COVID-19 Resource Hub

Tarbell’s COVID-19 Resource Hub

The novel coronavirus was first documented in China late last year. Since, cases have been recorded on six continents and over 100 countries.

As the global pandemic continues, Tarbell will update this resource center to ensure our readers not only have the latest information, but an understanding of the virus.

COVID-19 Stimulus Package Review

On March 27, 2020 President Trump signed the CARES Act, a stimulus package intended to help individuals, businesses and industries recover from the economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The stimulus bill is designed to help and support many facets of our economy, from schools and industries (such as healthcare), to individuals and families.  The hope is to help ease the economic strain caused by the virus, and the need to stay home, while also lessening the impact on the economy at large.   

In order to help individuals and families, they are going to be sent a check. The maximum amount you could receive is $1200 per individual, or $2400 per couple. If you have a child, you’re eligible for an additional $500 per household. 

However, there are some exceptions. If you make $75,000 as an individual, or $150,000 per couple, you’ll still receive a check, but the amount will be less than the maximum.  If you make $99,000 as an individual, or $198,000 per couple, you will not receive a check.   

Your tax returns are being used to determine the amount you’ll receive.  If you’ve filed your 2019 taxes, that tax return will be used.  If you have yet to file those (you have until July 15), they’ll use your 2018 tax returns. If you collect social security, that will be used to determine the amount you’re eligible for. 

If you, like many Americans, have student loans, payments are suspended through September 30, 2020.  During that time period, no interest will accrue. 

Your employer is required to post their Families First Coronavirus Response Act status in a conspicuous place.  However, all businesses with fewer than 500 employees must provide paid sick leave and expanded family medical leave for COVID-19 illness; this generally does not apply to federal employees.  If your small business has fewer than 50 employees, you can apply for an exemption if providing this leave would jeopardize your business. 

 All covered employers must provide two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the regular rate of pay if you are quarantined, awaiting a diagnosis because you have symptoms of the Novel Coronavirus. 

You employer would also be required to provide two weeks at 75% pay, because you need to care for a family member who has the virus, or a child who cannot attend school and/or daycare because of the virus.  If you need additional time to care for a child, a covered employer must provide an additional 10 weeks at 75% pay, if you’ve worked for your company for at least 30 days prior. 

If you find yourself out of work, you are eligible for unemployment, even if you’re self-employed, a contractor, a freelancer, or work in the gig economy. If you do have to file for unemployment, unemployment insurance has been extended for an additional four months, with the potential for an extra $600 per week. 

If you need to take off work due to an illness, or to care for a family member, you are eligible to file for unemployment; however, if you are receiving paid sick or family leave, you are not eligible for unemployment. 

There are multiple facets of the CARES act designed to help small businesses pay their bills and employees, with the goal of allowing them to remain in business.  350 billion dollars in loans has been allocated to cover salary, wages, and benefits; the largest loan amount for this is 10 million per business. 10 billion has been set aside for grants, up to $10,000 of which can be used for operating costs. 

If you will now need a loan for your business, 350 billion dollars has been allocated to the Small Business Association to provide loans of up to 10 million dollars each for things like payroll, rent, mortgage, or debt.  However, you must be employed through June to qualify for this. 

If you already have a loan through the Small Business Association, 17 billion has been allocated to help borrowers, for up to six months. 

Overall, the act includes 500 billion for loans, loan guarantees, or investments, and 17 billion for businesses deemed critical to maintaining national security. 

If you have been forced to suspend operations due to the virus and had at least a 50% decrease in gross receipts from last year, you’re eligible for a tax credit for up to 50% of your wages. 

There’s also a tax credit to cover 50% of payroll expenses on the first $10,000 of compensation, per employee.  If you have 100 or more employees, this tax credit is specifically designed to pay your employees earnings. 

Your payroll tax is also being delayed, half to be paid in 2021, and the rest in 2022. 

There have been some caveats written into the bill as well, like there were for individuals.  If an executive, or employee, makes $425,000 or more a year, they are not eligible for a raise. Also, if you’ve taken out a government loan, you are banned from buying back stock until a year after the loan has been repaid. 

The stimulus bill sets aside 25 billion to help pay for wages, salaries, and benefits, as well as 25 billion for airlines, and 4 billion for cargo, for loans and loan guarantees. 

