Coronavirus BRIEFING
Supported by Essilor

DaTE Proves Restart Is Possible

By Staff
Friday, September 25, 2020 12:25 AM The 8th edition of DaTE, the showcase event for eyewear of the future, closed on September 21 in Florence. 1,000 pre-registered professionals and select buyers visited the show, meeting organizers’ expectations and confirming the importance of in-person events.

Economic Fallout From COVID-19 Continues to Hit Lower-Income Americans the Hardest

By Staff
Thursday, September 24, 2020 2:29 PM It’s been roughly six months since the coronavirus outbreak sent shockwaves through the U.S. economy. While the labor market has recovered somewhat and early stock market losses have been reversed, many Americans continue to face deep financial hardship.

A new Pew Research Center survey finds that, overall, one-in-four adults have had trouble paying their bills since the coronavirus outbreak started, a third have dipped into savings or retirement accounts to make ends meet, and about one-in-six have borrowed money from friends or family or gotten food from a food bank. As was the case earlier this year,  these types of experiences continue to be more common among adults with lower incomes, those without a college degree and Black and Hispanic Americans.

Among lower-income adults, 46 percent say they have had trouble paying their bills since the pandemic started and roughly one third (32 percent) say it’s been hard for them to make rent or mortgage payments. About one-in-five or fewer middle-income adults have faced these challenges, and the shares are substantially smaller for those in the upper-income tier. To be sure, some of these financial pain points may have existed even before the pandemic – particularly for lower-income adults. 

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

What About Halloween?

By Staff
Thursday, September 24, 2020 12:09 PM Believe it or not, it's almost October. For many of us, October means one thing: Halloween. But how do we approach the holiday season in the midst of a pandemic? Massive costume parties are definitely out of the question, but what about trick-or-treating for kids? Should we even bother to stock up on mini Reese's Cups to hand out? The CDC has discouraged trick-or-treating and costume parties, and instead put together a list of safer ways to celebrate. Head over to WebMD for a look. 

Landlords and Retail Tenants Compromise to Emerge Stronger Post-COVID-19

By Staff
Thursday, September 24, 2020 10:39 AM Genuine rent relief through this unprecedented period, whether it is landlord- or government-driven in the future, will hopefully provide sufficient runway for many of these retailers to maintain liquidity long enough to continue serving their customers and paying their employees until the pandemic’s most severe effects have retreated.

ECPs Optimistic as Business Increases, Wave 15 of Jobson Survey Finds

By Staff
Thursday, September 24, 2020 12:33 AM NEW YORK—Even with the coronavirus pandemic continuing to move across the U.S. in a hopscotch-like path, ECPs and eyecare practice managers seem to be exhibiting a more optimistic outlook on circumstances and taking steps to get back to more of a “normal” approach to business, according to the 15th Wave of Jobson's ECP Coronavirus Survey. Jobson Research conducted the survey during the Sept. 18-22 period.

VSP Global’s COVID-19 Patient Care Grant Program to Help Offset Pandemic Expenses Is Now Available to ECPs

By Staff
Thursday, September 24, 2020 12:27 AM RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif.—VSP network doctors can now apply for the recently announced VSP Global COVID-19 Patient Care Program, which offers grants to help practices offset expenses and financial hardships due to the pandemic.

Quantum Innovations Releases Germicidal UVC Device

By Staff
Thursday, September 24, 2020 12:09 AM

Clothing Stores and Food Services Fall Behind in Uneven Retail Recovery

By Staff
Wednesday, September 23, 2020 4:35 PM Despite the expiration of the weekly supplement to unemployment benefits at the end of July, U.S. consumer spending continued to bounce back in August, albeit at a slower pace than before, according to a recent feature from Statista.com. According to preliminary estimates published by the U.S. Census Bureau last week, seasonally adjusted retail and food services sales amounted to $537.5 billion last month, up more than 30 percent from its April low and 2.5 percent from the same period last year.

While the ongoing bounce back in consumer spending is certainly encouraging, it needs to be noted that the recovery has been uneven and that spending levels are still below pre-crisis levels for many retailers. 

As the following chart shows, clothing and accessories stores have been badly impacted by the pandemic, with sales in the three months ended August 2020 more than 20 percent below the same period of 2019. The same is true for food services and drinking places, which saw spending levels 19 percent off last year’s total and department stores, which trailed last year’s sales for the months of June, July and August by 16 percent.

