Capstone National Partners
Well, The House Is Back
The number of people receiving unemployment benefits is at its highest level — 22.8 million — in American history.
Axios “The big picture: 36 million Americans have filed jobless claims in the past two months, including 3 million last week.”
- The better news: For those who’ve managed to get applications approved, the extra $600 a week should help avert household financial catastrophe. The Treasury Department paid out $48 billion in unemployment in April, “greater than three times the amount paid at the monthly peak of the 2007-09 recession, according to a Brookings Institution analysis.” [WSJ] “The April unemployment payments helped offset more than half of the wages and salaries that were lost during the month.”
- The bad news: The extra cash won’t last forever, and timelines for economic recovery are becoming less optimistic. RESTAURANTS “One in every four U.S. restaurants will go out of business due to the coronavirus quarantines that have battered the food-service industry, according to a forecast by OpenTable.” [Bloomberg]
- Perspective: The pre-pandemic record number of claims filed in a single week was 695,000 in 1982. More Americans are eligible for unemployment, including gig workers, and unemployment offices are racing through an avalanche of unemployment filings.
The bottom line: Measuring the backlog is “like trying to measure the ocean, it’s constantly moving,” said New York Labor Department commissioner Roberta Reardon.”
Stat du Jour
@27 Million Off Health Insurance
Take-Aways From Covid-19 Senate Hearing
- Fauci said that reopening too soon could lead to dire consequences. “If we don’t respond in an adequate way… then we run the risk of having a resurgence,” he said. Democratic senators pressed officials for CDC guidance on reopening.
- Officials said that things are trending in the “right direction” but that does not mean that everything is “fully under control.” CDC Director Robert Redfield said that contact-tracing capacity needs to built out by September.
- HHS official Admiral Brett Giroir says states and territories aim to do 12.9 million tests over the next four weeks. That’s an ambitious goal, and represents more than the about 9.4 million tests the U.S. has done to date.
- Officials said there are on ongoing trials for several vaccines and promising treatments are being developed, though Fauci said that even at “top speed,” a vaccine is unlikely by the fall. Fauci called Gilead’s Covid-19 treatment remdesivir a “modest success” and says they hope to build on it “with combinations of drugs and better drugs.”
Take-Aways From Rick Bright’s House Testimony
WTFlynn Is Going On? …
The Flynn Case Isn’t Over Until The Judge Says It’s Over
Why it matters: America’s ongoing cultural wars over everything have weakened our ability to respond to this pandemic. We may be our worst enemy.
- The response is being hobbled by the same trends that have impacted so much of our lives: growing income inequality, the rise of misinformation, lack of trust in institutions, the rural/urban divide and hyper-partisanship.
- We’re not even seeing the same threat from the virus. Democrats are far more likely than Republicans to be worried about getting seriously ill, while Republicans — including the president — are more likely to think the death counts are too high.
The other side: There’s better news at the state level. “Governors collectively have been winning widespread praise from the public for their handling of the coronavirus outbreak,” the Washington Post reports. Individual states are making progress, according to the most recent Axios analysis of coronavirus cases — though it’s early and a second wave of infections is still possible.
Right now, large parts of the U.S. are moving toward ending their lockdowns before it’s wise to do so, according to many epidemiologists. Perhaps the biggest problem: Despite the recent increase in tests, the country is still doing far fewer than are likely needed to avoid new outbreaks. Fauci, in his remote testimony to the Senate this week, said: “There is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control” if the economy opens too quickly, “leading to some suffering and death that could be avoided.”
The World Health Organization also sounded a note of optimism on Tuesday, saying it sees “potentially positive data” in four or five coronavirus treatments and planned additional studies to be able to make recommendations. “We do have some treatments that seem to be in very early studies limiting the severity or the length of the illness,” spokeswoman Margaret Harris said.”
“Clothing stores took the biggest hit with a 78.8% tumble. Other big losers were electronics and appliances (-60.6%), furniture and home furnishing (-58.7%) sporting goods (-38%), and bars and restaurants (-29.5%). Nonstore retailers rose 8.4%. … The retail industry, particularly brick and mortar stores, already had been in a state of peril, and the coronavirus measures have only added to the misery.”
GOP Wins in Special Elections:
California: NYT “Mike Garcia, a former military pilot and newcomer to Republican electoral politics, has defeated Christy Smith his Democratic opponent in a special election to fill a House seat in Southern California. The victory is the first time the G.O.P. has flipped a Democratic held seat in California since 1998 and is a significant win in an election that was primarily conducted by mail and reflected the country’s bitter partisan mood. The two candidates will meet again in November, when both are planning to run for a full term. The win clinched a two-for-two showing by the G.O.P. in Tuesday’s special House elections.
Wisconsin: In rural northern Wisconsin, Tom Tiffany, a Republican state senator, handily beat Tricia Zunker, a Democratic school board member, in the state’s 7th Congressional District race.”