With Millions Of Americans Out Of Work, What Comes Next?
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended normal life around the globe, with certain industries, such as restaurants, the hospitality industry and most retail businesses experiencing nothing shy of a meltdown. This has left millions of workers unemployed, governments passing massive stimulus packages, and chaos and uncertainty everywhere. Even with so much uncertainty, here’s what is known about what’s coming next.
Another Stimulus Package – Talks of another federal stimulus bill are well underway in Congress. Three have already been passed, with the most recent one totaling over $2 trillion and including aid for larger businesses, smaller businesses, unemployment benefits and direct stimulus checks to most Americans. Most people who file taxes and have given the IRS their direct deposit information have already received their checks, while paper checks will take longer to arrive in the mail.Read More »
State Aid – Most states are doing what they can to provide economic relief to employees and small businesses affected by the pandemic, although demand has been so high that workers have had a difficult time getting through to state agencies. Some states have opened up mental health hotlines for people struggling with anxiety and depression brought on by the social and economic fallout of the shutdowns.
If you are experiencing hardships because of the pandemic, look into the options available to you, such as talking to your bank and utility companies about payments. Stay updated about the measures your state government is putting in place to help if you are unemployed and looking for a new job.
Vaccine and Treatment Progress – Vaccines are one of the most important tools humanity has in order to prevent viral infections. A vaccine will help end this epidemic and get people back to work, but even though many candidates are entering trials around the world, it will be well over a year at best before one can become commercially available. Depending on the nature of the virus, it could take much longer.
With a vaccine over a year away at best, another possible way for society to begin returning to normal is an effective treatment option. Companies around the globe are working on new anti-viral medications, which work by blocking the virus’ ability to replicate itself in human cells. Research is also being conducted into other currently-available drugs that may be helpful. The advantage to this is that existing drugs have already been approved and are in use, so they can much more readily be given to current patients.
Plans To Ease Restrictions – In recent days, it has been announced that several governors have made regional pacts with surrounding states to coordinate and plan the easing of restrictions. California, Oregon and Washington have done this on the West Coast. In the Midwest, the seven states of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota have announced they will work in close coordination to reopen. On the East Coast, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Delaware have said they will each assign a public health official to a regional group with the task of determining how best to move forward.
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These plans are fairly universal in that they call for increased testing for both the disease and antibodies that show who has had the illness already, as well as contact tracing to isolate cases and keep the disease from spreading. Businesses are advised to remain updated on the restrictions placed in their individual states and when those restrictions will start to be lifted.
Finding A Job – Employees who have lost their jobs have a few options for getting back to work. You cannot control the current situation but you can look for ways to get back to work under the circumstances. Many essential businesses, such as grocery stores, hardware stores and big box stores, are overwhelmed by the sudden demand and are in need of employees.
Another option to get back to work and support your family is to look for an online job. Thanks to improvements in technology many jobs can be done online now, from accounting to legal work to working in ecommerce. If nothing else, these jobs could tide you over until you can return to your former job or begin looking for a better one once the restrictions lift.
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It is important to remember that this is a continuously-changing situation, with new developments and information being released every day. No one knows how long this will last, what the final outcomes will be or what the data will eventually show. What is important is to be compassionate to one another, take reasonable steps to protect others and yourself, and follow the measures that are in place for your own safety. America can get through this together.
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