Facing another month of costs in the coronavirus economy
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The start of June marks a new round of mandatory payments for things like rent, credit card bills and car loans. We checked in with two people who we spoke to at the start of April and May about how their economic lives have changed in the past month.
Oliver was set to start a job at an environmental consulting firm in Boseman, Montana, when the crisis hit. Her offer was delayed because of the coronavirus, but she started working in May and is now moving to full-time.
“It’s definitely been a roller coaster,” Oliver said. “Even two months ago, I felt so despondent and hopeless. I thought that surely I’d stay unemployed for the rest of the year.”
Even with her new employment situation, Oliver is still being cautious with her spending.
Barillas, a waitress and barista in Brooklyn, New York, has been out of work since mid-March, when her restaurant closed. It has since reopened for takeout, but she hasn’t been called back in to work.
“I feel like at the beginning of the pandemic, I thought for certain that we’d be back to work by mid-May, early June,” Barillas said. “Now it feels less certain that jobs are gonna be there waiting for us.”
Barillas has been looking for other jobs but hasn’t found many places hiring. She said her unemployment insurance is helping her feel stable right now.
“The extra $600 [per week] that the government has allotted to people who have lost their jobs to coronavirus is very helpful,” she said. “But I think as June turns into July, that’ll be when I start feeling a little more anxious, when that emergency fund runs out.”
COVID-19 Economy FAQs
Are states ready to roll out COVID-19 vaccines?
Claire Hannan, executive director of the nonprofit Association of Immunization Managers, which represents state health officials, said states have been making good progress in their preparations. And we could have several vaccines pretty soon. But states still need more funding, she said. Hannan doesn’t think a lack of additional funding would hold up distribution initially, but it could cause problems down the road. “It’s really worrisome that Congress may not pass funding or that there’s information circulating saying that states don’t need additional funding,” she said.
How is the service industry dealing with the return of coronavirus restrictions?
Without another round of something like the Paycheck Protection Program, which kept a lot of businesses afloat during the pandemic’s early stages, the outlook is bleak for places like restaurants. Some in the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, only got one week of indoor dining back before cases rose and restrictions went back into effect. Restaurant owners are revamping their business models in an effort to survive while waiting to see if they’ll be able to get more aid.
How are hospitals handling the nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases?
As the pandemic surges and more medical professionals themselves are coming down with COVID, nearly 1 in 5 hospitals in the country report having a critical shortage of staff, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services. One of the knock-on effects of staff shortages is that people who have other medical needs are being asked to wait.
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