December 4, 2020

Need to know: COVID-19

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For your consideration

Brookings Institute released a new report looking at how the biggest retail companies — think Amazon, Walmart, CVS, Home Depot, Target — are compensating essential workers during an unprecedented surge in demand, and profits, thanks to COVID-19. Overall, they look at 13 companies and find that frontline worker pay increased by an average of 10% or $1.11 per hour since the pandemic began.

Three companies stand out in their generosity to frontline workers — Best Buy, Target, and Home Depot. All three have permanently raised wages since the pandemic started. Best Buy raised wages from an average of $11/hour for cashiers to $15/hour in August. Home Depot provided hazard pay of $100/week to full-time frontline workers from April until mid-November.

Amazon and Walmart, both of which earned a combined $10.9 billion increase in profit this year compared to last year, gave workers an extra $0.95/hour and $0.63/hour, respectively. The graph below shows the COVID-19 compensation workers received at the 13 companies.

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Dropping knowledge

A new report from public health researchers, including Emily Benfer from Wake Forest’s law school, finds that evictions increased both COVID-19 cases and deaths. They estimate evictions resulted in 433,700 excess COVID-19 cases and 10,700 excess deaths in states that lifted their eviction moratoriums.

The researchers use data from 43 states and DC that all instituted eviction moratoriums from March 13 to September 3. Twenty-seven of those states lifted their moratorium during that time. Researchers compared COVID-19 cases and deaths before and after the moratoriums were lifted in those states that lifted the moratoriums compared to those that kept them. The map below shows which states instituted moratoriums and those that lifted them.

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In North Carolina, the researchers estimate that lifting the eviction moratorium on June 20 led to 15,690 excess cases and 304 excess deaths. The paper has not yet been peer reviewed.

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