COVID19

COVID-19 vaccine candidates secure funds; Lysol gets EPA nod

The outbreak of the coronavirus has dealt a shock to the global economy with unprecedented speed. Following are developments Tuesday related to the national and global response, the work place and the spread of the virus.

________________________

FOOD & SHOPPING:

— Overall retail sales are expected to fall this year, but there’s one bright spot: online shopping. E-commerce sales are expected to rise 18% this year, with most of that spending going to Amazon and Walmart, according to market research firm eMarketer. The increase was helped by the popularity of services like buy online and pick up curbside. The pandemic has also forced some to shop online for the first time: online shopping among those 65 and older is expected to rise 12% this year.

— Good Times Restaurants, which runs Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar and Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard, is reporting fiscal third-quarter same-store sales for Bad

Read More

Telehealth called a ‘silver lining’ of the COVID-19 pandemic. This time, it might stick

Telehealth use surged from 8% of Americans in December to 29% in May as primary care and mental health physicians and specialists turned to remote care out of necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a UnitedHealth Group report.

Telehealth evangelists long have touted using high-speed internet connections and a range of devices to link providers and patients for remote care. But regulatory hurdles and medicine’s conservative culture limited virtual checkups to largely minor conditions such as sinus infections or unique circumstances such as connecting neurologists to rural hospitals that lack specialized care.

The pandemic lockdowns closed doctors’ offices and delayed nonemergency care for millions of Americans. Some clinics scrambled to acquire technology platforms to deliver remote care. Others employed rarely used video programs to reach patients in their homes.

Remote visits among Medicare patients surged through the end of March, prompting Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Director Seema

Read More

5 financial weapons you can use to fight the COVID-19 economy

As the coronavirus threatens the health and wealth of Americans, consumers are fighting back by arming themselves with basic financial tools they may have overlooked before.

They’re rushing to sign up for products and plans that will protect their incomes, lifestyles and loved ones from the virus and the severe economic fallout that has tipped the U.S. into its first recession in over a decade.

Here are five financial tools that have become essential during the pandemic. If you haven’t included them in your money strategy, maybe it’s time to make room.

1. Life insurance

Chompoo Suriyo / Shutterstock
The pandemic has raised awareness about life insurance.

The rising toll from COVID-19 is a reminder that life is fragile — which has led to surging sales of life insurance policies.

“We believe there are many people who have been putting off buying life insurance, and the pandemic is creating

Read More

How COVID-19 Made Acting Lessons Accessible to Me

Young woman wearing headphones taking online class.
Young woman wearing headphones taking online class.

As an actress with cerebral palsy, I have two needs: Acting lessons for training and transportation to take me there. I have recently moved to Frederick, MD. Back when I lived in Burtonsville, I was much closer to Washington, D.C., the place to study acting in this heart of America. But it doesn’t mean Uber trips were cheap. I began my training at The Theatre Lab last summer. My “Intro to Acting” class was an early Saturday morning class. I could take an $18 Uber ride to Silver Spring and take an easy Metro ride there. Rinse and repeat for the ride home. One of the various reasons was why I took a morning class is because Uber rides are much cheaper in the morning than the evening.

As most acting studios go, most of The Theatre Lab’s classes take place at night

Read More

Colleges race to create ‘a new sense of normalcy.’ Will new rules, COVID-19 testing be enough?

SAN DIEGO – When students arrive at the University of California-San Diego in August, they will find coronavirus testing stations strategically planted throughout campus.

To determine whether they’ve been infected, they’ll take a swab, dab it with nasal slime and leave the sample in a collection box. Bar codes with the packets will be linked to their personal medical records and cellphone numbers.

Within a day, students can expect results via text message. For those who test positive, a huge response system includes medical care, isolation and contact tracing.

Robert Schooley, chief of the infectious diseases division at UC San Diego Health, said the reopening plan, dubbed Return to Learn, has multiple scenarios for campus life, and surveillance results will dictate which one administrators deploy. Researchers will even pull manhole covers to check campus sewage for coronavirus levels.

