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COVID-19 Update: August 21

Aug. 21, 2020
The Viral Impact on Digital Transformation; 85% of Employers Want Safety Notifications; Building a Testing Trailer

More than twenty weeks since unemployment benefit claims shot to more than 6.6. million, the coronavirus pandemic continues to roil the jobs market. The latest numbers available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that 1,106,000 people filed for initial unemployment benefits for the week of August 15, an increase of 135,000 claimants compared to adjusted figures for the week before. Two weeks ago, when 963,000 people applied for unemployment benefits, it was the first time since March the figure had dipped below 1 million.

Despite that, manufacturing has managed to hold on to a fledgling growth pattern. Surveys released by two regional federal reserve banks show manufacturing continuing to recover in August, albeit at a slower rate than in June and July. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey found that indicators of general activity, new orders, shipments, and employments all dipped but remained positive. Read the full story here.

Since August 13, Johns Hopkins University of Medicine reports that 325,021 more Americans have caught the virus, roughly 200,000 have recovered, and 7,151 more have died: To date, 5.5 million Americans have caught the virus, 1.9 million have recovered, and 174,000 are known to have died from it.

The Viral Effect on Digital Transformation

Manufacturers have long understood the need for smarter operations, and in recent years have begun to take grudging steps towards digital transformation. Then the virus hit—and with it, a newfound urgency to adapt, and fast. The results had a significant impact on IW’s 2020 Technology Survey, which saw manufacturers increasingly interested in additive manufacturing and automation—two technologies that could point the way towards more resilient supply chains and production lines. Read the full story here.

Employees Want Workplace Safety Notifications

The new normal is awash in solutions attempting to make returning to work safer, and a recent studies indicates that workers themselves have a strong preference for at least one method: transparency. A recent study published by Kronos Inc. and the Harris Poll found that 86% of U.S. employees believe their employer has an “obligation” to notify them if a coworker tests positive for COVID-19. Read the full story here.

MIT Builds a Testing Trailer

Epidemiologists agree: We’re not going to get out of the COVID-19 crisis without readily available tests to prevent new flare-ups of the virus from arising. But testing even one patient for the virus is a resource-intensive move, thanks to the PPE the tester is required to wear while collecting samples from the patient. In order to reduce the amount of PPE used for testing, MIT Medical constructed a testing trailer which allows those performing the tests to remain physically separated from their patient by a floor-to-ceiling plastic partition. Read the full story here.

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