Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The weather is getting colder and the days are getting shorter — accelerating the economic and psychological damage of the coronavirus pandemic.

The big picture: During the summer, businesses took advantage of outdoor dining, exercise and shopping, and families and friends safely gathered outside and at a distance. As the season changes, much of what made the last several months bearable will vanish.

Businesses that have made it this far could start closing in droves.

  • The pandemic has already forced at least 100,000 restaurants to close indefinitely or permanently.
  • Those that have stayed open in big metros have done so by seating patrons outside. And although many cities are extending outdoor dining permits into the fall and winter, restaurateurs doubt customers will want to sit outside in the cold or the rain — unless they spend big on outdoor heaters.
  • Many other businesses — from yoga studios to music schools — have been conducting classes outside all summer. Their customers may disappear in the winter, too.

Washington's failure to deliver relief in the form of a stimulus package is hammering the economy.

  • The unemployment situation is rapidly worsening. "We’re seeing a transition from short-term unemployment to a situation where a lot of these workers are not going to have a job to get back to," says James Stock, an economist at Harvard.
  • And the lack of stimulus money and unemployment insurance is pushing Americans to tighten their wallets — a troubling sign for the economy's health.
  • "The expiration of enhanced unemployment insurance benefits pulled $667 billion in purchasing power out of the economy in August alone," per the Economic Policy Institute.

The upcoming holiday season could trigger case spikes all over the country — or further devastate the hard-hit travel industry.

  • "People are tired of isolation and lockdown," Stock says. Many may use the holidays as an excuse to gather indoor in groups, which dramatically increases the likelihood of transmission and spread.
  • But if people choose not to travel for the holidays, the already-battered travel industry — set to lose $500 billion this year — will lose even more money and shed even more jobs.

It didn't have to be this way. With masks, social distancing and other precautions, America could have controlled the virus. But we didn't.

  • "It's technically completely feasible to have a pre-vaccine recovery, but we’ve just chosen not to do that," says Stock. "We’ve chosen deaths and job losses over health and recovery."

The bottom line: In July, I wrote that the pain of the pandemic was about to get a lot worse. It turns out we hadn't seen anything yet.

Go deeper

13 hours ago - Health

A new round of coronavirus shutdowns hits the U.S. and Europe

A couple wearing protective face masks ride their bicycle in a deserted street before the 9pm city-wide night time curfew during the coronavirus. Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images

Several U.S. cities and European governments imposed new restrictions Wednesday to curb the spikes in COVID-19 cases, such as closing restaurants, bars and limiting social gatherings.

Twitter labels tweet from RT implying voter fraud in U.S. elections

Photo: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Twitter on Thursday labeled a tweet from Russian state media outlet RT (formerly Russia Today) that included a video implying widespread voter fraud is plaguing, and potentially delegitimizing, the U.S. election.

Why it matters: It's the first time Twitter has labeled RT's account with a civic integrity label, or a designation used to highlight efforts to manipulate or interfere in elections or other civic processes.

59 mins ago - Health

U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record

Expand chart
Data: COVID Tracking Project; Chart: Axios Visuals

The United States reported 88,452 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, setting a single-day record, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

The big picture: The country confirmed 1,049 additional deaths due to the virus, and there are over 46,000 people currently being hospitalized, suggesting the U.S. is experiencing a third wave heading into the winter months.