Apr 25, 2020 - Health

Banks and credit card providers brace for their own coronavirus damage

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Millions of Americans are skipping credit card payments in the face of mass unemployment caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Wall Street Journal reports.

What's happening: Card issuers including Capital One, Discover and Synchrony are letting borrowers miss payments for a month or more, waiving late fees and forgiving some of their balances — but delinquencies are still expected to soar this year, WSJ reports.

  • Synchrony and Discover say they have enabled hundreds of thousands of borrowers to defer payments, including credit card customers.
  • Capital One says 1% of active card accounts are now in deferral programs.
  • Citigroup, Synchrony and Discover are lowering spending limits and closing cards that haven't recently been used, as consumers under stay-at-home orders avoid travel and shopping.

The big picture: More than 26 million Americans have filed jobless claims in recent weeks, meaning unemployment is likely already at Great Depression-era highs.

The bottom line: "As the economy spirals, credit-card payments are one of the first places where the effects will show up," WSJ's AnnaMaria Andriotis and Orla McCaffrey report.

Go deeper: The states having the most trouble with credit card debt

Go deeper

Coronavirus' unequal economic toll

Reproduced from Kaiser Family Foundation; Chart: Axios Visuals

As the coronavirus pandemic wears on, almost half of all African American, Latino, and low-income Americans are having trouble paying their bills, including medical bills.

Why it matters: The findings from our latest KFF polling suggest that even if Congress’ relief efforts are helping, they’re not nearly enough.

Updated 3 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

Infectious disease experts doubt that the coronavirus will slow its spread during the summer, National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins wrote in a Tuesday blog post.

By the numbers: More than 105,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus and over 1.8 million people have tested positive, per data from Johns Hopkins. More than 458,000 Americans have recovered and over 17.3 million tests have been conducted.

Updated 10 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump backs off push to federalize forces against riots

Photo: Brendan Smialowski /AFP via Getty Images

A day after threatening to federalize forces to snuff out riots across the country, the president appears to be backing off the idea of invoking the Insurrection Act, sources familiar with his plans tell Axios.

What we're hearing: Aides say he hasn’t ruled out its use at some point, but that he's “pleased” with the way protests were handled last night (apart from in New York City, as he indicated on Twitter today) — and that for now he's satisfied with leaving the crackdown to states through local law enforcement and the National Guard.