Usher’s News & Analysis, Mar. 31, 2020

… price spikes are more likely for higher value products like meat and perishable commodities rather than for major staples which are still in adequate supply, said the FAO.

Indeed, Fitch Solutions says global food supply is relatively ample with the outlook for the 2020 to 2021 crop year positive thanks to mild weather conditions in key producing regions.

“Grain production in developed markets, usually done on large farms in low-density areas are less prone to contagion, but labour-intensive sectors such as plantations (palm oil) and manufacturing (meat processing) are more at risk of employee contagion and therefore of temporary lockdown measures,” said Fitch Solutions in a recent note.

A food crisis looms as coronavirus forces farms to stay idle and countries hoard supplies

Thick in the head!

On March 23, Ducey issued an executive order prohibiting any county, city or town from issuing any order or regulation “restricting persons from leaving their home due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.” Ducey’s order prevented local municipalities from issuing shelter-in-place regulations.

This, despite the fact that Arizona is one of America’s “oldest” states, with 1.3 million residents aged 65 and above.

After Grassroots Uprising, AZ Governor Issues Stay-At-Home Order To Prevent Spread Of COVID-19

Now this approach I agree with. However, the last stimulus will be nowhere near enough to tide over the masses. They better plan to create at least $5T more just for the general public and be ready to ump out more on demand.

One of their top priorities is shoring up Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) protections for workers on the front line fighting the coronavirus or ensuring essential businesses keep running.

House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia will take the lead on that portion of the package. He said the bill would include a measure to have OSHA issue a temporary emergency standard within seven days to require employers to craft new protections for affected employees.

Democrats also want to expand the types of workers covered under emergency OSHA protections, including grocers and Transportation Security Administration employees.

“There are infrastructure needs that our country has that directly relate to how we are proceeding with the coronavirus. Many more people are teleworking, or tele-educating or really communicating with family and friends,” Mrs. Pelosi said.

Pelosi reveals Democrats’ priorities for next phase of coronavirus stimulus

Coronavirus job losses could total 47 million, unemployment rate may hit 32%, Fed estimates

Paycheck Protection Program – Maybe Next Week

… 96% of small businesses saying they’d already been impacted as of mid-March. About 51% said their business would only be able to survive for between zero and three months.

The CARES Act signed into law Friday will throw small businesses like Wright’s a much-needed lifeline in the form of billions of dollars in loans under the SBA 7(a) loan program. Up to $10 million in loans, based on payroll, will be offered up for things like mortgages, leases, paying staff and utilities.

Small-business owners face tough decisions as they wait for government loans to arrive

We need to increase our systems so this sort of thing can be fixed soon and won’t happen again.

State systems are being overloaded and stretched as jobless Americans apply for unemployment in record numbers, experts said.

Many in-person offices are closed due to social distancing rules, leaving telephone and online applications as the only options. High volume has crashed some state websites and clogged up phone systems.

Some jobless people may give up if frustrated by the process, said experts, who recommended applying during off-peak hours.
Non-English speakers and disabled Americans

Even those who get through might have difficulty navigating the application system and questions, which could be ambiguous and confusing, Wandner said.

“People who won’t get benefits are ones who have trouble speaking English, people who are disabled, less educated and older people who can’t figure out how to file online,” he said.

These workers won’t qualify for beefed-up unemployment in the coronavirus relief package

I agree with this move, but the burden concerning this virus-crisis cannot be left on anyone’s shoulders. There’s only one entity that can cover everyone: the federal government. Everyone must be subsidized so that all will come out of this situation whole. Only those who engage in fraud and criminality and such should be held back from full coverage. Landlords employ lots of people too.

The announcement covers about 624,000 apartments that fall under the city’s rent stabilization program, according to city statistics. Normally, that program allows owners of apartment buildings built on or before October 1978 to increase rents by about 3% or 4% every year. Single-family rentals and most newer apartments, neither of which are subject to rent control under state law, will remain unaffected by Garcetti’s executive order.

Tenants get help as L.A. freezes rent hikes for thousands of apartments over coronavirus

This is a foolish move by Donald Trump.

The government’s cost-benefit analysis shows that even if the rollback lowers the cost of new cars — as the administration maintains it will — drivers will likely still lose money in the end by having to buy more gas.

And although President Trump has boasted that the new standards will spur economic growth, the administration’s forecasts aren’t remotely sunny. They project car companies could suffer a loss of thousands of jobs by making dirtier cars that would be locked out of many overseas markets.

Environmentalists have said that if the new regulations survive court challenges, they will cause higher greenhouse gas emissions and worsen air pollution. Public health groups have urged the government to reconsider, pointing to the likelihood that more air pollution could contribute to higher numbers of premature deaths.

Trump to roll back fuel economy standards, reversing major effort to combat climate change

While earlier attempts at locking down the country and getting people to stay home were too lax, Italy’s move to send the military to police the streets from March 22 likely marked a turning point, he said.

Italy “may have reached its peak already” after those strict measures to enforce the lockdown and restrict people’s movements, he said. “If these measures can continue, their new infections will drop markedly. People should be physically isolated from each other. That means no gathering at all.”

Italy Home Quarantine Repeats China’s Mistake, Doctors Say

This is a huge deal, and the workers are completely correct in their demands.

Work strikes at Amazon, Instacart and Whole Foods show essential workers’ safety concerns

Good news:

Research, development and lab management company Battelle has received special emergency authorization from the U.S. healthcare regulator to put into use a system it developed to decontaminate used N95 respirator masks using concentrated hydrogen peroxide. The system is able to turn single use respirators into masks that can be used up to 20 times, with a 2.5-hour decontamination process between each use.

FDA grants emergency authorization to system that decontaminates N95 respirator masks for re-use

Zoom Meetings Aren’t End-to-End Encrypted, Despite Misleading Marketing

Why Universal Basic Living Income is The Only Way to Stop a Coronavirus Economic Collapse (Guy Standing)

This echoes what I posted yesterday concerning AOC but in much greater detail.

Why is Neera Tanden praising AOC?