Your insight into economic and policy news from local and international levels.
ISSUE 60 | MAY 1, 2020
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From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News
PA reopening complicated by geography, population
The administration of Governor Tom Wolf is in the process of determining when to loosen restrictions on Pennsylvanians leaving their homes and reopening businesses.
This decision is difficult, partly because population density varies so greatly across the commonwealth. Some rural regions in northern and central Pennsylvania are close to meeting the state’s current threshold for reopening (in terms of new infections), but the more densely populated areas in eastern Pennsylvania could have a long way to go.
Part of the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic involves offering financial support to colleges and universities.
Through the CARES Act, higher education institutions will receive about $14 billion in federal assistance. Colleges and universities in Luzerne County are determining how to distribute these funds, a portion of which is expected to go directly toward students. Higher education officials in the area have said that they are awaiting specific federal guidelines.
Data from the Department of Labor shows that 3.8 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the total number of applicants to over 30 million in the last six weeks. That is about one in five people.
Congress has expanded eligibility to assist gig workers and self-employed workers, although many people are struggling to receive their benefits due to the high volume of applicants and the sometimes confusing filing process.
Crucial data in electronic health records is difficult to harvest
Health researchers have been trying to identify effective treatments for COVID-19 by examining data from electronic health records (EHRs).
It is currently very difficult to retrieve and share EHR data, however, because competing EHR vendors often store their data using incompatible systems. Some of these vendors have recently begun working together to share data with clinical researchers.