“We want to be able to adjust what we do to what

Read More

Colleges are racing to create ‘a new sense of normalcy.’ Will new rules, COVID-19 testing be enough?

SAN DIEGO — When students arrive at the University of California San Diego in August, they will find coronavirus testing stations strategically planted throughout campus.

To determine if they’ve been infected, they’ll take a swab, dab it with nasal slime and leave the sample in a collection box. Bar codes with the packets will be linked to their personal medical records and cell phone numbers.

Within a day, students can expect results via text message. For those who test positive, it will set in motion a huge response system that includes medical care, isolation and contact tracing.

Robert Schooley, chief of the infectious diseases division at UC San Diego Health, said the reopening plan, dubbed Return to Learn, has multiple scenarios for campus life and surveillance results will dictate which one administrators deploy. Researchers will even pull manhole covers to check campus sewage for coronavirus levels.

“We want to be

Read More

Critics say federal agency is where workplace COVID-19 complaints go to die

The complaints have poured in from Florida work sites since the start of the pandemic.

From a Miami prison where staff allegedly weren’t provided proper protective equipment. From a whistleblower at a Panhandle plasma donation center where employees who were visibly sick and awaiting COVID-19 test results allegedly still came into work. From a hospital where nurses treating a patient allegedly weren’t told the patient was COVID-positive.

The complaints go to the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration, which dutifully maintains a list of the alleged infractions. But it’s unclear how much action is being taken.

OSHA, charged with enforcing health and safety in the American workplace, has received more than 6,000 complaints nationwide about unsafe work conditions related to COVID-19. And yet, on June 9, Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia told lawmakers that OSHA, which his department oversees, had issued just one citation related to the coronavirus — to a

Read More

Sign a COVID-19 Waiver FAQ

Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.

Even as coronavirus cases climb across the nation, many businesses are trying to reopen, and some are doing so with a new twist—asking customers to sign documents waiving their right to sue in the event that they contract COVID-19 on the premises.

At the same time, some companies are asking employees to sign COVID-19 waivers, hoping to limit their liability if workers catch the virus at work. 

Should you sign such a waiver? Can your employer force you to sign one in order to return to work? And what rights are you giving up if you do?

We put those questions to a range of legal experts to create the following guidelines and recommendations.

First, a few important preliminary points. 

One: The legal and safety implications of COVID-19 waivers are somewhat distinct for these two groups—consumers and workers—and should

Read More

Gov. Murphy Signs 9 NJ Bills Into Law To Address COVID-19, Police

NEW JERSEY – Gov. Phil Murphy has signed nine New Jersey bills into law to tackle the coronavirus crisis – some of which could provide a boost to businesses struggling amid the pandemic – and also deal with police reform.

New Jersey’s criminal justice system got a big shot in the arm after Murphy gave the thumbs-up to three new laws on Thursday.

Murphy signed three bills, including A744, which give police departments and other law enforcement agencies in New Jersey more power to check into an applicant’s past, including previous disciplinary issues. Read more: Gov. Murphy Signs Laws On Police Hiring, Services For Ex-Inmates

Murphy also signed these bills to deal with the coronavirus.

Boosting bars and restaurants

Murphy signed legislation, S-2346/A-3919, that’s intended to reduce “red tape” requirements for outdoor service for restaurants and bars and to help local business districts regain economic activity.

The legislation amends the

Read More

When is the extra $600 federal unemployment cutoff? Your COVID-19 money questions, answered

It’s hard out there. And, in this time of uncertainty, USA TODAY is working to find answers to your money questions – anything from stimulus checks or unemployment benefits to your 401(k) or retirement plans. You can submit your questions here and read earlier answers below.

We will be updating the Q&A, so check back often. But, also look to these places:

The additional $600 in weekly jobless benefits provided by the federal government is officially set to end July 31. But states will pay it only through the week ending July 25 or July 26, a significant blow to unemployed workers counting on that money to bolster state benefits that average just $370 a week.

“The (Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation) $600 can be paid for weeks ending no later than the week ending prior to Friday, July 31, 2020,” the U.S. Department of Labor said in a statement. “For … Read More