In Depth: COVID-19 surge, stimulus, restaurants
LOS ANGELES - Segment One
Internist Dr. Michael Hirt joins Hal to talk about the surge of positive COVID-19 patients. Dr. Hirt says that there appears to have been a change in the virus during the summer. He says that by October, it was proving harder to get patients better. He calls it "COVID 3.0" and he says it requires more time, more medication and more effort to get patients better.
He says that in his 25 year career this is the worst experience. He says medical professionals are sometimes working 7 days a week to get patients better. He says his staff is beyond stretched at this point.
The doctor says the public needs to upgrade their own PPE, that cloth masks are not enough. He also says public spaces are not designed properly to keep people safe. Hirt says that he recommends that patients who are elderly, obese, or suffering from other medical problems get the vaccine, but he says for his own part, he plans to wait, and possibly take another vaccine that is based on a different technology.
Attorney Ugo Lord talks about the most recent stimulus bill and who is eligible for payments. He says that Congress has also passed unemployment stimulus, with a $300 increase weekly. There is also a provision that extends the eviction plan, but Lord has some tips for renter on how to use those benefits. There is also a benefit providing cash payments for landlords or utilities. There is also a renewal of forgivable PPP loans for up to 20,000 for a single employee business and more for bigger businesses.
Caroline Styne of the Luques group says restaurants are just desperate, as are their employees, after more than 9 months of the pandemic. She says PPP is helpful but it doesn’t work for every industry. She says it doesn’t make up for the years’ worth of losses. She says more than 100,000 restaurants have closed nationwide with more to come. The takeout option is not enough to keep restaurants afloat, that restaurants are losing money, by doing this, even though it may keep some employees employed.
Styne says people can help by going to Saverestaurants.com , a site set up by the independent restaurant coalition.
From there people can email their representatives directly to urge them to pass the Restaurants Act, a $20 billion restaurant relief bill to save the industry as well as about 11 million jobs.
We close with the safety video issued by Alaska Airlines, set to the 80’s hit "Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats.