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COVID-19

Today’s numbers: The COVID economy

Scott Tong and Mitchell Hartman May 6, 2021
Kira-Yan/Getty Images

As of May 6, 2021 (we’ll update every weekday morning).

U.S.‌ ‌daily COVID-19‌ ‌deaths‌, 7-day average: 713 (falling)

U.S.‌ ‌new daily cases‌, 7-day average: 47,337 (falling)

Americans 18 or older vaccinated, at least one dose: 56.7%

U.S. COVID positivity rate, 7-day average: 3.6% (falling)

COVID vaccine doses administered: 250 million


Homebuyers shifting preference to suburbs

Source: Redfin

Initial jobless claims (state programs), week ending May 1: 498,000 (falling, lowest since March 14, 2020)

Workers receiving federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (after 26 weeks of state benefits run out): 4,972,507 (falling)

Total continuing claims (state and federal programs), most recent week: 16,157,024 (falling)


“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

Millions of Americans are unemployed, but businesses say they are having trouble hiring. Why?

This economic crisis is unusual compared to traditional recessions, according to Daniel Zhao, senior economist with Glassdoor. “Many workers are still sitting out of the labor force because of health concerns or child care needs, and that makes it tough to find workers regardless of what you’re doing with wages or benefits,” Zhao said. “An extra dollar an hour isn’t going to make a cashier with preexisting conditions feel that it’s safe to return to work.” This can be seen in the restaurant industry: Some workers have quit or are reluctant to apply because of COVID-19 concerns, low pay, meager benefits and the stress that comes with a fast-paced, demanding job. Restaurants have been willing to offer signing bonuses and temporary wage increases. One McDonald’s is even paying people $50 just to interview.

Could waiving patents increase the global supply of COVID-19 vaccines?

India and South Africa have introduced a proposal to temporarily suspend patents on COVID-19 vaccines. Backers of the plan say it would increase the supply of vaccines around the world by allowing more countries to produce them. Skeptics say it’s not that simple. There’s now enough supply in the U.S that any adult who wants a shot should be able to get one soon. That reality is years away for most other countries. More than 100 countries have backed the proposal to temporarily waive COVID-19 vaccine patents. The U.S isn’t one of them, but the White House has said it’s considering the idea.

Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?

As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy begins reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.

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