COVID-19 Update: Accessing Medical Care, Multiple Venues Close, Travel, and More

Seeking to limit the spread of COVID-19, below is a roundup of the latest announcements from our region, state, federal government, and international channels.
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The CDC is now recommending that events and gatherings with over 50 people be canceled or rescheduled for the next eight weeks. // Stock photo

Seeking to limit the spread of COVID-19, below is a roundup of the latest announcements from our region, state, federal government, and international channels.

Hospitals and Medical Centers
If you believe you have COVID-19 symptoms — fever, cough, shortness of breath — that can develop in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after being exposed to the virus, call your local hospital, doctor, or medical center to see what protocols are in place for remote testing. Medical providers strongly encourage people refrain from visiting a care facility, and instead follow the respective virus protocols. Either call or visit a medical center website for more information.

Michigan
The CDC is now recommending that events and gatherings with over 50 people (think: concerts, sporting events, weddings) be canceled or rescheduled for the next eight weeks. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has issued an executive order calling for a temporary shutdown of dine-in service at food and beverage establishments as well as movie theaters, casinos, and exercise facilities by 3 p.m. today (March 16, 2020). For delivery or curb-side assistance, which is permissible, contact local restaurants offering such services or click here.

For the latest state news, including gathering protocols, click here.

Travel
The United States issued a Risk Assessment Level 3 travel advisory last week to avoid all nonessential travel to China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy, and days after President Trump announced a month-long ban on European countries traveling to the U.S. due to the coronavirus, including the U.K. and Ireland, according to TravelPulse.com.
In conjunction with the State Dept., the CDC has issued a Risk Assessment Level 2 travel advisory for the rest of the world – including the United States.

Level 2 indicates sustained community spread, according to Forbes. Travelers should practice enhanced precautions, and older adults and those with chronic medical conditions should consider postponing travel. All travelers should practice a set of recommendations both during and after traveling.

On the advisory scale it’s obviously less serious, but to issue a Level 2 for travel within the United States is highly unusual.

But COVID-19 has now spread to every state in the country except West Virginia, moving at a rapid pace. As Forbes noted, “crowded travel settings, like airports, may increase your risk of exposure to COVID-19, if there are other travelers with COVID-19.”

The CDC’s coronavirus page recommends practicing social distancing – staying five to six feet away from someone else – washing hands with soap and water, using sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol and avoiding sick people. Level 2 also means that all travelers should monitor their health and limit interactions with others for a period of 14 days after returning from travel within the U.S.

Whether this leads to a domestic travel ban, as some fear, remains to be seen. But Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday on ABC’s ‘This Week’ that he doesn’t think it will come to that.

Domestic travel restrictions “Have not been seriously discussed,” he said. “I mean, they’ve been discussed, but not seriously discussed. I don’t see that right now or in the immediate future. But remember, we are very open-minded about whatever it takes to preserve the health of the American public.”

U.S. News
The Federal Reserve has taken emergency action “to help the economy withstand the coronavirus by slashing its benchmark interest rate to near zero, and saying it would buy $700 billion in Treasury and mortgage bonds.” In addition, “Johnson & Johnson said on Friday there was higher demand for some of its consumer products in certain markets due to the global spread of the coronavirus, and it was taking all possible measures to maximize their availability.” J&J “said a majority of its global medical device manufacturing was running at or near normal capacity, and that it does not expect the outbreak to cause any disruptions to its supply of medicines.”

Manufacturing
Forbes reports: The global manufacturing industry has been grappling with “new consumer needs, advancing technology – AI and automation – and an uncertain trade environment the situation for manufacturers” over the past few years. The situation has “become even more challenging with the COVID-19 outbreak, which is affecting supply chains and disrupting manufacturing operations around the world.” The article concluded, “We should brace for a major effect on manufacturing worldwide. Companies have already put plans in action, but the worst is yet to come. We will not know the true effect of the pandemic until sometime in the future as the impact ripples down the supply chain.”

