Cases: Despite strong levels of vaccination among older people, COVID-19 killed them at vastly higher rates during this winter’s omicron wave than it did last year, preying on long delays since their last shots and the variant’s ability to skirt immune defenses.
This winter’s wave of deaths in older people belied the omicron variant’s relative mildness. Almost as many Americans 65 and older died in four months of the omicron surge as they did in six months of the delta wave, even though the delta variant, for any one person, tended to cause more severe illness.
While overall per capita COVID-19 death rates have fallen, older people still account for an overwhelming share of them.
COVID-19-related hospitalizations in Los Angeles County held relatively steady Friday, one day after the Public Health director warned that the region could see a return to mandatory indoor mask-wearing in just weeks if the upward trend in hospital admissions continues.
According to state figures, there were 522 COVID- 19-positive patients in county hospitals as of Friday, down slightly from 524 on Thursday. The number of those patients being treated in intensive care was 64, up from 59 a day earlier.
Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said that if the quickening pace of virus- related hospital admissions seen in the past few weeks continues, the county could be moved to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s high virusactivity category by the end of the month. Reaching that category would mean a return of mandatory indoor mask wearing rules.
The county will move from the medium category into the high category if its average daily rate of new COVID-related hospital admissions rises above 10 per 100,000 residents, or if the percentage of staffed hospital beds occupied by COVID-19-positive patients tops 10%.
As of Thursday, the county’s rate of new hospital admissions was 5.2 per 100,000 residents, double the rate from a month ago. The portion of beds occupied by virus patients was still relatively low at 2.7%, but also higher than it was last month.
On Friday, the county reported 5,051 new COVID-19 infections, raising its cumulative total from throughout the pandemic to 2,990,651. Another 10 deaths were also reported, giving the county an overall virus-related death toll of 32,154. The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 5% as of Friday.
Though indoor masking remains optional in most public locations for now, Ferrer urged people to consider masking up to limit spread and protect vulnerable populations.
Los Angeles County currently requires masks indoors at health care facilities, aboard transit vehicles and in transit hubs such as airports, in long-term care facilities, in shelters and cooling centers and in correctional facilities.
Genetic analysis of recent monkeypox cases suggests there are two distinct strains in the U.S., health officials said Friday, raising the possibility that the virus has been circulating undetected for some time.
Many of the U.S. cases were caused by the same strain as recent cases in Europe, but a few samples show a different strain, federal health officials said. Each strain had been seen in U.S. cases last year, before the recent international outbreak was identified.
Analysis from many more patients will be needed to determine how long monkeypox has been circulating in the U.S. and elsewhere, said Jennifer McQuiston of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Los Angeles County, if you have COVID-19 you are required to: 1. Isolate yourself, and 2. Wear a highly protective mask, and 3. Tell your close contacts that they have been exposed and need to follow instructions for close contacts. HomeisolationenCoV_060222.pdf (English); HomeisolationenCoVSpn_060222.pdf (Spanish)
Los Angeles County public health officials were waiting for confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday on what they believe is the region’s first case of monkeypox.
Why is that a big deal? Because monkeypox cases are usually more common in African nations. Media reports detailing its appearance in the United States and other nations where it is not usually found have generated concern, confusion and myriad questions among Americans weary of the COVID-19 pandemic. But health officials insist monkeypox is far less infectious that COVID-19, while offering tips on how to stop its spread.
Its appearance in several countries marks its first known community spread, according to CNBC, which reports that “before this outbreak, cases had been linked to travel to regions where the virus is endemic or imported animals carrying the virus.” Thursday, officials reported more than 550 cases around the world.
Monkeypox is considered rare and it typically causes a mild infection — a rash that often begins on the face. It was discovered in 1958 in monkeys that were used for research. The first human case was discovered in 1970. It’s usually transmitted to humans from infected wild animals in Africa. It’s related to smallpox but far less lethal, according to the United Kingdom’s NHS, the British version of the CDC in the U.S.
According to the CDC, it starts with fever, headache, muscle aches, chills and exhaustion. Then infected lesions form on the skin that eventually turn into scabs and fall off. Monkeypox causes the lymph nodes to swell. The incubation period for monkeypox — the time from the infection to experiencing symptoms — is usually seven to 14 days. But it can range from five to 21 days.
The Economy: The Labor Department reported 390,000 jobs employers added in May. Dat from payroll operator ADP signaled a significant drop-off in hiring. But economists expect the official employment report will show a more modest tapering of talent acquisition. What’s more, a number of economists think a slowdown now could be a good thing.
That makes interpreting this morning’s jobs number trickier than usual. While the overall jobs number — how many employees were added or cut from corporate payrolls — usually gets the most attention, that may not be the case this month. The key factor to look for is how the supply of workers and the demand of employers interacted. For instance, the ADP report showed that most small businesses reduced their payrolls in May, but economists believe that was the result of not being able to find the right workers, not because hiring for those firms has stopped.
Jobs for teenagers and young adults are expected to be plentiful this summer, with more openings and better pay. High school and college students looking for summer work are benefiting from a strong labor market that is pushing employment for teenagers above pre-COVID- 19 levels to the highest rate in 15 years, economists say.
