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Zoom is releasing a new tool to let paid users charge for admission to online events like conferences or fitness classes



Eric S. Yuan standing in front of a sign: Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom Video Communications takes part in a bell ringing ceremony at the NASDAQ MarketSite in New York Reuters


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Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom Video Communications takes part in a bell ringing ceremony at the NASDAQ MarketSite in New York Reuters

  • Zoom is introducing OnZoom, a new way to host events — free and paid — using the popular videoconferencing tool.
  • Zoom has come to be used to host all kinds of events amid the pandemic, from board meetings and conferences to fitness classes and concerts. The new OnZoom platform includes the ability to charge for tickets, as well as a directory of public event listings.
  • Zoom is also launching a new kind of app integration, called a Zapp, that can bring information from productivity tools like Dropbox, Slack, or Asana directly into a video chat.
  • Facebook launched its own features for paid videoconferencing events over the summer.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

As the pandemic drags on, Zoom is releasing a new way to host online events — importantly, now including paid events — as well as new types of apps that integrate outside business and productivity tools like Slack, Dropbox, and Asana directly into Zoom meetings, the company announced Wednesday. 

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Zoom has become a household name amid shelter in place and social distancing mandates, with users turning to the videoconferencing app to host events from board meetings and conferences to yoga classes and concerts. It’s led Zoom’s business to skyrocket, but also forced the company to rethink its ambitions beyond its original enterprise approach. 

The online event platform, called OnZoom, adds features to Zoom that make it easier to host online events — notably, by allowing event organizers to sell tickets for paid events on Zoom, thanks to an integration with PayPal. There will also be an event marketplace, where people can find and sign up for public events, free and paid.

At launch, the events platform is only available to US users, but will be available more globally next year. There’s no additional fee for paid users to try out OnZoom through the end of 2020, but Zoom says that it plans to revisit the possibility of taking a cut of ticket sales next year. 

Notably, Facebook announced something similar earlier this year, allowing businesses, creators, educators and media publishers to host paid events on Facebook Live or its Messenger Rooms app. Facebook has said it won’t collect fees from tickets sales until at least August 2021.

The catch is that you will have to be a paid Zoom user to set up events with OnZoom, with a capacity ranging from 100 attendees, up to 1,000 for enterprise users. For anything larger, users can livestream the event with a Zoom Webinar license. 

OnZoom is actually getting its first public test right out in the open: Zoom is using it to host its annual Zoomtopia user conference this week. The company bills it as being well-suited for other companies to host their own conferences, for fitness instructors to hold paid lessons, for nonprofits to set up fundraising events

Online fitness stars bank on virtual gyms being more than just a phase

Melas’ move into the world of hybrid in-person and digital fitness is an example of a broader trend, which sees Australians now saying will continue virtual workouts having tried them throughout the pandemic.

New research from fitness class scheduling and booking app Mindbody has found that, while most prefer in-person fitness classes over opening their laptops to get the endorphins flowing, over half (51 per cent) anticipate continuing virtual workouts once a week, and 37 per cent expect to keep working out virtually two to three times weekly.

New features

Earlier this year, Mindbody itself added on-demand and livestream features for use by the 5000 Australian gyms, yoga and dance studios, and other fitness operators that use its software.

Its study found that yoga (32 per cent) was the most popular class to do from home, while pilates (28 per cent) and strength training (26 per cent) had been the classes most Australians had returned to in-person during the July period when restrictions eased in most of Australia.

Mindbody’s 2020 New Normal survey was taken by 702 people across Australia about their pre-COVID-19 and current fitness habits. It was conducted between August 11 and August 20, with respondents aged from 18 to 65.

Mindbody Asia-Pacific vice president and managing director Hema Prakash says more Australians will now expect both the studio and virtual fitness experience to be available post-COVID.

“We’re saying to everyone this hybrid model is not a new normal, it’s going to be your absolute normal,” she says.

Mindbody’s customers – gym owners and fitness operators – are on average reporting revenues down around 25 per cent on the previous year due to COVID-19.

Prakash says the businesses faring best were doing so because of extensive customer surveys and having already built up a strong sense of community.

Sydney-based Pilates instructor Bianca Melas has attracted a loyal base of clients to her online platform. 

“If you are a business person that accidentally came into this world of wellness, and you’ve relied on luck, you may not survive this next six months. If you didn’t build the community aspect of your brand and business, it’s going to be super hard to start from scratch again right now,” Ms Prakash said.

