North America Update: June 22
Keep an eye out for the next update on Thursday, June 25.
- A number of U.S. states, mostly across the South and West, have seen a drastic rise in cases over the past couple of weeks as more people gather in reopened areas and the virus spreads to new “hot spot” communities. Officials in some states, such as Florida, pointed to increased testing as a driver of the spike in new confirmed cases. However, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis acknowledged that the share of people who test positive is accelerating faster than the number of tests being run. The positivity rate has also risen in Arizona, which has been reporting more than 2,000 new cases per day for nearly a week. The number of deaths due to COVID-19 does not appear to be rising along with the number of confirmed cases, health experts say. This is because doctors have become better at treating patients, and younger people who are not as vulnerable as the elderly or those with underlying health conditions are increasingly getting infected. Overall, deaths have dropped dramatically, with the 14-day average down by 43 percent as of Sunday.
- The Trump administration is preparing for a possible second wave in the novel coronavirus pandemic this fall. White House adviser Peter Navarro said preparations are being made for the possible second wave but rejected the suggestion that a second wave had already taken hold. He said the federal government is working to replenish the national stockpile of medical equipment and supplies in preparation for a possible surge of the virus this fall.
- Economic data released this week shows where the economy is starting to recover and where damage is lingering from efforts to contain the coronavirus. Today, housing data showed that existing home sales fell for the third consecutive month, reflecting the effects of lockdowns, layoffs and broader uncertainty. Annually, home sales are down 26.6 percent, the largest annual decline since 1982. But realtors believe this could likely be the bottom point for home sales as the economy begins to recover. Manufacturing data to be released on Tuesday may show that the global economy is stabilizing, while data to be released on Wednesday may show an increase in factory orders for durable goods. The most recent employment and consumer spending data will be published on Friday.
- Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reinforced that Canada is not in a rush to open its borders as doing so too quickly could put Canada at increased risk for a second wave of infections. He said he would “like to see a return to international travel so we can get people coming and supporting our local communities,” but added that before that happens, “we need to make sure we are keeping Canadians safe.” Last week, Trudeau extended a ban on non-essential travel between Canada and the U.S. until at least July 21.
- In Spain, the State of Emergency has officially ended after nearly 100 days. Travelers from the European Union including the UK and the Schengen area are allowed to enter the national territory. Social distancing requirements and hygiene measures continue to be enforced, such as the mandatory use of masks in closed spaces and on streets when a safe distance cannot be maintained.
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to unveil the latest easing of England’s lockdown on Tuesday. Schools in France reopened on Monday. In Ireland, apart from some exceptions, many businesses and activities will return on June 29, including places of worship, gyms, cinemas, hairdressers and sporting activities.
- While limits on activities continue to be eased across the continent, some areas have re-imposed restrictions to control outbreaks. In Portugal, some new restrictions have been imposed in Lisbon. In Germany, an area surrounding a meatpacking plant, where 1,500 workers have been infected, has been quarantined and schools have been closed.
- The UK government introduced legislation to protect businesses that are key to public health from foreign takeovers. The changes give the Government the power to protect companies that could be critical in helping the country in future health emergencies, such as pharmaceutical and technology companies, but which may be struggling to weather the coronavirus pandemic.
- Airports in Dubai will welcome tourists on July 7. Tourists will be required to present a recent COVID-19 negative certificate or undergo testing at the airport.
- Despite calls from experts to revive the economy, Mexicans are choosing to save money to face the economic effects of the coronavirus, according to a study by BBVA-Mexico bank. Likewise, the Association of Banks of Mexico said that the increase in savings in the first four months of the year represents a historical figure of around $44.5 billion.
- Shares of Mexican airline Aeroméxico fell to a record level in the New York Stock Exchange after speculation that the company will declare bankruptcy in the United States. Reports published in Mexico say the shares lost nearly a third of their value after it became known that the company is evaluating filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States as the global pandemic has paralyzed air travel around the world.
- The Federal Commission on Economic Competition, an autonomous institution, asked the Supreme Court to cancel the decision made by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s administration to limit the generation of clean electricity as it affects national and foreign investment and free competition.
