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COVID-19

Today’s numbers: The COVID economy

Scott Tong and Mitchell Hartman Jan 20, 2021
Kira-Yan/Getty Images

As of 10:30 a.m. Eastern time, Jan. 20, 2021 (we’ll update every weekday morning).

U.S.‌ ‌COVID-19‌ ‌deaths‌ ‌reported‌ ‌yesterday:‌‌ 2,141(rising)

U.S.‌ ‌COVID-19‌ ‌new‌ ‌cases‌ ‌yesterday: 144,047 (falling)

Americans receiving first COVID vaccine dose: 15.7 million (50% of doses shipped) 

COVID ‌patients‌ ‌now‌ ‌in‌ ‌hospital:‌‌ 123,820 (falling)

Jobless rate, January 2017: 4.8%

Jobless rate, December 2020: 6.7%


Unemployment rate, Trump’s term as president

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Americans whose income fell short of expenses in December:

  • Low-income (under $50,000): 22%
  • Middle-income ($50,000-$100,000): 9%
  • Upper-income (over $100,000+: 7%


“The leading economic indicator is … the virus.” More than one analyst has put it to us this way. As we try to understand and quantify this unprecedented global economic collapse — and now the attempted restart — we’re following key metrics for COVID-19 and the broader economy.

Keep in mind: The tally of COVID-19 cases represents only the ones that are documented.

Our main trusty sources: World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Johns Hopkins University, Our World in Data (based on WHO data, Covid Tracking (scientist/journalist collaboration), GasBuddy.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What are the details of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief plan?

The $1.9 trillion plan would aim to speed up the vaccine rollout and provide financial help to individuals, states and local governments and businesses. Called the “American Rescue Plan,” the legislative proposal would meet Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration, while advancing his objective of reopening most schools by the spring. It would also include $1,400 checks for most Americans. Get the rest of the specifics here.

What kind of help can small businesses get right now?

A new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans recently became available for pandemic-ravaged businesses. These loans don’t have to be paid back if rules are met. Right now, loans are open for first-time applicants. And the application has to go through community banking organizations — no big banks, for now, at least. This rollout is designed to help business owners who couldn’t get a PPP loan before.

What does the hiring situation in the U.S. look like as we enter the new year?

New data on job openings and postings provide a glimpse of what to expect in the job market in the coming weeks and months. This time of year typically sees a spike in hiring and job-search activity, says Jill Chapman with Insperity, a recruiting services firm. But that kind of optimistic planning for the future isn’t really the vibe these days. Job postings have been lagging on the job search site Indeed. Listings were down about 11% in December compared to a year earlier.

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