Christmas shopping is starting earlier. Meanwhile, women are finding it tougher to get back to work. In addition, unvaccinated patients are driving hospital costs higher.
Start Christmas Shopping NOW
It’s beginning to look a lot like – Christmas?
No, it isn’t. However, it is time to buy for Christmas.
Some of us have thought Christmas shopping began on Dec. 23 or later. However, that has changed. Pandemic pressures and supply chain snarls require us to shop sooner.
You May Already Be Behind
A survey by CreditCards.com reports 27 percent of shoppers are already buying for Christmas. Moreover, half of those started last month.
A Very Covid Christmas
Christmas shopping was disrupted last year by Covid. Black Friday sales were canceled or curtailed across the country. Similarly, Delta is wreaking havoc this year.
Consequently, more shoppers are going online. CreditCards.com reports 62 percent of shoppers are searching for gifts online.
Another problem is transportation. Certainly, the supply chain has been messed up for many months.
“Get out and buy toys now,” Ed Desmond, executive vice president of the Toy Association told a Port of Los Angeles news conference. “If you see toys you think the kids are going to want for Christmas, pick them up now and tuck them away to make sure you have them.”
In addition, the store inventories may be uneven, according to James Zahn, deputy editor of The Toy Book, a trade publication.
“This is something we haven’t really seen in the toy industry before, and that’s regional outages on specific items,” Zahn told the Los Angeles Times. “Something might be plentiful in one state, or even one city; in the next one over, the shelves are completely bare because of how it’s filtered out within this strange distribution cycle.”
She-cession Holds Families Back
The Covid outbreak resulted in a record number of women leaving the workforce. They came home to care for children and other family members. The upsurge in the Delta variant has kept them home.
Beginning of She-cession
The term She-cession was coined in the Spring of 2020 when women began losing more jobs than men.
“It is a she-cession,” C Nicole Mason said at the time. She is president of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
“What I mean by that is that women have been disproportionately impacted by the job losses over the past couple of months.”
Women Left Behind
Fast forward to the present. It is more of the same.
The United States Bureau of Labor’s latest report shows 235,000 jobs were added in August. Only 28,000 of those were filled by women.
“Women will need nearly nine straight years of job gains at last month’s level to recover the nearly 3 million net jobs they have lost since February 2020,” according to a report by the National Women’s Law Center.
Women and Children
“Lack of appropriate child care provision limits women’s access to paid work,” says the report. “Research dating back decades backs this up, not to mention it’s just a no-brainer.”
Treasury Department Finds Childcare ‘Unworkable’
Inadequate childcare is hurting women now, according to a United States Department of Treasury report issued last week. However, it also has long-term effects.
“Childcare is a textbook example of a broken market, and one reason is that when you pay for it, the price does not account for all the positive things it confers on our society,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said. “When we underinvest in childcare, we forgo that; we give up a happier, healthier, more prosperous labor force in the future.”
Yellen went on to say, “It’s past time that we treat childcare as what it is – an element whose contribution to economic growth is as essential as infrastructure or energy.”
A family with one or more children under age five spent 13 percent of their income on childcare, according to the Treasury report. On the other hand, The United States Department of Health and Human Services says that figure should be seven percent.
Further, the report found under 20 percent of eligible children were receiving money from the government’s Child Care and Development Fund.
Economic Drain of Treating Unvaccinated
Covid-19 deaths in America reached a new milestone last week. The covid death toll passed total deaths from the Spanish flu.
In addition, the “preventable” cost of treating unvaccinated Americans this summer topped $5.7 billion.
Roughly 675,000 Americans died in the 1918-19 Spanish flu pandemic. Spanish flu deaths are estimated. There was no system for logging such information.
However, a detailed record of reported Covid deaths is available. Johns Hopkins University tracks Covid hospitalizations and deaths daily.
Treating Unvaccinated Costs Us All
Treating unvaccinated Covid patients from June through August was $5.7 billion, reports a Kaiser Family Foundation study. Subsequently, $3.7 billion of those costs came in August alone.
“A surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations among people who have not been vaccinated in August is adding billions of dollars in preventable costs to the nation’s healthcare system,” according to a news release from Kaiser.
Who Pays the Bill
The average cost of hospital treatment of unvaccinated people is around $20,000, notes the study. However, “only a small share of the cost of a COVID-19 hospitalization is typically paid directly by patients themselves,” says Kaiser.
Medicare, Medicaid, and other insurance plans pay the most costs.
An Ounce of Protection
“Over 280,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations could have been prevented by vaccination between June to August 2021”, according to Kaiser researchers.
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