U.S. Covid circumstances rise to pandemic excessive as delta and omicron flow into

The US Covid cases have reached their peak in the pandemic as two highly infectious varieties circulate across the country and health officials urge Americans to get vaccinated and armed against the virus.

According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, new cases a day across the country hit the record seven-day average of more than 265,000 on Tuesday, beating the previous high of around 252,000 average daily cases on January 11, 2021.

The new peak of the pandemic comes as the Delta and Omicron variants spread at the same time. The previously dominant delta variant already led to higher case numbers in the USA this fall, before the advent of Omicron, which contributed to an almost vertical increase in new cases every day.

About 75,000 Americans are hospitalized with Covid-19, and the country reports more than 1,500 deaths every day. While both numbers are increasing, they’re lower than the last daily case record almost a year ago, before Covid vaccinations were widespread. Hospital admissions at the time exceeded 137,000, according to a seven-day average from Health Department data, and Johns Hopkins data shows the average death toll was more than 3,200 per day.

Approximately 62% of the US population are fully vaccinated with two doses of the Pfizer or Modern Shots or a dose of the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine from Tuesday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

People wait on the 14th

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

US health officials have warned that the risk for those who were not vaccinated remains highest and are urging Americans to get a booster dose to better protect themselves against Omicron.

“It has over 50 mutations and because of those mutations it may not be enough to just be vaccinated with two doses,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith” last week. “And so we really need empowerment for people to increase their protection, especially against serious illness and death with Omicron.”

In the United States, Omicron represented 59% of those sequenced Covid Cases where the delta was 41% last week, so CDC estimates.

While the global scientific community is still collecting data on the new variant, which was first discovered in southern Africa in late November, there was some encouraging early news. Real-world studies from South Africa and the UK suggest that people infected with Omicron develop milder disease compared to Delta, and Pfizer and Moderna have each said that a third dose of their mRNA-Covid vaccines would do one Appears to Provide Significant Protection Against Omicron Two-shot therapy has been found to be less effective against infection.

A health care professional conducts a COVID-19 PCR test at a vacant testing site in Farragut Square on December 28, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Anna Money Maker | Getty Images

A lighter, more communicable disease could still have a devastating impact on health systems if the absolute number of cases gets high enough, experts say. Because even if a smaller proportion of the infected comes to the hospital, this smaller proportion of a very large number could be enough to burden the hospitals and affect the care of Covid and non-Covid patients.

“A higher peak value can also overwhelm the system for other people,” said Dr. Bruce Y. Lee, professor of health policy and management at the City University of New York School of Public Health, said that with fuller hospitals it would make it harder to treat patients with heart attacks or cancer, or those who have been involved in a car accident, for example .

The White House will deploy 1,000 military medical personnel to assist hospitals facing a surge in patients infected with Covid this winter, President Joe Biden said announced last week. The government will also buy 500 million home tests that Americans can order online for free, with delivery starting in January.

Americans struggle to get tested during the busy holiday season, when many navigate through crowded airports to visit family. There is a shortage of home test kits as national and independent pharmacies struggle to keep them in stock. The queues to get tested on-site at clinics in cities like New York can sometimes last for hours.

In an interview with ABC News that aired the day after the announcement, Biden he said wish he had ordered the test kits two months ago.

A number of states are reporting record averages in the daily number of new cases. New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Virginia, Illinois, Maryland and Hawaii all hit all-time highs on Tuesday, a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins data shows. Ohio was just ahead of record levels, and Connecticut, Delaware and the District of Columbia all hit records in December before falling back below their new highs.

Hospital admissions are increasing in almost all of these states. The seven-day average of 325 patients in hospital beds with Covid in DC is a 70% increase from the previous week and nearing a record, while Hawaii, New Jersey, New York and Virginia all have weekly increases of 20% or more to have.

DC’s lead epidemiologist Anil Mangla said that while the outbreaks have been similar to those seen throughout the pandemic – schools, restaurants and bars, venues and people’s homes – the surge is much higher than expected. The district reports about 2,000 average new daily cases, according to Johns Hopkins data, about ten times the number two weeks ago and more than any other state on a population-adjusted basis.

“It’s very obvious that Omicron is here,” said Mangla. “Is there Delta? Absolutely. But because of the significant increase, we are definitely convinced Omicron is here.”

Mangla pointed to the declining percentage of DC Covid cases hospitalized, which has dropped from more than 5% at the beginning of the month to 2.6%, as a potentially hopeful sign that Omicron is causing a milder disease. However, infections in DC have only increased in the past few weeks.

Both Delta and Omicron are detected in tests sequenced at Ohio State University, said Dr. Carlos Malvestutto, an infectious disease doctor at the University of Columbus’ Wexner Medical Center. Although most of the patients currently in the hospital are likely to have Delta, Omicron is now seen in most of the new Covid test results.

