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  • Writer's pictureLisa Reynolds, MD

Coronavirus Update 3/29/20 11 am including info on Federal Relief pkg and My Town HalL this evening

Coronavirus Update

Sun 3/29/2020 11:00 am

Federal Relief Package

Virtual Town Hall Tonight (3/29/2020, 5:30 pacific, fb live or Zoom.)

Sun 3/29/2020 10:00 am

Lisa Reynolds MD

This is Lisa Reynolds, MD. Portland Pediatrician, mom and daughter. Candidate for Oregon HD36.

Coronavirus: The numbers

  • WORLDWIDE: 672,000 confirmed cases, 31,000 deaths, 171 countries

  • US: 124,700 confirmed cases, 2000 deaths; The US now has the most cases confirmed in the world.

  • WASHINGTON: 4300 confirmed cases, 189 deaths, 254 hospitalized

  • OREGON: 479 confirmed cases, 13 deaths, 117 hospitalized

  • US Stay at Home orders are in place in 25 states (including OR, WA, CA), plus 74 counties and 14 cities and one territory, covering about 70% of Americans

  • Important dates: First confirmed case in US 1/19/2020 (WA); first US death: 2/29/2020 (WA); first confirmed case in OR: 2/28/2020; first death in OR: 3/14/2020. Gov Brown’s Stay at Home order 3/23/2020.

The US Government passes $2.2 TRILLION economic relief plan.

  • One time payments [$290B]

    • Most adults (incomes up to $75K) will receive $1200, stipend for children garners $500. Here is a calculator to estimate your family’s payment. These payments are expected to arrive within 3 weeks and will be deposited into your bank account. A follow up letter will be sent to you detailing the deposit.

  • Expanded unemployment coverage for jobs impacted by COVID19 [$317B]

    • Now includes self-employed, part-time and gig workers (previously not covered by unemployment insurance).

    • Historically, unemployment benefits (administered by state govt) replace 40-45% of income. The NEW US Govt COVID19 benefits will add $600/week. (This $600 is based on the goal to get $1000/week into workers’ hands, which is the average pay of a worker in the US.)

    • Oregon US Sen Ron Wyden deserves a lot of credit for this expansion. He had been working on fixing the huge holes in unemployment benefits long before COVID19.

    • Length of benefits: This package adds 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to the current period (26 weeks) for a total of 39 weeks. The $600/week addition is through 7/1/2020 (for now).

  • Student Loan Changes

    • Student loans from the federal government: payments automatically suspended until 9/30/2020. Interest will not accrue. This covers 90% of student loans.

    • Not part of this program: student loans from states, banks, Perkins, Sallie Mae. These agencies may provide their own relief.

different retirement account rule

  • Retirement accounts

    • For 2020, no one has to take distribution from individual retirement accounts or workplace retirement savings plans (like 401(k)).

    • You can withdraw up to $100K from your retirement (IRA/workplace) without the usual 10% penalty if you need for COVID19 related losses.

    • You can borrow up to $100K from these accounts for COVID19 related losses.

  • New Charitable contributions deductions (for 2020 and beyond):

    • Up to $300/year in charitable contributions are now tax deductable for those who do not itemize their deductions.

  • Small businesses [$377B]:

    • Banks/credit unions will provide loans to small businesses backed by the Small Business Association (SBA, a federal agency). Small businesses would not have to repay portions spent on paying employees, rent, mortgage or utilities. The US Treasury will pay back the banks/credit unions. The amount borrowed needs to be used for qualifying expenses within 8 weeks.

  • Renters’ Relief

    • There is a nationwide moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent for those mortgages backed by federal agencies and landlords cannot charge fees for late or non payment. (Oregon has a moratorium on on evictions for all landlords.)

  • Other

    • After 15 years of lobbying, menstrual products are now reimbursable via Health Savings Accounts!

    • $500B lending program for distressed companies (including airlines)

    • $100B for hospitals on the frontlines

Oregon updates

  • Gas now self serve? Given that (a) some gas stations cannot keep their workforce up as COVI19 impacts more families and (b) it is difficult to maintain social distancing with the gas station attendee pumping yoru gas, it is now permissible for gas stations to require self-service gas pumping. USE hand sanitizer before and after (if you don’t yet, keep a bottle in your car).

  • Oregon has doubled its staff handling unemployment claims and is shortening processing times. More info here.

  • Portland businesses: Prosper Portland is giving grants and loans to businesses suffering COVID19 losses. Applications available 3/30 and due 4/1/2020.

What you can do right now (it’s worth repeating):

  • Prevent Infection:

    • Prevent yourself from getting sick. One infected person will infect 400 others in a month.

      • Wash your hands.Your hands carry almost all of your germs to the respiratory tract (leading to infection). 20 seconds. Soapy water. Wrists and fingernails. Towel dry. Or Hand Sanitizer (second best).

        • Before you leave your house.

        • When you arrive someplace

        • Before/during/after food preparation and eating

        • Before/after cleaning your home

        • Before/after diaper change

        • After shopping cart, sneezing, blowing nose, pet care, garbage.

      • Try not to touch your face (introduces germs from your hands to mucus membranes of eye/nose/mouth). Wash hands if you do. Use tissue to touch.

      • Clean your home. Here’s a great primer on cleaning high touch surfaces (door knobs, faucet handles, light switches, fridge door, etc).

      • Clean your phone (99.9% bacterial kill, like Clorox wipes)

    • Don’t spread (or receive) germs to/from others (in Oregon we say “don’t accidentally kill someone”). Remember you (& others) can shed virus without showing any symptoms. Viruses are smart. STAY HOME SAVE LIVES

      • “Cohort” with your household and NOT beyond that group.

      • When out for essential needs: Keep 6 feet of distance between you and others

      • Cover your sneeze/cough with kleenex (then toss then wash your hands). Or into your elbow (second best).

    • Continue to get exercise. From NYT: You can invest in home exercise equipment or smart-home exercise systems like Peloton or the Mirror, but that can get expensive. You can find a number of workouts to do at home for free. Beginners can try the Well Six-Minute Workout video series. We’ve got a guide to How to Start Working Out, the 9-Minute Strength Workout and Yoga for Everyone. Taking walks and jogging or running are safe ways to exercise outside, maintain your distance from others and keep you from going stir-crazy at home. Learn more about setting up a space in your home for exercise.

  • Medical Considerations

    • Have 90 day supply of medications on hand

    • Know where nearest hospital is and how to get there

    • Have your health insurance information/cards at the ready

Remember, this is a defining moment in our history. When we look back, we will talk about what we did and how we coped with the COVID19 pandemic of 2020 (if we do the right thing, it won’t be the COVID19 pandemic of 2020-2022). Let’s be kind to each other. Let’s check in with our neighbors. Let’s spend time as a family that we would not otherwise have (in real life or via video chat). But let’s continue using our brain, which functions like a muscle and atrophies without use. We need to keep our kids’ brains stimulated, either through school based virtual learning or through resources we find on our own. More to come on this.

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This website is written by Lisa Reynolds, MD, Portland, Oregon Pediatrician on the front lines of the coronavirus epidemic. Mom and daughter. Candidate for Oregon HD36.

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