The CARES Act allocates 117 billion to hospitals and veterans care.  16 billion is specifically for a national stockpile of medicines and supplies.  1.32 billion is for community health centers.  11 billion is for diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines.  20 billion is specifically for veterans.  

Knowing families rely on schools and/or food assistance programs for help, the CARES Act has allotted funds in high need areas.  For example, to help with food insecurity, 15.5 billion has been allocated to SNAP, and 450 million for food banks and distribution centers.  To help children who get their meals from their school, 8.8 billion is being allocated to help fund school meals. 

In terms of school funding, 13 billion is being set aside for k-12 schools, and 14 billion for higher education.  If colleges and universities have unused work study funds, they can either continue to pay the students, or convert those funds into grants. 

Another 5.3 billion is going towards family programs, such as daycare centers. 

There are multiple facets of the CARES act designed to help small businesses pay their bills and employees, with the goal of allowing them to remain in business.  350 billion dollars in loans has been allocated to cover salary, wages, and benefits; the largest loan amount for this is 10 million per business. 10 billion has been set aside for grants, up to $10,000 of which can be used for operating costs. 

If you will now need a loan for your business, 350 billion dollars has been allocated to the Small Business Association to provide loans of up to 10 million dollars each for things like payroll, rent, mortgage, or debt.  However, you must be employed through June to qualify for this. 

If you already have a loan through the Small Business Association, 17 billion has been allocated to help borrowers, for up to six months. 

The hope is that these allotments will help everyone weather the economic fallout resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The act was passed with bi-partisan support in both chambers, and they hope to begin mailing checks to individuals and families within a few weeks.  

Below is a short glossary of relative terms and helpful links provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The official scientific name of the coronavirus causing the pandemic. It stands for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. It was previously known as 2019-nCoV.

Short for Coronavirus Disease 2019. It’s the official name of the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2.

The time between when someone is infected with a pathogen, such as a virus, and when the first symptoms of illness appear.

When someone who has been exposed to a disease but is not visibly sick stays away from others for a period of time in case they are infected. By keeping their distance, they can avoid spreading the disease to others. A quarantine usually lasts a little longer than the incubation period for a disease, just to be safe.

A quarantine can be ordered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or by state and local governments.

When someone who is definitely sick stays away from others so that they don’t infect anyone else. In the case of this coronavirus, isolation should continue until the risk of infecting someone else is thought to be low. The decision to end isolation should be made on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with healthcare providers and the local health department, according to the CDC.

Isolation can be ordered by the CDC or by state and local governments

These are legally enforceable directives that may place restrictions on the activities of individuals or groups in the name of protecting the public’s health. Federal, state or local agencies may issue public health orders, such as restricting people’s movements or requiring that their movements be monitored by health authorities.

A public health strategy in which officials aim to prevent the spread of an infectious disease beyond a small group of people to the broader community.

The public health goal once a virus has spread so widely that it’s impossible to keep it away. Instead of mainly relying on public health authorities to do things like locate sick people and identify their contacts, health officials ask the public to help slow the spread of the virus. Useful actions can include reminding people to stay home when they’re sick and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces in buildings daily.

Measures designed to keep people away from crowded places where a virus could more easily spread. In the case of COVID-19, health officials are encouraging members of the public to work from home, cancel mass events and maintain about six feet of space between themselves and others. A radical measure is to close most businesses and order the public to shelter at home except for essential activities, such as purchasing food and caring for relatives, while allowing people to go outside for a walk.

This phrase describes the goal of spreading out infections in a population to minimize the number of people who are sick at any given time.

In the case of COVID-19, it’s anyone who is within 6 feet of a person infected with SARS-CoV-2 for a prolonged period of time.

An increase, often sudden, in the number of cases of a disease above what is normally expected among the population in a limited area.

An outbreak that has spread to a wider area.

An epidemic that has spread over multiple countries or continents, usually affecting a large number of people.

When a public health laboratory has determined a patient has tested positive for a viral infection, but officials are still awaiting confirmation from the CDC. For the purposes of public health, a presumptive positive result is treated as confirmed positive. There are, however, rare situations in which a presumptive positive may turn out to be negative.

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