Most hospital patients are not vaccinated, according to Malvestutto, a trend that he also expects at omicron. And even if the variant causes a milder illness, he still believes the state will beat its high hospitalization rate for the pandemic set in December 2020 when more than 5,600 patients were hospitalized with Covid. That number stands at nearly 5,200 on Tuesday.

“Much of the data we looked at tells us that while virulence appears to be significantly lower, it will still lead to an increase in hospital admissions due to the very high transferability in absolute terms,” ​​he said. “If you are vaccinated and vaccinated, you will be much better.”

– CNBCs Spencer Kimball Reporting contributed.

San Antonians say psychological well being, housing, and infrastructure amongst finest methods to spend pandemic aid cash

SAN ANTONIO – As the San Antonio City Council decides how to spend the remaining $ 199.4 million in unallocated money from the American Rescue Plan Act, parishioners have made their wishes known.

In a presentation on Thursday to the council members, the city officials presented the results of the various surveys, town hall meetings and meetings with the Small Business Advocacy Commission from the previous months. Housing, infrastructure and economic development were high on the list of immediate spending priorities for community members, while they said mental health, housing and quality childcare were their preferred long-term investments.

The SBAC listed priorities such as access to capital, such as grants or loans; Capacity building through vocational training and financial literacy; and promoting art and tourism.

The city has been allocated $ 326.9 million in ARPA dollars, half of which it has already received. The other half is expected to be received in May 2022.

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The city is allowed to use the money for a variety of purposes, including: balancing budget constraints; pay for the public health response to the pandemic; Payment of bonuses for important employees; and water, sewer and broadband infrastructure works.

The city has already committed $ 97.5 million to fill budget gaps from lost revenue over three fiscal years. Council too Set aside $ 30 million to help people in arrears with their electricity and water bills.

On Thursday, city officials recommended allocating $ 35 million to the city’s COVID-19 response, $ 35.95 million for “immediate” community needs and $ 128.45 million for “effective investment.”

POSSIBLE BONUS FOR CITY WORKERS

City officials suggested two “premium payment” options for city workers, for the several council members had asked.

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Depending on their annual income, the first plan would pay employees a bonus of up to $ 3,000 if they worked on-site in the 12 months between March 2020 and March 2021.

This plan would cost $ 10 million and cover 5,920 eligible employees.

However, City Manager Erik Walsh had employees come up with a second plan that would cover all employees – 11,760 of them – and pay up to $ 2,000, depending on their hire date and annual earnings. This plan would cost $ 14.3 million.

“But from my point of view, I think we should treat everyone equally from the point of view of employees,” said Walsh.

While not all city employees would meet the ARPA guidelines for premium payment, which are intended for those who had to work in person during the pandemic, city employees could justify this by using the “revenue replacement” category.

Some councilors called for a third option that would still cover all 11,760 employees but offer a relatively higher bonus for the 5,920 who had to come to work.

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City officials noted that none of the other major Texas cities had yet chosen to use ARPA money for bonuses.

NEXT STEPS

The city council has yet to approve the overall framework for the use of the money. This is expected to happen in a February 3rd vote after the city council made adjustments based on Thursday’s discussion.

Thereafter, the council members will assist through various sub-committees in deciding which programs to fund the ARPA money.

Copyright 2021 by KSAT – All rights reserved.

Cleveland looking for to award $2M to financially troubled NEON Well being Providers utilizing pandemic aid cash: Stimulus Watch

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cleveland City Council could pass bill Monday to allocate $ 2 million from the city’s pandemic funds to a nonprofit agency that is providing its CEO with more than $ 500,000 despite pre-pandemic financial difficulties pays.

Northeast Ohio Neighborhood Health Services (NEON) are seeking funding from the American Rescue Plan to strengthen their health services in some of Cleveland’s poorest minority neighborhoods.

Proponents argue that the money could go far in supporting major health programs. but Tax returns from NEON reveal a precarious financial situation – and a CEO who received a $ 100,000 raise in a year the agency was caring for fewer patients and was in the red.

NEON’s plan to spend the $ 2 million American Rescue Plan Act will use the lion’s share – $ 1.4 million – on several new and existing programs, including mental health services, lead prevention and intervention, food distribution, Education about healthy eating, chronic disease control and health literacy. However, this funding pool also includes items such as “NEON Administration” and “NEON Direct Costs – Transportation”, with no US dollar amounts specified for any program.

Another $ 360,000 would work with LegalWorks, Inc. to fund a detox clinic, and $ 200,000 would be used to repair damage to the NEON Hough Health Center, which caught fire in May.

The Hough Center is temporarily closed, and NEON’s other centers are bringing health services to other areas where Clevelander suffer disproportionately from negative health outcomes, including Miles-Broadway, Norwood, St. Clair-Superior, and the Southeast Side.

NEON is a state-qualified health center and, according to IRS filings, brings in primarily cash from contributions – about $ 13 million in 2019 – and program services like Medicaid reimbursements totaling about $ 11 million in 2019. Funding is received through the administration for health resources and services. This agency said cleveland.com that NEON receives funding until the end of the year and has been approved for a 3-year funding from 01/01/2022 to 12/31/2024. The agency spokesman was not yet able to announce the total amount of the funding at the time of going to press.

