Deaths Climb In Louisiana; Delays In Aid For Small Businesses


One quick thing before we get started we know. A lot of people are struggling financially so it might not be possible for you to support our work. One good thing about public radio is we will always be here for you but sometimes we have to ask if you can give any amount helps so please if that is you go to. Npr DOT org slash daily to find your local station and support it. That link is in our episode notes to and thanks. It's looking increasingly likely. The getting back to normal will happen in stages in Wuhan China where this outbreak I started. Authorities have lifted the stay at home order eighty seven days after the first person died from covet. Nineteen even still people's movements are restricted here in the US. We are in the middle of the outbreak. The first stage of normal is still some time away. What might it look like? We say getting back to normal. We mean something very different from what we're going through right now. 'cause right now. We are in a very intense mitigation. Dr Anthony Fauci said this week. A slow return to normal might be possible as we develop ways to treat symptoms and when we eventually have a vaccine if if back to normal means acting like there never was a corona virus problem. I I don't think that's going to happen until we do. Have a situation where you can completely protect the population coming up the economic cost of getting back to normal too soon and a report from Louisiana. Where black people appeared to be dying at higher rates than others? This is your daily from NPR. I'm Kelly mcevers. It's Tuesday April seventh. So if you run a small business you might have spent the weekend filling out an application for the paycheck protection program. That is a three hundred and fifty billion dollar pool of money created by the economic relief package for small businesses with less than five hundred employees. The money was given to banks which are then supposed to loan it to businesses. And if those businesses spend the money on things like payroll than their loan forgivable starting last Friday business owners could apply for those loans. So how's it going well until Greg Honeycutt told? Npr's Daniel Kurtz Laban that he has almost entirely shut down his construction business in Houston. Yeah we have multiple jobs that are on hold right now and and they will stay on. Hold until I feel comfortable that it's safe to go back to work and HONEYCUTT started looking into a paycheck protection loan from his bank. Wells Fargo. Last Friday. The day the program started he followed up and he followed up and today on Tuesday. They told him they were still not taking applications. Pretty there's also been reports of the government's application website crashing and the terms and criteria for who qualify where confusing to banks and to borrowers. You know it's a little concerning. Obviously you know we paid. I paid my guys two weeks. That was two weeks ago. I paid them for two weeks this week. They haven't been paid I. I can't it's going to be difficult keeping people without some kind of relief since we really are not working not making any money so at the White House. This week the PAYCHECK Protection Program. That gotten off to a confusing. Start for small showing. The president was asked about the programs launch. I wish you'd ask the question differently. Wasn't you say it's gotten off to a tremendous start but there are some little glitches? Which by the way have been worked at? It will be so much nicer if you do that. Other officials are urging businesses to keep trying over the phone and online as they work out the problems. Also on Tuesday Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said he had reached an agreement with Democratic and Republican leaders. To put another two hundred fifty billion dollars into the program so this paycheck protection program for many businesses will help pay people who are not working. That's because the economic cost of sending them back to work too. Early could actually be worse in the long-term Derek Thompson senior editor at the Atlantic explained. Why in an article called the four rules of pandemic economics and he talked to here now. Host Tonya Moseley. Your first rule. Is that the idea of either. Saving the economy or saving lives is a false choice. What do you mean I mean that in the short term when you have a pandemic raging it does no good to allow people to go to restaurants and go to movies and go to concerts? Because they're just going to get extremely sick and have to stay home from work anyway so saving. The economy versus saving lives doesn't make a lot of sense because the economy is made up of living people. So what we should want to do is root out the pandemic itself say. There's many people as possible create a short and sharp recession and then hope that we can quickly put everything back online really quickly. One metaphor that sometimes been used is that this is a little bit like a medically induced coma. The purpose is to solve the problem. The patient is facing by putting them under fixing the problem and then putting them back into consciousness. That's where we're trying to do right now. Okay which brings us to number to pay people a living wage to stop working. What do economists say about whether the US is doing enough to pay people to stop working? This is another rule that just totally flies in the face of historical macroeconomics. Typically you would always want to make sure that everybody who wants to work can work. And they're paid a living wage to do so but in a pandemic that logic is turned on its head. What you want people to do is to social distance so we should pay them living wage to stop working the way the US has done this. Essentially is We've made an agreement to send most households at one time payment of about twelve hundred dollars per adult plus five hundred dollars per child. We've also beefed up unemployment benefits. I think these are both fine ideas but it's important to note that other countries have taken a different stance. Denmark and other northern European nations have essentially said. We're going to pay businesses to maintain their payrolls to avoid the sort of mass layoffs. There were already beginning to see in the US again. Let's get everybody who's employed with with their current employer or boss. Just stay at that company will pay you to do nothing for a