COVID-19 Monitor

Last Updated:August 13, 2020

Navigator Sight is an AI-powered news service for decision makers to stay abreast of the issues that matter most. As readers engage with a story, our machine learning algorithm improves. View updates here or sign up below to receive them in your inbox.

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Navigator Sight: AI-powered COVID-19 news service for decision makers


Times like these remind us of the importance of decision-making based on sound data and informed opinions.

Like all Canadians, Navigator is carefully watching the development and spread of the COVID-19 virus and working to appropriately adapt our business practices.

The volume of information is overwhelming, making it difficult to identify information and opinions that matter most in any news cycle. To help you make sense of it all, Navigator Sight uses AI and machine learning to separate the signal from the noise. Browse the latest recommendations or subscribe to receive email updates.


Postponed College Football Games Could Disrupt $1 Billion in TV Ads (NY Times) Published on: August 12, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact
  • The postponement of much of the college football season could disrupt the flow of more than $1 billion from advertisers to the television networks that count on a slate of game broadcasts every fall.
  • Many players and school administrators, and even President Trump, had lobbied against the postponement, which could have financial ramifications for teams, campuses and local communities.
  • For Fox last year, college football was responsible for nearly 6 per cent of ad spending and nearly 10 per cent of all TV ad impressions, or viewer exposure to ads, according to the ad measurement company iSpot.TV.
Coronavirus makes for a brutal quarter for smaller US companies (FT) Published on: August 12, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact
  • Small and medium-sized US companies suffered a complete wipeout in profits in the second quarter because of the Covid-19 crisis, in sharp contrast to large multinationals that emerged from the most intense phase of the pandemic in better shape.
  • As the earnings season draws to a close, companies within the Russell 2000 stock index — the small-cap benchmark — have reported an aggregate loss of $1.1bn, compared to profits of almost $18bn a year earlier, according to data provider FactSet.
  • While bigger groups were able to quickly raise needed cash starting in mid-March, smaller companies struggled to tide themselves over. Many turned to government programmes. However, with stimulus measures now lapsing, many small companies once again find themselves in need of capital.
Covid-19: UK economy plunges into deepest recession since records began (Guardian) Published on: August 12, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact
  • The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measure of economic prosperity, fell in the second quarter by 20.4% compared with the previous three months – the biggest quarterly decline since comparable records began in 1955.
  • Warning that the government was making a historic mistake by winding down the furlough wage subsidy scheme as the country falls into recession, Anneliese Dodds, the shadow chancellor, said the downturn was a tragedy for the British people that had happened on Boris Johnson’s watch.
  • Britain’s decline was more than double the 10.6% fall in the US over the same period and also surpassed declines in France, Germany and Italy among G7 nations that have reported second-quarter figures so far.
  • Canada and Japan have yet to publish second-quarter data but are not expected to record greater falls than Britain.
The shifting nexus of retail banking (strategy+business) Published on: August 12, 2020 | Category: Global Response
  • For the first time in centuries, we’re starting to see customers making choices based on transaction execution. And instead of simply choosing a transaction method from the options provided with their particular account, they are adapting where they store their money — or how and from whom they borrow — to suit their preferred way of paying for goods and services.
  • Even as they struggle to deal with the impact of COVID-19, now is the critical time for banks across North America, Europe, and Australasia to chart their future and figure out how they will compete.
  • Similarly, buy-now-pay-later businesses such as Affirm in North America, Klarna in Europe, and Afterpay in Australasia have quickly grabbed a significant — and growing — share of the consumer lending market by offering a form of lending, integrated into the online checkout process, that is tailored to the way consumers prefer to transact rather than being predicated on an account-based relationship.
  • And as the pandemic restrictions drive a dramatic upswing in online transactions (while discouraging the use of both cash and card-based payments), the gradual trickle of consumers toward payment methods controlled by big tech platforms has turned into a torrent.
