There are worrisome COVID-19 trends in some parts of the country, both for rates of infection — that’s cases of people testing positive for having the virus — and for the number of people hospitalized from the disease.
There have recently been COVID-19 spikes in Arizona, Florida, Texas, California, North and South Carolina, Nevada, Oregon — all of which have just reported record-high weekly case numbers.
Many of the states that are seeing COVID-19 spikes, reopened their economies early. At the same time, more residents are being tested for COVID-19.
So, are case numbers rising because more infections are being detected, or because there’s more person-to-person contact to spread the virus?
Epidemiologist Kumi Smith at the University of Minnesota said it’s some of both. But, bottom line: More people are getting sick.
“What is undeniable is that hospitalization rates are increasing — notably in these sort of Sunbelt regions,” Smith said.
And consumers are taking note, said John Leer at polling firm Morning Consult.
“So in the country as a whole, consumer confidence continues to increase,” he said. “But we’re seeing a flattening in those regions, in the South and in the West, that have been most affected by the recent surge in cases.”
Leer said where consumer confidence is stagnating, people will be less likely to go out and spend.
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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