first_imgThe month of March opened with US unemployment near a 50-year low and concluded with countless companies turning to Washington for help as the coronavirus ravaged the economy.Quarterly earnings season — which kicks off this week with reports from major banks — will provide the first full accounting of how the COVID-19 crisis affects corporate America.While the reports will no doubt be weak, it is difficult to know exactly how bad the first-quarter results will be because the first two months of the year saw fairly strong economic activity that was halted in sudden and dramatic fashion in March as governments imposed lockdown orders to halt the spread of the virus. Major blow Topics : Over the course of March, the US economy sustained an almost unimaginable series of blows. More than 10 million people were suddenly put out of work, major auto plants closed down, thousands of small businesses shuttered as did restaurants, malls and movie theaters, major sporting events were canceled or postponed and thousands of commercial flights were axed or flew with fewer than 25 percent of the seats filled. Through this period, the S&P 500 shed more than $3 trillion in market capitalization.The pandemic has killed thousands, rendered major cities ghost towns and scattered workforces, with executives suddenly managing employees who are sheltering in place at home.In the wake of the remarkable halt to business, American, Delta, United and other airlines have sought massive public support, along with myriad hospitality industry companies, while Boeing has encouraged workers to apply for unemployment benefits.Washington has responded forcefully, with Congress enacting unprecedented fiscal stimulus and the Federal Reserve introducing a host of new programs to boost market liquidity and the real economy. “Visibility is extremely limited at this time,” said Francois Trahan, a strategist at UBS, expressing a sentiment shared by other market watchers who are hesitant to predict when profits might rebound.”While the willingness of policymakers to use all the tools at their disposal is clear, only time will tell to what extent the actions succeed in limiting defaults, closures and layoffs,” Goldman Sachs said in a note.center_img Banks in spotlight The first big day for earnings will be Tuesday with reports from large banks, always a key proxy for the US economy and an especially central industry now because of the vital role they play in key federal stimulus programs. The bank results will speak to the hit on households, specifically how much customers are struggling with credit card and auto loan payments, as well as the stress facing businesses of all sizes.On a conference call with analysts, bankers will no doubt also be queried on the effectiveness of the Fed’s barrage of relief programs, as well as the impact of massive fiscal stimulus.In subsequent weeks, investors will hear from a broader set of companies, including hotels, retailers and cruise and entertainment companies that have seen some of the most devastating effects from shutdowns.There is also a smaller list of companies that have seen business soar amid the coronavirus crisis. These include big box companies with grocery divisions such as Walmart and Costco, e-commerce giant Amazon and the makers of suddenly in-demand household products such as toilet paper, canned soup and hand sanitizer.Earnings season continues through mid-May. Analysts expect companies in the S&P 500 to report a drop in profits ranging from six to 15 percent. The outlook is much worse for the second quarter, when the decline is expected to be at least 18 percent.Adding to the uncertainty: numerous companies have withdrawn their earnings forecasts amid the fog over how long much of the US economy will remain in a state of suspended animation.last_img read more

first_img May 12, 2016 SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Press Release,  Zika Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf today announced his administration’s plan to bolster surveillance, mitigation, and response efforts for Zika virus to better protect all residents in the commonwealth.The Pennsylvania Zika Virus Response Plan, developed by the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Environmental Protection, outlines the phases of education, surveillance, and response activities that will occur for various levels of mosquito activity within the commonwealth as well as triggers based on the presence of Zika disease within our state. The phases range from the current situation of a moderate level of travel-associated cases to potential widespread local transmission by mosquitos.  Pennsylvania has requested funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to implement this plan.“My administration is committed to ensuring the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians,” said Governor Wolf. “We are continuing to work with our partners on the local, state, and federal levels to keep Pennsylvania safe. The roll-out of this plan is another proactive step in our collaborative strategy to protect our citizens and prevent the spread of the Zika virus.”“This Zika Virus Response Plan will better help us protect the health of the more than 12 million people who call Pennsylvania home,” said Secretary of Health Karen Murphy. “Zika generally causes very mild symptoms and rarely leads to serious side effects in those who become ill with the virus. However, pregnant women and those of childbearing age are at greatest risk as Zika is known to potentially cause serious and even fatal birth defects in some babies born to women infected with the virus during pregnancy. This plan will help ensure we have the measures in place to better inform and protect all of our residents.”The main goals of the Pennsylvania Zika Virus Response Plan are to:Enhance DOH surveillance for Zika cases in Pennsylvanians;Develop a plan that will enable DOH to test for the virus without using CDC laboratories;Enhance DEP vector surveillance and control of the Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti species of mosquitos; andEnsure collaboration between commonwealth agencies and partners to educate pregnant women and the general public about important Zika virus messages.Currently, the only confirmed cases of Zika in Pennsylvania are in individuals who contracted the virus while visiting one of the areas where the virus is actively spreading. At this time, no cases of Zika in Pennsylvania or in the continental U.S. have occurred as a result of locally acquired infections. Once warmer temperatures arrive in the commonwealth and remain in place throughout the summer months, the risk of limited local transmission of Zika virus by the type of mosquitos that potentially carry it will increase.