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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

There is still well more than $100 billion available for Paycheck Protection Program loans, despite initial predictions that the late April refresh would be insufficient.

Glass half full explanation: Most qualifying small businesses that wanted a PPP loan already got one, and the economy is now reopening and recovering.

Glass half empty explanation: Many lenders, including large ones like Wells Fargo, stopped taking PPP applications. This may have been particularly problematic for small businesses that waited for loan forgiveness guidance to be finalized, which happened weeks past deadline.

Kathryn Petralia, co-founder and president of digital lending platform Kabbage, is in the latter camp — particularly when it comes to independent contractors like gig economy workers, who either didn't have existing banking relationships or found the application process to be byzantine.

  • "Around 40% of the 140,000 approved PPP loans through Kabbage have been for independent contractors, and their median loan amount is just $13,500," she says. "There aren't many banks that want to manually underwrite $14,000 PPP loans... It's just not worth their time."

What's new: Kabbage today is launching a dedicated PPP application portal for independent contractors.

  • Included is a channel for Uber drivers, in partnership with the company, whereby Uber-specific documentation will be automatically uploaded.
  • Similar arrangements could be coming soon with other gig economy companies.

The bottom line: The PPP loan application process remains open until June 30. Don't be surprised to see a last-minute surge, as non-traditional lenders like Kabbage seek out those who fell through the early cracks.

Worth noting: Sen. Marco Rubio said Monday that there will have to be at least some disclosure of PPP loan recipients, despite Treasury Department reticence. Per Rubio:

"There will be disclosure, and it's just a question of whether there’s differentiation between $100,000 loan and a $5 million loan... If you have a big loan, you know, there's no avoiding it. We’re going to need to know who you are."

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Sep 23, 2020 - Health

America's halfway coronavirus response

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Some of the same technological advances that have enabled us to partially weather the economic and health tolls of the pandemic may be paradoxically discouraging us from taking fuller measures.

Why it matters: Thanks to tech like video chat and automation, a large portion of the population has been able to mostly escape the effects of the pandemic — and even thrive in some cases. But far too many of us risk being left further behind as the virus spreads.

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Sep 23, 2020 - Health

Fauci clashes with Rand Paul at COVID hearing: "You're not listening"

Top health expert Anthony Fauci rebuked Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) at a hearing on Wednesday over his suggestion that New York's COVID-19 infection rate is low because the population there has reached herd immunity.

The big picture: Paul, a libertarian who has criticized government lockdown measures as "authoritarian," has clashed with Fauci in previous hearings. Paul accused Fauci of being a "big fan" of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his lockdown restrictions, while Fauci said the Kentucky senator has repeatedly "misconstrued" his comments.