COVID-19 Update—Lawmakers Poised to Approve Economic Stimulus
With some workers in the cleaning industry experiencing economic repercussions from staying home, such as school and university custodians, news that U.S. Senate leaders late yesterday unanimously approved a US$2 trillion stimulus package to boost the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic may offer relief. The U.S. House of Representatives may pass the package today or tomorrow.
According to the agreement, Congress would infuse capital into the economy, sending $1,200 checks to many Americans, while increasing unemployment insurance, Politico reports. The stimulus package will also create a $367 billion loan program for small businesses and set up a $500 billion fund for industries, cities, and states.
Residential cleaning industry affected
As people practice social distancing, one of the services they’re cutting from their routine is residential cleaning. Owners of cleaning services, including the Two Maids and a Mop franchise, report customers with monthly or bimonthly contracts set up are asking to pause their services, WACH-TV reports.
However, many cleaning services are seeing an increase in requests to clean office buildings.
Still time to turn the pandemic around
Although the United States is poised to become the next epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, infection specialists with the World Health Organization (WHO) believe the country still has time to turn the situation around, CNN reports. The key is to increase testing and to isolate people who receive positive test results along with those they have been in contact with.
Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 cases continue to grow, with more than 53,200 infected and at least 709 Americans dead due to the virus as of Wednesday morning. To control the spread of the coronavirus, more than half of the U.S. population is under stay-at-home orders.
When will cases peak?
An epidemiologist advising the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that deaths from COVID-19 in the country will peak three weeks from now. At that point it may be possible to only isolate the vulnerable, allowing many people to return to work. This would support U.S. President Donald Trump’s belief the country can begin getting back to normal by mid-April.
However, not all health specialists agree. A disease modeler at The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said it is impossible to predict when the peak would hit; it could be anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. If the United States lifts distancing measures, then institutes them again as coronavirus cases increase when people exit isolation, then the country would see multiple peaks in the next 12 months.
Although President Trump believes the United States could experience a quick economic recovery once stay-at-home restrictions are lifted, some economic specialists are doubtful the economy will rebound quickly, as stock markets, investors, and economies traditionally don’t do well during times of panic and uncertainty.