In April, around 800 of Mindbody’s then 3000-strong global workforce were laid off or furloughed. The company has since re-hired some as pre-COVID fitness spending levels have rebounded.

In fact, the Mindbody New Normal survey found that the majority of respondents planned to spend the same amount or more on fitness compared to pre-COVID.

In NSW, 87 per cent of respondents felt this way, in Victoria, that figure was 75 per cent, in Queensland, that figure was 89 per cent, and in Western Australian, that figure was 80 per cent.

Melas says her shift to hosting virtual classes had required her to pay attention to details, like virtual room aesthetics and compiling accompanying Spotify music playlists. She says the snappy 30-minute classes have resonated well with clients.

She launched

Families of coronavirus victims are organizing online to push politicians for more strict health measures

Angela Kender saw it just before bed, and right then made a plan to confront her state’s lawmakers with pictures of local virus victims, including her mother. An old friend sent it to Fiana Tulip. She was furious about her mom’s death; maybe she could channel her rage like Urquiza had. And Rosemary Rangel Gutierrez’s sisters told her about the obituary after their father died. She sounds like you, they said.

“This man is the most dangerous person on the planet,” Urquiza said this week after Trump told Americans on video not to be afraid of covid-19. “I’m counting down the minutes until his referendum comes on November 3rd and we can end this nightmare and protect ourselves and our families.”

The loose support group Urquiza formed has tightened into organized activism. They have pushed politicians, especially Republicans, to enact more serious public health measures. This week, across the country, they have led vigils, memorials and funeral processions to grieve the more than 213,000 lives lost in the United States. The national week of mourning is likely the largest collective recognition of the country’s coronavirus toll.

Powerful grass-roots groups often have started this way, even before the days of organizing through social media. They began with personal anguish, with individuals grieving their dead alone, trying to transform their anger into action, policy or change. It’s the story of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, of the Sandy Hook Promise and Never Again MSD, of Black Lives Matter and Mothers of the Movement.

Urquiza named her group Marked by Covid. She founded it in the days after her father died, with some of his last words to her reverberating. He said he felt betrayed by Arizona’s governor and Trump, politicians he once supported. Urquiza, 39 and a recent graduate of a master’s program in public policy, decided then she would be the voice of a constituency that grows larger by the day: Americans who have lost loved ones to the pandemic and who are fed up with their elected officials.

“I hope that my small actions can start a movement,” she said in July, less than two weeks after her dad died.

It’s too early to know how influential the group, or others like it, will become. Some of Urquiza’s fellow organizers joined her as a way to process loss, and it’s unclear how Marked by Covid will define itself when the pandemic ends. But part of Urquiza’s ambitious vision is to advocate for policies that address the racial and economic inequalities exacerbated by the virus.

Urquiza and Marked by Covid have attracted national attention and more than 50,000 followers across their social media accounts. More than 1,000 people have donated $30,000 to the group, Urquiza said, and they’re using the money to place more honest obituaries online and in newspapers.

The Joe Biden campaign has taken notice. Urquiza spoke at the Democratic National Convention in August, appears in anti-Trump ads and sat in the

Alabama schools soon required to disclose COVID-19 numbers online

All school districts in Alabama will soon share information online about the number of positive cases of COVID-19 among students, staff and faculty members, according to Alabama Superintendent Eric Mackey.

The new dashboard is important for two reasons, Mackey said: “So people take it seriously, and so they don’t overreact.”

“We want to be fully transparent so that people know that there are cases in the community,” Mackey said. Knowing the level of spread, he added, helps people to continue to do the things needed to mitigate that spread.

The dashboard, in the works since late August, will be published on the Alabama Department of Public Health website and will include the number of positive COVID-19 cases in each school system, but will not be broken down by school.

Sharing the information publicly can also squelch rumors, too. “Sometimes these rumors get out that there are 100 people positive with it in the school,” Mackey said, “and there are actually three.”

Some school districts are already providing that information to parents in a dashboard format, through social media or directly to parents and community members through other channels.

Mackey said ADPH has had some technical difficulty getting the dashboard online and that the state department of education is now helping in that effort. He could not say when it will be online.

On Monday, Alabama’s chief medical officer Dr. Scott Harris told AL.com he is “pleasantly surprised” that schools have not been seen to be the source of major coronavirus outbreaks. “I give the schools that credit that they’re doing everything they can to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.”

“We’re very happy with the way things have turned out in school,” Mackey said. In a sampling of school districts statewide, he said, fewer than 1% of students and faculty have tested positive for COVID-19.

“In most cases, when we do go back and do the contact tracing,” Mackey said, “we find that patient zero, they got it from outside the school.”

