At a Glance

In the U.S. as of Nov 29, CDC reported:

  • Total cases: 13,142,997
  • Total deaths: 265,166

Across the globe as of Nov 30, Johns Hopkins University reported:

  • Total Global Cases: 62,924,259
  • Total Global Deaths: 1,462,989

Industry Impact

  • Moderna said Monday it will ask U.S. and European health regulators to authorize the use of its COVID-19 vaccine after it was shown to be 94.1% effective in a full analysis of a pivotal study. The timing keeps the vaccine on track to become possibly the second to go into use in the U.S. by year’s end, reported Wall Street Journal (November 30). Full Story
  • About 50,000 Shoprite workers will receive retroactive hazard pay under an agreement brokered by UFCW. The deal calls for an additional $1 per hour to be paid in a lump sum to workers in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York who worked between July 26 and Aug. 22 and remain employed as of Dec. 5, reported NJ.com. (November 27). Full Story
  • Ireland will allow businesses, including restaurants and pubs serving food, to reopen next week, and permit travel between counties from Dec. 18. Ireland became one of the first European countries to reimpose tough COVID-19 constraints six weeks ago, but from Tuesday, the economy will begin to be one of the most open after a sharp cut in the 14-day incidence rate, reported Reuters (November 27). Full Story
  • Grocery stores contend they continue to enforce safety precautions as the number of coronavirus cases rises, even as some industry experts say retailers have relaxed their safety measures. These experts argue relaxation among consumers is also an issue retailers must grapple with, reported Boston Globe (November 24). Full Story
  • Michelin and Zagat put their 2021 New York City guides on hold and are pivoting in other directions amid the pandemic. Michelin still plans to publish 2021 guides for some international destinations, while Zagat’s parent company, The Infatuation, announced a new platform called Outpost, a marketplace on which restaurants can sell experiences and products, reported New York Times (November 24). Full Story
  • Deliveries of holiday gifts purchased online at major retailers could get delayed by critical COVID-19 vaccines. Pharmaceutical companies as early as mid-December could begin mailing inoculations, and FedEx and UPS could make space on cargo planes by bumping off packages from Amazon.com, Walmart, Target, and other retailers, reported Reuters. (November 24). Full Story
  • Walmart corporate employees will continue working from home until at least July 5, 2021, the company announced in an internal memo. Workers who wish to report to a Walmart corporate campus will have to complete a health screening before they are allowed to enter, reported Winsight Grocery Business (November 23). Full Story
  • Despite shipping 1 million packages of cleaning wipes per day, Clorox can’t keep up with demand. The company added 10 additional third-party manufacturers and it’s running one of its own facilities 24 hours per day, reported Seattle Times (November 23). Full Story
  • Union Square Hospitality Group will preemptively close its restaurants for indoor dining and become takeout only because of rising COVID-19 cases in New York City, reported New York Post (November 23). Full Story

Foodservice Impact

  • A bird flu outbreak was confirmed at a turkey farm in North Allerton, England, and all 10,500 birds at the site will be culled in hopes of preventing the spread. However, the government doesn’t expect any impact on the availability of turkey or other birds for Christmas, reported Independent (November 29). Full Story
  • Meanwhile, Norway detected its first case of H5N8 strain of bird flu, the country’s Food Safety Authority announced. Farm birds in southern Norway must keep indoors following the discovery of the infection in a wild short-billed goose, reported Reuters (November 27). Full Story
  • China is increasing coronavirus testing on imported food packaging. At 0.48 per 10,000, the positivity rate on packaging is increasing, according to the deputy director of the National Food Safety Risk Assessment Center, reported St. Louis Post-Dispatch (November 25). Full Story
  • The coronavirus is among factors leading to increasing demand for ranches in Montana and other Western states. Montana Land Source noted some people are fleeing cities due to the pandemic and associated shutdown orders, but others view the investment into a ranch as an opportunity, reported The Oregonian (November 22). Full Story
  • China issued a defense of its anti-coronavirus controls that disrupted imports of food items from the U.S., New Zealand, and other countries. A foreign ministry spokesman noted the curbs were “reasonable and justifiable” and part of a larger effort to protect people’s lives and health reported Yakima Herald-Republic. (November 18). Full Story

Economic Impact

Economic Impact:

For the latest economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, look to the expertise of the Food Institute. Monthly analysis of CPI, PPI, retail, and foodservice data is available to Food Institute members in our Economic Benchmarking portal. Learn more.