According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, NEON Caring for fewer patients each year, down about a third over the past five years – from 31,804 in 2016 to 21,605 in 2020. From 2017 to 2018 – the year that board member granted CEO Willie Austin a $ 100,000 raise – NEON served 2,740 fewer employees.

Although NEON serves fewer Clevelanders, NEON’s tax returns are in deficit in 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 – the last available year when net income was nearly $ 1 million in the red.

In 2020, NEON received more than $ 5 million in pandemic-related funding – a $ 3.6 million forgivable loan from the CARES Paycheck Protection Program and $ 1.6 million in additional Health Center Grants and $ 216,000 in Relief Funds.

Cleveland.com contacted NEON and Austin for this story.

Some of NEON’s financial difficulties are related to a payout of more than $ 1.3 million due to a Unlawful termination lawsuit. In this case, employee James O’Donnell was fired after raising concerns about a financial audit involving the questionable activities of Arthur Fayne, a NEON board member and head of the consulting firm hired to lead the New Eastside Market project, showed that the developer was responsible for the NEON.

In December 2020, Fayne has been charged with embezzling $ 855,000 from the Eastside Market project. The case is pending.

NEON was selected to develop the New Eastside Market in 2015 and rented the property on St. Clair Avenue from the city for $ 1 a year. The city has also deposited over $ 350,000 as well a 75 percent tax reduction for 15 years on improvements to the property, including new plumbing, electrical and roofing. When the project went over budget in 2018, the city approved an additional $ 500,000 grant. Cuyahoga County and the State of Ohio also awarded grants of $ 750,000 each.

New Eastside Market opened in 2019 with a vision to operate a full-service grocery store in what is otherwise considered a “food wasteland,” as well as providing health and wellness services. But NEON has yet to deliver on some of his promises for the location, like opening a health clinic or a demonstration kitchen for nutritious cooking classes.

Alderman Basheer Jones, whose ward includes NEON’s Hough Clinic, was the council’s strongest supporter of raising $ 2 million in stimulus funds to NEON. Jones, who has given up his council seat because of an unsuccessful mayoral candidacy, has made the NEON proposal his final legislative proposal.

Speaking at a committee meeting on November 16, Jones said he saw NEON’s latest funding proposal as a step toward holistic health. Jones said when NEON was founded in 1967 it was one of the few health care providers that the city’s black community felt welcome.

“Well, I’m sure there have been a lot of mistakes along the way,” Jones continued. “Unfortunately we live in a country where some make mistakes and others can’t make mistakes… Why can some organizations as a city make mistakes and then get the resources and still be able to make mistakes? Do business and there are some who are excluded? “

The city council is expected to deliberate on the law at its final session of the year on Monday before a new council and mayor take office in January.

Stimulus Watch is a public service journalism project run by cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer to track federal funding reaching Northeast Ohio through the US rescue plan. Read more undercleveland.com/stimulus-watch.

Texas has spent $7B in federal cash to pay short-term well being care staff throughout COVID pandemic

AUSTIN — The state is trying to wind down an expensive, federally paid program of hiring nurses and other health care professionals to keep its hospitals from buckling under staffing pressures and burnout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the plan could be upended by any spike in COVID-19 cases prompted by gatherings over the upcoming holidays. Already, the state decided to keep up surge staffing at hospitals in El Paso and the Panhandle because of recent outbreaks.

After three huge waves of hospitalizations – in each of the past two summers and the big daddy of them all, last December and January – the state has spent nearly $7 billion of federal COVID-19 money for temporary nurses, respiratory therapists and some doctors to maintain operations at hospitals and “alternate care sites.”

The state set up the alternate care sites, mostly at nursing homes and convention centers, to free up hospital beds for coronavirus patients.

The decision to begin ramping down the “medical surge staffing” could be premature. Some public health officials worry that many Texans will mingle indoors and maskless during the upcoming holidays, among them unvaccinated state residents, creating a spike in both seasonal flu and COVID-19 that strains hospitals to capacity.

The Texas Department of State Health Services has told the three vendors who provide the hospitals with temporary caregivers that it plans to stop doing that in most parts of the state over the next month or so, said spokesman Chris Van Deusen.

“Of course, we’re always flexible about that,” he said. “If the situation changes, we’ll change the direction we’re headed.”

Critics of Gov. Greg Abbott’s management of the public health crisis say he’s used hospital staffing support when he should have used a full range of mitigation measures that are far less expensive, such as mask and vaccine mandates.

While the staffing expense is covered 100% by the federal government, the extravagant spending distorted the marketplace for nursing labor, which was already in short supply, said Rep. Donna Howard, an Austin Democrat and retired nurse who has studied the state’s response closely.

‘Burden on the hospitals’

Early in the pandemic, Abbott ordered hospitals to postpone elective surgeries, which choked off vital revenue streams, Howard said. But the Republican governor only hesitatingly embraced a statewide masking and distancing order, which he fully lifted in early March, she noted.

