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COVID-19 Monitor

Last Updated:September 25, 2020

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High Jobless Claims Suggest Slowing in Labor Market’s Recovery (WSJ) Published on: September 24, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact
  • The number of applications for unemployment benefits has held steady in September at just under 900,000 a week, as employer uncertainty about the economic recovery six months into the coronavirus pandemic continued to restrain hiring gains.
  • Some employers that held on to workers at the beginning of the economic crisis are now reducing their head counts because of persistently weak demand.
  • Economists expect the initial hiring spurt from business reopenings to ease as state restrictions are lifted at a slower pace than in early summer.
Cuomo: New York will conduct its own review of coronavirus vaccine (Axios) Published on: September 24, 2020 | Category: Global Response
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that the state will move forward with its own review process of coronavirus vaccines even if the Food and Drug Administration approves one or more for distribution and public use.
  • “Frankly, I’m not going to trust the federal government’s opinion, and I wouldn’t recommend to New Yorkers, based on the federal government’s opinion,” Cuomo said at a news briefing.
Six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, here’s how the virus has changed our lives (Chicago Tribune) Published on: September 24, 2020 | Category: Global Response
  • Now, six months after the World Health Organization declared the new coronavirus’ spread had become a pandemic, we reflect on how the pandemic is shaping our world — and how we’re getting through it together.
  • Nearly half — 41 percent — reported at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition, including a trauma- and stressor-related disorder or substance use.
  • During a six-month period, hundreds of thousands of area jobs were lost, consumer spending dropped 43%, and more than half of temporary business closures became permanent.
Why governments get covid-19 wrong (The Economist) Published on: September 24, 2020 | Category: Global Response
  • Therapies and vaccines will come, but not for many months. Until then, politicians will have to work on the basics.
  • Roughly 1% of survivors have long-term viral damage such as crippling fatigue and scarred lungs. In developing countries, especially, bereavement is compounded by poverty and hunger.
  • Yet, in the best of all possible worlds, the pandemic will remain a part of daily life well into 2021.
Amazon Quietly Expands Large-Scale Covid Testing Program for Warehouses (The Information) Published on: September 24, 2020 | Category: Global Response
  • The e-commerce giant is now testing warehouse workers in at least 23 states for Covid using its own federally certified laboratories to process samples, The Information has learned.
  • Despite instituting a host of new safety measures, the company has struggled to control outbreaks at fulfillment centers in the U.S.
  • Amazon is one of the few organizations outside of cities and academic institutions to develop its own Covid testing lab specifically for internal use.
  • By handling its own testing, Amazon can quickly identify and isolate infected employees without relying on the services of third-party laboratories, which have been plagued with delays in recent months.
Planes, hotels and automobiles: How Americans are traveling during the pandemic (The Points Guy) Published on: September 23, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact, Global Response
  • Unsurprisingly, 40% of adults in the U.S. are comfortable taking a driving vacation and visiting a national park or a similar scenic area right now, according to a new poll.
  • Only 19% of people surveyed, however, would feel comfortable on a plane.
  • According to the results of an exclusive poll conducted by Ipsos on behalf of TPG, 31% of travelers said they’d be comfortable staying at a hotel right now — slightly more than the 22% of travelers who said they’d bed down at a vacation rental property (say, a home booked through Airbnb or VRBO).
‘Beyond the reach of schools’: Remote teaching making it harder to identify students who need extra help (The Independent) Published on: September 23, 2020 | Category: Global Response
  • In one survey of 5,659 educators around the country, 34 per cent of respondents said that no more than 1 in 4 students were attending their remote classes, and a majority said fewer than half their students were attending.
  • Last spring, Massachusetts school officials reported dozens of families to the state’s Department of Children and Families because of issues related to their children’s participation in remote learning, The Boston Globe reported last month.
  • In Washington, about 60 per cent of the 32,000 families who responded to a survey over the summer said they needed a digital device, and 27 per cent said they needed internet access.
What 800 executives envision for the postpandemic workforce (McKinsey) Published on: September 23, 2020 | Category: Global Response
  • As nonessential workers shifted to working from home, 85 percent of respondents in the McKinsey survey said their businesses have somewhat or greatly accelerated the implementation of technologies that digitally enable employee interaction and collaboration, such as videoconferencing and filesharing.
  • Roughly half of those surveyed reported increasing digitization of customer channels, for example, via ecommerce, mobile apps, or chatbots.
  • Unprecedented restrictions on travel, physical interactions, and changes in consumer behavior since COVID-19 took hold has forced companies and consumers to change the way they operate.
Ex-Liberal finance minister John Manley urges spending restraint as Trudeau readies ‘ambitious’ throne speech (National Post) Published on: September 23, 2020 | Category: Canadian Business
  • Higher spending and economic lockdowns caused Ottawa’s net debt as a percentage of GDP to balloon, from 30 per cent to around 49 per cent today.
  • Howe report on Tuesday said that reducing Canada’s debt-to-GDP ratio by just one per cent per year would require Ottawa to trim spending by five per cent annually, beginning in 2022.
  • In a separate report Tuesday, the Fraser Institute estimates that elderly benefits transfers and other seniors costs could inflate the federal debt-to-GDP ratio to as high as 69.6 per cent by 2050, if spending elsewhere is not curbed.
Protecting worker health, well-being top challenge for HR during pandemic, finds survey (Benefits Canada) Published on: September 23, 2020 | Category: Canadian Business
  • Human resources professionals are facing a range of complex challenges since the global pandemic began, according to a new survey by ADP Canada Co.
  • In particular, the pandemic has led to unique challenges for HR teams, with top issues including: protecting the health and well-being of employees (71 per cent); ensuring business continuity (65 per cent); supporting the transition to remote work (58 per cent); rapid policy changes (53 per cent); and supporting employee mental health (53 per cent).
  • The majority (66 per cent) of survey respondents said ensuring staff have functioning technology at home is a challenge during the pandemic.
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