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People eat at the outdoor dining area of a restaurant in New York City. Photo: Wang Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Given the reporting lag for most traditional economic indicators, investors have turned to real-time data to assess the U.S. economy. Almost all of which shows business activity stalling or declining.

What's happening: Economists at Jefferies write in a note to clients that their in-house economic activity index has "flat-lined" and "has now been moving sideways for the past three weeks."

  • "The loss of momentum is broad-based, spanning small business activity, discretionary footfall, restaurant bookings, traffic congestion, and web traffic to state unemployment portals."
  • "Regional data show particular weakness in virus-hit states, where V-shaped recoveries are morphing into Ws."
  • "Given the timing of the hit, official June data are likely to be spared, but there is clear downside for July data."

The big picture: The coronavirus pandemic appears to be worsening in larger portions of the country, Goldman Sachs economists write in a note to clients.

  • States with more than half the U.S. population now meet just one or none of the CDC-recommended gating criteria for reopening — established benchmarks, such as 14 days of fewer COVID-19 cases and fewer people with symptoms.
  • CDC guidelines propose the use of six gating indicators to assess when municipalities should move from one phase to another.

Yes, but: The increased detection of these COVID-19 cases lowers the probability and severity of any second wave of infections, researchers at Bank of America note.

  • University of Washington's IHME model estimates daily new infections peaked at 243,000 on March 23, but there were so few test kits available that only 8% were detected, according to BofA.
  • Currently the IHME model suggests there are about 69,000 new daily COVID-19 infections in the United States.
  • "Because testing is becoming increasingly plentiful and sophisticated ... more than half those daily infections are now being detected."

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Oct 14, 2020 - Health

Predicting the spread of COVID-19 with smart thermometers

Kinsa's predictive map of COVID-19 outbreaks on Oct. 14, with flashing lights indicating states where cases are projected to rise. Credit: Kinsa

A company that makes internet-connected thermometers has shown success in predicting likely COVID-19 hot spots days or even weeks before case counts rise.

Why it matters: Even as the U.S. has ramped up coronavirus testing, too often we're still behind the pace of the virus. But connected, at-home diagnostics could give advance warning of when COVID-19 — or the next new virus — is about to strike.

Oct 15, 2020 - World

European countries push to combat coronavirus second wave without lockdowns

Police conduct coronavirus regulations checks in Hamburg, Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel announced new measures Thursday, as the country reported a record number of new cases. Photo: Axel Heimken/picture alliance via Getty Images

Germany on Thursday became the latest European country to announce new restrictions this week amid record coronavirus case numbers. But governments are seeking to avoid a second round of nationwide lockdowns.

Why it matters: Widespread lockdowns to contain the spread of the virus have devastated economies around the world.

Updated 14 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: WHO says Omicron poses "very high" risk — Fauci says Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in U.S. — U.S. restricts air travel from 8 countries over Omicron concerns.
  2. Politics: Biden says fight against Omicron won't include "shutdowns or lockdowns."
  3. States: New York declares state of emergency amid concerns over Omicron.
  4. World: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating worldWHO warns against travel bans on southern African countries — First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.