Disaster Discourse: The Hagerty Blog

COVID-19 Disaster Declarations Make US History


The total number of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases has reached nearly 2 million worldwide, with more than 584,000 confirmed cases and nearly three million total tested in the United States (US). 

With Wyoming’s major disaster declaration approval on Saturday, April 11, this marks the first time in US history that every state in the country has been under a federal disaster declaration simultaneously.  

While communities across the US continue pandemic response efforts, recent storms and tornadoes impacted the Southeast US. These storms killed more than 30 people and left more than one million homes and businesses without power amid floods and mudslides. The National Weather Service collected hundreds of reports of downed trees and power lines, and damaged roofs. The tornado outbreak is the nation’s deadliest since April of 2014 when 35 people were killed in the central and southern US.

US Governors Consider Reopening States

On April 13, 2020, governors of states across the Northeast and West Coast announced newly formed compacts to coordinate how to begin reopening the nation amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Neither group announced specific plans on how to scale back stay-at-home guidance or reopen businesses yet , but both groups have stated that they will coordinate those decisions with the health of residents as the key consideration. “The house is still on fire,” said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, continuing, “We still have to put the fire out, but we do have to begin putting the pieces of the puzzle that we know we’re going to need … to make sure this doesn’t reignite.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to announce a detailed plan Tuesday, April 14, for lifting the state’s COVID-19 restrictions. Gov. Newsom reported the number of people hospitalized increased modestly over the weekend, and Los Angeles County — where 40 percent of the state’s overall virus cases and deaths have occurred — said on April 13 the number of new cases was the lowest in weeks. California has spent more than a half-billion dollars on its response to COVID-19.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has begun to distribute Economic Impact Payments, frequently referred to as “stimulus checks,” to Americans who qualify as the federal government aims to curtail the pandemic’s economic effects. The first checks were delivered via direct deposit on Friday, April 10, and 50 to 70 million will see payments appear in their bank accounts by Wednesday, April 15, according to the US Department of the Treasury. The IRS has launched a portal on its website where Americans may input their information to expedite their payment via direct deposit. Additionally, the US Treasury Department and IRS have announced that it will be launching an application called “Get My Payment” for tax-filing Americans to help speed up the payment process.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema, Source

IMF projects worst economic downturn since Great Depression

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected on Tuesday, April 14, that the coronavirus pandemic will bring about the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. The IMF urged lawmakers to maintain lockdown policies to stop the virus from spreading. “In a sense, there is no trade-off between saving lives and saving livelihoods,” the report states. “The courageous actions of doctors and nurses need to be matched by policymakers all over the world so we can jointly overcome this crisis.”

Collecting COVID-19 Economic Data from Communities 

As discussed in our previous blog post, gathering data on the response efforts to COVID-19 can be incredibly helpful to shaping long-term cost recovery. Hagerty recommends engaging with local businesses to understand the specific impact of COVID-19 on local economies. One way to understand the impact is to survey local businesses which will capture data on the direct and indirect effects of COVID-19 outside of the public response efforts. The resulting data can be used to shape a multitude of recovery activities, including: 

  1. Identifying where to direct financial or technical assistance to local businesses;
  2. Understanding where state or federal support may be most critical; and
  3. Informing priorities for long-term recovery efforts.

To learn more about leveraging survey tools to maximize data collection, the Hagerty team has developed this guidance document and a survey template that can be duplicated and customized using Microsoft Forms: bit.ly/2ygBKEs

Over the coming days and weeks, Hagerty will continue to provide guidance on making effective preparations for long-term recovery, as well as continuing our situational updates.


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