Today is a trees day more than a forest. Most of today isn’t news, it is a report on where we are on the upward curve.
KNOXVILLE: Mayor Kincannon issuing her own “safer at home” order in addition to the order issued by the county health department. Kincannon’s order is specific to the city of Knoxville but gives the city enforcement authority.
“The number of COVID-19 cases in Knox County has doubled in the last few days and is rising daily. Too many people are not taking this seriously. I issued this order so our codes enforcement officers, Parks and Rec employees, KFD inspectors and KPD officers will be empowered to enforce this life-saving order,” Mayor Kincannon said.Mary Kincannon
We already wrote earlier in the week that, anecdotally, the safer-at-home order didn’t seem to be being followed. So what? Cases are still rising and leaders are reacting. We expect that more will follow suit if the voluntary orders aren’t followed. We’re not panicking, just observing that (1) social distancing appears to work, (2) our community isn’t doing it well, (3) policymakers are doing their best to avoid turning a bad situation into a true crisis.
It’s not complicated. If we can all manage to actually stay at home for the time this doesn’t have to be worst case. If we can’t manage that it’s going to be worse.
Models: For the third day in a row the feds issued updated models, this time with an estimate as broad as both of the last two days’, 100,000 – 240,000 deaths. If there is news here it is that the medical community seems to be coalescing around the 100k-200k number. This is better than before. The early estimates went (roughly) from 1,000,000 to 10,000,000.
Testing: At least two governors separately said this week that testing isn’t widely available yet. That means that we may still see a jump in cases, comparing them with deaths will remain important to understand the trend.
Hospitals: Four hospitals in the Boston area report to NPR high levels of staff COVID-19 infection. We’ve seen at least two reports today about hospital staff across the country being disciplined for speaking out about the lack of PPE. So what? We wrote last week about how flattening the curve is about avoiding systemic failure in the healthcare system. And this week about how images of overrun hospitals will affect policymakers. We are beginning to see what that would look like, at least in areas with dense populations.
Forbes has a good primer on getting your stimulus check. If you filed taxes this year or last year the IRS will use that data for your tax return. Your author is working to expedite his 2019 return to ensure that the IRS is aware of his newest dependent. You can file a tax return even if you don’t owe anything and you might want to consider doing so if you are not on social security or another federal plan where the IRS would already know where to deposit the stimulus money.
The IRS sent most employees home yesterday but hasn’t said how it will affect taxes or stimulus payments.
The San Francisco Bay Area is reporting that social distancing there is working. If you remove Santa Clara county (h/t FollmerK) you can see it in the data. The chart is for total cases, you can see that new cases are steady, instead of increasing.
China is going to officially report asymptomatic cases. This could result in the worldwide case count taking a jump for cases from February and early March. It also decreases the case mortality rate for China. China’s manufacturing is also bouncing back with a PMI of 52 (growth) in March. However, malls and theaters remain empty even as people are allowed to return. We expect the US return to look similar: even after stay-at-home orders are lifted we don’t expect people to return to large group activities in mass.
In Hong Kong there are rice shortages being reported, as Vietnam put export controls in place. We expect that we’ll feel those effects in the US but it isn’t clear how the global trade will balance out yet. We expect that, practically, this will be a bigger issue in Asia than the US.
For Businesses (and non-Profits)
New guidance from the SBA on the EIDL loan: if you applied before with the old COVID-19 application you must re-apply. It took us about 15 minutes to get through the new form at https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/
Even if you don’t end up being accepted for the EIDL you may be eligible for a $10,000 grant.
Secondly, the best information we have on PPP (see yesterday’s post) is that you can use it with along with an EIDL. However, you have to use the money for different purposes, you cannot use both of them for payroll for instance. Our bookkeeper has gone so far as to recommend that we set up separate accounts to receive the funds if necessary to clearly show how they are used.
The PPP is even available to non-profits and sole proprietors, independent contractors.
PPP Applications Available
While we were writing today’s post we got an email from one of my bankers with information on the PPP. You can download a sample copy here. It is identical to the copy we received from our banker.
Read the best summary of the CARES Act we’ve found here. If you own a small business read it right now.
Generally, the amount of the loan is capped at the lesser of $10 million and 2.5 times the average monthly payroll costs incurred in the one-year period before the date of the loan.National Law Review
Intuit is matching GoFundMe’s setup for SMBs, you can find out about it at https://quickbooks.intuit.com/smallbusinesshelp/
Italy’s new cases are still dropping:
Today’s new cases are currently set to come in around yesterday’s. It’s a great sign that the social distancing measures that Italy imposed (late, and progressively instead of suddenly) are paying off. There is a subtle warning in the data as well, the US also implemented social distancing measures late and progressively. Our daily new cases may also take time to level off. We don’t watch Italian deaths at JM Addington because of how the Italian attribute deaths to COVID-19.
Thanks to those that have shared kind words or liked these posts. We’re doing out best to put out data-driven analysis, each one of these takes about 2 hours. It’s helpful to know that they are being read.
If you are or know a math-whiz that can answer a question on exponential regressions with time series data we’d love the help.
What we are watching next: The things we are internally focusing on next are: (1) what is going to happen in hospitals: we expect that if hospitals are overrun, that will trigger new responses from policymakers. (2) How long is COVID-19 going to be around in a significant fashion. We believe we need to update forecasts just to run our own business but expect that we need 5-7 more days worth of data at minimum, and 10-15 would be preferable.