COVID-19

“State of emergency” isn’t as alarming as it sounds

Jack Stewart Mar 6, 2020
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California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks about COVID-19 at the California Department of Public Health on Feb. 27, 2020 in Sacramento, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
COVID-19

“State of emergency” isn’t as alarming as it sounds

Jack Stewart Mar 6, 2020
California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks about COVID-19 at the California Department of Public Health on Feb. 27, 2020 in Sacramento, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
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California, Florida and Washington have all declared states of emergency over the COVID-19 outbreak. That means different things in different states, but officials are stressing that although an emergency may sound alarming, the purpose of the declarations is to help get people and money to the frontlines as quickly as possible. 

Cities, counties and states declare emergencies on a fairly regular basis for disasters like bad storms, fires and floods. 

“Really, all it means is that the government entity declaring the state of emergency can waive regulations, and then seek resources from a higher level of government,” said Christopher Douglas, associate professor of economics at the University of Michigan-Flint.

In California this week, Governor Gavin Newsom explained it also gives him power to curb things like unfair price hikes. 

“We need to go after those that are price gouging not just for hand sanitizer, but for medical supplies and other equipment,” Newsom said.

Andy Baker-White, senior director of State Health Policy at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, said what a state of emergency doesn’t mean is that people have to worry. 

“I think that they should be reassured that the jurisdiction where they’re living is doing everything it can to respond to the coronavirus,” he said.

That could mean the freedom to bring in out-of-state medical staff, to use state property like fairgrounds in emergencies and to buy medical supplies with less red tape.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

How many people are flying? Has traveled picked up?

Flying is starting to recover to levels the airline industry hasn’t seen in months. The Transportation Security Administration announced on Oct. 19 that it’s screened more than 1 million passengers on a single day — its highest number since March 17. The TSA also screened more than 6 million passengers last week, its highest weekly volume since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While travel is improving, the TSA announcement comes amid warnings that the U.S. is in the third wave of the coronavirus. There are now more than 8 million cases in the country, with more than 219,000 deaths.

How are Americans feeling about their finances?

Nearly half of all Americans would have trouble paying for an unexpected $250 bill and a third of Americans have less income than before the pandemic, according to the latest results of our Marketplace-Edison Poll. Also, 6 in 10 Americans think that race has at least some impact on an individual’s long-term financial situation, but Black respondents are much more likely to think that race has a big impact on a person’s long-term financial situation than white or Hispanic/Latinx respondents.

Find the rest of the poll results here, which cover how Americans have been faring financially about six months into the pandemic, race and equity within the workplace and some of the key issues Trump and Biden supporters are concerned about.

What’s going to happen to retailers, especially with the holiday shopping season approaching?

A report out recently from the accounting consultancy BDO USA said 29 big retailers filed for bankruptcy protection through August. And if bankruptcies continue at that pace, the number could rival the bankruptcies of 2010, after the Great Recession. For retailers, the last three months of this year will be even more critical than usual for their survival as they look for some hope around the holidays.

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