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Lake Houston area’s In the Pink shifts to online fundraiser amid pandemic

Amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, the In the Loop campaign will replace the yearly In the Pink of Health Luncheon to raise money for Project Mammogram, which helps uninsured people receive free breast cancer screenings and services.

As the primary fundraising event for Project Mammogram, the annual In the Pink of Health Luncheon celebrates survivors, remembers those who are lost and offers a time for everyone to contribute in one way or another. The fundraiser last year was a bustling event lined with pink that featured large gift baskets for bid, a corner shop, an enormous ballroom filled with banquet tables and topped off with a server in a champagne flute dress handing out glasses and posing for photos.

Meanwhile, In the Loop is a virtual campaign that encourages Lake Houston area residents to support Project Mammogram. It will end on Dec. 31 and will be followed by a “Lighter Shade of Pink Celebration” for the campaign in Jan. 2021.


Brooke Baugh, a consultant for the Northeast Hospital Foundation, is the primary event planner for In the Pink of Health luncheon. She said this year, the risks of the coronavirus caused them to make the decision early on in the pandemic not to hold an in-person event. Luncheon co-chairs Cristi Cardenas and Carol Prince felt early on that they should begin to look at other options, according to Baugh.

“So we canceled the luncheon and strategized on what this giving campaign would look like and how we would keep our committee engaged and how we would keep our donors engaged,” Baugh said. “Because what we did know for sure is that more and more women were going to find themselves in need of mammogram screenings with people losing jobs, without insurance, loss of insurance, under-insured, and the things that come along with the economic impact that we have all experienced since coronavirus.”

Last year, In the Pink of Health raised just over $100,000. Baugh said they hope to surpass that number this year, especially given the fact that an anonymous donor has offered to match unlimited donations dollar to dollar though the end of December. They have already raised $37,000 in pledged and paid commitments for the In the Loop campaign, which kicked off around the end of the second quarter.

By donating $150, which is about the cost of a screening mammogram, then it’s essentially supporting two screenings for the price of one, Baugh said.

“That is a huge, huge gift, and I think that makes people want to give more,” Baugh said.

In addition to their online In the Loop fundraiser, there will be an additional “In the Loop Pink Christmas Virtual Online Auction” from Dec. 6-12 in lieu of the auction typically held at the luncheon.

To make a donation or learn more about Project Mammogram, visit https://www.northeasthospitalfoundation.org/.

[email protected]

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Work Or Online Learning? Homeless Families Face An Impossible Choice : NPR

Freda and her 9-year-old son visit the Purple People Bridge in Cincinnati. She and her five children have been living in the front room of a friend’s apartment, sleeping on pads of bunched-up comforters.

Maddie McGarvey for NPR


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Freda and her 9-year-old son visit the Purple People Bridge in Cincinnati. She and her five children have been living in the front room of a friend’s apartment, sleeping on pads of bunched-up comforters.

Maddie McGarvey for NPR

The closure of school buildings in response to the coronavirus has been disruptive and inconvenient for many families, but for those living in homeless shelters or hotel rooms — including roughly 1.5 million school-aged children — the shuttering of classrooms and cafeterias has been disastrous.

For Rachel, a 17-year-old sharing a hotel room in Cincinnati with her mother, the disaster has been academic. Her school gave her a laptop, but “hotel Wi-Fi is the worst,” she says. “Every three seconds [my teacher is] like, ‘Rachel, you’re glitching. Rachel, you’re not moving.'”

For Vanessa Shefer, the disaster has made her feel “defeated.” Since May, when the family home burned, she and her four children have stayed in a hotel, a campground and recently left rural New Hampshire to stay with extended family in St. Johnsbury, Vt. Her kids ask, “When are we going to have a home?” But Shefer says she can’t afford a “home” without a good-paying job, and she can’t get a job while her kids need help with school.

For this story, NPR spoke with students, parents, caregivers, shelter managers and school leaders across the country about what it means, in this moment, to be homeless and schoolless.

Vanessa Shefer (right) walks with her family along the Passumpsic River in St. Johnsbury, Vt.

Ian Thomas Janssen-Lonnquist for NPR


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Vanessa Shefer (right) walks with her family along the Passumpsic River in St. Johnsbury, Vt.

Ian Thomas Janssen-Lonnquist for NPR

“How do you choose between working and … your child’s education?”

Remote learning can be difficult for children without an adult at home to supervise everything from logging on to the learning itself. The past six months have put all parents and caregivers in a bind, but many families who are homeless now find themselves in an impossible situation.