The predicted employment rate for 16- to 19-year-olds this summer is 32.8%, the highest since the summer of 2007, according to the annual summer job outlook for American teenagers published this month by the Drexel University Center for Labor Markets and Policy. “The summer will be good,” said Paul Harrington, the center’s director. “There’s terrific opportunities.”
Teen employment plummeted in the summer of 2020 as the pandemic shuttered businesses, but it rebounded last year and is expected to be even stronger this summer.
Older workers, in particular, left customer-service jobs during the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 and have been slow to return, in part because of continued health concerns about the coronavirus. That means more job openings for teenagers in retail as well as in other areas where young people typically work, such as hospitality, restaurants and tourism.
“Employers suddenly rediscovered teenagers,” said Alicia Sasser Modestino, a labor economist at Northeastern University.
The market means higher pay — $17 or $18 per hour or even more, at some large retailers — and greater flexibility for younger workers. Some cities are advertising hourly rates of $20 or more for summer lifeguards.
Typical summer employers such as restaurants, hotels and theme parks already face challenges filling year-round positions, said Scott Hamilton, global managing director of human resources and compensation consulting at Gallagher, an insurance and business consulting company. They are likely, he said, to hire summer workers for those positions, which are typically higher-paying ones.
Focused on relentlessly rising prices, President Joe Biden plotted inflation-fighting strategy Tuesday with the chairman of the Federal Reserve, with the fate of the economy and his own political prospects increasingly dependent on the actions of the government’s central bank. Biden hoped to demonstrate to voters that he was attuned to their worries about higher gasoline, grocery and other prices whiles still insisting an independent Fed will act free from political pressure.
Like Biden, the Fed wants to slow inflation without knocking the U.S. economy into recession, a highly sensitive mission that is to include increasing benchmark interest rates this summer. The president said he would not attempt to direct that course as some previous presidents have tried.
The sit-down on a heat-drenched late-spring day was Biden’s latesteffort to show his dedication to containing the 8.3% leap in consumer prices over the past year. Rising gas and food costs have angered many Americans heading into the midterm elections, putting Democrats’ control of the House and Senate at risk.
Biden is running out of options on his own. His past attempts — oil releases from the strategic reserve, improving port operations and calls to investigate price gouging — have fallen short of satisfactory results. High prices have undermined his efforts to highlight the low 3.6% unemployment rate, leaving a growing sense of pessimism among Americans.
nflation has shown signs of moderating but is likely to remain far above the Fed’s 2% target through the end of this year. Gas prices are expected to keep rising, particularly now that the European Union has agreed to cut off 90% of its oil purchases from Russia. That will force the EU to buy more oil from elsewhere, and it drove oil prices to $115 a barrel Tuesday.
This was only the fourth meeting between the president and the Federal Reserve chair, though Powell breakfasts as often as once a week with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who also attended Tuesday’s meeting along with Brian Deese, the White House National Economic Council director.
Corporate America is ratcheting up its warnings about the U.S. economy.
Executives from Jamie Dimon and Elon Musk to Gary Friedman, the head of furniture retailer RH, all cautioned investors this week to be wary of an economic downturn. After months of strong consumer spending and supply-chain improvements, some of the country’s most outspoken corporate leaders have started intensifying alarms about decades-high inflation and impending interest rate hikes.
Musk reportedly told employees at Tesla Inc. this week that he has a “super bad feeling” about the economy and needs to cut 10% of jobs at the electric automaker, according to Reuters.
The tone contrasts with Friday’s jobs report showing biggerthan- expected payroll gains. And economists still see the chance of recession as unlikely next year, even if the odds have crept up. A Bloomberg survey estimates a 30% chance of recession in the next 12 months, up from 15% in March.
Rick Rieder, global fixed income chief investment officer at BlackRock Inc., said on Bloomberg Television that the employment numbers for May are likely “the last solid report you’re going to get for a long time” as the pace of hiring slows.
Meanwhile, growth at U.S. service providers moderated in May to the softest pace in over a year, reflecting a pullback in a measure of business activity that suggests supply constraints.
The sense of doom has been especially evident in the banking sector, where Dimon told investors this week that they should be preparing for an economic “hurricane.” Last month, he said “storm clouds” over the economy may dissipate.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. President John Waldron took up the theme the next day, calling the current economic climate one of the most complex he’s ever experienced. “The confluence of the number of shocks to the system to me is unprecedented,” Waldron said.
Friday, Citigroup Inc. CEO Jane Fraser said a recession feels more likely in Europe than the U.S. due to energy costs, though it won’t be easy for either to avoid. U.S. consumers are healthy with a lot of money in their wallets, she said, even though interest rates, Russia and the threat of recession are dominating conversations right now.
BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said he expects inf lation to remain elevated for several years. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. CEO Bill Demchak said the only possible outcome is a recession.
Elsewhere, S& P Global Inc. suspended its annual guidance this week, citing deteriorating economic conditions and “extraordinarily weak” volumes of debt issuance.
Still, some bank executives are counting on the continuing strength of the US consumer. Holly O’Neill, Bank of America Corp.’s retail-banking president, said there’s no indication yet that that pillar of the economy is starting to crumble.