More recently, Abbott has stressed state provision – again, thanks to Uncle Sam – of COVID-19 treatments and infusion centers, where infected patients receive monoclonal antibodies that reduce the severity of symptoms.

“Those are great,” Howard said. “But again, though, rather than trying to do things to prevent it from happening in the first place, the interventions have been after the fact. And it’s really been a burden on the hospitals.”

Abbott spokeswoman Renae Eze, noting that nearly 36 million shots have been administered to Texans, said Abbott has launched “innovative strategies” to combat the pandemic. She cited mobile vaccine clinics and a “Save Our Seniors” program he announced in March. Under the program, modeled on one in Corpus Christi given statewide attention by The Dallas Morning News, local first responders and other volunteers take shots to homebound seniors or set up central drive-through vaccine clinics.

“Governor Abbott has prioritized protecting the safety of Texans from COVID while also safeguarding their livelihoods and personal freedom,” Eze said in a written statement.

Abbott continues to work closely with state Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt and Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd “to get shots in arms and provide support to communities across the state,” she said.

“While the vaccine has proven effective at reducing the severity of COVID cases and slowing the spread of COVID, Governor Abbott also recognizes the right of Texans to refuse the shot, especially those who have acquired immunity, have health conditions, or other reasons to not take the shot.”

Many Texans, though, are still resistant to the shot. Only 59% of Texans age 5 or older have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Flu prospects

So far this flu season, Texans haven’t been catching influenza at an alarming rate. Of the nearly 39,000 who’ve been tested since early October, just 0.35% tested positive. At the peak of the 2018-2019 flu season, in February 2019, about one quarter of specimens tested positive for flu, noted epidemiologist Diana Cervantes of the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center at Fort Worth.

Still, on Wednesday, the federal Centers for Disease Control issued an alert warning of a recent increase in flu viruses detected in recent weeks, especially among young adults. The federal agency said it “also is aware of influenza outbreaks in colleges and universities in several states.”

Flu seasons in which the particular strain noticed in the recent uptick – A(H3N2) – is predominant “were associated with more hospitalizations and deaths in persons aged 65 years and older,” the alert said.

The CDC urged all Americans six months old and older – if they haven’t already, and many haven’t – to get flu shots.

UNT’s Cervantes explained public health officials’ concern.

“As the COVID vaccine has become available, there are many fewer restrictions and prevention measures directed at COVID prevention such as mask usage, physical distancing this year – so we may likely see a more active flu season compared to last year,” she said.

She continued, “There is a possibility that due to the holidays and increased travel and general contact with others, we could see an increase in COVID cases and flu cases jointly and unfortunately there are always severe cases of both that can require hospitalization leading to dual stresses on our health care system.”

With COVID-19 vaccine widely available and “no new variant of concern” at this point, “I am hopeful we will not see a spike of COVID like we experienced last winter,” Cervantes said.

The surge staffing began in July 2020 with just more than 3,500 visiting health care workers helping Texas hospitals. Peak deployment came after last winter’s surge of cases, with almost 14,000 temporary nurses and other workers used during one week in early February. Last summer, the numbers dwindled. From mid-May to mid-August, no surge staffing was needed.

But then deployments kicked back up with the spike of cases caused by the delta variant. By early October, the department’s three private vendors were supplying nearly 7,800 health care professionals a week. As of Nov. 17, that had dropped to 3,176.

A demobilization ‘pause’

In recent weeks, the department told its three vendors supplying the nurses and other front-line workers – San Antonio-based nonprofit BCFS Health and Human Services, San Antonio-based Angel Staffing Inc. and Columbia, Md.-based Maxim Healthcare Group – that it planned to stop all hospital support in early December.

A flare-up of positive cases in El Paso and the Panhandle has forced the department to keep providing the surge staffing to those two regions, even as it hopes to be able to stop providing nurses and therapists to hospitals in most of the state, said Van Deusen, the state health department spokesman.

“We’ve paused sort of demobilizing staff out in El Paso, for example, because they’ve seen things really start to go up more,” he said. “But yes, that’s been the idea,” to end the program as more Texans are vaccinated and severe cases of the disease taper off.

On Tuesday, the hospital regions where coronavirus patients are taking up the highest percentage of available beds were El Paso (13.3%), Amarillo (11.8%) and Lubbock (9.9%), according to the department’s coronavirus dashboard. Of the four major metros, Dallas had the highest share of its hospital beds devoted to COVID-19 patients – 4.9%. There were 768 people with COVID-19 hospitalized in the Dallas trauma service area’s hospitals. Of them, 94 had been admitted in the previous 24 hours.

From just over a year ago, Dallas has zoomed to account for 28% of the surge staffing statewide, from under 10%. South Texas, which in October 2020 drew 35% of the temporary workers helping Texas hospitals, now is using only 11%. As a share of the statewide deployment, Houston has tapered off (to 21% of the total, from 25% a year earlier), while Austin and Central Texas account for nearly 10% of the statewide staffing help, up from about 1% a year earlier.

