Weekly Update – September 23rd 2021

Even before the pandemic, some restaurant owners were challenging the model of paying servers only $2.13 an hour and depending on tips from customers to make them whole. Today, as restaurants and bars struggle to find enough workers to stay open, a few are making further changes to their business model. Some are raising wages and offering sign-on bonuses. Others are adding service charges to every bill, and others are simply…  Read more

Weekly Update – September 16th 2021

The recent announcement by the Biden administration of a plan that mandates COVID vaccinations or weekly testing has drawn both phrase and critizim from the business community.   Some business leaders applaud the plan as a way to keep the surge in COVID cases from hurting the economy, although smaller employers may find the mandate difficult to enforce. Expanding testing may not be possible unless capacity is also significantly increased. Some business leaders…  Read more

Weekly Update – September 9th 2021

Thanks to tight supply chains and logistics in the developed world, many people have grown accustomed to receiving whatever they ordered promptly and predictably. That era may be over, as shortages are likely to continue. Toyota will be slashing production of cars by 40% in the face of a continuing chip shortage. It may be another year – or two – before shortages in sectors from construction to medical testing to…  Read more

Weekly Update – August 26th 2021

The FDA has now granted Pfizer and BioNTech full approval of their COVID-19 vaccine for persons aged 16 and up. This means this vaccine has met the agency’s standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality. This approval was based on close examination of six-months of follow-up which revealed no additional long-term safety concerns. This approval may now spur major companies to require employees to be vaccinated. Based on clinical studies, this vaccine…  Read more

Weekly Update – August 19th 2021

Those COVID-19 relief programs which certainly helped keep millions of Americans and businesses afloat during the pandemic,  have unfortunately also been a spectacular bonanza for an array of international scam artists, including Russian mobsters, Chinese hackers, and Nigerian scammers. An estimated $87 million to $400 billion in unemployment benefits may have been lost to fraud; at least half of that is thought to have been stolen by foreign criminals. Many took…  Read more

Weekly Update – August 12th 2021

What sets the Delta variant apart from other strains of the COVID-19 coronavirus is the amount of virus produced by those infected, a measure called viral load. One recent study found that people with the Delta variant had viral loads up to 1,260 times as high as the original strain. Higher viral loads make the Delta variant more transmissible and can also make infected people sicker. However, the CDC has also…  Read more

Weekly Update – July 29 2021

The U.S. economy depends on population growth as a driver, but recent estimates indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded a decade long fertility slump to result in the lowest population growth rate in history. In half of all states, more people died than were born. The impact is most acutely felt in rural communities, which frequently lack the jobs, child-care options and housing that young families need. The result…  Read more

COVID-19 Weekly Update – March 17th 2021

Eventually, epidemiologists hope that the coronavirus will become a seasonal pathogen, not much worse than the flu. But the path to that state is not a straight line, as this article in Stat describes, breaking the continued pandemic into short-, middle- and long-term phases. With vaccines steadily reaching more people, most agree that we are at least approaching the end of the “crisis” phase. Over the short-term, we may see…  Read more

COVID-19 Weekly Update – March 10th 2021

Today could be the day! Congress is expected to vote on the 1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill today, Wednesday March 10th, just before the expanded unemployment insurance benefits end.  As per the Associated Press morning wire : A dominant feature of the bill is initiatives making it one of the biggest federal thrusts in years to assist lower- and middle-income families. Included are expanded tax credits over the next year for children,…  Read more

COVID-19 Weekly Update – March 3rd 2021

Congratulations! You got the COVID vaccine! I have an appointment for my first shot for this afternoon due to an underlying condition.  Now what should you/we do?  As an article in The Atlantic describes, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but “When deciding what you can and can’t do, you should think less about your own vaccination status, and more about whether your neighbors, family, grocery clerks, delivery drivers, and friends are…  Read more

COVID-19 Weekly Update – February 24th 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t the first to sweep the globe, nor is it likely to be the last one. Throughout history, pandemics have shaped our world, as this historic lookback in the Washington Post explains. One such plague likely contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire, when disease –likely measles and smallpox – swept through the ancient world and killed 5 million people over 15 years. The Black Death…  Read more

COVID-19 Weekly Update – February 17th 2021

Keeping people safe in the pandemic requires a comprehensive approach, as explained by Aaron E. Carroll, a pediatrics professor at Indiana University. By taking the pandemic seriously, “far from posing a risk to its host city or town, a university could become—by supplementing behavioral measures such as masking and social distancing with widespread surveillance testing—a model for detecting and suppressing the virus.” By the time IU’s 87,000 students return to…  Read more

COVID-19 Weekly Update – February 10th 2021

Although most of us have not been able to travel for much of the last year, that didn’t stop The Guardian from hosting a travel photography competition. Stunning landscapes, colorful marketplaces, and chance photos that capture an unforgettable moment are all among the winners in the many categories. We may not be able to travel safely yet, but we can at least travel in our imaginations. I am glad to…  Read more

COVID-19 Weekly Update – December 23rd 2020

Hoping that you are busy, making holiday plans, while scanning the news about the COVID-19 Relief Bill we’re keeping this issue extra short. Just in time for Christmas, Jupiter and Saturn appear in close alignment this week, forming what some have called a ‘Christmas Star.’ The last time this happened was in the spring of 1226, when Notre Dame cathedral was under construction. Their closest connection will be on the Winter’s…  Read more

COVID-19 Weekly Update – December 16th 2020

To say that 2020 has been a wild ride is an understatement. This article in the Wall Street Journal takes a look at surveys, economic data, and research papers to get an idea of what’s changed and what might be coming our way. The pandemic forced many of us to work from home, and that trend may be here to stay. But the increase in productivity came at a cost:…  Read more

COVID-19 Weekly Update – December 9th 2020

States that depend heavily on tourism have suffered greatly during the pandemic, and a few are taking creative steps to diversify their economies by attracting new remote workers. For example, Hawaii’s new “Movers and Shakas” program offers free roundtrip airfare to remote workers willing to spend at least 30 days working in that state and to contribute in some way to the local community. Tulsa is offering grants of $10,000…  Read more

COVID-19 Weekly Update – December 2nd 2020

After months of only bad news about the spread of COVID-19, recent announcements of successful trials of three different vaccines bring a sense of optimism that the return to “normal” is on the way. Pfizer was first, and chartered flights bringing the vaccine to the U.S. from Belgium began on November 27. By mid-December, people may begin receiving that vaccine. A vaccine by Moderna has also completed trials and that…  Read more

COVID-19 Weekly Update – November 25th 2020 & Wishing You a Safe Happy Thanksgiving

One of the positive side effects of the pandemic has been reduced traffic on interstate highways. A group of amateur race car drivers decided to take advantage of the empty roads to revive the “Cannonball Run,” a highly illegal endurance race from Manhattan to Los Angeles. The object of this race is to make the run faster than anyone else. Teams plan for months, fine-tuning routes to consider traffic light…  Read more

COVID-19 Weekly Update – July 8 2020

One of the baffling aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic is the fact that we don’t yet know precisely how deadly this virus is. Estimates of the fatality rate range from a low of 0.64%, estimated by analysis of data by Australian researchers, to a high of 16% in Belgium. Many infections are asymptomatic or mild, which means there may be 10 unrecorded cases for each documented infection. What we do…  Read more

COVID-19 Business Update – 20 May 2020

Resources to Help You Survive – and Thrive – During the COVID-19 Pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly every part of the economy. According to a survey by the Census Bureau, 75% of all small businesses in the U.S. have applied for a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program, but as of May 2, only 38% had received funding. For unknown reasons, businesses in some parts of the country…  Read more

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