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COVID-19

United States officials are responding to the first case of coronavirus

Andy Uhler Jan 22, 2020
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A woman wears a mask on the first day of screenings for coronavirus of travelers from Wuhan, China. David McNew/Getty Images
COVID-19

United States officials are responding to the first case of coronavirus

Andy Uhler Jan 22, 2020
A woman wears a mask on the first day of screenings for coronavirus of travelers from Wuhan, China. David McNew/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

A man in Washington state has been diagnosed with coronavirus, the first case confirmed in the United States of the potentially deadly virus discovered in China last month. It’s killed at least six people there and sickened hundreds more.

The hospitalized U.S. resident flew to Washington last week. That was before federal health officials began screening travelers from the central Chinese city of Wuhan at international airports. Screening is often the first containment measure offered by the Centers for Disease Control.

“What CDC is doing is pretty much all we can do, now,” said Ogbonnaya Omenka, assistant professor of health sciences at Butler University. He said that while it’s still early, this virus doesn’t seem to be spreading quickly from person to person. 

Emily Martin, an epidemiologist at the University of Michigan, said the CDC has a budget for when a new sickness emerges.

“So there’s a pot of money that’s kind of reserved and ready to go anytime there’s a new situation,” she said, adding that it’s local healthcare systems that feel the pinch once a case is identified in a given region.

“You get this rush of patients coming to clinics and hospitals and that’s where there’s a big economic impact,” she said.

Shares in pharmaceutical firms and mask makers in China have surged this week because of the outbreak

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

So what’s up with “Zoom fatigue”?

It’s a real thing. The science backs it up — there’s new research from Stanford University. So why is it that the technology can be so draining? Jeremy Bailenson with Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab puts it this way: “It’s like being in an elevator where everyone in the elevator stopped and looked right at us for the entire elevator ride at close-up.” Bailenson said turning off self-view and shrinking down the video window can make interactions feel more natural and less emotionally taxing.

How are Americans spending their money these days?

Economists are predicting that pent-up demand for certain goods and services is going to burst out all over as more people get vaccinated. A lot of people had to drastically change their spending in the pandemic because they lost jobs or had their hours cut. But at the same time, most consumers “are still feeling secure or optimistic about their finances,” according to Candace Corlett, president of WSL Strategic Retail, which regularly surveys shoppers. A lot of people enjoy browsing in stores, especially after months of forced online shopping. And another area expecting a post-pandemic boost: travel.

What happened to all of the hazard pay essential workers were getting at the beginning of the pandemic?

Almost a year ago, when the pandemic began, essential workers were hailed as heroes. Back then, many companies gave hazard pay, an extra $2 or so per hour, for coming in to work. That quietly went away for most of them last summer. Without federal action, it’s mostly been up to local governments to create programs and mandates. They’ve helped compensate front-line workers, but they haven’t been perfect. “The solutions are small. They’re piecemeal,” said Molly Kinder at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “You’re seeing these innovative pop-ups because we have failed overall to do something systematically.”

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