The CDC Classifies Black Friday Shopping as High-Risk. That’s Apt to Make Retail Investors Unhappy

The coronavirus pandemic has dealt an unquestionably harsh blow to retailers over the past eight months. Since March, dozens of well-known retail chains have filed for bankruptcy, and many are planning permanent store closures that will impact malls and shopping centers alike. That damage extends to department stores, a number of which have also filed for bankruptcy.

It’s clear retailers need a serious surge in revenue if they want to be able to stay in the game. With the holidays coming up, there’s an opportunity to compensate for lost revenue earlier in the year, when many stores were forced to shutter temporarily in an attempt to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

In fact, for many retailers, Black Friday is pivotal in the grand scheme of their annual sales. While it’s easy to argue the day itself is just a bunch of hype, the reality is that the right price points and marketing could help many retailers come out as winners during what’s commonly the busiest shopping day of the year.

But this year, the Black Friday crowds may not show up — or at least not to the extent retailers want them. And that’s the sort of blow they may not manage to recover from.

The CDC issues a warning

Earlier this fall, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released guidance on holiday shopping, expressly stating shopping in crowded stores just before, during, or after the Thanksgiving holiday constitutes a higher-risk activity, as it classifies attending any crowded event.

For context, that warning was first issued in September, at which point coronavirus cases, though multiplying quickly, were not popping up at as fast as they’ve been the past couple of weeks. Between that warning and the fact 32% of consumers already don’t feel comfortable shopping at malls, retailers may be in for a financial shock when the crowds they’d typically be welcoming on Black Friday opt to stay home instead.

Of course, many shoppers will shift their attention to online purchases, which ultimately serve the same purpose of pumping money into the businesses that need that cash to keep operating. But that shift could be dangerous for real estate investors. If absent crowds lead to sluggish in-store sales this holiday season but online sales skyrocket, retailers may opt to progressively close down physical locations to reap savings while focusing more resources on their e-commerce models. Retailers just want to make money, and it doesn’t matter where that money comes from. But for those invested in real estate — think mall REITs, or real estate investment trusts, in particular — store closures could result in serious losses.

That said, another scenario might play out: Consumers might scale back on holiday shopping altogether, both in stores and online, due to the economic crisis. If that happens, the end result will be the same for real estate investors — they’ll risk losses if retail stores are forced to close down due to a sluggish holiday season.

Only time will tell

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CDC wedding superspreader event example for the holidays

It’s a reminder healthcare professionals are urging people to keep in mind as they head home for the holidays.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is showing how one small gathering can turn into a superspreader event.

In a report, it published Friday, the CDC dissected how a wedding attended by 55 people in rural Maine left seven dead due to one COVID-19 positive person in attendance.

That one person ultimately helped spread the virus to 176 other people. From there, it is believed that the COVID-19 cases were spread to a long-term care facility and a correctional facility. 

The CDC also found that guests at the wedding were inside, did not wear masks, and did not social distance.

Health care professionals like Jay Wolfson of USF Health say this shows how small events can turn into big problems, “We do know that it just takes one positive person in a group at a wedding, or at Thanksgiving dinner, to cause a forest fire.”

Public health experts are urging people to avoid multi-generational Thanksgiving celebrations as cases soar.

“What we’re suggesting now is that if you really don’t have to travel, try to avoid it,” Wolfson said.

But with COVID fatigue and a year where love and family are needed more than ever, professionals know that some may go against what’s best for the community as a whole. 

“If you absolutely are going to go and we can’t change your mind, get tested a few days before you go. Make sure that you’re clean,” Wolfson said.

If you are celebrating in Florida, Wolfson says to use the weather in your favor. “Have your Thanksgiving dinner on the back porch, make sure that there’s plenty of space between you or have it in the backyard.”

Because as shown by the Maine wedding, even small events can quickly escalate into large, and deadly, COVID-19 spreads.

“By not traveling, by not enjoying the company of our family and friends this year, or we can take the risk of spreading it even more. It’s really up to us because only we individually can prevent COVID,” Wolfson said.

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CDC: Maine wedding outbreak shows need to avoid gatherings

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A wave of coronavirus cases that hit Maine after a wedding is a case study in why it’s important to avoid gathering amid the pandemic, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report about the deadly outbreak.

