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The Latest COVID-19 Data

The Vision Council's March 2021 Eyecare Provider Insight Survey Reflects Slight Improvements in Exams and Capture Rates Over February

By Staff
Friday, April 9, 2021 12:15 AM ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The Vision Council has released the results of the March 2021 Eyecare Provider Insights Survey. The Vision Council fielded the survey to the organization’s panel of more than 1,700 eyecare providers during the last week of March.

Men and Women Differ on Masks During, After COVID-19, WebMD Survey Says

By Staff
Thursday, April 8, 2021 8:00 AM More women than men plan to wear a mask due to COVID-19 as long as public health experts like those at the CDC recommend it, according to a survey conducted by WebMD.They survey shows that 73 percent of women will keep wearing masks "while recommended by public health experts," compared with 63 percent of men.

Covid-19 Was America's Third Leading Cause of Death in 2020

By Staff
Wednesday, April 7, 2021 4:21 PM The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released provisional mortality data showing that Covid-19 was the third leading cause of death in the U.S. last year, according to Statista.com. Two reports were part of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report which found that there were 3,358,814 deaths in the U.S. in 2020 and that the age-adjusted death rate was 828.7 deaths per 100,000 of the population, a 15.9 percent increase over 2019.

Covid-19 was listed as the underlying cause of 345,323 deaths. That makes it the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer which were associated with 690,882 and 598,932 deaths in 2020, respectively. Further causes of death in the U.S. last year include unintentional injuries (192,176), strokes (159,050) and chronic respiratory diseases (151,637).

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

Parents Are Split on Vaccinating Kids, Axios-Ipsos Poll Says

By Staff
Wednesday, April 7, 2021 3:59 PM Just half of U.S. parents plan to get their children vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as they can, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index. High vaccination rates are seen as a key to achieving herd immunity, but many parents don't want their kids to be the first in line once pediatric vaccinations become available.

The Big Picture

As millions of adults get vaccinated and receive new stimulus payments, confidence is rising and pandemic risk perceptions are declining.

• For the first time in a year, the survey showed a net improvement in how people perceive their ability to do their jobs effectively—and a respite from declining ability to afford household goods.

• 37 percent of those surveyed said they felt returning to their normal place of work would be a large or moderate risk—the lowest since Axios began asking the question last May.

• Just 28 percent said they're now working at home or remotely—the lowest share in a year. Education was a major predictor: 43 percent with a bachelor's degree or higher are still working from home, compared to 18 percent with less than a bachelor’s degree.

• 55 percent said it would be very or moderately risky to return to their pre-coronavirus live—the lowest in a year—and 37 percent said airplane or mass transit travel is a large risk, down from 73 percent last April.

• Perceived risks of seeing friends and family outside the home, going to the hairdresser, attending sporting events, retail shopping and taking a vacation also declined.

• Respondents' ability to pay the rent or mortgage continued to improve.

• 63 percent said they've received stimulus money from the government in the last few weeks.

Click here for a closer look at the Axios-Ipsos poll results.

National Optical Sales Experience Significant Declines for Week of March 29 to April 4, Jobson Practice Performance Tracker Says

By Staff
Wednesday, April 7, 2021 12:33 AM NEW YORK—Over a holiday weekend during which the U.S. reached a record four million COVID-19 vaccine doses given in 24 hours, according to the CDC, national optical sales experienced significant declines. Over the course of last week (March 29-April 4), optical service/product categories were down on a national basis by -4 index points for frame units and lens pairs and -5 index points for gross revenue, exams/refractions, and contact lenses, according to the latest Jobson Practice Performance Tracker.

Overall Shopper Anxiety Drops 10% But Safety Concerns and Financial Stress Still Linger

By Staff
Wednesday, April 7, 2021 12:01 AM We expect there to be a shift to more discretionary spending, and retail will be a benefactor of that. When you think of what people were spending money on during pandemic, it was groceries, health and other needs that needed taking care of. Now we’ve seen anxiety levels shift, and there has been a corresponding uptick in intention to spend on apparel, restaurants, travel—leisure-type activities, as you might expect.

New Double Mutation Variant from India Found in U.S., WebMD Reports

By Staff
Tuesday, April 6, 2021 10:53 AM Researchers at Stanford University have identified a case of a new coronavirus variant with two mutations, which was first detected in India last month. The variant was found in a patient in the San Francisco Bay Area, university officials announced on Saturday. “We believe this is the first described case with this variant in the United States,” Lisa Kim, a spokeswoman for Stanford Health Care, told NBC News in a statement.

Men and Women Differ on Masks During, After COVID-19, WebMD Survey Says

By Staff
Tuesday, April 6, 2021 9:21 AM Answers ranged from "while recommended by public health experts" to "never" regarding the wearing of masks during and after the COVID-19 pandemic in a new WebMD survey. Significant differences emerged between women and men, as well as by age. A much higher percentage of women plan to wear a mask because of COVID-19 as long as public health experts such as those at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend it—73 percent, compared with 63 percent of men.