“How do you choose between working and providing for your family, and your child’s education? I mean, what is your priority?” says Patricia Rivera, a former Chicago Public Schools social worker and founder of Chicago HOPES For Kids, an afterschool program for homeless youth.

Rivera points out that many homeless shelters don’t allow parents to leave their children while they go to work. In the past, kids have simply gone to school or parents have found low-cost childcare. But, because of the pandemic, those options have disappeared for many families.

Parents and caregivers experiencing homelessness are also more likely to work low-wage jobs that cannot be done remotely

Tracy Anderson’s At-Home Workouts Just Got Easier With Her Online Studio

Tracy Anderson, fitness guru and trainer to stars like Jennifer Lopez and Gwenyth Paltrow, isn’t heading back to the gym IRL any time soon. “It’s just not a safe place for people to be right now,” she told STYLECASTER. “I was one of the first people to close mine and I’ll be one of the last people to open.” Her physical gym locations might be closed for the foreseeable future, but the Tracy Anderson Online Studio is revamped and better than ever.

Since going into quarantine with her family, Anderson has made sure that her workout routine is a priority in her daily life. “Showing up for your exercise routine is one of the best things you can do for your mood, for your happy hormones and for your health,” she explained. “It’s one of the best things you can do for your immune system.”

To help others bring more of those happy hormones into their lives, especially during the stressful year that has been 2020, Tracy re-launched her Tracy Anderson Online Studio with new features to help make the virtual experience feel more personal. “We launched it with the hashtag that staying in is the new going out for fitness way back in 2014,” Anderson reveals. And that messaging feels more relevant now than ever.

STYLECASTER | tracy anderson

Courtesy of PMC.

“We’ve been living with the shock of COVID long enough now,” muses Anderson. “So I think the first step for people to [take back control of] their health is not be in denial,” she says firmly. “This is here to stay, so what are the things that I can do to make my quality of life better and still protect myself.”

The new online studio offers features like virtual and interactive classrooms and locker rooms, a prescription office with personalized body consultation programming, and of course, weekly fitness content from Anderson, filmed in real-time.

The best part? These workouts are perfect for any sized home, whether you’re in a house in the suburbs or a small apartment in New York City. “You just need to be able to lay your body on the ground and do a snow angel,” explained Anderson. “If you can do that, if you can find that space you can be really effective with your body.”

Of course, working out is one of the best ways to keep your brain and your body in tip top shape, but what you put into your body is just as important as keeping it moving. “I don’t take a lot of supplements but I do take MitoQ, which is a form of CoQ10 which is an antioxidant that the body actually makes.” MitoQ helps the body restore itself quicker, giving you more energy to get through the day. But at the end of the day, for Anderson, it all comes back to working out. “I’ll never let it go,” she says resolutely. “I think it’s been my biggest source of strength.”

Along with taking care of her physical health, Anderson

(LIVE) Watch London Marathon Live Stream 2020 Online and on TV

Watch London Marathon 2020 Live: The London Marathon may be taking place virtually this year, but here’s everything you need to know about the highly-anticipated event.

Over 45,000 runners are predicted to be taking on the weighty challenge, which takes place virtually this year due to the ongoing pandemic, and gives participants 23 hours 59 minutes and 59 seconds to complete 26.2 miles anywhere in the UK.

When is the London Marathon 2020?

The London Marathon 2020 takes place on Sunday 4th October, and begins at 7.15am, with different groups beginning the race at different times.

Race start times (ET)

Elite women — 2:15 a.m.

Elite men — 5:15

Elite wheelchair — 8:10

How to apply for London Marathon:

Applications for the London Marathon are now closed – however due to the ongoing pandemic, you can complete the marathon virtually by running the 26.2 mile distance anywhere.

General entries to The 40th Race have now sold out, but some charities do have a few places available.

How to watch London Marathon Live:

The BBC will be airing the London Marathon this year, with Gabby Logan presenting coverage of the 40th event live from the Mall.

BBC Two will be kicking off the coverage at 7am, with the Elite Women’s Race, before the show moves onto BBC One at 10am. From 1pm, coverage will move back onto BBC Two until 3.20pm.

NBCSN coverage starts at 2 a.m. ET. Olympic Channel picks up coverage at 8 with the wheelchair races.

London Marathon 2020 route:

While most people running the London Marathon will be able to do so virtually, and therefore can run any route they want, the Elite and wheelchair races are taking place in a biosphere environment on a closed-loop course around St James’s Park in London, with the race finishing on The Mall as it has done in previous years.