“DEP and our county partners are focused on monitoring for the presence of mosquitos potentially associated with Zika transmission and implementing control measures when necessary,” said DEP Secretary John Quigley. “We are working very closely with the Department of Health to ensure the safety of our citizens.”Zika is a generally mild illness, and most individuals do not have any symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they can include fever, rash, joint or muscle pain, conjunctivitis (pink eye), or headache, and last from several days to one week.Although the Aedes aegypti mosquito remains the primary carrier of the Zika virus, Aedes albopictus has also been implicated as a secondary carrier of this disease. While Aedes aegypti has not been found in Pennsylvania since 2002, Aedes albopictus has been found throughout the major metropolitan areas of southern Pennsylvania.  These species are different from ones DEP currently surveys and require different tactics. The new surveillance and control methods outlined in the plan that are needed to protect public health from this potential threat will require additional DEP resources.The disease can also be transmitted sexually, as well as by blood transfusions. The CDC advises men who have traveled to the Zika-affected areas to wear condoms consistently and correctly during sex to avoid spreading the virus to their partners. This is especially important for men whose partners are pregnant women or women who are of childbearing age, as the Zika virus has been linked to potentially severe birth defects in babies born to women who had the illness during pregnancy.The CDC also recommends that all pregnant women consider postponing travel to Zika-affected areas. Women who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or may be pregnant and must travel to these areas should first consult with their health care provider. Pregnant women who visit Zika-affected areas and develop symptoms within two weeks of returning home should contact their health care provider.Because there currently is no vaccine or treatment for Zika, the best way to avoid contracting the virus is to prevent mosquito bites by:Using an insect repellent containing DEET;Wearing light-colored, lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that covers hands, arms, legs, and other exposed skin.Using physical barriers such as screens, closed doors and windows.The Aedes types of mosquitos that can potentially transmit the Zika virus bite during the daytime. To control all mosquitos outside your home or business:Install or repair and use window and door screens.Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out any items that hold water like buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpot saucers, or trash containers. Mosquitos lay eggs near water. Use an outdoor flying insect spray where mosquitos rest – dark, humid areas like under patio furniture or under the carport or garage.Have clogged roof gutters cleaned every year, particularly if the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug up the drains. Roof gutters can produce millions of mosquitoes each season.If you have a septic tank, repair cracks or gaps. Cover open vent or plumbing pipes with wire mesh that consists of holes smaller than an adult mosquito.For more information, visit Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Wolf Administration Increases Zika Surveillance Plans; Risk of Contracting Virus in Commonwealth Currently Very Lowlast_img read more

first_imgAssassination of President plot…Public Security Minister refutes claims of police involvementOne day after Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, revealed that the police are investigating a possible plot to assassinate President David Granger, Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud has confirmed that, apart from the person who had made the complaint, the police have been able to find a witness to corroborate this allegation.He explained that the matter has been investigated and the case file has been sent to the appropriate legal minds for advice on the way forward.He also noted that the file had been sent back to the police with the recommendation that a confrontation be set up with this witness with the aim of clarifying some issue pertaining to his statement.The commissioner explained that police are expected to do so over the weekend, and the file would again be dispatched to the appropriate legal minds for advice.He further explained that it is up to the legal advisor to determine whether there is substance to the allegation or if the allegation is just a ploy to create mischief.However, he stated that if the allegation is indeed true, the party involved could be charged for treason; but if the allegation is merely a ploy to create mischief, the author of the allegation could be charged for providing false information to the police.DenialIt had been reported that senior officials of the Guyana Police Force were part of the plot to assassinate the President, but in an invited comment on Friday, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan refuted the claims, noting that no such information had been brought to the attention of the GPF during its investigation of the allegation.Ramjattan, however, declared that the security of the duly elected President is of paramount importance, and the duty of the Guyana Police Force is to protect the President at any given time. Further, he charged media houses to be responsible in reporting highly sensitive stories, as in this instance.The Police Commissioner also concurred with the view that the media are a powerful element and have to show some form of maturity and journalistic ethics in reportage. He made reference to a situation in an African nation wherein a reporter had made a statement that had caused a civil war.In regard to rumours that the persons who had allegedly planned to shoot the President are closely associated with the Guyana Police Force and the Judiciary, the top cop had this to say: “We live in a small society. A lot of people know a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean that anyone will act unprofessionally.”PlotMinister of State, Joseph Harmon, confirmed on Thursday that presidential security has been beefed up following allegations that a group of high-profile individuals were planning to shoot President David Granger should he step out of his secure zone in one of his public outreaches.Harmon has, however, expressed confidence in the ability of the security service to keep the Guyanese Head of State and all the ministers safe.The probe into this allegation was launched following the recent revelation of a young man who appeared on a local televised interview claiming that he had been offered some $7 million and a high profile weapon to assassinate the President. This allegation was reported to the police some three weeks ago, and several persons have since been questioned in connection with it.last_img read more