Oil Markets
Reuters reports: “Oil fell on Monday as an emergency rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve failed to soothe global financial markets panicked by the rapid spread of the coronavirus, while a price war between top producers added to a growing supply glut.” Brent crude “fell $2.07 to $31.78 a barrel by 0729 GMT, extending last week’s drop of 25 percent, which was the largest weekly fall since 2008,” while West Texas Intermediate crude “was at $30.35, down $1.38 after slipping below $30 earlier in the session, losing ground despite President Donald Trump’s pledge to fill strategic petroleum reserves (SPR) in the world’s largest oil consumer ‘to the top.’”

Ports
The Port of Los Angeles, which handles more container cargo than any U.S. seaport, expects goods flowing in from international shippers, particularly China, to stay below average through the first quarter of 2020 due to coronavirus-related disruptions. But a slow recovery could begin by May. “First-quarter guidance is that we’ll be down about 15%, mostly on the back of the coronavirus and the lack of factory production in China,” Gene Seroka, the Port’s executive director, tells Forbes. “We’ll probably see arrivals in late April or early May pick up just a bit. It’ll come in waves.”

USMCA
Bloomberg reports Canada’s parliament “voted unanimously to pass an overhaul of its free-trade deal with the U.S. and Mexico on Friday at the same time that they suspended their session for five weeks due to coronavirus.” Bloomberg notes that “the new North American trade deal, known as CUSMA in Canada and USMCA in the U.S., was signed into law in the U.S. by President Donald Trump in January and passed in Mexico last year.” According to Bloomberg, “The legislation was rushed through the Canadian parliament on Friday, as part of the same motion to break until April 20.”

China
New official economic data shows that China’s industrial production in January and February fell 13.5 percent (SCMP) from 2019, far more than the median 4 percent drop forecast by a Bloomberg poll of analysts. Fixed asset investment, which gauges spending on infrastructure, property, machinery, and equipment, fell 24.5 percent.

Quicken Loans Inc.
The Quicken Loans Community Fund and Gilbert Family Foundation today announced a combined $1.2 million donation to address the ongoing impact of coronavirus in Detroit.

The investment includes:

  • $250,000 donations by both the Quicken Loans Community Fund and Gilbert Family Foundation into the United Way for Southeastern Michigan COVID-19 Community Response Fund that will support vulnerable populations and the nonprofits serving those in need amid the coronavirus pandemic ($500,000 total).
  • A $250,000 investment by the Gilbert Family Foundation to the United Community Housing Coalition to address housing instability, including mortgage, rental and utility assistance, as well as additional issues exacerbated by the effects of coronavirus on the community.
  • $450,000 to be provided as flexible investments by the Quicken Loans Community Fund for small businesses and existing grant partners to ensure they can maintain operations in the weeks ahead.

The United Way for Southeastern Michigan COVID-19 Community Response Fund will directly support families and nonprofits to ensure access to health care, emergency financial supports and food, as well as addressing long-term needs that result from loss of jobs and income.

The Quicken Loans Community Fund has also set up a matching fundraising campaign for team members in its home communities of Detroit, Cleveland, Phoenix and Charlotte. Team members will be able to donate funds that will be directed to local nonprofits providing vital services to local residents throughout the coronavirus pandemic. These organizations include:

  • Detroit – Detroit Area Agency on Aging, Focus: HOPE, Forgotten Harvest and Gleaners Community Food Bank.
  • Cleveland – Cleveland Food Bank and the United Way of Greater Cleveland.
  • Phoenix – St. Mary’s Food Bank, the Area Agency on Aging of Phoenix and the Valley of the Sun United Way.
  • Charlotte – Second Harvest Food Bank and the United Way of Central Carolinas.

The Quicken Loans Community Fund is the philanthropic arm of the nation’s largest mortgage lender Quicken Loans, Bedrock and the affiliated companies, which comprise the Rock Family of Companies. The Quicken Loans Community Fund has invested $200 million into Detroit organizations and programming, and team members have contributed 725,000 volunteer hours nationwide – including 400,000 in Quicken Loans’ hometown of Detroit.

For the latest information on COVID-19, visit C-Span.

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