas. 
 Sergio Flores/Getty Images

On Memorial Day weekend, the mood in Texas was optimistic.

It had been just over three weeks since Texas became one of the first states in the country to begin a phased reopening. Confirmed cases of Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, had been increasing only slightly for three months. Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, had allowed bars, restaurants, gyms, retailers, salons, and child care centers to reopen and sports to resume while capping capacity levels for most businesses.

But the warning signs were there, and some experts were already worried. Face masks were only encouraged — not required — in public places where maintaining physical distance from others wasn’t possible. Because Texas had imposed one of the shortest lockdowns nationwide, it hadn’t had much time to suppress cases and build up testing capacity. And it hadn’t achieved a two-week decline in cases, one of the key benchmarks states were supposed to hit before reopening.

Memorial Day weekend didn’t bode any better: Bars in Austin blew past their 25 percent capacity limits; mask-less patrons stood shoulder to shoulder. Partygoers crammed into a swimming pool at one club in Houston. City authorities there received more than 200 complaints about social distancing violations in matter of days.

The weekend crowds left public health officials uneasy. They urged Texans to remain vigilant about practicing social distancing and wearing masks for their benefit and that of their neighbors. But the fatigue of shutdown combined with inconsistent public health messaging at a federal, state, and local level had made people complacent, Umair Shah, executive director of the Harris County health department, said.

“Early on, we fought this virus successfully. We did feel like we had made progress,” he said. “But then you started seeing images of people, especially young people, at parties and in pools and not respecting the fact that we were in the midst of a pandemic. … If you just take your eyes off the ball for just a moment, that’s when it overwhelms the community.”

It soon became clear that transmission had reached alarming levels. On June 20, three weeks after Memorial Day, Texas saw over 4,400 new cases in a single day.

A month later, Texas, along with Arizona and Florida, has become a cautionary tale. The number of daily new reported cases is climbing: As of July 22, the state averaged 329 new cases per million residents over the past 14 days, compared to just 37 per million in New York. There have been more than 285,000 new cases reported since Memorial Day; over 4,000 Texans have died from the virus.

Hospital capacity is under strain in some parts of the state, including the hard-hit Rio Grande Valley. Doctors are worried about shortages of an antiviral drug, remdesivir, that seems to reduce the recovery time for hospitalized Covid-19 patients. With hospital morgues overflowing, several counties have requested the same kind of refrigerated trucks that, months ago, lined the streets of New York City.

 

“We’re building this car as we’re driving it down the freeway,” Dr. David Persse, Houston’s top public health official, said.

The parts of the state that are struggling the most include major cities, especially the Houston metropolitan area, and counties in South and Central Texas and along the Gulf Coast. Hospitals in the Rio Grande Valley borderlands, where over 90 percent of the population is Hispanic and more than a third of families live in poverty, lack resources even in better times; since the first week of July, they have been operating at maximum capacity.

How did it get so bad, so quickly? Public health experts say it’s difficult to attribute the spike to any one factor or event, but it’s now clear that Texas’s reopening came too soon. And the politicization of the state’s response to the virus has made it difficult to pursue an effective public health strategy and reach the hardest-hit communities, they said.

“Initially, when the outbreak starting becoming a concern for us here in the US, we responded appropriately,” Dr. Jason Terk, chair of the Texas Public Health Coalition and a practicing pediatrician, said. “Locking down at the time we did was a prudent thing to do. We didn’t have the carnage that was being experienced in the Northeast and New York City, but that gave us a perception of reality that has not served us so well as we moved forward.”

Texas reopened too quickly, and cases got out of control

Gov. Abbott began the state’s reopening on May 1, with indoor and outdoor dining, retail, movie theaters, museums and libraries facing 25 percent occupancy limits in most counties. Cases did not spike immediately, but the state was also slow to resume activities: In the two weeks after reopening, seated dining recovered by only about 5 percent, according to state-level data from OpenTable.

On May 18, Abbott expanded the reopening to include many more businesses, including day care centers and, crucially, bars.

But it’s likely, experts say, that Covid-19 was spreading silently — it just wasn’t showing up in state data. Coronavirus has a long incubation period: Individuals show no symptoms for five days on average after infection, even though they’re contagious for part of that time. Some never develop symptoms at all. Widespread testing, combined with tracing the contacts of infected people, has overcome this challenge in other countries.

The US, including Texas, has struggled with coronavirus testing. The percentage of tests coming back positive in Texas never dropped below 5 percent, a benchmark experts use to determine if a state is testing enough.

Had Abbott waited a bit longer, it would have been clear that Covid-19 transmission was reaching alarming levels. (His office did not respond to requests for comment.)

“It should have been enough time in conventional thinking,” Persse said. “We now know that this virus has a longer lag in how it’s going to respond. We now know better.”

In retrospect, Memorial Day weekend may have been the last moment of calm before the storm. By May 28, hospitalizations started going up. But the reopening continued.

Abbott ramped up capacity limits for restaurants and bars to 50 percent on June 3, allowing them to seat parties of up to six people. And on June 12, he increased restaurant capacity again to 75 percent, allowing them to seat parties of up to 10 people. The following week, amusement parks, including the Six Flags parks and Schlitterbahn water parks, and carnivals were permitted to open at half capacity.

Consumer activity followed across the state: Spending at restaurants and hotels increased almost 20 percent and merchandise spending jumped more than 25 percent from the beginning of reopening on May 1 to when Abbott started scaling back reopening on June 26.

Abbott has since expressed regret about opening bars, which became hot spots of transmission.

“If I could go back and redo anything, it probably would have been to slow down the opening of bars, now seeing in the aftermath of how quickly the coronavirus spread in the bar setting,” he said during an interview with KVIA in El Paso.

But public health experts in Texas say the reopening should have been slower overall, and more tailored to the different needs of Texas’s 254 counties, recognizing that places with higher levels of transmission might need stricter rules than other parts of the state.

That’s a strategy Abbott has resisted. In April, Harris County issued a mandate that people masks in public. But the day the order was supposed to go into effect, Abbott overrode the restrictions, saying that the county couldn’t unilaterally impose fines on violators. He also prevented local jurisdictions from issuing their own stay-at-home orders as the state was reopening, effectively usurping the power of officials like Shah to manage the virus.

“Taking a one-size-fits-all approach does not work in a state like Texas, because you have large urban counties like ours, and you also have smaller jurisdictions,” Shah said. “And that’s why local ability to enact protections is the critical way to go forward, because we know our communities better than anybody else.”

Mask-wearing and reopening have become particularly politicized in Texas

Texas is a state that prides itself on individualism. In a pandemic that requires collective action to support everyone’s health and well-being, however, that has proved to be more of a vice than a virtue.

“It boils down to what kind of culture we have here. In the state of Texas, we have a very libertarian ‘me’ culture rather than a ‘we’ culture,” Terk said. “We have a tendency to be permissive for individuals to make their own choices and for more local determinations to burden the day. That’s not the case in places where good public health strategies have been articulated.”

Wearing face masks, which have been proven to decrease the risk of airborne transmission of the virus, became a partisan flashpoint in Texas and across the country. A Pew Research study found that Republicans were almost four times more likely than Democrats to say that masks should rarely or never be worn. They may be taking cues from President Donald Trump, who long resisted wearing a mask in public, seemingly to downplay the severity of the US outbreak, and openly mocked his Democratic rival Joe Biden for donning one.

Mostly mask-less protesters gathered at the state capitol in Austin in April to denounce the lockdown alongside conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, founder of the website Infowars, who has called the pandemic a “hoax.” People have resisted wearing face masks in stores that set their own rules requiring it, prompting threats of criminal prosecutions and a violent altercation with one patron at a 99 Cents Only store in San Antonio that was filmed on a cellphone.

“I don’t care. Just because everyone’s doing it doesn’t make it legal,” the man told an employee in the video. “The Texas governor said it’s not legal and I don’t have to.”

Indeed, Abbott long resisted mandating that people wear face masks. He said in April that local governments can’t penalize people who don’t wear masks in public, even over the protests of nine Texas mayors, five of them Republicans, who had requested the authority to do so.

 

“We strongly recommend that everyone wear a mask,” Abbott said during a press conference at the time. “However, it’s not a mandate. And we’ll make clear that no jurisdiction can impose any type of penalty or fine for anyone not wearing a mask.”

By late June, as Texas was becoming a coronavirus hot spot, Abbott’s approval ratings had sunk to 44 percent, among the lowest of governors nationwide. He brought a halt to the reopening process, reversed his stance on face masks, and threatened another economic shutdown.

But the number of daily new reported cases has nevertheless stayed above 5,000 for weeks.

Texas’s Hispanic population is particularly vulnerable to Covid-19

The virus isn’t affecting all Texans equally. Hispanics, who account for 34 percent of the state’s population, have faced increased risk of contracting coronavirus because of where they work, where they live, and the limited availability of culturally competent health care, Carlos Rodríguez-Díaz, a professor at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health, said.

Preliminary state data shows that Hispanics accounted for about 40 percent of the nearly 29,000 Covid-19 cases that have been investigated by public health authorities as of July 21. That’s consistent with how Hispanics have been disproportionately affected by the virus nationally: Among adults ages 45 to 54, they are at least six times more likely to die from the coronavirus than white Americans.

Some predominantly Hispanic counties have been hit particularly hard, in part because they live in medically underserved communities. In the Rio Grande Valley, where there have been more than 21,500 confirmed cases, many are uninsured and therefore rely on community clinics or emergency rooms for medical care. They also have a higher-than-average incidence of underlying conditions, including diabetes and obesity, that put them at greater risk of complications from the virus.

The hospitals can’t keep up. Patients are waiting in ambulances parked outside the hospitals for beds in temporary Covid-19 wards to open up, and crematoriums have weeks-long waiting lists.

In other parts of the country, meatpacking plants became the epicenter of coronavirus outbreaks in Hispanic communities. But in Texas, many Hispanics work in the service industry in customer-facing roles where they are more likely to contract the virus. When the state began to reopen and business activity resumed, that risk only increased.

It’s also more difficult for some Hispanics, particularly those who are recent immigrants, to abide by social distancing recommendations because they live in multigenerational or shared housing. Among the members of these households, it’s common that more than one adult will have to go to work and could potentially carry the virus back home.

“We’re asking people to stay at home and quarantine if they might have been exposed,” Rodríguez-Díaz said. “Unfortunately, the housing conditions of many Latino families are not conducive to practice any of those measures.”

Public health resources for Hispanics are also lacking, resulting in confusion about how they should protect themselves from the virus and drawing criticism from Hispanic leaders in the state.

 

Some Hispanics are less likely to seek medical attention because they find the health care system difficult to navigate. Many face language barriers, making them more likely to experience adverse health outcomes than fluent English speakers. For those who are living in the US without authorization, the fear that seeking medical care could lead to their deportation also serves as a deterrent, Rodríguez-Díaz said. That fear has only ramped up under President Trump, who has publicly derided Mexicans and sought to clamp down on unauthorized immigration from Mexico.

