April 6, 2020

Beautiful start to Week 4 of House Arrest. We do not know when House Arrest ends, but we do know that you can still obtain funding by applying to your bank for a loan pursuant to the Paycheck Protection Program and to the SBA for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan.

Calculating The Amount That Can Be Borrowed Under The PPP – Implementation of the PPP began Friday with a few kinks, but they are being smoothed over. A more fundamental issue with PPP, as described in the Forbes article, is the calculation of “Payroll Costs” and how that determines the amount a business may borrow.

Faith-Based Organizations Are Eligible For PPP and EIDL Funding – We received an email this morning from the SBA NC District Director stating that the SBA Administrator has clarified that faith-based organizations are eligible to participate in the PPP and EIDL program without restrictions based on their religious identity or activities to the extent they meet the eligibility criteria outlined in the CARES Act.

Local Buncombe County Medical Data – There is a briefing today by Buncombe County regarding the virus, its impacts on the County and other related information. You can watch it live this afternoon or watch it later on Buncombe County’s YouTube channel.

Cloth Masks – Nuisance or Opportunity – After first stating that people did not need masks (which any person with a smidge of common sense did not think to be the truth), the CDC now recommends that people wear cloth masks when out in public. Included at the CDC link is a video on how to make your own mask. While it is a nuisance, it does present an opportunity to any business that can supply better fitting or looking masks to the public.

Stimulus Checks To IndividualsHere is a Forbes article explaining the process of how the stimulus checks will be distributed to individuals and families. It is a worthwhile read if you want to learn about how they are planning to make it work. If you do not read it, take note that if the IRS/Federal Government does not have your direct deposit information, you will be provided an opportunity in the near future to provide that information so that you can receive the money quicker.

Models vs. Reality – The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine, has changed its models and significantly revised its projections downward. The new projections are based upon the “massive infusion of new data” explained the Director of the IHME. The IHME now forecasts 81,766 deaths, with a range between 49,431 and 136,401. The estimated peak day, the modeling indicated, is April 16, with a projected 3,130 deaths nationwide on that day. View the projections yourself to be able to make your own conclusions.

IHME Models For NC – The projections for NC by the IHME is for total deaths of 496 to be reached on May 5, 2020.

More NC Data – The data from the NCDHHS still do not reflect the number of people that have recovered. It does state that a total of 31 deaths in persons with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 reported by local health departments to the NC Department of Health and Human Services. Of the total NC deaths, 94% of them are of the of age 50 and above.

Because That Is What America Does – The Coral Princess cruise ship docked Saturday at Florida’s PortMiami with two guests dead and several others ill from Covid-19, officials said, after a weeks-long search for a port that would let its passengers disembark. No other Country would take the ship, but America did because that is what we do.

Buncombe County Virus NumbersBuncombe County officials announced today that there are presently 4 Buncombe County residents that have tested positive for COVID-19 and not recovered or died. A total of 33 residents have tested positive of which 28 have recovered and been released from isolation and 1 has died. To put these numbers in perspective, the US Census Bureau estimated that Buncombe County had a population of 261,191. Therefore, it means that 0.0126% of Buncombe County residents have tested positive for Covid-19 (calculated by 33/261,191 x 100).

More ModelsGov. Cooper held a press conference today, releasing models from his own expert team that allow the Governor to conclude: “If all social distancing were to stop at the end of April, the model estimates that roughly 750,000 North Carolinians could be infected by June 1. On the other hand, if some form of effective social distancing remains in place after April, that number is lowered by half a million to an estimated 250,000 people. That’s because social distancing lowers the number of people that one person will infect.” Three immediate issues arise in my mind about this press conference and model. First, the Governor did not actually release the models, but only a summary report (referred to by the experts as a “brief”) that does not detail their data and/or calculations. Second, the experts state that, because “[i]nsufficient time has elapsed since policies were implemented in this state to evaluate their efforts, they “attempt[ed]to assess the collective potential impact of these policies by using observations of jurisdictions with outbreaks that have grown ahead of the one in North Carolina to model similar impacts here. The jurisdictions they reference, however, are Italy, New York and Massachusetts; none of which are similar to NC. with respect to population density or demographics. Finally, this “brief” will, in my prediction, be used to justify extending the House Arrest being imposed upon the citizens and businesses of this State as well as closing the schools for the year (followed by a strong suggestion that children repeat the grade they were in this year).