CHN’S COVID-19 Watch: Tracking Hardship June 26


June 26, 2020

June 26, 2020

Looming Deadlines. The fourth of July recess is approaching, and Senate Majority Leader McConnell is still adamant that the Senate will not take up a COVID bill until they return on July 20, while the pandemic surges.  That means most states will begin their fiscal years on July 1 without any assurance of more federal assistance for state or local governments, despite their already laying off 1.5m workers and cuts starting in three-quarters of America’s cities.  Other deadlines: the extra $600 per week in Pandemic Unemployment Compensation expires by the end of July.  Some senators have said they oppose extending this because it is higher than some workers’ previous pay, and so will be a disincentive for them to return to work. But new research cited below says that’s not what’s happening.  In states where the UI benefits are the highest, total aggregate hours worked have risen the most since loss of work hit bottom in March/April. And the moratoria on evictions from federally subsidized or backed rental units will expire by the end of July; for units without federal protections, even sooner in some places. Ending the $600 Pandemic UI payment, letting the eviction moratorium expire and not enacting $100b in rental assistance will trigger an onslaught of evictions.  As the number of COVID cases hit a new record, we saw that nearly half of households with children where someone had COVID-19 symptoms did not have enough to eat in the previous week.  Failure to increase SNAP and provide more cash aid while the pandemic rages will unleash a surge in poverty prevented so far by the temporary assistance.

The Senate must join the House in enacting COVID recovery legislation similar to the House’s HEROES Act.

New COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, June 24 – the largest single day total since the beginning of the pandemic; previous high was in April. Click to tweet.

124,000+/ 2.4 million
Number of confirmed deaths/cases in the US, as of 6/26/20 from John Hopkins University. Click to tweet.


24 out of 29
24 of the 29 states with rising caseloads had higher percentages of positive tests over the past 2 weeks. That means more people are really infected, not just that more are being found by testing. Tweet this.

More than half
For more than half of Latinx and Black households, someone lost income from work since March 13 (through June 16). Latinx: 59.4%; Blacks: 53.2%; also pretty bad: Asians: 49.7%; whites, 43.1%. Tweet this.

Higher UI? More, not fewer, hours worked
Pandemic UI benefits often exceed a worker’s wage before lay-off.  Will that mean people will not return to work?  No, the opposite is true – in states offering higher UI benefits, June aggregate work hours rebounded to about 75% of the January baseline; in states with lower benefits, hours rebounded only to about 60%. Tweet this.

Number of days until the $600 per week in additional unemployment insurance expires (July 31).  These funds are preventing families from going without food, although even now, 29% of households with children don’t have enough to eat.  At about the same time, the moratorium on evictions will be expiring. Ending the $600 payment at the same time will ensure massive numbers of evictions.  The House HEROES bill would extend the payments through the end of 2020.  Tweet this.

78%, but 23%
78% of people who received UI benefits were able to pay their rent in May.  But out of those in households where someone lost work income, 23% didn’t pay or deferred their May rent. Tweet this.

More than 1 in 4
27 percent of Black households did not pay or deferred rent in May.  For Latinx, 18%; whites and Asians: 12%.  Moratorium on evictions from federally-backed units expiring before end of July. Tweet this.

More than 2x
21% of Latinx and 20.5% of Black households with children sometimes or often did not have enough to eat in the previous week. Both are more than 2x the rate for whites: 9.2%; or Asians: 8%. Tweet this.

Nearly half
Households with children that sometimes or often did not have enough to eat in past 7 days if respondent was sick with COVID-19 symptoms (47.5%). Tweet this.

3 times
Latinx people were 3 times more likely than Whites to lack health insurance (19% vs. 6.3%). Black uninsured: 9.7%; Asian, 6.6%, for week ending June 16. Tweet this.

1 in 5 education jobs
If no more federal aid for schools, nearly 1.9m education jobs projected to be lost in FY’s 20-22, from grade school through college.  But if House’s HEROES Act becomes law, 827,347 jobs would be restored or saved. Tweet this.

74% of U.S. cities have already started making cuts because of a projected $360b revenue loss over the next 3 years.  Despite this, 70% of cities have not received funding through the CARES Act. Tweet this.

No increase, temporarily
The poverty rate will not rise while current extra benefits are in place, assuming mid-range actual access to aid.  But if benefits like cash aid and pandemic UI are not continued, poverty rates are likely to soar. Tweet this.