Groups like the US Hispanic Contractors Association have been creating instructions on coronavirus safety practices in both English and Spanish and giving away face masks in Austin — but they say state and local government should also be conducting that kind of outreach.

Shah said he has tried to engage the Hispanic community by reaching out to Spanish-speaking media and forming a race and ethnicity task force within his department to examine health inequities and tailor the response to the pandemic, but acknowledges that officials’ efforts haven’t been good enough so far.

“That’s the direction we need to continue to emphasize,” he said. “Health inequities existed prior to Covid-19, and Covid-19 has just made it markedly worse.”

Texas is finally changing course — but some officials are urging more drastic action

It wasn’t till June 26 that Abbott finally put a halt to his reopening plan. He ordered bars to shut down again, reduced the restaurant occupancy limit to 50 percent, paused elective surgeries in some areas to preserve bed space, and banned river-rafting trips, which had unexpectedly contributed to a spike in cases in Hays County.

And on July 2, Abbott mandated that Texans in counties with 20 or more active coronavirus cases (at that point, most counties) wear masks inside businesses and in public spaces where social distancing is impossible. The penalties for violating the mandate are low: First-time offenders will get away with only a warning and repeat offenders can face up to $250 fines. But the act of requiring masks alone has allowed for more consistent public health messaging.

“Covid-19 is not going away,” Abbott said during a video announcement. “In fact, it’s getting worse. Now, more than ever, action by everyone is needed until treatments are available for Covid-19.”

Still, Abbott continues to give localities leeway to decide whether to permit large gatherings. As part of the July 2 order, he also prohibited gatherings of more than 10 people “unless the mayor of the city in which the gathering is held, or the county judge in the case of a gathering in an unincorporated area, approves of the gathering.”

One North Texas county announced, via a county judge’s order, that large outside gatherings would nevertheless be permitted.

Even counties that are observing the restrictions are facing pushback: Texas Republicans had insisted on hosting an in-person convention in Houston beginning July 16, arguing that their right to gather was protected under both the Texas and US constitutions. The Texas Supreme Court, however, disagreed, and party leaders reluctantly moved the convention online.

With transmission showing little sign of slowing down substantially, Abbott has threatened to issue another stay-at-home order.

“If we do not slow the spread of COVID-19 … the next step would have to be a lockdown,” he said July 10.

On Persse’s recommendation, the mayor of Houston suggested that a shutdown should last a minimum of two weeks:

Houston also decided that the average daily new case count in the city, which has been over 1,000 for weeks, would have to be below 300 before it would consider reopening schools — a number that, Persse admits, is somewhat arbitrary.

But he said that, based on the information they have now, it’s a fair barometer for a slowdown of transmission given that local hospitals were in a much better position when the case count was that low.

The stay-at-home order might be politically unpopular among Republicans in particular, but Persse doesn’t care if it makes him the bad guy.

“I’m going to do my job, and if people like me or dislike me, that’s up to them,” Persse said. “I’m going to do what I can to protect people.”


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Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, shared advice on lowering U.S. covid-19 cases during a Washington Post Live interview on July 24. (The Washington Post)
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As U.S. coronavirus cases surged past 4 million on Thursday, the number of daily covid-19-related deaths surpassed 1,000 for the third consecutive day. More than 500 of the fatalities were recorded in Florida, California and Texas, where the novel coronavirus is spreading at alarming rates. “What we have right now are essentially three New Yorks with these three major states,” White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx said, a reference to the earlier epicenter of the U.S. outbreak.

 

With the virus spreading rapidly, President Trump abruptly canceled next month’s Republican National Convention events in Florida, a sign that his large, boisterous campaign rallies may be a thing of the past. The about-face is the latest reversal from Trump, who in the past week has begun enthusiastically promoting masks and acknowledging the gravity of the pandemic while conceding that schools may have to delay reopening.

Here are some significant developments:

  • With millions of people days away from losing unemployment benefits — and a federal eviction moratorium about to end — a new stimulus package has been delayed. The White House has backed down from Trump’s demand to include a payroll tax cut in the next coronavirus relief bill, but Republicans are struggling with a major overhaul of the unemployment system and other aspects of the legislation.
  • McDonald’s announced it would require masks in all of its fast-food restaurants beginning Aug. 1. That follows the lead of major retailers, such as Walmart and Target, grocery chains and Starbucks coffee shops.
  • U.S. airlines have unveiled stricter rules for face coverings, and at least two — American and Southwest — say they will no longer carry passengers who refuse to wear masks.
  • Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, said in an interview that he’s been receiving “serious threats” against his life and his family and now has a personal security detail assigned to him.
  • Fauci, during a live interview with The Post, said states hit hard by the coronavirus in recent weeks needed to halt or walk back their reopenings as they grapple with surges of infections.
  • Some of the new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on reopening schools was written by White House officials, rather than health experts, people familiar with the process said.

Sign up for our coronavirus newsletter | Mapping the spread of the coronavirus: Across the U.S. | Worldwide | Where states reopened and cases spiked | Has someone close to you died of covid-19? Share your story with The Washington Post.

1:44 p.m.

Staying at home means more ice cream and less deodorant, sales show

Staying at home means more ice cream and less deodorant.

At least that’s what Unilever’s sales showed the past six months, the company said Thursday. The British-Dutch consumer goods conglomerate’s half-year report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed more consumers were enjoying ice cream and Lipton and PG Tips tea at home.

Ice cream sales from brands like Magnum were up 15 percent in the past six months, with a jump to 26 percent in the second quarter, offsetting declines in retail ice cream markets.

