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COVID-19 Monitor

Last Updated:September 30, 2020

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New Covid fines of up to £10,000 come into force in England (Guardian) Published on: September 27, 2020 | Category: Global Response
  • People refusing to self-isolate will face penalties starting at £1,000, and police will act on tip-offs from neighbours.
  • The changes come with the duty to self-isolate moving into law. It becomes a legal obligation if someone is told to do so by test-and-trace staff, but not for those simply using the Covid-19 phone app, which is anonymous.
  • Those who do not self-isolate when told to could face fines, which start at £1,000 and rise to £10,000 for repeat offences, or those who instigate breaches of the law, such as an employer who orders or permits people to come to work when they should not.
How to Keep the Coronavirus at Bay Indoors (NY Times) Published on: September 27, 2020 | Category: Global Response
  • The virus poses a greater threat in crowded indoor spaces than it does outdoors.
  • This summer, scientists isolated live virus from tiny droplets called aerosols floating in the air as far as 16 feet from an infected patient in a hospital.
  • Some school districts have focused on virus-proofing their ventilation systems, and the C.D.C. has produced an exhaustive set of recommendations for businesses trying to keep employees from becoming infected with the virus.
Grocers Stockpile, Build ‘Pandemic Pallets’ Ahead of Winter (WSJ) Published on: September 27, 2020 | Category: Global Response
  • Grocery stores and food companies are preparing for a possible surge in sales amid a new rise in Covid-19 cases and the impending holiday rush.
  • Supermarkets are stockpiling groceries and storing them early to prepare for the fall and winter months, when some health experts warn the country could see another widespread outbreak of virus cases and new restrictions.
  • Food companies are accelerating production of their most popular items, and leaders across the industry are saying they won’t be caught unprepared in the face of another pandemic surge.
COVID-19 cases continue to surge in Ontario and Quebec (CBC) Published on: September 27, 2020 | Category: Canadian Business
  • The Canada emergency response benefit (CERB) expires on Sunday, ending the income support program the federal government rolled out during the COVID-19 pandemic to help people with payouts of up to $2,000 a month.
  • The government says about 8.8 million Canadians have received the benefit since April.
  • The New Democrats and the governing Liberals reached a deal on Saturday that delivers two weeks of paid sick leave for people affected by the pandemic under the Canada recovery sickness benefit.
Destruction of value in US real estate revealed (FT) Published on: September 27, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact
  • Commercial properties in difficulty are being valued at less than 75% previous level, appraisal data show.
  • Properties that have gotten into trouble are being written down by 27 per cent on average, data from Wells Fargo shows.
  • Recent examples show hotels being especially hard hit, given the collapse in tourism and business travel. A Crowne Plaza hotel in Houston was valued at $25.9m this month, down 46 per cent from when it was bundled into a CMBS deal in 2014.
Pandemic Will ‘Take Our Women 10 Years Back’ in the Workplace (NY Times) Published on: September 26, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • Workplaces already tend to penalize women who choose to work fewer hours or need more flexibility, and that, too, is proving to be exacerbated in the pandemic.
  • “The first impact is that the unemployment rate is growing faster for women than for men,” said Liora Bowers, the author of the Taub Center report.
  • Women already held more precarious positions in the work force — working fewer hours, for less money, with shorter tenures and in lower-ranking jobs than men.
The long-term pain of the mental health pandemic (Axios) Published on: September 26, 2020 | Category: Global Response
  • A less visible but still massive trauma caused by the coronavirus is becoming clear: our mental health is suffering with potentially long-lasting consequences.
  • During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., there were significant increases in acute stress and depressive symptoms, according to a study published earlier this week in Science Advances.
  • A deep body of scientific research shows that experiencing collective traumas like a mass shooting or a natural disaster can lead to lasting mental health damage. But what sets the pandemic apart is its global scope and its sheer length.
Costco Grows E-Commerce Sales by 91% (Born Digital) Published on: September 26, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact, Global Response
  • Despite below-forecast earnings, Costco reported huge digital growth, with digital sales growing by 91% over the last quarter, and 102% last month alone.
  • Online grocery sales grew by “several hundred percent” according to CFO Richard Galanti.
  • In addition, Costco has benefitted from consumer spending habits that, during the pandemic, have shifted towards categories such as home improvement and grocery over travel and dining out.
  • Shoppers, Galanti said, “seem to have redirected at least some of those dollars to categories like lawn and garden, furniture and mattresses, exercise equipment, bicycles, housewares, cookware … and the like.”
U.S. Durable-Goods Orders Rise for Fourth Straight Month (WSJ) Published on: September 25, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact
  • Orders for long-lasting factory goods increased for the fourth consecutive month in August, a sign of the manufacturing industry’s continued recovery from coronavirus pandemic-related disruptions.
  • Andrew Hunter, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics, said the report showed that “business equipment investment staged a V-shaped rebound in the third quarter.”
  • Weakness in motor-vehicle, commercial-aircraft and defense orders weighed on overall gains.
Will COVID-19 kill the holiday shopping season? (CBS News) Published on: September 25, 2020 | Category: Global Response
  • Savings from reduced spending on restaurants, travel and other experiences that consumers currently deem unsafe due to the coronavirus could also help buoy gift-giving, Deloitte noted.
  • Pushing seasonal demand earlier to October could be the best way to save the holiday for consumers and retailers alike, according to Deborah Weinswig, founder and CEO of Coresight research, a retail and technology research firm.
  • “We are going to be incredibly challenged to get product to consumers this holiday season if we are on a traditional calendar,” Weinswig said.
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