Survey Finds That One in Five Americans Won’t Travel Until 2021

By Staff
Friday, April 3, 2020 11:55 AM NEW YORK—New research suggests that airline travel could be slow to recover from the coronavirus outbreak. A targeted study by Upgraded Points, a travel points and rewards firm, asked questions to airline travelers about the recent global pandemic and their travel plans.

“The airline industry is in a great deal of trouble again,” Upgraded Points founder Alex Miller said in a statement. “They’ve certainly seen their share of difficulty over the years; after 9/11, during the 2008 economic downturn, [and others]. But this is probably the worst crisis the industry has ever faced.”

Overall, the majority of Americans who responded to the survey said their biggest traveling concern was the COVID-19 virus. But the study broke that question down into a variety of other specific concerns to help reveal the nuanced complexities around the topic. When asked what worried them most—contracting the virus personally or passing it on to others—the majority of Americans responded they were most concerned about contracting the virus themselves.

But 32 percent of those asked did express concerns about passing the disease on to others, while still others expressed concern about becoming part of overall community spread.

Read the results of the full survey here

Sadly, Coronavirus Is Almost Everywhere

By Staff
Thursday, April 2, 2020 1:17 PM According to tracking by the Johns Hopkins University, the total number of people infected with the coronavirus currently stands at just under 963,000. The cumulative number of cases in the U.S. has reached nearly 217,000—making the country the number one coronavirus hot spot. In contrast to China and South Korea which have had a lot of success in reducing their new case counts. Outbreaks in Europe are proving extremely worrying and Italy and Spain have passed 100,000 confirmed cases each. Germany’s outbreak has now reached approximately 81,000 cases.

This chart from Statista.com reflects figures as of April 2, 2020 at 7:40 a.m. EST.

New Accenture Survey Examines Consumer ‘Tech-Clash’

By Staff
Wednesday, April 1, 2020 9:55 AM According to the 2020 Technology Vision Consumer Survey conducted by Accenture, 52 percent of consumers say that technology plays a prominent role or is ingrained into almost all aspects of their day-to-day lives. In fact, 19 percent report that technology is so intertwined with their lives that they view it as an extension of themselves. Accenture found that globally, people spend an average of 6.4 hours online daily. They are post-digital.

UHC Understanding the Link Between Pregnancy and Eye Health

By Staff
Tuesday, March 31, 2020 11:48 AM An estimated one in six women experience complications associated with their pregnancy, including vision-related issues ranging from mild discomfort to vision loss, according to an newly released statistical analysis by United Healthcare.

To support the eye health and overall well-being of expectant and new moms, UHC has introduced a new benefit program to support the eye health and overall well-being of expectant and new moms, helping expand access to recommended vision care before and after delivery.

Staying in Touch Using Video Chat Tools in the New World of Social Distancing

By Staff
Monday, March 30, 2020 3:58 PM As a significant part of the world population is currently on lockdown in an attempt to contain the coronavirus pandemic, people are turning to technology to work, communicate and stay in touch with their loved ones. Unsurprisingly, workplace communication tools such as Slack and Teams have seen a jump in usage as working from home has become the new norm in recent weeks. People are also making use of similar tools in their personal lives, however, leading to a spike in downloads of video chat apps.

According to Priori Data, global downloads of Skype, Houseparty and Zoom each surged by more than 100 percent in March, with the latter proving particularly popular among people meeting up virtually while being confined to their homes. The videoconferencing app was downloaded nearly 27 million times this month, up from just 2.1 million times in January.

Click here to read the full story from Statista.com.

U.S. Public Sees Multiple Threats from the Coronavirus—and Concerns Are Growing

By Staff
Friday, March 27, 2020 9:29 AM NEW YORK—As coronavirus cases increase across the United States, 70 percent of Americans say the COVID-19 outbreak poses a major threat to the U.S. economy and 47 percent say it is a major threat to overall health across the nation, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.

But, so far, Americans are less concerned about how the new coronavirus is affecting their health, finances and local communities. Only 27 percent said in their responses that the coronavirus is a major threat to their personal health, while 51 percent said it is a minor threat, and only 22 percent said the coronavirus does not threaten their personal health, according to the findings of the Pew Research Center survey, as noted here.

“Underscoring the rapidly changing nature of this crisis, the shares of Americans who say the COVID-19 outbreak is a major threat to the economy and other aspects of life increased substantially over the past week,” the Pew report noted. “For example, in interviews conducted March 10-11, 42 percent of the public said the coronavirus was a major threat to the health of the U.S. population; in interviews conducted March 14-16, 55 percent say it is a major threat to the nation’s overall health.”