Unilever also reported a nearly 10 percent growth in North American sales in hand-hygiene products by brands like Lifebuoy and Dove, despite beauty and personal-care sales otherwise sliding 0.3 percent, as more consumers washed their hands to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Deodorant sales declined, as stay-at-home orders and teleworking restricted more consumers from going out.

“Performance during the first half has shown the true strength of Unilever,” chief executive Alan Jope said in the release. “From the start of the Covid-19 crisis, we have been guided by clear priorities in line with our multi-stakeholder business model to protect our people, safeguard supply, respond to new patterns of consumer demand, preserve cash, and support our communities.”

Underlying sales dipped just 0.1 percent, and diluted earnings per share were up 9.2 percent from a year ago, at €1.25 per share.

By Hannah Denham

1:13 p.m.

France to mandate tests at airports for travelers arriving from United States and other nations

French Prime Minister Jean Castex, flanked by the delegate prefect in charge of Charles de Gaulle, Bourget and Orly airports' security, Sophie Wolferman, waves during a visit at Charles de Gaulle airport Friday.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex, flanked by the delegate prefect in charge of Charles de Gaulle, Bourget and Orly airports’ security, Sophie Wolferman, waves during a visit at Charles de Gaulle airport Friday. (Christophe Petit Tesson/AFP/Getty Images)

France’s airports and seaports are to offer on-the-spot coronavirus testing to arrivals from 16 countries, including the United States, French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced Friday.

Under the tightened policy, which is starting immediately and expected to be fully operational by Aug. 1, any arrival who could not supply a recent negative test result or refused to be tested at the airport would be placed in quarantine, Castex announced at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport.

The rules will apply to any nation where the virus is still circulating widely. The French government categorizes these countries as “red” nations.

France had already restricted most travel from countries not on the European Union’s “safe” list. However, French citizens and residents were able to travel from those countries.

Aside from the United States, the “red” countries included are the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Panama, South Africa, Kuwait, Qatar, Israel, Brazil, Peru, Serbia, Algeria, Turkey, Madagascar, India and Oman, according to France Info.

Agence France-Presse reports that the tests at the airport will be free and that the results will be available in 48 hours. Castex said that arrivals from “red” nations currently averaged around 3,000 a day.

The announcement came a day after Germany’s state health ministers gave preliminary backing to a similar plan primarily aimed at returning German holiday makers.

By Adam Taylor
 
12:44 p.m.

Private school that Barron Trump attends says it probably will not fully reopen in the fall

Even as President Trump urges U.S. schools to reopen, his youngest son would probably not be able to return to his own private school full-time in the fall.

St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, the Maryland private school that Trump’s 14-year-old son Barron Trump attends, told families that they should prepare for an all-distance or hybrid learning model in the fall. The hybrid model would allow students to attend school part time in small cohorts — toggling between in-person and distance learning — so that students and teachers can better socially distance on campus.

Head of School Robert Kosasky told families in a letter posted on its website that the school would make a decision on its fall plans Aug. 10.

Under the hybrid model, elementary school students — and possibly sixth graders — would be allowed to attend school in person each day. Seventh- through 12th-graders would rotate between distance learning and in-person classes each week, with half of the students reporting to campus one week and the other half remaining home.

Every classroom will have a camera focused on the teacher, allowing students who do not want to return to school to participate in distance learning full time.

“This will allow students, families, and faculty and staff with medical concerns to be able to learn, teach, and work remotely throughout the pandemic, while facilitating safe, in-person learning for everyone else,” Kosasky wrote.

Under the plan, students would have to wear masks while indoors, except during lunch, which will be socially distanced. The school year is scheduled to begin Sept. 10.

By Perry Stein
 
12:29 p.m.

McDonald’s to require masks in all U.S. restaurants

 

McDonald’s will require customers to wear face coverings in all its U.S. restaurants, the company said Friday.

The mask mandate begins Aug. 1. The company cited the recent resurgence in U.S. coronavirus cases and new scientific guidance suggesting droplets can stay in the air for extended periods of time, increasing the risk of carriers spreading the virus.

McDonald’s said nearly 11,900 restaurants out of its almost 14,500 U.S. locations already comply with public health mandates in their respective markets. Employees already wear personal protective equipment, and now the company will provide training for staff to enforce the new policy “in a friendly and positive way,” with additional resources for de-escalation training.

Retailers often place the responsibility on employees to enforce mask mandates with customers who enter their stores. Walmart, Costco, Target and other retailers that have recently enacted similar store policies have had incidents go viral, in which customers who are asked by employees or other shoppers to wear a mask have erupted into verbal scuffles and even violence.

Mixed messaging from local and state governments, and varying business policies, have politicized mask use despite CDC guidance that suggests masks can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

McDonald’s will also not reopen any new dining rooms for at least another 30 days, the company said in a release. The decision to close already-reopened restaurants lies with the owner, but McDonald’s encouraged its franchisees to comply with state and local guidance on rollback decisions.

By Hannah Denham
 
12:07 p.m.

Fauci: Keeping kids in school should be a priority, but it depends on virus spread in communities

Anthony S. Fauci on Friday said the country should try “as best as we possibly can” to keep children in school but stressed that school reopenings should depend on the level of virus transmission in individual communities.

“It depends on where you are,” Fauci told The Washington Post in a live interview. “We live in a very large country that is geographically and demographically diverse and certainly different in the extent to which there is covid virus activity.”

Schools in some places with low virus activity may be able to reopen without many adjustments, he said. In places where the virus is spreading, he said, schools may have to take more drastic health precautions, such has hybrid learning and alternating schedules.