President Joe Biden recently said that 100% reimbursement of states’ coronavirus-related response efforts, such as the hospital staffing, would continue through April 1.

Van Deusen said that leaving aside considerations about federal reimbursements, the need for the surge staffing has diminished.

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 in Texas have decreased dramatically from the delta variant-driven spike of confirmed cases in late summer. From nearly 14,000 in late August and early September, hospitalized patients have fallen to under 2,700 as of Tuesday.

“We had started ramping down earlier this month, with the idea that it would take probably four to six weeks to do that,” Van Deusen said.

‘Worth it to them’

Some of the health care workers, such as nurses, have commanded high prices to come work at Texas hospitals.

Howard said at one point, she was told by the state health department that nurses cost the state $100 an hour to $125 an hour. She said she didn’t know if that was the amount being paid to the vendor or the nurses. The online job site Indeed shows the average registered nurse in Texas commanding about $36 an hour, she noted.

Department officials and vendors have declined to discuss wages paid to the temporary hospital workers.

“You had nurses who left their jobs to become traveling nurses because they could make a heck of a lot more money,” said Howard, who said she’s heard from one of her staff members an anecdote about one who gambled on treating COVID-19 patients in order to get a piece of the American dream – a house.

“They knew that it was going to be short term, but it was worth it to them to leave where they were and go wherever they needed to be for the fairly short period of time and bring in an exorbitant salary,” Howard recounted.

“It allowed them to actually get a mortgage. That was out of out of sight for them before. They are now able to buy a house because of this, which is great for them. But the distortion in the market is that those very people who are leaving, now, the hospitals are having to find ways to increase what they pay in order to retain their nurses. They’re doing bonuses, they’re doing premium pay, they’re doing whatever they can do, to try to keep the nurses that they have.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who has received Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody treatment to help him fight COVID-19, said Saturday that he is wants to see antibody infusion centers opened across the state.

By far the biggest chunk of the nearly $6.9 billion spent since July 2020 has gone to BCFS – $5.3 billion, or 77%.

The state also processed invoices from Angel for $1.14 billion (17% of the total) and from Maxim, the former Medcall Medical Staffing, for $455 million (6%). Angel and Maxim are privately held, for-profit companies.

As of Nov. 15, BCFS had 1,945 medical personnel working in 235 Texas hospitals, said BCFS spokeswoman Evy Ramos. Except for about 300 respiratory therapists, they were all nurses, she said. None was a physician.

Of the $6.88 billion spent, just under $2.4 million was state funds, according to a spreadsheet of vendor payments obtained by The Dallas Morning News.

“The funds obligated are federal, FEMA and CARES Act dollars,” said state health department spokesman Doug Loveday, referring to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act of 2020.

Another $8.7 million of the money went to alternate care sites.

None of the money spent yet has come from the American Rescue Plan Act passed in March, though state lawmakers last month approved spending up to $2 billion of the American Rescue Plan money on hospital surge staffing, COVID therapeutics and infusion centers.

Texas soon will have spent more than $5.1 billion to hire nurses and other frontline health-care workers at premium rates to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients and deter the disease at group residential settings such as nursing homes. The effort will eat up nearly two-thirds of the $8.1 billion in federal Coronavirus Relief Fund money the state has received. In February file photo, three nurses at Dallas' Parkland Memorial Hospital -- one a traveling nurse and two on-staff -- review an intubated COVID-19 patient’s oxygen levels.

four methods consumers have modified because the pandemic started

Shoppers climb and descend an escalator at Willow Grove Park Mall in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania on November 14, 2020.

Mark Makela | Reuters

As the Christmas shoppers prepare for the festivities, they are preparing for a season that will be noticeably different than it was a year ago.

Big parties with family and friends. Busy shopping malls. A trip to Santa Claus. Maybe even a warm weather getaway. Consumers are again seeing more of these vacation rituals than possible. Almost three in five Americans are vaccinated against Covid-19, and the pace of it is new coronavirus cases has fallen below the level of summer rise, giving people more confidence to return to their holiday traditions.

Even so, not everything will be the same as it was before the Covid strike.

Buyers have developed new habits and new fears have arisen. Factory closures, congested ports and labor shortages can all result in limited gift choices and consumers easily missing out on a toy or gift they were hoping for. Prices could lead to a sticker shock, even.

Consumers are likely to swiftly switch between online and in-store shopping, taking full advantage of methods such as roadside collection. (Although on this holiday, convenience – rather than avoiding the crowds – will determine the decision.) Shops have largely given up breaks, but other avenues have emerged for Insolvent consumers to finance their vacation purchases.