The national survey by Pew Research Center—conducted March 10-16 among 8,914 adults using the Center’s American Trends Panel—found widespread public confidence that public health officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local government officials are doing a good job in responding to the coronavirus outbreak, according to the report.

More than eight-in-ten (83 percent) said they are very or somewhat confident that CDC officials are doing a good job, including 40 percent who said they are very confident. Most (73 percent) also said they are confident in state and local government officials.

Before the Coronavirus, Telework was an Optional Benefit, Mostly for the Affluent Few

By Staff
Thursday, March 26, 2020 4:45 PM One of the key public health responses to the global coronavirus pandemic has been social distancing—avoiding large groups of people in close quarters in order to inhibit the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. Along with shutting down sports leagues, closing churches and stores and limiting restaurants to take-out service only, a major tactic for social distancing has been encouraging—or requiring—people to work from home.

In that respect, COVID-19 may yet do what years of advocacy have failed to: Make telework a benefit available to more than a relative handful of U.S. workers. According to a recent feature by Pew Research Center, Only 7 percent of civilian workers in the U.S., or roughly 9.8 million of the nation’s approximately 140 million civilian workers, have access to a “flexible workplace” benefit, or telework, based on data in the 2019 National Compensation Survey (NCS) from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. And those workers who have access to it are largely managers, other white-collar professionals and the highly paid. (“Civilian workers” refers to private industry workers and state and local government workers combined.) 

Click here to read the full story from Pew Research Center.

Coronavirus Outbreak Puts 37 Million U.S. Jobs At Risk

By Staff
Wednesday, March 25, 2020 1:33 PM The coronavirus pandemic has brought life in the United States to a near standstill in recent days. Many cities and states are in complete lockdown as strict social distancing looks like the only way to slow down the spread of the virus at the moment. As people are no longer leaving their houses, let alone meeting in restaurants, movie theaters or at the mall, some industries have lost a significant portion of their income virtually overnight, putting millions of American jobs at risk.

According to estimates from Goldman Sachs economists, initial jobless claims may have exceeded 2 million in the week ended March 21, but that may only be the beginning of an unprecedented jobs crisis. According to the Job Quality Index (JQI), a research project from Cornell Law School and the Coalition for a Prosperous America that assesses job quality in the United States, more than 37 million (mostly lower-wage) jobs may be vulnerable to short-term layoffs due to the COVID-19 crisis and the response to it. 

As this chart from Statista.com shows, the wider restaurant industry, including everything from full-service restaurants to bars, cafeterias etc. is expected to be most vulnerable to short-term job losses with more than 10 million lower-wage positions at risk. Retailers and firms operating in travel, tourism and leisure are also expected to be heavily affected, with 7.7 million and 5.1 million jobs at risk, respectively.

Click here to read the full story.

Connecting With Reliable News Sources During the COVID-19 ‘Infodemic’

By Staff
Tuesday, March 24, 2020 9:57 AM The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) warns that in addition to being in the midst of a pandemic, we are also facing an “infodemic” resulting from the increasing speed and level misinformation and disinformation about the COVID-19 crisis that is circulating in public arena. “The result is too much information—sometimes inaccurate, and often in scientific terms or medical language that might be difficult to understand,” the organization stated in in a recent press release.

PRSA noted in a recent press release that PR professionals are “uniquely positioned to guide communications and offer resources to the public as they navigate a dearth of information” in the crisis.

Courts in Some Areas Hard Hit by Pandemic Face a Caseload Crisis

By Staff
Monday, March 23, 2020 1:15 PM Many of the states that are hardest hit by coronavirus—New York, Washington, California, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Florida—are also home to some of the most overburdened federal courts in the country. Several different but related factors contribute to that caseload crisis, according to an article on Law360.com, a website that covers the news in the legal field.

As Cara Bayles of Law360 noted, “First is the sheer number and complexity of filings. States that are home to many tech companies, like California, or many pharmaceutical companies, like New Jersey, might see a lot of intellectual property cases with reams and reams of paper. In border states like Texas and Arizona, immigration cases overwhelm the courts, especially under a Trump administration policy that charges undocumented immigrants with criminal illegal entry.”

Research Firm Revises Ad Spending Forecast Downward for 2020

By Staff
Friday, March 20, 2020 10:19 AM NEW YORK—With so many uncertainties around the COVID-19 situation and how it will spread worldwide, the global advertising market is in a state of flux right now. As a result, the research firm eMarketer said it is taking a “cautious approach” and has updated its global ad-spending forecast.

In 2020, the firm now expects total media ad spending worldwide will reach $691.7 billion, up by 7.0 percent from 2019. But note that this is a decrease in projected growth from the firm’s previous forecast, which estimated worldwide ad spending growth in 2020 to rise by 7.4 percent to $712.02 billion.