The goal should be protecting students and staff, he said. “That absolutely has to be paramount,” he said, “the safety and the welfare of the child and the teachers who are taking care of and are teaching the children.”

He urged parents to listen to their school districts. “I would take a look at what’s being recommended at the level of where I’m living,” he said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday released new school reopening guidelines that emphasize the benefits of returning to school, which President Trump has pushed in recent weeks. Some of the materials were written by White House officials, not experts at the CDC, people familiar with the process told The Post. The guidelines appeared to leave out reference to keeping students six feet apart.

Fauci called the CDC’s new guidelines “sound” in his interview with The Post.

He also said experts needed to learn more about the role children play in transmitting the virus. He declined to say whether he agreed or disagreed with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s inaccurate and misleading suggestion recently that children were “stoppers” of the virus, noting that multiple studies were underway.

By Derek Hawkins
 
11:43 a.m.

A maskless audience watches Trump present Medal of Freedom at White House

 

In recent days, President Trump has said it can be “patriotic” to wear masks, and others in his administration have lauded him for setting a good example when he has worn one.

But at a White House event Friday, neither Trump nor any of the roughly 30 other people gathered in close quarters in the Blue Room appeared to be wearing one.

The occasion was Trump’s presentation of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Jim Ryun, a former congressman and Olympic athlete. As he bestowed the highest civilian honor on Ryun, Trump described him as “a legendary running Olympian” and “an American patriot.”

A pool reporter covering the event on-site said that none of the roughly 30 people in attendance appeared to be wearing masks, while reporters and White House staff members were wearing them.

Asked for an explanation, White House spokesman Judd Deere noted that everyone in the audience had been tested for the coronavirus and pointed to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Per CDC guidelines, wearing a mask is encouraged, not required,” he said.

By John Wagner
 
11:27 a.m.

Fauci: Hard-hit states need to pause reopenings or consider ‘backing up a bit’

Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, said states hit hard by the coronavirus in recent weeks need to halt or walk back their reopenings as they grapple with surges of infections.

“You don’t necessarily have to go all the way back to a complete shutdown, but you certainly have to call a pause and maybe even a backing up a bit,” he said in a live interview Friday with The Washington Post.

He suggested some states with rising cases, especially those in the South, go back to earlier phases of reopenings and strictly follow guidelines that would allow them to lift pandemic restrictions one step at a time.

“The issue is that some of the states … have essentially skipped over some of those checkpoints,” he said, without naming individual states. “… I think we can control the surging that we’re seeing in those states.”

He also urged other states where outbreaks are more contained to look at hard-hit states as cautionary examples of “what happens when you open too quickly.”

He reiterated the importance of wearing masks, practicing physical distancing and avoiding crowds.

“Everybody should be trying to reopen America again,” he said, “but do it in a way that’s in accordance with the guidelines.”

By Derek Hawkins
 
11:17 a.m.

FDA says at least 75 brands of hand sanitizers may be toxic

Federal regulators have recalled dozens of hand sanitizers — many widely available through Walmart and other national retailers — because they contain dangerous and potentially fatal levels of wood alcohol.

Demand for hand sanitizer has surged since the start of the pandemic as Americans have been advised to wash their hands often to guard against coronavirus infection. But the Food and Drug Administration has identified at least 75 brands whose labels say contains ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but later proved to contain methanol, or wood alcohol.

Methanol can be toxic when absorbed through the skin, the agency said in an advisory, and can cause blindness. It can be lethal if ingested. Because the products are mislabeled, consumers wouldn’t be able to tell which hand sanitizers actually contain methanol.

By Hamza Shaban
 
11:16 a.m.

South Texas hospital may begin rationing covid-19 care: ‘The situation is desperate’

The sole hospital in a remote South Texas county has become so overwhelmed with covid-19 patients that officials could soon start sending home those least likely to survive the disease caused by the coronavirus.

A health board in Starr County debated Thursday whether to authorize critical care guidelines to help workers at Starr County Memorial Hospital make painstaking decisions about how to allocate beds and other dwindling resources as infections soar.

Patients with little chance of recovering could be denied hospital care, said Jose Vasquez, the top health official in the county of 61,000.

“The situation is desperate,” Vasquez said at a news conference. “We cannot continue functioning in the Starr County Memorial Hospital nor in our county in the way that things are going. The numbers are staggering.”

The explosion of coronavirus cases in Texas over the past month has strained resources at health-care systems across the state, and the announcement from Starr County highlights how hospitals in small, rural areas — many of them scarcely affected by the virus in the pandemic’s early stages — are especially unprepared to deal with the surge of sick people.

Many hospitals have ethics panels tasked with making life-or-death decisions about rationing resources, and about half of all states have frameworks for allocating lifesaving devices such as ventilators.

Starr County, about 215 miles south of San Antonio, has become one of the most severely affected areas in Texas, with 31 deaths per 100,000 residents — more than double the death rate in densely populated Harris County, which encompasses the hard-hit Houston metropolitan area.

Starr County Memorial Hospital has 48 beds in total and recently expanded its covid-19 section to 29 beds when the state sent medical workers to the county, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. But even with the additional capacity, the hospital has been sending patients to other counties or even out of state, and those beds are filling, too.

“Unfortunately, Starr County Memorial Hospital has limited resources and our doctors are going to have to decide who receives treatment, and who is sent home to die by their loved ones,” Starr County Judge Eloy Vera said in a statement. “This is what we did not want our community to experience.”

By Derek Hawkins
11:15 a.m.