Gartner Forecasts Worldwide Social Software and Collaboration Market to Grow 17 Percent in 2021

By Staff
Monday, April 5, 2021 3:51 PM The worldwide social software and collaboration market is forecast to total $4.5 billion in 2021, an increase of 17.1 percent from 2020, according to the latest forecast by market research firm Gartner, Inc. The need to support remote work during COVID-19, as well as social software integrations within other enterprise applications, is driving significant growth. Even as some workers begin to return to offices, COVID-19 has caused a permanent change in workforce structure.

CDC Updates Guidance to Cruise Ship Industry, Urges Vaccinations

By Staff
Monday, April 5, 2021 9:18 AM The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention on Friday issued new guidance to the cruise ship industry, including the need for COVID-19 vaccinations, a necessary step before passenger voyages can resume. The new technical instructions, the first update since October, include increasing from weekly to daily reporting frequency of COVID-19 cases and illnesses and implementing routine testing of all crew based on a ship’s COVID-19 status and establishing a plan and timeline for vaccination of crew and port personnel.

Many Eyecare Practices Still Operating Below March 2019 Level, Wave 21 of Jobson Research Survey Finds

By Staff
Monday, April 5, 2021 12:30 AM NEW YORK—After an almost complete shutdown of eyecare practices across the nation in the latter part of March 2020, it’s not unexpected that practices overall performed much better across many of the key office metrics in March 2021. However, in a few key areas—such as patients per day and profitably per patient—March 2021 performance trailed the results of March 2019, the most recent time that ECPs were not dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Where Do COVID Vaccines Stand Against the Variants?

By Staff
Friday, April 2, 2021 10:50 AM As the virus that causes COVID-19 continues to evolve, drug makers are racing to adapt their vaccines to the changes in the virus' genetic code that appear to help it escape our immune defenses. Of the three "variants of concern" recognized by the World Health Organization and the CDC, studies have shown that the mRNA vaccines created by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, as well as the Novavax vaccine, remain highly effective against the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first recognized in the United Kingdom.

Average Easter Spending Expected to be Highest on Record, NRF Survey Says

By Staff
Thursday, April 1, 2021 4:18 PM WASHINGTON—Consumers plan to spend an average of $179.70 this Easter, the highest figure on record, according to results of the annual survey released today by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. A total of 79 percent of Americans will celebrate the holiday and spend a collective $21.6 billion, down slightly from last year's pre-pandemic forecast of $21.7 billion.

“With new stimulus funds from the President’s American Rescue Plan, positive trends in vaccinations and growing consumer confidence, there is a lot of momentum heading into the Spring and holiday events like Easter,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “Many have figured out how to celebrate holidays safely with family and that is reflected in consumer spending this Easter.”

Easter gifts, food and candy are the biggest drivers of growth this year. Consumers plan to spend an average of $31.06 on gifts (up from $27.91 in 2020), $52.50 on food (up from $51.76) and $25.22 on candy (up from $23.30).

As more and more individuals become vaccinated, consumers are planning to celebrate in ways they might have missed last year due to COVID-19. The newest CDC guidance on gatherings means some families might be able to plan a festive meal with vaccinated family members or take advantage of warmer weather and gather outside.

Click here to read the full story from the NRF.

National Optical Sales Remained Relatively Flat for the Week of March 22-28, Jobson Practice Performance Tracker Says

By Staff
Wednesday, March 31, 2021 5:28 PM NEW YORK—National optical sales were flat for most service/product categories over the course of last week (March 22-28) when compared with the previous week (March 15-21), except exams/refractions and contact lenses, both of which showed declines, according to Jobson’s Practice Performance Tracker. Exams/refractions were down 1 index point, while contact lenses were down 3 index points. These minor changes in optical sales occurred while COVID-19 cases are on the rise again throughout the country, with a 7 percent increase from the previous week, according to the CDC COVID Data Tracker. Read More

About Three-in-Ten U.S. Adults Say They Are ‘Almost Constantly’ Online, Pew Poll Says

By Staff
Wednesday, March 31, 2021 4:27 PM As smartphones and other internet-connected devices have become more widespread, 31% of U.S. adults now report that they go online “almost constantly,” up from 21 percent in 2015, according to a new Pew Research Center survey conducted Jan. 25 to Feb. 8, 2021.

Overall, 85 percent of Americans say they go online on a daily basis. That figure includes the 31 percent who report going online almost constantly, as well as 48 percent who say they go online several times a day and 6 percent who go online about once a day. Some 8 percent go online several times a week or less often, while 7 percent of adults say they do not use the internet at all.

Adults under the age of 50 are at the vanguard of the constantly connected: 44 percent of 18- to 49-year-olds say they go online almost constantly. By comparison, just 22 percent of those ages 50 to 64 and even smaller shares of those 65 and older (8 percent) say they use the internet at this frequency.

If you’re wondering what all this online viewing means for your eyes, read Digital Eye Strain—Another Pandemic Pain Point.

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