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

Reconfiguring the Plan

By Mark Tosh
Wednesday, September 23, 2020 11:30 AM A few weeks ago, I sent an email to people across the optical community asking if they could share a “good news” story. The idea was to collect these positive narratives and put them into a VMAIL Weekend feature. I called it a search for the “silver lining,” basing this on the assumption that there really is “good” sprinkled around and within the dark clouds of the coronavirus pandemic. Sure enough, the responses I received were great. Darren Horndasch, president and chief executive of Wisconsin Vision, had a great story about a surprise birthday party organized and kept secret by the management team and ownership at the optical retailer. Truly evidence that people enjoy doing good things for others. Read More

Can Dogs Sniff Out COVID-19?

By Staff
Wednesday, September 23, 2020 11:14 AM By now, we're all used to temperature screenings and mask mandates that help keep us and those around us safe from COVID-19. But at Helsinki Airport in Finland, a team of dogs trained to sniff out COVID-19 are screening travelers as well. Head over to Fast Company to learn more about how the dogs can do it, and if it might catch on. 

Jobson Tracker: Optical Sales Bounce Back to Pre-Labor Day Holiday Levels

By Staff
Wednesday, September 23, 2020 12:30 AM NEW YORK—Nationally, optical sales returned to their levels prior to the Labor Day Holiday during the most recent week for which metrics have been tracked (Sept. 14 – Sept. 20). Following substantial decreases resulting from the Labor Day holiday for the previous week tracked (Sept. 7 – Sept. 13), overall optical sales in all categories bounced back to where they had been on a national level during the week of Aug. 31 to Sept. 6. 

About Half of Americans Say Their Lives Will Remain Changed in Major Ways When the Pandemic Is Over

By Staff
Tuesday, September 22, 2020 2:01 PM After roughly six months of living amid a pandemic, many Americans expect their lives to remain changed even after the COVID-19 outbreak is over, according to an August Pew Research Center survey of 13,200 Americans. About half of U.S. adults (51 percent) say they expect their lives will remain changed in major ways after the pandemic is over, while about the same share (48 percent) expect a return to normalcy.

It has also affected where some Americans live: In a June survey, around one-in-five U.S. adults (22 percent) said they either changed their residence due to the outbreak or know someone else who did. And as of July, a majority of adults under 30 are living with their parents for the first time on record, Census Bureau data shows.

Large shares of Americans across most major demographic groups say their lives will remain changed after the pandemic, according to the August survey. Even so, there are some notable differences.

Roughly two-thirds of Black adults (64 percent) say their lives will remain changed in major ways after the pandemic is over. That compares with 56 percent of Asian adults, 53 percent of Hispanic adults and 48 percent of White adults.

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

Women In Optometry: 'The Women Are Finally Home Again!'

By Staff
Tuesday, September 22, 2020 7:00 AM It is midafternoon sometime in the third week of our office’s quarantine shutdown to lower the curve of coronavirus. By this time, I have lost all track of days and all concepts of time. I am in yoga gear, stretching on my yoga mat while simultaneously watching an ophthalmology/optometry-led videocast on my laptop that one of the doctors in my practice recommended. As I stretch, I watch the intro on and off. There are four men: three ophthalmologists and one optometrist. Some are in scrubs; some are in work attire. They talk about the changes that are happening due to the new virus. They banter back and forth about how no one is getting a haircut or even shaving their beards. Then they proceed to discuss how there is going to be a baby boom from this pandemic. In response to this topic, one of the men says (with the excitement of a small child, no less): “Because the women are finally at home again!” Read More

Learn More About VM's Summit: 'Aftershocks...Remaking Healthcare's Future' in a Special Video Message

By Staff
Tuesday, September 22, 2020 12:30 AM NEW YORK—The upcoming Vision Monday Global Leadership Summit will examine the big themes and urgent questions facing ECPs and vision care decision makers in light of the pandemic which has created new challenges on so many levels. Want to learn more about #VMSUMMIT, the most important thought leadership event for our industry in 2020? Learn how it will rethink healthcare and its relationship to the eye health and retail components of the vision care industry in this exclusive video message from Jobson’s CEO Marc Ferrara and find out why this year’s Summit is the can’t miss virtual event of 2020.