“Black Friday will be like no other” Macys CEO Jeff Gennette told analysts on a conference call Thursday. “We are Closed on Thanksgivingwhich is a big change from 2019. But we expect our digital business to be very heavily tracked throughout the day … and we are ready for all of the expected traffic that is about to begin [in stores] at 6:00 am the day after Thanksgiving. “

Here’s a closer look at some of the ways this Christmas season is likely to be different than it has been in the past:

Slowdown in ecommerce growth

Holiday e-commerce sales are up at least one mid-teens clip year over year as long as Adobe Analytics stays on top of things. That should change this year.

Online sales in the US are expected to grow 10% to $ 207 billion, according to Adobe’s Digital Economy Index. That’s after a massive pandemic-related increase of 33% last year. Adobe tracks more than 100 million products online across 18 product categories across the web.

“There are many macroeconomic factors at play here … that could drive consumers to switch between online and offline purchases,” said Vivek Pandya, senior analyst at Adobe Digital Insights.

Stories about the supply chain and crowded ports are likely to help more people shop in stores instead of online whenever possible, he said. And after an unprecedented surge in e-commerce spending last Christmas season, it was likely that growth would slow, Pandya added. Still, Adobe predicts this will be the first public holiday that online spending will top $ 200 billion.

Buyers return to the stores

Christmas shoppers search for deals during the Black Friday sales event at the Pentagon Center shopping mall in Arlington, Virginia on November 29, 2019.

Loren Elliott | Reuters

Are you thinking about going to the mall on Black Friday? You’re not alone. Shops will be much busier than they were a year ago as shoppers’ fear of venturing out of the house has eased significantly.

The National Retail Federation said it was expecting almost 2 million more people will shop from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber ​​Monday, even though 61% of shoppers have already started buying gifts. The retail group used Prosper Insights & Analytics to survey 7,837 adults from November 1 to 10 about their plans and progress.

On Black Friday, 64% said they expected to go to stores to shop, up from 51% last year, NRF said.

ICSC, a retail organization that represents the shopping mall industry, conducted its own survey of 1,005 people from September 24-26 and learned that half of US consumers plan to visit more stores this year to To buy gifts. In the past year, 45% said they went to shopping malls.

Consumers cited the ability to touch and feel products, get what they want instantly, and finding gift ideas as the main reasons for the trip. More than three quarters of people said they went to shopping centers to have a bite to eat or to use other services in the shopping centers.

“Vaccination rates are improving in some of our regions, and California in particular,” said Jean-Marie Tritant, US president of the Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield global shopping mall. “This makes people feel even more comfortable when they return to places where they can meet.”

Buy gifts now, pay later

Confirm the Holdings Inc. website home screen on a laptop computer in an arranged photo taken on Wednesday December 9, 2020 in Little Falls, New Jersey, USA.

Gabby Jones | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Gone are the old school days of the layaway. Consumers have a new way to cover the cost of vacation travel: Buy now, pay later Payment plans.

The use of installment payments is expected to gain popularity this holiday season. These services enable a buyer to purchase an item, take it home immediately, and cash out in set increments. Layaway, on the other hand, required a retailer to reserve an item and keep that purchased item for the consumer.

BNPL has established itself as a retailer including Macys, Walmart and target Make deals with companies like. away Confirm, based in Australia additional payment and Sweden’s Klarna.

According to data from Adobe Analytics, “Buy Now, Pay Later” online sales increased 10% this year compared to 2020 and 45% compared to 2019. One in four respondents in an Adobe survey said they had used BNPL plans in the past three months, with apparel, electronics, and groceries being the top three categories.

Summarize memories

Fans attend a concert by recording artist Machine Gun Kelly during a stop on his Tickets to My Downfall tour at The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas on October 16, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ethan Miller | Getty Images

Wellness days. Dinner in a fancy restaurant. Tickets for a concert.

These gifts are returning to wish lists this year as consumers feel more comfortable around other people and long for experiences they’ve missed.

About 43% of consumers plan to redirect their spending this holiday season to experiences and service gifts, according to a survey by consulting firm Accenture of around 1,500 US consumers in August. This is even higher among the younger generations: 53% of Millennials and 50% of Generation Z say they are switching to more experience spending, the survey found.

Almost 70% of respondents plan to buy the same or more restaurant gift cards this holiday season compared to last year, and 47% plan to buy the same or more beauty products or services as gifts, e.g. B. a manicure.

Travel-related gifts in particular are on the wish list. According to the survey, 40 percent of older millennials – consumers between 32 and 39 – plan to purchase travel vouchers or airline tickets for others during the holiday season.

“We have some catching up to do,” said Jill Standish, director of Accenture’s retail group.

Ex-New Zealand PM on Covid pandemic, vaccine inequity

People walking past a mural depicting medical workers hitting the coronavirus with a vaccine needle in Santacruz, Mumbai, India on March 29, 2021.

Pratik Chorge | Hindustan times | Getty Images

Covid-19 is still spreading around the world and a “vaccine only” strategy will not end the pandemic, former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark said Thursday.

The World Health Organization has issued the same warning last year when the world was stuck in the Covid pandemic for only a few months.

Globally, the number of daily reported Covid cases and deaths rose again in the past month, data compiled by Johns Hopkins University showed. In fact, more and more people are receiving vaccinations and, in some countries, booster vaccinations.

