Before we get started with this week’s news, we want to share three FAQs we have created to help answer any questions you may have about vaccinations:
- When Will You Be Eligible to Get Vaccinated?
- What Brokers Need to Know About Vaccination
- How Will Vaccinations Impact Your Real Estate Business?
You can access all three at carcovidupdates.org/vaccine.
In This Issue:
- The Economy & Your Finances: U.S. economy added fewer jobs than expected in January
- The Market & Industry: California market continues upward trend
- Around the State: Cases, deaths, hospitalizations declining
- Health Check-Up: Johnson & Johnson applies for emergency-use authorization
The Economy & Your Finances: U.S. economy added fewer jobs than expected in JanuaryThe U.S. economy added more jobs than it lost in January, putting the national unemployment rate at 6.3 percent. Still, added jobs were lower than expected, with only 49,000 jobs added in January compared with 227,000 jobs lost in December. On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office projected that even though the U.S. economy will return to its pre-pandemic size by mid-year, the number of employed Americans will not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024.
Last week, the Senate approved President Biden’s coronavirus relief package, and the House of Representatives passed the measure shortly thereafter. The coronavirus aid package can now work its way through congressional committees with the goal of finalizing additional relief by mid-March, when extra unemployment assistance and other pandemic aid expires. Lawmakers are still debating whether to offer $1,400 direct relief checks to individuals making up to $75,000 and couples making up to $150,000, as with previous direct payments, or whether to lower those thresholds.
Last Thursday in California, state lawmakers proposed a package of bills aimed to reform the Employment Development Department (EDD), which has been plagued by fraud, outdated technology and other challenges. In a new wrinkle, the EDD announced that unemployed Californians whose benefits expired late last December due to a federal cutoff must wait until March 7 before they can apply to have them extended.
Last Wednesday, Governor Newsom announced an additional $10.3 billion was added to the state budget. The funds will go toward supporting small businesses, vaccine administration and schools.
Sources: Yahoo! Finance, The New York Times, AP News, NBC News, CNBC, Los Angeles Times, ABC 7 News, The Mercury News, The San Francisco Chronicle, KRON 4
Governor Newsom signed an emergency bill (SB 91) on Friday that extends the eviction moratorium for Californians suffering from financial hardship due to COVID-19 through June. SB 91 pauses evictions for tenants who declare under penalty of perjury an inability to pay rent for a COVID-related reason. Tenants will still be responsible for paying unpaid amounts to property owners, but they cannot be evicted as a result of those unpaid amounts. The bill also establishes a State Rental Assistance Program using the $2.6 billion in federal rental assistance funds allocated to California. The program will offer rent subsidies to help pay past-due rent by low-income tenants. C.A.R. took a “neutral” position on SB 91.
With mortgage rates still low, the housing market remains a bright spot for California’s economy. California REALTORS® continue to report strong demand and price growth, while supply remains tighter than the usual.
Sources: Los Angeles Times, Office of the Governor of California, C.A.R., REALTOR® Magazine, C.A.R. Research & Economics
After weeks of extremely high death rates, California’s COVID-19 fatalities are finally starting to decrease. The state is averaging fewer than half the daily infections it was recording just two weeks ago. Hospitalizations, too, have been declining for nearly a month. As of this morning at 9 a.m., the statewide average for ICU bed availability is 13.6 percent, and the state is averaging an 8.5 percent positivity rate for tests. Cases in California numbered 3,422,171, deaths had reached 45,007, and 4,914,630 people have received vaccinations.
The federal government is opening two new COVID-19 vaccination sites in California: one at Cal State los Angeles, the other at the Oakland Coliseum. Scheduled to open February 16, these sites will be staffed mostly by federal workers. And starting on February 11, CVS will administer vaccinations to eligible recipients at 100 stores across the state.
With new, more contagious variants circulating through California, some experts worry the state will not be able to vaccinate the population fast enough to prevent a second wave. Public health experts caution that dropping ICU levels does not indicate the pandemic is over, it simply means hospitals are more likely to have a bed available for sick patients. Meanwhile, the state continues to debate who should be prioritized next in the vaccination rollout.
Sources: The Mercury News, Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Times of San Diego
Health Check-Up: Johnson & Johnson applies for emergency-use authorizationLast Thursday, Johnson & Johnson applied for emergency-use authorization for its coronavirus vaccine. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is around 66 percent effective at protecting against the virus and around 85 percent effective at preventing severe disease.
Experts caution to avoid certain painkillers, including ibuprofen (found in Advil, Motrin and other brands) immediately before and after getting vaccinated — unless you routinely take those medications for a medical condition. Vaccines can cause temporary soreness, fever and headache, but certain painkillers might lower the production of antibodies.
In this piece from NPR, a series of infectious disease specialists share their thoughts on whether it is safe to visit older friends and relatives who have been vaccinated. The answer is not a simple yes or no.
Sources: CNBC, Los Angeles Times, NPR