SWC’s Fast Five

Celebrating Christmas like its 1918, crushing gift returns, the surprising stimulus effect of food stamps, a fading practice generated the earliest explainers of COVID and pandemic stocking gifts.

So, here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1 Christmas during the 1918 Spanish flu outbreak – same same

Americans celebrated Christmas over a century ago during the previous pandemic with some of the same concerns of the modern day, including considering whether to gather with loved ones and risk deadly infection.

2 Many, many happy, some not so happy, returns

Shoppers are expected to return twice as many items as they did during last year’s holiday period. For some that means a two-week wait after they’ve sent back items before they get refunds. Others may benefit from a growing number of retailers who ask shoppers to not even bother sending back certain rejected items.

3 COVID aid package’s $13 billion SNAP boost shown to be one of the best for ROI

Food stamps don’t just fight rising hunger; they boost jobs and the economy more than other expenditures, especially corporate tax credits.

4 A fading practice – autopsies revealed the secrets of COVID-19

“We were getting emails from clinicians, kind of desperate, asking, ‘What are you seeing?’” said NYU Langone’s Dr. Amy Rapkieticz. ‘Autopsy,” she pointed out, means to see for yourself. “That’s exactly what we had to do.”

5 Is hand sanitizer this year’s stocking lump of coal?

Holiday-season sales of sanitizing wipes and sprays have doubled this year, according to Nielsen. Sales of hand sanitizer have more than quadrupled and lots will make into Christmas stockings.