Restrictions return in Spain as coronavirus infections spike again

MADRID — One month after Spain lifted Europe’s strictest pandemic lockdown, the country is wrestling with a new surge in coronavirus infections, tallying thousands of additional cases and reinstating both voluntary guidelines and mandatory restrictions.

Health Minister Salvador Illa on Wednesday confirmed 224 active outbreaks and 2,622 confirmed cases, which he attributed primarily to seasonal farmworkers, people attending family get-togethers and nightclub partyers. On Thursday, the health ministry reported an additional 971 cases.

“The majority are related to fruit collection and also to the spaces where measures to avoid contact are relaxed,” Illa told parliament. “We have to call on citizens to not lose respect for the virus — not to be afraid of it, but not to lose respect for it, either.”

The outbreaks bring the country’s total number of infections to 270,166 — nearly 24,000 more than on June 21, when the government declared a “new normal,” lifted the three-month nationwide lockdown and returned full control of health-care systems to Spain’s 17 regions. More than 28,429 people here have died of covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

0

9:56 a.m.

Fauci says he and his family are receiving ‘serious threats’ against their lives

 

As Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, helps to navigate the United States through its turbulent response to the coronavirus pandemic, his critics are targeting him with not only hate mail but death threats, he said on a Friday episode of CNN’s “The Axe Files.”

“It’s really a magnitude different now,” Fauci said, seeming somewhat bewildered by the level of vitriol. “Serious threats against me, against my family … my daughters, my wife — I mean, really? Is this the United States of America?”

Fauci now has a personal security detail assigned to him. Security around Fauci first increased in April after he faced a wave of threats as well as “unwelcome communication from fervent admirers,” The Post reported at the time.

Host David Axelrod noted that Fauci is no stranger to public health criticism; having done pioneering work on the AIDS crisis in the ’80s and ’90s, Fauci recalled protesters coming to his New York home and people writing letters calling him a “gay lover” and questioning why he would spend his time on the issue.

Fauci said he understands that people’s livelihoods have been hurt by shutdown measures, but called some of the reactions disturbing.

“As much as people inappropriately, I think, make me somewhat of a hero — and I’m not a hero, I’m just doing my job — there are people who get really angry at thinking I’m interfering with their life because I’m pushing a public-health agenda,” Fauci said.

By Kim Bellware
9:37 a.m.

The temporary $600 weekly benefit expires next week, and Republicans are seeking a way to scale it back

Senior Republican lawmakers are studying a significant overhaul of emergency unemployment payments that could complicate the work of state agencies already struggling to get the benefits out to millions of Americans.

The plan is one key reason for the surprising delay in the introduction of the GOP’s $1 trillion stimulus package. It has provoked debate among GOP officials and may ultimately be left out of the party’s proposed legislation. Administration officials and GOP lawmakers have said they want to cut but not outright eliminate enhanced federal unemployment benefits, and the final shape of the plan remains in flux.

Typically, state unemployment pays about 45 percent of a worker’s prior wages. In March, Congress approved a $600-per-week emergency bonus for every unemployed worker on top of that traditional payment, funneling hundreds of billions of dollars to newly jobless Americans as the pandemic hit the country. That federal benefit, currently being received by more than 20 million people, is set to expire at the end of July.

In recent days, senior congressional Republicans and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have discussed replacing this universal federal bonus with one tied to workers’ income before their job was lost. Instead of sending a $600-per-week bonus to every unemployed person, under this plan the federal government would provide a bonus amounting to about half of the existing state bonus, according to three senior GOP officials, granted anonymity to describe fast-moving and internal deliberations.

By Jeff Stein and Erica Werner
9:19 a.m.

Birx warns Florida, Texas and California outbreaks ‘are essentially three New Yorks’

Almost three months since New York was at the peak of its outbreak, when it saw more than 500 single-day deaths, the United States is seeing the situation repeat itself as cases surge in Florida, Texas and California.

The three states combined recorded more than 500 deaths on Thursday; Florida and Texas also reached record highs for the weekly average of single-day deaths, according to data tracked by The Post.

“What we have right now are essentially three New Yorks with these three major states,” White House coronavirus task force coordinator Deborah Birx said Friday during an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show.

 

The United States recently surpassed 4 million cases as the outbreak intensifies in the south and west. Thursday’s nationwide total of new cases was 71,135, with the three hot-spot states alone accounting for more than a third of them.

“Today” show host Savannah Guthrie asked for Birx’s response to those who still doubt the virus’s threat and dismiss the crisis as overblown.

“It’s very serious,” Birx said. “And it’s very real.”

By Kim Bellware
9:01 a.m.

Fans expected to be allowed into sports stadiums in South Korea

 

The South Korean government is set to allow fans to return to many of the country’s stadiums as soon as Sunday.

“Many citizens who have been cheering via online are looking forward to entering the stadium again,” Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said at a government meeting, Reuters reported.

Baseball stands are to reopen first, and soccer on Aug 1. According to the new rules, the government will allow teams to sell 10 percent of seats. Stadiums will introduce temperature checks and spaced seating, the Associated Press reported.

Games returned absent fans in May. A team in Seoul apologized for using sex dolls to fill seats.

South Korea won international recognition for its early introduction of robust coronavirus testing and contact tracing. The country has recorded 13,979 cases and 298 deaths.

The pandemic has thrown sports around the world into turmoil. The Tokyo Summer Olympics was set to open Friday, but was postponed by a year, and even that date is in question.

By Benjamin Soloway
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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By Yaron Steinbuch

 

Big Apple radio host Charlamagne Tha God slammed Joe Biden for calling President Trump the country’s first racist to be elected to the White House, according to a report.