- Brazil has more than one million citizens infected with COVID-19 and exceeded 50,000 deaths caused by the novel coronavirus on Saturday. According to a projection model used by the White House, if Brazil follows this curve, the country could surpass the United States in number of COVID-19 deaths in late July. Data released by Our World in Data, a project carried out by researchers from Oxford University, pointed out that Brazil ranks fourth among countries with the most deaths per million citizens. The ban on foreigners entering the country has been extended for another 15 days due to the health crisis.
- Brazil will stop exporting at least $1.16 billion in industrial inputs, according to the International Trade Center. The most significant loss in Brazilian exports is to the North American market with a projected loss of nearly $508 million, a projection from the International Trade Center, controlled by the World Trade Organization, and the United Nations Agency for Trade and Development.
INSIGHTS & INTEL: COVID-19 AFFECTS THE FEMALE WORKFORCE
Before the coronavirus struck the U.S. economy, employment prospects were pulling more working-age women into the national labor force. However, women have lost jobs at a steeper rate than men during the pandemic, a factor that is likely to hold back the economic recovery. Female workers account for the majority of jobs in service industries such as food services and personal care, which have been vulnerable to social distancing measures and business closures. If participation of women in the job market remains weak, the long-term result could be fewer workers in women-dominated fields such as nursing, education and retail. The impact of the pandemic on female-dominated jobs is different from past recessions, when goods-producing sectors such as construction and manufacturing — which are predominantly held by men — saw greater employment losses. In addition, the longer women remain out of the labor market, the harder it could be to return, as employers often perceive a loss of job skills when people are out of the workforce for extended periods.
COVID-19 & Business News
- As the world remains restricted, consumer media publications including Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, PopSugar and others are continuing to cover the ways we can stay informed, healthy and entertained in quarantine with recommendations for things like virtual Pride events, Master Class subscriptions, Black-authored cookbooks, Black fashion influencers and safe road trips.
- As some offices in New York tentatively reopened their doors on Monday to test the waters after being closed for months due to the coronavirus, The New York Times is adopting a more cautious approach. The New York Times executives have informed staffers that the majority won’t be required to return to the office until at least January, a Times spokesman confirmed to WWD. Previously, the publisher had said staff may be able to start returning in September.
- Despite the delays and new virtual format, Hulu is finding a lot of things to like about its reimagined NewFront, which it will present to marketers Monday afternoon.
Media, influencers, publishers move to diversify
- The Associated Press announced Friday afternoon it’s changing its style to capitalize Black when referring to it in a racial, ethnic or cultural way—a move newsrooms across the U.S have made in recent weeks. Further, editors at Merriam-Webster are working on a revision of the definition of racism.
- While many brands have released statements in support of Black Lives Matter, AdWeek reports that few have gone out of their way to advertise directly to the communities where protesters have been rallying for the movement. Meanwhile, celebrities like Lizzo have continued to help drive change using their wide-reaching platforms to raise both money and awareness.
- Snap Inc. apologized for a filter that was intended to commemorate Juneteenth but missed its mark. The filter, which the company took down on Friday, prompted users to smile. When they did, broken chains would appear on the Pan-African flag behind them. Black Twitter users voiced their discomfort.
- Washington Post Live Virtual Events: Washington Post Live continues to bolster its virtual offerings and announced another set of virtual events taking place this week, including Veterans: Frontline Concerns, John Bolton in Conversation with Robert Costa, and Race in America: A Conversation with Lindsay Peoples Wagner and Kerby Jean-Raymond.
- MLB: MLB Player’s Association postponed a vote Sunday regarding return-to-play, after 40 players and staff tested positive for COVID-19.
- PRO14 Rugby: Guinness PRO14 announced a target return-to-play date slated for August 22. PRO14 Rugby has submitted the proposal to governing unions across the UK, Ireland, Italy and South Africa and is awaiting final approval.
- Electric Blockaloo: Kicking off June 25, Electric Blockaloo can be found on Minecraft. With over 950 artists performing over three days, the e-festival will be available on all streaming devices.
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