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More seniors to seek online help

A senior signing up for Medicare.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Open enrollment season for Medicare enrollees can sometimes be overwhelming because of the wide variety of choices.

The average senior will have 47 different health plans to choose from for 2021, according to the Trump administration, up 20% from last year. 

In most years, the majority of seniors turn to independent brokers and insurance agents for help trying to figure out which plan will work best for them. 

“In our focus groups, people said it’s kind of nice to have an agent who can walk you through the options and steer you toward a certain plan,” said Tricia Neuman, executive director of the Kaiser Family Foundation program on Medicare policy. But, she adds, “it’s much harder this year just because people are mostly home.”

With Covid-19 cases rising across the country, seniors are reluctant to seek help in person this year. In states with big surges, just 9% of Medicare recipients said they plan to meet with a broker in person this year, according to a consumer survey by health insurance consulting firm Deft Research. Two-thirds plan to seek advice on the phone, it said. 

Medicare insurer Humana said it will offer socially distanced, in-person appointments with agents, “based on the guidance of local health officials,” according to a company press release. Rival UnitedHealth Group is moving its enrollment efforts online.  

“We hold a lot of community meetings across the country during open enrollment … (but) we’re expecting to do many more of those in a virtual setting,” said Tim Noel, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Medicare and Retirement plans. He said Zoom-style meetings have been popular with brokers and seniors. “It’s similar to what we’re seeing in telehealth.”

Online health insurance brokerages are expecting they’ll see a surge in demand for phone consults when Medicare open enrollment begins later this month. They have been expanding their staffing over the summer, shifting their agents from call centers to systems at home, and retooling their websites.

“We’re going to try to leverage technology as much as possible to the process to make things more efficient … with things like voice signatures for people completing and application, and DocuSign capability in multiple languages that allow our brokers to complete sales without having to interact in a face-to-face environment,” said Clint Jones, co-founder and CEO of GoHealth.

To help streamline phone discussions with its brokers, eHealth is launching a new customer center where Medicare enrollees can create a secure permanent profile with information about their current health plan, doctors and medications to help make comparing new plan options easier.

“We obviously didn’t know when we were building this that we’d be launching it right at a time when seniors are starting to get more comfortable shopping online and being less comfortable with physical meetings,” said eHealth CEO Scott Flanders. 

While seniors can’t start signing up for new plans until Oct. 15, they can browse plan options now. Like the online brokers, the Trump administration

Here’s Why Grieving Parents are Coming Together Online to Defend Chrissy Teigen’s Pregnancy Loss Photos

Instagram, @chrissyteigen

Early this morning, October 1st, Chrissy Teigen posted to Instagram to inform her followers that she and husband John Legend sadly lost their unborn son, whom they had begun calling Jack. In her post, Teigen included five gut-wrenching photographs from the night they lost Jack, which has caused some controversy among people who are questioning whether the star should have posted intimate photos from such a personal trauma. However, many people who have been through the same grief Teigen and Legend say yes, and are now opening up about their own losses.

“On this darkest of days, we will grieve, we will cry our eyes out,” Teigen wrote in the caption of her Instagram upload. “But we will hug and love each other harder and get through it.”

October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month, a time of the year to raise awareness about stillbirth, miscarriage, SIDS, or any other cause of death of an unborn child or infant. According to Star Legacy Foundation, infant death and pregnancy loss affects tens of thousands of families across the United States, and yet the topic is one that is rarely talked about.

By visually letting others in to feel her pain despite it being such a personal tragedy, Teigen has, perhaps unknowingly, caused a massive crack in the foundation of the stigma attached to pregnancy loss.

Since her post went live, mothers, fathers, families, and friends have noted that they’ve found it easier to talk about their experiences with pregnancy loss and infant death. Some have even shared their own photos depicting their trauma and eventual recovery.

“In solidarity with our patron saint of honesty, @chrissyteigen, I share the only “hidden” photo on my phone,” Twitter user Justine Harman tweeted on Thursday. “1/8/18, the day I found out—alone at the hospital—that my baby didn’t have a heartbeat. It hurt like absolute, smoldering hell. And then I hid it. Thank you, Chrissy.”

Another user, referring to the backlash Teigen has received for sharing photos from the loss, wrote, “For those people who have vicious and nasty things to say to and about Chrissy, her sharing was not for you. It’s so that our pain is not taboo.”

“Last month we celebrated our baby boy’s would be 18th birthday,” another user, Kmo, shared. “The