“What I would say to the countries … [that] Successful with vaccine rollouts is: It won’t do it alone, “said Clark at the virtual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Summit.

“You need to be able to calibrate, reintroduce or maintain public health measures that are relevant to the epidemiological state of the pandemic and your country at this point in time,” she added.

In a separate meeting at the APEC CEO Summit, Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel said one of the biggest challenges in managing the Covid outbreak is being proactive in responding to spikes in cases.

Unfortunately, Germany is now in the middle of the fourth wave. We are seeing a large increase in numbers. People may think it’s a thing of the past, but we need to realize that it’s not over yet.

Angela Merkel

Chancellor

“As soon as the cases increase dramatically, you have to intervene immediately,” said Merkel, who is preparing for her office after 16 years a year Germany’s top job.

She warned that the Covid-19 pandemic is not over yet, as Germany is experiencing a resurgence in some cases.

“Unfortunately, Germany is in the middle of the fourth wave. We are seeing a high increase in numbers. People may believe that it is a thing of the past, but we have to recognize that it is not over yet,” said Merkel on Friday.

Keep Delta away

In addition to Germany, the daily reported cases have also increased in Singapore, although vaccine rollout has been accelerated.

The Southeast Asian city-state has around one of the highest vaccination rates in the world 85% of the population fully vaccinated according to the Ministry of Health. But the country had to Adjust social distancing measures several times, as the highly infectious Delta variant spreads.

“Very Unjust” Vaccine Rollout

The “very unjust” introduction of Covid vaccines is partly responsible for the prolongation of the pandemic, said Clark.

“We’re not going to be really safe in New Zealand or Canada or China or wherever unless everyone in the world has access to vaccines and therapeutics and so on,” she said.

the WHO and other health professionals, including famous epidemiologist Larry Brilliant, have already made similar comments.

Clark co-chaired an independent panel set up by WHO to review global pandemic preparedness and response.

In its final report released in May, the panel recommended that high-income countries redistribute at least one billion doses of Covid vaccines to 92 low- and middle-income countries by September 1, and an additional billion doses by mid-2022.

Analytics company Airfinity said in a report dated Oct. 20 that only 350 million cans were dispensed.

World Covid deaths hit 5 million as pandemic takes staggering toll

Two women walk next to graves of people who died due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Parque Taruma cemetery in Manaus, Brazil, on May 20, 2021.

Bruno Kelly | Reuters

More than 5 million people have died of Covid-19 in less than two years as the world continues to battle the highly contagious Delta strain of the virus and keep an eye out for new mutations.

According to data collected Monday by John Hopkins University, 5,000,425 Covid-19-related deaths have been recorded worldwide. 745,836 people have died of Covid-19 in the United States, making it the country with the most recorded deaths.

The coronavirus pandemic, which first appeared in China in late 2019, continues to cause deadly consequences worldwide.

It is as a result that many countries are lifting pandemic restrictions and ending lockdowns, which were imposed to varying degrees throughout 2020 in an attempt to stop the virus from spreading.

The rapid development of Covid vaccines, clinically proven to significantly reduce serious infections, hospital stays, and deaths from the coronavirus, has helped dramatically reduce the number of people dying from Covid, especially in western countries where the vaccination programs are at an advanced stage.

Nonetheless, there have been growing concerns in recent months about an increase in infections, hospital admissions, and deaths as winter approaches, not only among the unvaccinated, who are far more at risk of serious complications from Covid, but also among the elderly (who are too vaccinated first), as immunity wears off over time.

This is breaking news, please check back for more updates.

Hospitals are spending extra money to rent and retain well being care employees throughout the pandemic. That is dangerous for his or her margins.

Hospitals are facing staff shortages made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Wall Street analysts are increasingly concerned that there are insufficient staff for these facilities, which is hurting margins.

“The surge in COVID-19 cases from the Delta variant continues to exacerbate hospital staff shortages, hinder recruitment and retention, drive up wages and hurt hospital profitability,” Moody’s Investors Service said Tuesday. “Over the course of the next year, we expect margins to decline in light of wage inflation, the use of expensive care agencies, increased recruitment and retention efforts, and expanded service packages that include more behavioral health services and offers such as childcare.”

There are several problems involved.

Nursing staff and doctors have been in short supply in some parts of the country for years. Many have burned out – and after 20 months of the pandemic, some are choosing to retire or quit. (A recent survey of 6,000 critical care workers found that 66% considered quitting nursing because of the pandemic.)

“There is no question that the labor market has been under pressure for some time with COVID activity,” said William Rutherford, CFO of HCA Healthcare Inc.
HCA, -0.77%,
one of the largest hospital chains in the US said at the Morgan Stanley Health Care Conference last month, according to a FactSet transcript of the presentation.

Then came the Delta variant and an increase in hospital admissions, which in particular increased the need for nurses to care for COVID-19 patients.