few months and then hopefully in the summer we can bring the whole thing back online without having to lose millions maybe even tens of millions of people in the US to unemployment. Yeah you have another rule that really speaks to Businesses and their plight right now. That comes from economists. Justin Wolfer at the University of Michigan. Who told you that you have to build companies a time machine? What does that mean right? So he's not talking about the H. G. Wells contraption. He's talking about a time. Machine made out of money that can move their expenses from the present day to the future and in the US economic rescue package that time machine looks like about three hundred fifty billion dollars in low interest loans. That the government's GonNa give out to small and medium sized businesses and maybe even forgive those loans if those businesses maintain their payrolls. I think it's a good idea. I just think it's probably a little too small and a little too late if we want to pay all the small medium sized businesses in the US enough money to maintain their payrolls. That figures shouldn't be three hundred fifty billion each be closer to six hundred or seven hundred billion. You also say and rule number four. The business of America is now science. Can you explain that we need to get people money? Or they're going to die and we need to get companies cash or they're going to die but if we don't clear the way for healthcare workers to treat the sick if we don't find a way to test and trace illnesses we don't find a way to build antiviral medications or a vaccine if we don't fix the science problem people and companies are going to die anyway. There's no such thing as normal economy until we can contain this virus Derek Thompson senior editor at the Atlantic talking to here and now host Tonya Mosley across the United States. This pandemic is only making an unequal system. More so unless you have a white colored job that lets you work from home. You're probably stuck going to work or you're being laid off and when it comes to the virus itself. African Americans are dying at an alarming rate in Detroit Chicago Milwaukee and in Louisiana where the disease seem to hit with sudden force. Here's Teagan Wendell. End of member station W. W. No in New Orleans just a little over a month ago. Elway James Was Riding High Zulus Mardi Gras morning parade kissing babies and shaking hands. He's the president of the Zulu Social Aid and pleasure club the center of black culture in New Orleans a month later twenty of his club. Brothers have been hospitalized and five are dead. We have not been able to celebrate the live lows about members. The way we have we would have traditionally done jazz. Funerals know second lines. All he can do is console families over the phone encourage them and pray for them. He's not alone Kovic. Nineteen has killed many many black people in Louisiana during a press conference governor John Bel Edwards released data for the first time on the racial breakdown of Corona virus deaths showing that at least seventy percent were of black people so that deserves more attention. And we're going to have to dig into that and see what we can do to slow that trend down in Louisiana. There are many reasons for that trend. Preexisting conditions like high blood pressure diabetes and coronary heart disease disproportionately affect the black community largely because of poverty and lack of access to medical services. Problems that Congressman Edrich. Richmond says are rooted in hundreds of years of systemic racism. No doubt that is GONNA impact African American communities off four communities work in Chicago which has a much smaller black population. Seventy percent of the people who've died of the corona virus so far we're black according to WBZ. Milwaukee is seeing similar trends. Joya career prairie is a doctor who founded the National Birth Equity Collaborative. She says a lot of black people don't even know they're at risk. We're seeing a lot of black men a lot of younger people from you. Sing all the things that didn't that you didn't and some other countries play out in the US because we have not created a social safety net for everyone and in a state like Louisiana where at least eight percent of the people don't have insurance a number that's even higher for minorities. Folks might be reluctant to go to the hospital if they don't think it's that serious congressman Richmond at the end of the day. This is not some academic study. This is a FIFA de issue. Once and for hope that justice to tackle health disparities cost alison pliers with the New Orleans data center which is studying. Cova death rates as we move forward we have to really create a society that cares for everyone even the most vulnerable or else we will have a large portion of our society that susceptible to these kinds of shocks for his part. Elmore James will continue to support his community as they navigate this devastating time. And when it's all over they'll throw a big old second line for the brothers and sisters. They've lost digging wind for member station. W. W. in New Orleans last week. Nadia had a dry cough so she was given a test for. The Corona virus test came back positive which was newsworthy. Because Nadia is a four year old Malayan Tiger at the Bronx Zoo and she is the first known animal in the United States to have the virus for the record. She did not use a test. That could have been used on human. But this story underscores how little we know about this virus and its ability to infect other species the guidance from the CDC is. If you feel sick you should try to avoid contact with pets yours or others. If you're not sick just practice normal good hygiene. Wash your hands after handling animals. Their food or toys Paul Kelly chief veterinarian at the Bronx Zoo set on. Npr's here and now that Nadia is doing better and CDC still says there is no evidence. The virus can spread from pets to people. Npr has more answers to your questions about the virus in animals. There's a link to an article by reporter Laura Walmsley episode notes for more news on the corona virus. You can stay up to date with all of it on your local public radio station and in our daily Corona virus newsletter the new normal sign up at NPR dot org slash newsletters. I'm Kelly mcevers. Thanks for listening. We'll be back with more tomorrow.

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