The presumptive Democratic nominee made the comment during a virtual town hall Wednesday in response to concerns voiced by a health care worker about the president referring to the coronavirus pandemic as the “China virus.”

“The way he deals with people based on the color of their skin, their national origin, where they’re from, is absolutely sickening,” the former veep said.

“No sitting president has ever done this. Never, never, never. No Republican president has done this. No Democratic president. We’ve had racists, and they’ve existed, they’ve tried to get elected president. He’s the first one that has,” Biden added.

Charlamagne, co-host of “The Breakfast Club,” reacted to Biden’s characterization by declaring him Thursday’s “Donkey of the Day,” Fox News reported.

“I really wish Joe Biden would shut the f–k up forever and continue to act like he’s starring in the movie ‘A Quiet Place’ because as soon as he opens his mouth and makes noise, he gets us all killed, OK?” he said.

Charlamagne also accused Biden of “revisionist history,” describing his claim about the commander-in-chief as “a lie” that “relinquishes America of all responsibility of its bigotry.”

“How are we ever going to atone for America’s original sins if we don’t acknowledge them?” he said. “How the hell can Donald Trump be the first racist president in a country where 12 presidents before him owned slaves?”

Enlarge ImageJoe Biden (Left), Charlamagne Tha God (Right)
Joe Biden (left) and Charlamagne Tha GodAP. Getty Images

“Joe, you got to hurry up and announce your black woman VP so I can be enthused about voting for her because I will never be enthused about voting for you, and you know America is a terrible place when Kanye West seems like a viable option,” Charlamagne added.

Charlamagne made headlines during his recent interview with Biden, who suggested that African American voters “ain’t black” if they were still considering voting for Trump in November. Biden walked back his remarks later.

How Spotify tricked him into giving up billions

Oil companies are famous for approaching hapless farmers and buying drilling rights for their properties for next to nothing.

The farmers don’t realize they are sitting on tens of millions of dollars of oil, so they accept a $50,000 one-time payment.

It feels like a huge win…

Until they realize that they just lost out on tens of millions of dollars of oil riches.

That’s Joe Rogan right now.

In September, I wrote a post about how Howard Stern is getting ripped off by Sirius. I made the case that Howard Stern is making $90 million a year when he could be making 2-3x by cutting out the middle-man and doing a subscription podcast.

In that post, I also speculated that Joe Rogan—the largest podcaster in the world—was likely a billionaire. Even though he probably didn’t realize it.

Apparently, Joe Rogan didn’t read my post. But someone else definitely did:

Daniel Ek, the CEO of Spotify, who just closed an exclusive deal with Rogan to move his show (audio and video) to the Spotify platform.

If the numbers are to be believed, it’s a steal of a deal for Spotify: for $100-$200mm they secured the largest podcast audience in the world.

I’m not exaggerating. Spotify’s market cap jumped by $3 billion in the 24h after the news of this deal broke.

The market saw what Rogan missed: Spotify took his oil.

Spotify Ticker May 18-22 (Source: Apple Stocks)

To the untrained eye, this looks pretty good for Rogan. His listeners can still access the podcast for free—as long as they use Spotify. Spotify premium subscribers get the podcast without ads, but free users will have to listen to ads (presumably sold by Spotify).

In my last post I estimated Rogan was making around $64MM/year.

In contrast, the Spotify deal gets him 2-4x what he was making before, and as a bonus he doesn’t have to worry about the business side.

Not bad, right?

WRONG.

Here’s why this is a bad deal for Rogan:

1. He lost control over his audience.

The magic of podcasting is that it’s free, open, and decentralized. Like email, when you have an audience (subscribers), you can reach them directly at any time, without any middle-man or algorithm (Facebook, Google, etc) getting in the way.

You own the relationship, and this is profoundly valuable. You can’t be screwed over by an aggregator getting in your way.

When you’re a podcaster, subscribers are your currency. They are what make your podcast valuable.

By doing this deal, Rogan gives up control over his subscriber relationship. Any new audience he builds from here on out, he loses. His existing podcast feed will likely die as most people eventually unsubscribe due to inactivity.

If he goes back to being independent and ditches Spotify in 3 years, he has lost all of his new subscribers during that time, and some of his original subscribers as well.

It’s like Disney licensing their Disney+ content to Netflix. It might net a big one-time payout, but it completely erodes the business value that would otherwise accrue to them.

And make no mistake: Joe Rogan is a business. As I said in my last post, were he to build the level of advertising and subscription revenue I think he is capable of, his corporation would easily be valued at over $1,000,000,000…

2. Spotify gets Rogan’s recurring revenue

Like the farmer, Rogan didn’t realize he was sitting on oil. He didn’t value it.

To him, the only way to make money from his farm was by harvesting vegetables (advertising). It’s back-breaking labor in the sun (doing ad sales is a pain in the ass).

What he didn’t realize was that just under his feet, was a pool of oil so vast that it would immediately catapult him to billionaire status with minimal effort and build tens or maybe hundreds of millions of dollars of recurring revenue.

Let’s make something clear: Joe Rogan is the new Howard Stern.

His audience is 10-12x larger than Howard Stern’s, and Sirius makes an estimated $290 million in revenue from selling subscriptions to Stern.

Estimated per episode listener numbers for Joe Rogan vs. Howard Stern

Let’s look at what Rogan’s recurring revenue could have looked like

When Sirius did the deal with Stern, they took an all or nothing approach: You can only listen to Stern if you subscribe to Sirius.

Full stop. Zero access.

This wouldn’t make sense for Rogan. It’s too extreme and it would piss off his fans. Instead, a hybrid approach would make the most sense:

Rogan could have kept selling ads in addition to offering an ad-free stream as well as bonus episodes/extended content/video stream for paying subscribers only.

