North America Update: October 28
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- The U.S. is currently reporting more new cases of the coronavirus than ever before. With winter and holidays such as Halloween and Thanksgiving approaching, the U.S. has now established its third peak of daily new cases with little sign of letting up. From October 17-25, the country reported an average of about 68,767 new cases every day, the highest seven-day average recorded yet.
- Health experts say it is only a matter of time before hospitals start to reach their breaking point. There are more than 41,000 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the United States, a 40 percent rise in the past month. Unlike earlier months of the pandemic, more of today’s patients are being cared for in rural regions, where the medical infrastructure is less robust.
- New concerns regarding a new wave of virus outbreaks are collective exhaustion and pandemic fatigue. Governments are counting on a high degree of public cooperation – wearing masks, social distancing, staying away from crowds, etc. – to flatten the infection curve. Too much pandemic fatigue, authorities say, can fuel a vicious cycle: a tired public lets its guard down, triggering more infections and restrictions that in turn compound both the pandemic and fatigue.
- Canada is now averaging around 2,500 new cases per day. More than 218,000 people have tested positive, while the country’s death toll stands at 9,963 as of Monday.
- Quebec continues to be the epicenter of the pandemic, surpassing more than 100,000 positive cases in the province. Ontario, the second-hardest-hit province, reported on Sunday more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases for the first time, setting another record for the number of infections in a single day.
- Experts say there are a variety of factors contributing to Canada’s recent spike in cases, including Thanksgiving celebrations, reduced restrictions and increased testing capacity.
- New regulations and social distancing rules are being introduced across multiple European countries in an attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus as a second wave of the pandemic accelerates across the continent. Europe reported more than 1.3 million new cases this past week, its highest single week count yet, according to the World Health Organization.
- Europe’s infection rate has been rising for more than 90 days, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. As authorities and experts worry that the situation in Europe may soon spin out of control, governments are imposing curfews and social restrictions in an attempt to avoid full-scale lockdowns that could hurt the economy and dim the upcoming holiday season.
- Spain and France each surpassed one million cumulative confirmed cases last week, becoming the sixth and seventh countries to do so globally. Italy, Germany, Belgium, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom are also experiencing record numbers, which threaten to overwhelm countries’ abilities to test, trace and contain the virus. Polish President Andrzej Duda tested positive for the virus over the weekend as cases there have doubled in recent weeks.
- The manufacturing sector in the Asia Pacific region is experiencing a “boom” brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Manufacturing activity in Taiwan continued to grow in September, enjoying its fastest growth rate in two years, according to the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (CIER). This growth has been driven by persistent demand for semiconductors and related products due to the ongoing U.S.-China trade disputes.
- Thailand’s manufacturing production index rose for the fourth consecutive month in August, increasing by 4.8 percent to 91.43 points. The country’s industry minister has attributed this to high demand for fertilizers, home appliances, canned food, and furniture.
- The manufacturing sector in Singapore experienced a rebound in Q3, with the sector growing by 2 percent year-on-year, according to data from the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Following contractions in Q2, the sector outpaced expectations of analysts due to increase in demand for electronics and biomedical manufacturing.
- On Monday, Mexico’s government admitted its COVID-19 death toll is dramatically higher than official figures have suggested, with the disease now suspected of killing at least 139,153 people.
- As COVID-19 infections continue to rise, government officials have asked citizens to consider the possibility of returning to voluntary confinement. The manufacturing industry requested to keep plants open and to allow their operations to continue in compliance with safety/health rules.
- According to research conducted by BBVA, it is estimated that the level of formal employment in Mexico won´t recover until the beginning of 2024. Due to the country’s low economic growth, the study predicts that the formal sector could lose one million jobs this year.
- According to the Ministry of Health, Brazil has accumulated 5,394,128 cases and 157,134 fatalities since the beginning of the pandemic. Though the number of daily cases has come down from a peak in July, public health experts warn that Brazil is ignoring social distancing precautions and faces the danger of a second wave by returning to everyday life too quickly.
- Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro rejected the announced purchase of 46 million doses of a potential vaccine against the coronavirus being developed by a Chinese company and tested in a state governed by a political rival, prompting some to question if he was allowing politics to steer public health decisions.
Insights & Intel
- On Thursday, the U.S. Commerce Department will release its first estimate of gross domestic product (GDP) for the third quarter of 2020. The data is expected to show a sharp rebound ranging from 30 to 35 percent on an annualized basis after a similar decline in the second quarter. However, while growth has resumed, the strength and durability of the rebound are uncertain. About 23 million people are still receiving some form of unemployment benefits and there are 10 million total fewer jobs than in February.
- The large expected growth number is possible only because it was preceded by a similar economic downturn in the previous quarter, when the U.S. economy fell at a similarly historic 31.4 percent annualized rate. Third quarter growth will not be enough to get the economy back to where it was before the second quarter nor enough to get back to pre-pandemic levels.
According to Yahoo! News, President Trump touted what he believes to be the “tremendous progress” his administration has made against the coronavirus pandemic before accusing the media of coordinating negative COVID-19 coverage to alter the course of the election.
- Unfinished Live: Aspen Ideas Festival organizers partnered with Unfinished – a new media platform and network of impact organizations – to produce Unfinished Live, a series of four interactive digital experiences that explore key questions and bring a diversity of voices through interviews, art, videos, stories and performance. Episode one, titled “Economy & Justice”, will take place October 27 and will address the new American Dream, capitalism, credit scores and the role of business in economic systems.
- NHL: The NHL postponed its annual Winter Classic (Jan. 1, 2021) and All-Star Weekend (Jan. 29-30, 2021) due to COVID-19 concerns. Originally scheduled to take place in Minneapolis, MN and Sunrise, FL, the league plans to keep the locations the same and will work toward a new date. This announcement does not impact plans for a Jan. 1st start date for next season.
- NBA: The NBA announced that the 2020 Draft will take place virtually out of ESPN’s headquarters in Connecticut. After being moved from June to October, the Draft was again postponed to November 18th and moved to the virtual platform.
- NFL: The NFL issued a $350,000 fine to the Tennessee Titans for COVID-19 protocol violations. The Las Vegas Raiders are reportedly facing fines as well. The league is also seeing major sponsors cancel Super Bowl plans amid concerns surrounding COVID-19.
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