7-30-2020 Morning COVID-19 Brief


7-30-2020 Morning COVID-19 Brief

July 30, 2020

Record GDP Reversal, Unemployment Claims Over One Million Again, Congress “No Where Close to Deal"

Today is a big numbers release day. Unemployment claims met expectations today with 1.434 million new claims being filed this past week. This makes 19 straight weeks of claims over one million. Also, the anxiously awaited GDP, the measurement of the U.S. economic output, for the second quarter was released today. The economy contracted at a record pace. The 32.9% reversal of economic growth is a record breaking number that dates back to the 1947, the first year records were kept on GDP.

With the economy shrinking rapidly and over one million joining the unemployed each week, Congress is challenged to act. However, there does not seem to be a sense of urgency within the Republican-led Senate to make a deal. Senators will start offering different version of Unemployment unemployment assistance which represents a significant barrier in the negotiations. The expectation is that the House will negotiate a larger deal for a reduced unemployment assistance plan. But, like the weather, Congress may surprise us later today or tomorrow.

Quote of the Day: 

“I don’t know that there is another plan, other than no deal," said White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. "Which will allow unemployment, enhanced unemployment, I might add, to expire. … No deal certainly becomes a greater possibility the longer these negotiations go.”

– Mark Meadows, White House Chief of Staff
Coronavirus relief talks hit impasse on Capitol Hill (Washington Post)

Mark your Calendars:

Main Street Lending Program: Applicability for Tribal Businesses

  • Tuesday, August 4, 2020 
  • 2:00 p.m. EDT
  • Register Here
  • This webinar is an opportunity for tribal businesses to learn about the lending facilities offered by the Main Street Lending Program. The session will provide an overview of the program including terms, conditions, and eligibility requirements. The session will focus in particular on issues of interest to tribal businesses, including the waiver of CARES Act restrictions relating to dividend distributions made by tribal businesses to tribal governments. The webinar is also an opportunity for participants to get answers to questions from officials from the Federal Reserve.
  • Program Materials

Understanding Coronavirus Relief Fund Reporting Requirements

  • Thursday August 5, 2020 
  • 1:00 PM EDT
  • Register Here (required)
  • The U.S. Department of Treasury Office of the Inspector General will provide an overview of the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) reporting requirements. This webinar will be related to updated guidance slated to be issued on July 31, 2020. 
  • Panelists:
    • Rich Delmar, Deputy Inspector General
    • Debbie Harker, Assistant Inspector General for Audit
    • Jeneba Moiwo, CARES Act Audit Manager


U.S. Economy Shrinks at Record 32.9% Pace in Second Quarter 
(Bloomberg News)

The U.S. economy suffered its sharpest downturn since at least the 1940s in the second quarter, highlighting how the pandemic has ravaged businesses across the country and left millions of Americans out of work.

The figures lay bare the extent of the economic devastation that resulted from the government-ordered shutdowns and stay-at-home orders designed to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus that abruptly brought a halt to the longest-running expansion.

U.S. weekly jobless claims total 1.434 million, vs 1.45 million expected (cnbc.com)

The number of Americans who filed for unemployment benefits last week was roughly in line with expectations as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the U.S. economy.

This also marks the second consecutive week in which initial claims rise after declining for 15 straight weeks. It is also the 19th straight week in which initial claims total at least 1 million.

Will vaccine trials reflect America's diversity? (Kaiser Health News)

Historically, however, those groups have been less likely to be included in clinical trials for disease treatment, despite federal rules requiring minority and elder participation and the ongoing efforts of patient advocates to diversify these crucial medical studies.
Excluding from the vaccine trial such a large population vulnerable to COVID doesn’t make sense, Knight contended. “If you’re trying to manage this from a public health standpoint, you want to make sure you’re inoculating your highest-risk populations,” he said.

(Lynne Shallcross/KHN illustration; Getty Images)

Menominee Tribe closing offices amid COVID-19 outbreak (Indian Country Today)

The Menominee Indian Tribe said Tuesday it is shutting down its governmental offices for two weeks amid an "alarming rise" in COVID-19 cases, including tribal employees in four different departments on the reservation in northeast Wisconsin.

Employees in three other departments have had direct contact with those who tested positive, the tribe said in a statement. The tribe reported eight active cases of COVID-19 as of Monday. Its number of confirmed cases has nearly doubled in a week, the tribe said. There are about 3,600 people who live on the reservation.