Many hospitals have had to limit or discontinue elective procedures, which are considered critical to their financial success, in order to focus their resources on these patients.

This includes Intermountain Healthcare, Utah’s largest hospital system, which began postponing all non-urgent procedures in 13 nonprofit hospitals due to lack of beds in mid-September. That same week, Idaho began rationing care to hospitals there, citing the “massive increase in COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization in all areas of the state.”

“In some US regions, hospitals have suspended elective overnight operations, not only because of an increase in cases, but also because of insufficient staffing, which led to a decline in sales,” the analysts from Moody’s write in the report.

And finally some workers made up their minds quit or get fired instead of following the COVID-19 vaccination regulations introduced by some health organizations.

Add all these factors together and consider that salaries and benefits typically make up half the total cost of a hospital.

Hospitals now have to pay their workers more, including hiring more expensive temporary or travel nurses; spend more on social benefits and other “perks” to keep; and increase the amount of money they invest in recruiting clinical talent. (This is a good thing for healthcare recruitment agencies like AMN Healthcare Services Inc.
AMN, -0.33%
and Cross Country Healthcare Inc.
CCRN, + 1.69%,
Analysts say.)

“When COVID spikes occur, hospital beds will primarily be assigned to COVID patients and non-COVID admissions will be postponed,” Jefferies analysts wrote this week in a notice to investors on nonprofit hospitals. “If we leave the delta rise, we believe that demand for temporary nurses will weaken from current levels, but will remain elevated (lower placement rates compared to current average) as postponed admissions and procedures are rescheduled.”

The delta rise subsides, and the number of new cases, hospital admissions and deaths are falling. The current 7-day average for COVID-19 hospital admissions is 7,271 (as of Friday), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s already lower than last week’s 7-day average of 8,378, but that doesn’t mean all hospitals aren’t ready.

“Even if the average daily COVID hospital stays are decreasing, we continue to see many hospitals and intensive care units across the country operating at full capacity,” said CDC director Rochelle Walensky on Wednesday during a briefing at the White House.

Read more about related coverage from MarketWatch:

New York health workers who are laid off for getting vaccinated are in most cases not eligible for unemployment benefits

“You have to do the right thing”: 50 health groups ask employers to prescribe COVID vaccines for workers – but one major obstacle remains

Court Upholds Houston Hospital’s Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccine Policy: “All Employment Has Restrictions On Worker Behavior”

Let There Be Carnage’ field workplace is highest pandemic opening

Tom Hardy stars in Sony’s “Venom: Let There Be Carnage”.

Sony

There’s a new king of the pandemic box office.

Sony’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage grossed an estimated $ 90.1 million in domestic ticket sales over the weekend, the best box office since the Covid-19 outbreak began.

Marvel’s “Black Widow” was the previous record holder after looted $ 80 million while in debt in July.

“Venom: Let There Be Carnage” also topped the first “Venom” film, which grossed $ 80.3 million on the 2018 opening weekend. It is also the second highest October opening in film history, right behind “Joker”, which brought in $ 96.2 million in 2019, according to Comscore.

“We … are pleased that patience and theater exclusivity have been rewarded with record results,” said Tom Rothman, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, in a statement on Sunday.

For much of 2021, the studios decided to have many of their new films available in cinemas and on streaming platforms at the same time. These decisions were made long before vaccination rates went up and before the Delta variant was widespread in the United States

However, it turns out that the double release has resulted in cannibalization of movie ticket sales. While some studios are still taking advantage of the simultaneous in-theater and streaming debuts for movies, most have returned to an exclusive cinema window.

Cinema operators praised the results of the “Venom” sequel. Cinemark noted that “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” was the grand opening weekend and helped generate the largest movie weekend in October for the company to date.

“This is another strong example of people wanting and needing to leave their homes for an immersive entertainment experience,” said Mark Zoradi, CEO of Cinemark, in a statement.

IMAX also experienced its largest global box-office weekend since December 2019 and recorded its best October weekend ever, the company announced on Sunday.

Pandemic has modified individuals’s view of cash, what they do with it

How the COVID-19 crisis is affecting how we think about cash. Some say it made a big impact. Sarah Buynovsky of Newswatch 16 has the story.

WYOMING COUNTY, Pennsylvania – Recent results show that this pandemic has changed the way people see money and what they do with it, especially college students and graduates.

“They tell us that they are very into personal finance management. They’re interested in funding, about 20 percent are actually investing, ”said Rod Griffin, Experian public education expert.

Financial experts said they seem more concerned than ever about saving and making their money work for them, which is a big change since the health crisis began.

“Eighty-one percent told us they were concerned about the job prospects and finances related to the pandemic,” added Griffin.

Financial experts are saying more than ever that people are turning to technology to make their money work for them, for example with various apps.

They said this pandemic taught people that anything could happen to the economy and the job market.

“You think about things that many of us have never done.”

Financial experts added another good sign: This generation seems to be particularly preoccupied with debt: specifically credit card and student loan debt, and how best to avoid and manage them.