Wednesday, May 27, 2020

"The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been greater in the US than on any other country in lives and jobs lost" (The Guardian)




As the US approaches the grim milestone of 100,000 fatalities from the virus, we have gathered some of the most shocking data.
These statistics tell a tragic story of how the virus has disproportionately hit older people, people of color and those with lower incomes. They also capture some of the shortcomings in the official responses to its spread.
The victims

The US leads the world in both confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths.

Race

·       Almost three times as many black people are dying of the virus compared to white people and at least 20,000 African Americans have died, according to Amp Research Lab. The virus is twice as deadly for black and Latinos than white people in New York City, preliminary data suggests.
·       African Americans are 70% of all coronavirus cases in Chicago, which is 30% black, and more than half of the state’s deaths, by early April.

State-reported racial data shows that the pandemic is hitting African-American communities the hardest.


Location and occupations

·       Up to half of the deaths in some US states have been nursing home residents or workers, studies have indicated. There have been 55 deaths at one Brooklyn nursing home, the Cobble Hill health center, according to reports.
·       Dozens of medical workers have died; the CDC says at least 27 are confirmed to have died, but this is likely to be a significant undercount. As many as 20% of cases of Covid-19 are medical staff in some states.
·       Scores of grocery workers have died across the country. Fifty-nine members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union have died, Axios reports. There have been 81 employees testing positive at one Walmart in Massachusetts, according to reports.
·       At least 20 meatpacking workers have died from the virus nationwide and 5,000 have become infected, according to union officials.
·       80% of inmates tested positive for Covid-19 at one Ohio prison and across the US, prisons and jails have reported large outbreaks, which could spread out to the community.

Testing and the response

·       5m Covid-19 tests a day would be carried out “very soon” in the US, Donald Trump promised on 28 April. This many tests would be needed by early June to begin reopening the economy, according to a report by Harvard University’s Edmond J Safra Center for Ethics
·       900,000 tests a day by mid-May should be the target, according to the research group Harvard’s Global Health Institute.
·       Only just over 300,000 tests a day were being carried out by mid-May, according to the daily tracking by the Covid Tracking Project.
·       1,000 contact tracers – New York is trying to recruit this many tracers by 1 June as part of efforts to advance reopening.
·       About $400m per year is contributed to the World Health Organization by the US but President Trump has frozen this, during the height of the global pandemic, and criticized its links with China.

A slow start in testing led to a largely undetected spread of the coronavirus in the US.


Controversial treatments and anti-vaxxers

·       A more than 1,000% surge in online demand for hydroxychloroquine came after Donald Trump backed the anti-malaria drug as a potential treatment for Covid-19, a study found, despite evidence it doesn’t work.
·       Almost 23% of adults in one poll said they would not be willing to take a vaccine against Covid-19 if it became available, amid concern from experts at the impact of the anti-vaxxer movement.

Economic fallout

·       Almost 39 million Americans have lost their jobs in the last few weeks – more than 10% of the entire US population, and more than 20% of the working population.
·       14.7% was the official unemployment rate in May, up from 4.4%, a figure that probably significantly underestimates the true scale of job losses, which are at a rate unseen since the 1930s Great Depression.
·       40% of households earning less than $40,000 have experienced job losses, according to the Federal Reserve.
·       Only 20% of black workers reported being eligible to work from home, compared with about 30% of their white counterparts, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the global economy, and unemployment in the US is reaching record highs.


Businesses

·       More than 100,000 small businesses have permanently closed since March, an academic study says.
·       3% of restaurants have permanently closed, 44% have temporarily closed and 11% say they expect to close permanently in the next month, according to research from the National Restaurant Association.
·       2,800 flights were in US airspace on 29 March, compared with 6,800 on 1 March, according to Flightradar24.
·       $4bn could be lost by baseball team owners if there is not a season in 2020, according to Rob Manfred, commissioner of the MLB.

Health insurance

·       Up to 43 million people face losing their job-based health coverage since the coronavirus, according to the Urban Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. That is nearly one-quarter of all Americans who rely on job-based insurance.
·       As many as 7 million people will be unable to find new health insurance coverage, according to the same report, joining 28 million who already lacked insurance.

Food supply

·       An average of 63% more food was being sought by food banks and pantries around the US in the wake of widespread job losses, according to Feeding America.
·       2.6% was the rise last month in grocery prices, the largest such jump since the 1970s, the Washington Post reported, citing the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meats, poultry, fish and eggs were among the goods going up in price. 


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