Business Update – May 11 2022

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward. Americans rapidly taking on debt Consumer debt levels climbed by $52.4 billion in March, according to Federal Reserve data released Friday. Pent-up spending after lockdown and consumers turning to credit cards to cover rising cost of living are likely factors, says credit analyst. Feds increase interest rates by 0.50%…  Read more

Weekly Digest – April 27 2022

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward. Government Sees Strong GDP Growth in 2022 While the government sees more risks to the economy in the months ahead due to rising prices and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it still expects healthy GDP growth in 2022. This comes after the International Monetary Fund estimated that the US will…  Read more

Business Update – April 20 2022

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward. CDC Removes All Countries from COVID “Do Not Travel” List The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has removed all countries from its “Do Not Travel” recommendations. The highest Level 4 designation will now be reserved for “special circumstances” reflecting a dangerous spike in COVID-19 cases, a new…  Read more

Business Update – April 13 2022

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward. Consumer Prices Rose 8.5% in March Headline CPI in March rose by 8.5% from a year ago, representing the fastest annual gain since December 1981 and one-tenth of a percentage point above the Dow Jones estimate of 8.4%. The increase in food, energy, and shelter costs contributed to the…  Read more

Business Update – April 6 2022

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward. Fourth COVID-19 Booster Shot Experts and health officials are recommending a fourth shot of a COVID-19 vaccine to protect vulnerable groups such as older adults and immunocompromised individuals. This decision comes as BA.2, a highly transmissible version of the coronavirus, accounts for as much as 70% of US infections.…  Read more

Business Update – March 30 2022

One of the most puzzling side effects of COVID-19 is a syndrome called “covid brain,” which is characterized by sluggish thinking and memory problems. Neuroscientists have begun identifying commonalities between covid brain, chemo brain, and Alzheimer’s disease. So far, the studies are small and do not indicate avenues for treatment. However, the studies confirm the seriousness of the brain effects of infections and provide hope that treatments may be developed…  Read more

Business Update – March 16 2022

After two years of pandemic disruptions, many of us have developed unhealthy habits and may need a reboot. Data from Nielsen shows that sales of alcohol are higher now than before the pandemic, while fitness trackers show that people are on the average taking fewer steps. In another study, volunteer participants gained about 1.5 pounds per month. Rebooting your habits can begin with something as simple as setting up time…  Read more

Business Update – March 9 2022

One of the odd tell-tale symptoms of COVID-19 is the abrupt loss of sense of smell reported by many patients. Researchers have recently uncovered the mechanism behind this loss. While the COVID-19 virus does not infect the nerve cells in the nose that detect and transmit information about odors to the brain, it does infect supporting cells in the nose. The subsequent inflammation wreaks havoc on the smell receptors and…  Read more

Business Update – March 2 2022

One of the side effects of the pandemic has been the expansion of online grocery shopping and speedy delivery. But in large cities, many online grocery purchases are fulfilled by businesses that have taken over retail storefronts to become “ghost stores” or “dark stores.” These are small scale fulfillment centers that serve only ecommerce customers, with most orders being delivered by bike. These dark stores have the potential to reshape…  Read more

Business Update – February 23 2022

Signs are emerging that the surge driven by highly transmissible Omicron variant is fading. Across the country, cases and hospitalizations are falling from record peaks. According to data from Johns Hopkins, the seven-day average for new cases was 129,000 on February 16, drastically down from 800,000 at the peak in mid-January. Data from the CDC shows a 9% drop in deaths over the last week. While mortality rates lag behind…  Read more

Business Update – February 16 2022

If you think prices are increasing faster than the inflation index shows, you may be correct. Businesses are finding novel ways to pass on their cost increases to consumers. The Labor Department’s consumer-price index measures how much consumers pay for goods and services includes some of the price increases, such as smaller packages or additional fees for hotels or car rentals, but it doesn’t cover some of the hidden ways…  Read more

Weekly Digest – February 9 2022

More people in the world are now sick with the same illness than at any time since the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic. By mid-January, about one in five Americans had contracted the Omicron variant, a number which could double by mid-February. While an estimated 80-90% of those infected with the highly contagious Omicron variant are asymptomatic, the widespread of the virus means that many millions of people have been sick. Businesses…  Read more

Weekly Digest – February 2 2022

Just as the Omicron surge appears to be peaking in the U.S., a new strain of the Omicron variant has emerged. The new strain, called BA.2, so far appears more contagious than its sibling Omicron variant, BA.1, but is also less likely to cause severe disease compared with the Delta variant. The new variant is spreading quickly in Denmark, England, and Germany, and has also been detected in parts of…  Read more

Business Update – 26 January 2022

The rapidly spreading Omicron variant is causing worker shortages across the entire economy as employees are out sick or quarantining. At Delta Airlines, 8,000 employees contracted COVID-19 recently, contributing to more than 2,200 cancelled flights. Grocery stores and many other businesses are cutting back on their product lines. A shortage of truck drivers means shipments are delayed, so store shelves are empty. Children are taking public buses to school because…  Read more

Business Update – 19 January 2022

Once again, some people are seeing bare shelves in grocery stores. Our just-in-time supply chain depends on synchrony in all links to keep shelves stocked, but a combination of factors is disrupting the timing. The fast-spreading omicron variant means grocery store workers are calling in sick, as are workers at food producers. Besides workers who are temporarily out sick, grocery stores are dealing with a labor shortage, as people quit…  Read more

Business Update – 12 January 2022

With the more contagious Omicron variant rapidly becoming the dominant strain, many experts are recommending upgrading from cloth to N95 masks. This article in Popular Science explains what to look for in a mask, how long they can be worn, how to safely reuse them, and when they should be discarded. Masks designated as KF94, N95, or in the FPP family are all subject to strict government oversight and quality…  Read more

Weekly Digest – January 5 2022

The rapid spread of the Omicron variant is impacting businesses large and small by keeping more workers home or quarantined. Record levels of new infections in the US are forcing airlines to cancel flights, stores to close, and available workers to work longer hours or in different areas than normal. While new CDC guidance decreases the number of quarantine days from ten to five, the infectious nature of the new…  Read more

Business Update – December 22 2021

Even if you’re fully vaccinated and have your COVID-19 boosters up to date, there is a possibility you’ll still get a breakthrough case of COVID-19. Vox has a list of things you can do now to prepare. First, get a booster and a flu shot. Next, figure out how you can most easily get tested, including possibly purchasing an at-home test kit. Keep wearing your mask, and consider upgrading to…  Read more

Business Update – October 13 2021

Global supply chain delays have become so bad that the biggest U.S. retailers are chartering their own cargo ships to stock shelves this holiday season. Walmart, Home Depot, Costco, and Target are among companies that are paying the additional expense to mitigate holiday disruptions. While the smaller ships these companies will use are far more expensive than the larger ones, they have the advantage of the ability to dock at…  Read more

Business Update – October 6 2021

What does it cost to be hospitalized for COVID-19? A study by The Wall Street Journal found the cost can vary by tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the hospital and the insurance policy. While most insurers waived out-of-pocket costs for patients for most of the pandemic, many patients are now receiving bills for hospital stays, which can depend on rates negotiated between hospitals and insurers. For example, at…  Read more

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