Small Businesses Are Dying by the Thousands — And No One Is Tracking the Carnage (Bloomberg) Published on: August 11, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact
  • By some accounts, small businesses are disappearing by the thousands amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and the drag on the economy from these failures could be huge.
  • Yelp Inc., the online reviewer, has data showing more than 80,000 permanently shuttered from March 1 to July 25. About 60,000 were local businesses, or firms with fewer than five locations.
  • Firms with fewer than 500 employees account for about 44% of U.S. economic activity, according to a U.S. Small Business Administration report, and they employ almost half of all American workers.
Coffee shops, food courts and lunch spots expected to lose billions as more of us work from home (Toronto Star) Published on: August 11, 2020 | Category: Canadian Business
  • The increase in Canadians working from home could have a huge financial impact on the food service industry, to the tune of billions of dollars lost by 2021.
  • Almost a quarter of the respondents, or 23.6 per cent, said they plan to work from home more often a year from now, while another 40 per cent either said they didn’t know, or they don’t know what they will be doing a year from now.
  • Before the pandemic, 36.8 per cent of the survey’s respondents were going to a restaurant for a meal or a break at least twice a week.
  • Close to 22 per cent of respondents said their employers are planning to allow people to work from home more often, and of those respondents, more than half intend to work from home permanently, with some considering relocating because of it.
Employers Cast Wary Eye on Trump Payroll-Tax Deferral (WSJ) Published on: August 11, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact, Global Response
  • Employers considering President Trump’s plan to allow deferred payment of payroll taxes face a series of costs, uncertainties and headaches.
  • Employers’ biggest worry: If they stop withholding taxes without any guarantee that Congress will actually forgive any deferred payments, they could find themselves on the hook. That is a particular risk in cases where employees change jobs and employers can’t withhold more taxes from later paychecks to catch up on missed payments.
  • Several large employers, including Walmart Inc., United Parcel Service Inc. and Home Depot Inc., said Monday that it was too early to say what they would do.
Leading into the Post-Covid Recovery (HBR) Published on: August 11, 2020 | Category: Leadership
  • When governments relax restrictions and begin stimulating economic growth, the recovery phase of the Covid-19 crisis starts unfolding for businesses.
  • Intuitively, I would have expected leaders to be driven by the victory rush that naturally follows when the tension of the regression phase is released. But many report having mixed emotions. Their sense of optimism and clarity is laced with withdrawal, loss, and doubt.
  • Further, even though it is an overstretch to compare the emotions of the recovery phase to post-traumatic stress disorder, there are similarities. One of the most common reactions from soldiers returning from battle is that everyday life seems absurdly inconsequential and insignificant compared to the combat situations they have left behind.
US online shopping forecast to beat 2019 total by October (FT) Published on: August 11, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact
  • American shoppers are on course to surpass total online spending in 2019 as soon as early October, analysts forecast, though the explosive growth in pandemic-driven ecommerce is beginning to slow as parts of the country attempt to reopen.
  • Data from Adobe’s Digital Economic Index report suggest Americans have now spent $435bn online since the start of the year — with analysts estimating almost $100bn in extra spend moving online due to Covid-19 lockdowns.
  • “We’ve just trained the consumer to shop a different way,” said Sonia Lapinsky from retail consultancy AlixPartners. “They’re now comfortable at home. They’re used to buying things without ever having to leave their house.”
The Unequal Future of Consumption (The New Republic) Published on: August 10, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact, Global Response
  • Shopping malls in Stockholm are half empty; H&M sales fell by half in Denmark and Finland, but even in Sweden, without a lockdown, they dropped by a third.
  • In the United States, 6 percent of total consumer spending is on restaurants and hotels alone, and another 4 percent goes to recreation.
  • In France, in early April, online sales of food were up by 98 percent—but next came rural shops (37 percent) and urban mini-marts (superettes; 25 percent), while the big hypermarkets saw a fall of 3 percent.
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