At just a 5% conversion rate, this is worth over $33mm [1] in annual recurring revenue.

That might not sound like a ton compared to a deal valued at $100mm+/year, but when you add it to his advertising revenue, it gets him close to $100mm, fully independent of Spotify.

Most importantly Rogan would have been building value and recurring revenue in his own business.

As I pointed out in my last post, if Rogan had added subscription, he would have owned a company that looked like the world’s best SaaS business. Crazy recurring revenue, with low churn and insanely high margins, growing at 25-50% per year as podcasting’s audience grows over time.

This revenue is INSANELY valuable and should be built by him, not Spotify.

Not everyone has their head in the sand…

While deals like this get a lot of press, successful podcasters who understand the value in owning their relationship with their audience are making moves in the space.

Case in point: earlier this month Ben Thompson (Stratechery) and John Gruber (Daring Fireball) launched Dithering, a subscription-only podcast. 

Ben Thompson underscores the value of staying independent:

“Owning my own destiny as a publisher means avoiding Aggregators and connecting directly with customers.”

Rogan’s friend Sam Harris, who has sworn off advertising and focused on subscription since he started in 2014, just made a much more aggressive push into subscription. In 2019, he started cutting off most episodes halfway through and only letting paying subscribers hear full episodes.

In 2017, Observer reported that Harris was getting about 1 million downloads per episode, so let’s estimate that his 2017 audience was around 1 million listeners.

If we do some rough napkin math and assume that his show grew along with global podcast listeners (which grew 54% since 2017), that would mean that he currently has about 1.54 million monthly listeners.

Applying a 5% conversion rate with a price of $5/month to this works out to about $4.6 million in annual recurring revenue.

Applying a 20% conversion rate—which I would expect him to get given his more aggressive push to subscription—works out to $18.4 million in annual recurring revenue.

With an estimated 12 million monthly listeners, Rogan’s recurring revenue potential is at least 8-12x what Sam Harris has been able to achieve.

3. He is Massively Shrinking his Audience and Impact

Restricting his listeners to people who use Spotify will dramatically lower his addressable audience, and I have no doubt that Spotify will eventually gate his content to paid Spotify subscribers in some way (extra episodes, video, ad-free, etc).

Make no mistake: Spotify’s endgame is to add Spotify subscribers. That’s their north star.

For context, Howard Stern—who just before his Sirius deal was one of the most widely listened to radio personalities in the world—now has an audience of less than 1 million per episode. When I tell most people my age (early 30’s) that I love Howard Stern, I get a blank stare.

Nobody knows who he is. Stern has lost his impact on culture in exchange for a big upfront payment.

Let’s be real: Stern and Rogan are already super rich. The difference between $50mm/year of profit and $100mm means zero to their day-to-day lifestyle. What I imagine does matter to them is the size of their audience and their impact, and both made choices that will limit that forever.

Napkin Math

Let’s compare the two paths that Rogan could have gone down:

However you run the math, this was a coup for Spotify.

I hope that the reported numbers are low, because I don’t think even $100mm/year provides Rogan with enough upside to accommodate the trade offs:

  1. Losing his relationship with his subscribers
  2. Building someone else’s business/recurring revenue instead of his own
  3. A smaller audience and less impact

He’s going to be just fine either way. I’m not shedding any tears for Joe, but as a business person I can’t help but shake my head at the lost potential.

The world’s largest podcasters are sitting on oil. There’s a reason Spotify is writing these seemingly insane checks: they’ve done the geological surveys. They are trying to cut deals with as many hapless farmers as they can before they all catch on. Spotify will spend hundreds of millions to reap billions.

Most people will look at Rogan and think he’s a genius living the dream.

I think he’s a farmer who just got taken by Daniel Ek.

Read my original post about the opportunity of subscription podcasting here.

PS: If you’re a farmer sitting on some oil, the team at Supercast can help. Get in touch.

“We’re not on Spotify and the reason why we’re not on it is because it didn’t make any sense. They were like, “We want to put you on, it’s gonna be great for you.” How is it great? You guys are gonna make money! You guys are making money and you don’t give us any? The whole streaming thing is this weird smoke and mirrors song and dance they put on, “you’re gonna be a part of something big” but what are you selling? All you sell is artists’ work. You don’t have anything to sell and the artists get paid so little, so where is the money going?

They’re traded and they’re worth millions and billions like where’s all that money? Where’s it going?”


– Joe Rogan, May 19, 2018

Andrew Wilkinson is the co-founder of Tiny and Supercast. You should follow him on Twitter.

Footnotes

[1] In an interview with Jordan Peterson, Joe said that he gets over 200 million podcast downloads per month. With 18 episodes per month, that means each episode gets approximately 11MM downloads per episode. 11mm x 5% x $5 x 12 months = $33mm in ARR.

[2] We calculated this in a post I wrote about how Howard Stern is getting ripped off.

[3] Here’s the math: [11,000,000 listeners x 5% conversion x $5 per month x 12 months] = $33mm per year.

[4] The Joe Rogan Experience gets 100mm views per month and on average YouTube runs 6 ads per video. JRE Clips gets 170mm views per month and on average YouTube runs 2 ads per video. YouTube’s ad CPM is roughly $4-$6.

Low
[100mm x 4 ads x $4 x 12 months] + [170mm x 1 ad x $4 x 12 months] = $27mm

High
[100mm x 6 ads x $6 x 12 months] + [170mm x 2 ads x $6 x 12 months] = $68mm