“Our downward revision is primarily due to one country: China, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak,” eMarketer said in its recent report on global advertising. “The first case was discovered there in late December 2019, so we have had more time to track the virus’s impact on the country’s ad market.” (China is the world’s second-largest ad market after the United States, so a reduction in our China estimates would lower our global forecast.)

The research firm said it now expects total media ad spending in China to reach $113.7 billion, down from the previous estimate of $121.13 billion.

eMarketer also noted that its forecast is for the full year, “and there is still a strong possibility that the virus could be contained in the coming months, allowing for a rebound in [the second half of 2020].” Ad spending takes place in the latter part of the year for the holiday season in most countries, the firm noted.

Americans Immersed in COVID-19 News; Most Think Media Are Doing Fairly Well Covering It

By Staff
Thursday, March 19, 2020 2:09 PM The COVID-19 pandemic has caught Americans’ rapt attention. Roughly half of U.S. adults (51 percent) are following news about it very closely, with another 38 percent following it fairly closely, according to a new Pew Research Center Election News Pathways survey conducted from March 10-16, 2020. During this period, the number of confirmed casesin the U.S. increased from about 650 to over 3,000, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, President Donald Trump announced a ban on travel to the U.S. from European countries and many universities announced closures or remote classes

Americans give the news media fairly high marks for their coverage of COVID-19, though most think their reporting has at least somewhat exaggerated the risks.

Misinformation—has also found its way into the information stream. About half the public (48 percent) say they’ve been exposed to at least some made-up news and information related to the virus. And when asked two questions about the virus, substantial portions express belief in claims that are in fact false. These findings come from a survey of 8,914 U.S. adults who are members of the Center’s American Trends Panel.

Click here to read the full story from Pew Research Center.

Coronavirus Fears Surge in U.S., Gallup Poll Says

By Staff
Wednesday, March 18, 2020 4:33 PM With cities around the U.S. taking extraordinary measures to distance people from one another during the coronavirus outbreak, the fear and worry about COVID-19 among Americans has risen sharply from just a month ago, according to a recent feature from Statista.com. 

In a poll conducted in February and March by Gallup, 60 percent of all U.S. adults say they are worried about their potential exposure to the fast-spreading coronavirus. This number is up substantially from February, where only 36 percent of U.S. adults expressed fear or worry about their exposure to the COVID-19 disease. 

All demographics in the poll showed large increases in fear and anxiety about the coronavirus. Those responding as Democrats saw the largest shift, where 26 percent of Democrats in February turned into 73 percent expressing fear in March. Republicans saw a modest increase, going from 30 percent to 42 percent. 

Click here to read the full story from Statista.com. 

Who Gets Paid Sick Leave?

By Staff
Tuesday, March 17, 2020 1:23 PM As the number of COVID-19 infections in the U.S. mounts daily, the question of who is entitled to get paid sick leave has become critically important for millions of workers and employers.

A recent Pew Research Center analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data found that nearly a quarter of civilian workers in the U.S. still do not have access to paid sick leave. Pew found that paid sick leave is a nearly universal option among high earners, but becomes noticeably rarer among lower earners, data journalist Niall McCarthy noted yesterday on Statista.com

Lively Releases 2019 Data Showing HSA Users are Spending, Not Saving

By Staff
Friday, March 13, 2020 12:05 PM NEW YORK—Lively Inc., a creator of the modern Health Savings Account (HSA), has released its second annual HSA Spend Report, which provides a view into how and where consumers spend on health care costs each year. The findings show that 96 percent of annual contributions were spent on expected expenses and routine visits. What this means, according to the Lively analysis, is that “the rising cost of health care is preventing people from achieving the long-term benefits of using an HSA to save for unexpected health events and the high cost of health care in retirement.”

The report also noted that about 5 percent of Health Savings Account money went toward vision and eyewear in 2019.

In addition, the average HSA account holder in 2019 spent their savings on doctor visits and services (50 percent); prescription drug costs (10 percent); dental care (16 percent); vision and eyewear (5 percent); chiropractor (3 percent); lab work (2 percent); and other (1 percent).

Among the key findings and trends from the report to note:

1. Online spending is key for vision and mental health: More than 15 percent of all HSA vision and eyecare spending happened online, dominated by 1-800-Contacts and Warby Parker. Additionally, more than 15 percent of all mental health spending was through virtual experience apps, and/or digital experiences that connect consumers to mental health professionals.

2. Health care spending increased across all categories. Doctor visits and services spending increased moderately by 22 percent, from 41 percent in 2018 to 50 percent in 2019. Dental spending increased 78 percent—from 9 percent in 2018 to 16 percent in 2019.