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
It’s still the question on everyone’s minds: What’s going on with extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits?
The $600-a-week payments have ended, officially, as of July 31. For now, there is no additional federal pandemic unemployment assistance. House Democrats want to renew the $600 payments. Senate Republicans have proposed giving the unemployed 70% of their most recent salary by this October, when state unemployment offices have had time to reconfigure their computer systems to do those calculations. Until then, jobless workers would just get another $200. But, nothing has been agreed upon yet.
What’s the latest on evictions?
For millions of Americans, things are looking grim. Unemployment is high, and pandemic eviction moratoriums have expired in states across the country. And as many people already know, eviction is something that can haunt a person’s life for years. For instance, getting evicted can make it hard to rent again. And that can lead to spiraling poverty.
Which retailers are requiring that people wear masks when shopping? And how are they enforcing those rules?
Walmart, Target, Lowe’s, CVS, Home Depot, Costco — they all have policies that say shoppers are required to wear a mask. When an employee confronts a customer who refuses, the interaction can spin out of control, so many of these retailers are telling their workers to not enforce these mandates. But, just having them will actually get more people to wear masks.
You can find answers to more questions on unemployment benefits and COVID-19 here.
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