Government Response

  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday that he would reopen public elementary schools, abandoning a 3% test positivity threshold that the city had adopted for closing. The abrupt policy shift comes in the face of widespread criticism that officials were placing more of a priority on economic activities like indoor dining. Middle and high schools would remain closed, reported New York Times (November 29). Full Story
  • Oregon will loosen recently enacted restrictions by Dec. 3, according to Gov. Kate Brown. As part of the move, outdoor dining will be allowed once again for bars and restaurants, reported The Oregonian. (November 25). Full Story
  • There were about 778,000 seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims in the week ending Nov. 21, up 30,000 from the prior week’s revised level, according to the Department of Labor. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 4.1% for the week ending Nov. 14, a decrease of 0.2 percentage point from the prior week (November 25). Full Report
  • The Trump administration officially authorized the Biden administration transition. The head of the General Services Administration informed President-elect Joe Biden that the transition would begin, reported NBC News. (November 23). Full Story
  • There were about 742,000 seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims in the week ending Nov. 14, up 31,000 from the prior week’s revised level, according to the Department of Labor. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 4.3% for the week ending Nov. 7, a decrease of 0.3 percentage point from the prior week (November 19). Full Report
  • New York City officials ordered the entire public school system to shut Thursday amid the second wave of coronavirus. The action was prompted by the city reaching a 3% test positive rate over a seven-day rolling average, the most conservative threshold of any big school district in the country reported New York Times (November 19). Full Story
  • The UN will use $100 million from the world body’s emergency fund to help seven countries try to avert famine fueled by conflict, spiraling economies, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, reported Reuters (November 18). Full Story
  • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said the state will provide $55 million in aid to businesses hurt by the pandemic. The funding would be distributed by county and based on population, with a focus on businesses in the hospitality industry, those hurt by the freeze order, small businesses, and those from Black, Native American, and other historically disadvantaged communities reported The Oregonian (November 17). Full Story
  • Los Angeles County imposed new restrictions on businesses on Nov. 17 and readied plans for a mandatory curfew for all but essential workers if coronavirus cases continue to spike. The country’s most populous county saw daily confirmed cases more than double in the past two weeks, reported Fresno Bee (November 17). Full Story
  •  Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced targeted restrictions for retail shops as part of the state’s effort to slow surging coronavirus. Retailers will be under a 25% capacity limit, down from the current 50%. A 50% capacity limit will remain for grocery stores, but big-box chains that include groceries will be subject to the lower limit, reported Chicago Tribune (November 17). Full Story

Additional Resources

COVID-19 Information

  • Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, a virus closely related to the SARS virus.
  • People who are infected may have few symptoms or develop fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
  • Cases can progress to pneumonia and multi-organ failure.
  • There is currently no vaccine or specific antiviral treatment, with management involving the treatment of symptoms, supportive care, and experimental measures.
  • The case fatality rate is estimated at between 1% and 3%.

What You Should Watch Out For:

  • Symptoms: CDC reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease. Fever, cough, and shortness of breath have been reported two to 14 days after exposure.
  • Prevention: There is currently no vaccine to prevent the disease, so CDC says the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. CDC recommends everyone wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public.
  • Testing: Please check with your healthcare provider for testing availability.
  • If You Are a Parent: Schools can play an important role in the effort to combat coronavirus and can prepare to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For schools in the midst of a community outbreak of COVID-19, temporarily dismissing childcare programs and K-12 schools is a strategy to stop or slow the further spread of COVID-19 in communities.
  • If You Are Elderly: Much like the seasonal flu, older adults and those with chronic health conditions are at higher risk of being impacted by the coronavirus in the event it does spread. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) urged nursing homes to keep abreast of CDC updates on coronavirus.

Additional Resources: