The number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases reported around the world went over the 40 million mark over the weekend, according to the semi-official tally maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has reported the most cases of any country with over 8,160,000.
The numbers are being fed by a second wave of cases of the virus that has engulfed Europe. Beginning in August, that wave has prompted some European governments to shut down some elements of their economies again.
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The wave started later in the U.S. but appears to be gaining momentum, even in sparsely populated areas of the country that were spared the worst of the outbreak in the spring. Cases are rising at the fastest rate in the Midwest in states like Wisconsin and the Dakotas.
Time running out for pre-election stimulus
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), while hopeful Congress can pass a coronavirus stimulus bill before the Nov. 3 election, says time is running out.
Over the weekend, she set a Tuesday deadline for the Trump administration and House Democrats to agree on a package. If a deal isn’t struck by then, she says there won’t be time to get it done before the election.
Pelosi spoke for an hour by phone with Treasury Secretary Steven MNuchin on Saturday, and the two are reportedly planning to resume the conversation today.
CVS to hire 15,000 workers to help with pandemic
CVS Health says it is hiring 15,000 people at its stores to help the company continue to respond to the increasing needs of communities that will be dealing with the expected increase in COVID-19 cases this fall and winter.
The company said more than 10,000 of the positions are for full- and part-time licensed pharmacy technicians at CVS pharmacy locations. Those jobs will be filled as soon as possible.
“Additional team members typically are needed every flu season,” said Lisa Bisaccia, chief human resources officer at CVS Health. “However, we’re estimating a much greater need for trained pharmacy technicians this year given the continued presence of COVID-19 in our communities. These jobs offer a rewarding career opportunity, with flexible hours, advancement potential and a supportive environment while helping people on their path to better health.”
Hospital executives worry about COVID-19 financial toll
The coronavirus has disrupted hospitals’ financial operations, and executives are worried it will get worse without an effective treatment and approved vaccine.
A new survey from Kaufman Hall found that a third of respondents saw operating margin declines in excess of 100 percent in the second quarter of 2020 compared with the same period of 2019. Well over half of respondents said they worry about the viability of their hospital without a vaccine.
“The challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have affected nearly every aspect of hospital financial and clinical operations,” said Lance Robinson, managing director at Kaufman Hall. “Organizations have responded to the challenge by adjusting their operations and strengthening important community relationships.”
Seventh inning stretch
Former U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb used a baseball analogy to describe where we are with the coronavirus. He said we’re probably in the “seventh inning” of the pandemic — meaning we’re getting close to the end — but he also said the hardest part may lie ahead.
“It looks like we’re entering a pretty difficult period right now,” Gottlieb told CNBC. “The cases are accelerating around the country. There’s really no backstop here.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the White House Coronavirus Taskforce, has a slightly different view, telling an interviewer that the U.S is not yet “on the road” to ending the pandemic.
Around the nation
South Dakota: Realtors in the state are reporting a surge of people from other states seeking houses as the state draws people from more populated areas during the pandemic. At the same time, South Dakota is one of the upper Midwest states where coronavirus cases are on the rise.
California: The pandemic, which has closed many businesses, may also be limiting rent increases in Southern California. Government data shows that rent costs rose by 2.6 percent in September, the lowest rate since 2014
Ohio: Ohio marked a happy milestone on Sunday with no reported deaths from COVID-19. The state also reported the fewest new cases since Tuesday.
For more information Consumer Affairs.