US inauguration, vaccine ups and downs, Dr. Martens beats gold

Still standing.

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Here’s what you need to know

The US inaugurates a new president. After a tumultuous few weeks, Joe Biden’s address is expected to focus on bridging divides. Meanwhile, Senate Republican Mitch McConnell said outgoing president Donald Trump “provoked” the mob that stormed the Capitol.

India begins exporting vaccines… Bhutan and the Maldives today will get the first shipments of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab produced by the Serum Institute. Separately, Bharat Biotech warned that people with certain conditions shouldn’t receive its Covaxin vaccine.

…while New York’s about to run out. Mayor Bill de Blasio, along with several governors, says the federal government falsely indicated the presence of a national stockpile that does not, in fact, exist.

India criticized WhatsApp’s privacy policy changes. The country’s technology minister has asked the company to withdraw its recent update.

The departing US administration made one last swipe at China… The State Department accused China of committing genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.

…while the incoming one signaled it won’t back down from a trade fight. Janet Yellen, Biden’s pick for Treasury secretary, called out China’s “abusive” economic practices in her confirmation hearing.

Netflix capped off a blockbuster year. The streaming company surpassed 200 million subscribers in 2020, and said it will be free cash flow positive in 2021.

What to watch for at Biden’s inauguration

15,000: Number of National Guard troops stationed in DC

200,000: Approximate number of US flags on the National Mall, representing the number of people who would have attended in a regular non-pandemic year

2,000: Estimated number of people who will be there in person

3: Number of US presidents scheduled to attend—this figure does not include at-time-of-writing US president Donald Trump, who will be the first president not to attend the inauguration of his successor since 1869

?: Number of reservations canceled by Airbnb, who declined to specify a figure, for the DC area for the entire week

35: Words in the presidential oath of office, although every president except Teddy Roosevelt has added “so help me God,” bringing the word count to 39

1 hour, 45 minutes: Length of the longest inauguration address, famously given by William Henry Harrison in 1841—he also had the shortest tenure, dying on his 32nd day in office. Historians now believe his death wasn’t caused by his lengthy oration but more likely a White House sewage problem.

Charting Dr. Martens prices

Few things have increased in price quite like a new pair of 1460 Dr. Martens: the eight hole, yellow-stitch boots cost £2 ($2.71) when they made their debut for the British factory worker in 1960. These days the company’s top-shelf “original silhouette” boot retails for £239—a whopping 120 times the original cost of the company’s flagship model.

A chart showing the price growth of Dr. Martens relative to, and surpassing, houses, gold, Rolexes, oil, and the S and P 500 index

Permira bought the boot maker for £300 million in 2014 and is set to list the company for £3 billion or more on the London Stock Exchange in one of the first big IPOs of 2021. That’s quite a trek for the 60-year-old brand, which used to symbolize rebellion and proletariat pride, and is now poised to make private-equity financiers a bunch of money in an IPO.

Do you remember the time, place, and price at which you bought your first pair of Docs?

Expectations, unmet

Covid-19 has stolen more than a year from US lives. And not just because Americans have spent nearly a year apart from many of the people and activities they love, but because the disease is expected to decrease average life expectancy. For white Americans, researchers project a 1.1 year downturn, but for Black and Latino Americans, life expectancies will fall from 75.3 years to 72.8 years and 81.8 to 77.8, respectively.

A chart showing different scenarios and their impact on life expectancies for Black, Latino, and white Americans.

In these projections, the implications of policy changes for minority populations are stark, too. Mask policies would slightly increase life expectancy about a sixth of a year for all, but the benefits would multiply for Black and Hispanic populations.

The pandemic has taken a disproportionate toll on these communities, but policymakers still have a chance to reduce that burden.

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Surprising discoveries

There’s a handy guide to Trump’s Twitter rampages. The outgoing president may be banned from the platform but his insults will live on.

Microgreens for Microsoft? Bill and Melinda Gates are the US’s largest private farmland owners.

New pandemic hikers are a problem in Hong Kong. Mountain rescues increased 181% year-over-year in 2020.

Japanese singles have a new favorite appliance. Behold the single-serving rice maker.

France has learned to appreciate plant-based meals. ONA is the first vegan restaurant in the country to earn a Michelin star.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, vegan brie, and insult compendiums to Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our iOS app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by John Detrixhe, Katherine Elley Foley, Susan Howson, and Liz Webber.