The outbreak, based around an August wedding and reception in the Millinocket area, killed at least seven people and sickened at least 177. The CDC’s report, issued Friday, stated that an investigation into the wedding showed noncompliance with standard procedures to slow the spread of the virus.

The CDC reported that Maine health authorities “likely undercounted cases of illness that were linked to the event, and the attack rate for the reception guests is thus a conservative estimate.” It also states that none of the people who were hospitalized or killed in the outbreak were guests at the wedding reception.

The CDC said the toll of the outbreak underscores “the importance of adhering to recommended mitigation measures even in communities where transmission rates are low.”

In other news related to the pandemic in Maine:

Positivity Rate

The number of new coronavirus cases in Maine continued to climb. Over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases has increased by 104.6, an increase of 181.6%, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins.

The state has had more than 8,600 reported cases of the virus. The state also reported three more deaths on Friday, bringing that total to 162.

The latest average positivity rate in Maine is 1.2%. State health departments are calculating positivity rate differently across the country, but for Maine the AP calculates the rate by dividing new cases by 725,560, which is the total test units, using data from the COVID Tracking Project.

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Infamous Maine coronavirus superspreader wedding highlights why large gatherings should be avoided, CDC says

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to advise against large gatherings as coronavirus cases rise throughout the country, and it recently highlighted a notorious superspreader wedding reception in Maine as one example.



a person posing for the camera: Moderna COVID-19 vaccine volunteer, Jack Morningstar, shares trial experience, urges others to take on 'Fox & Friends.'


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Moderna COVID-19 vaccine volunteer, Jack Morningstar, shares trial experience, urges others to take on ‘Fox & Friends.’

The reception, held in August in Millinocket, a rural Maine town, made headlines over the summer as the outbreak continued to unfold. Health officials’ investigation of the event revealed noncompliance with federally recommended mitigation guidelines. According to the CDC’s latest report, the reception led to at least 177 cases, seven hospitalizations and seven deaths, and the virus likely spread from the wedding to a nursing home and jail hundreds of miles away. Those who had serious outcomes and died from infections linked to the reception were not even attendees.

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This example “highlight[s] the importance of adhering to recommended mitigation measures even in communities where transmission rates are low,” the CDC said. “Community gatherings such as weddings, birthday parties, church events, and funerals have the potential to be [COVID-19] super-spreading events.”

The town in Maine was free of virus cases before the wedding reception, officials say.

The CDC report comes two weeks before Thanksgiving, and many leaders and health experts have cautioned against gathering around the table with nonhousehold family members this year. Others have suggested connecting virtually in an effort to reduce virus spread.

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Nevertheless, on Monday, Tripadvisor released the findings from its 2020 Thanksgiving Travel Index, claiming that more than half of Americans polled – 56% – intend to leave home for the holiday during the COVID-19 pandemic. Of those, 75% said they plan to drive to their destination, and a slim 11% said they’re flying to their Thanksgiving celebrations.

Also, nearly 40% of Americans will likely attend a gathering with 10 people, according to a new national survey by The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. And a third of them reportedly will not ask guests to wear masks.

“Persons should avoid large gatherings, practice physical distancing and hand hygiene, wear masks in public places, and stay home when ill to protect their family, friends, and the public,” the CDC concluded.

Fox News’ Janine Puhak and James Leggate contributed to this report.

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Without guest list, Maine CDC likely undercounted cases linked to Aug. 7 wedding

This story will be updated.

The first sign that the coronavirus had been spreading at an Aug. 7 wedding reception on Millinocket Lake came just one day after the event, when a Maine resident who was at the reception developed a fever, runny nose, cough and fatigue.

Over the coming week, a total of 24 people who attended the reception tested positive for the virus. From there, the outbreak continued to infect people all over Maine, including in a Somerset County nursing home and, more than 200 miles to the south, at the York County Jail.

Eight people died in connection with the event, and seven were hospitalized, none of whom actually attended.

At least 177 cases of COVID-19 were eventually linked to the now-infamous wedding in northern Maine, according to a new scientific article from staffers at the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention that was published this week on the website of their agency’s federal counterpart. 

The article in the U.S. CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report includes many of the details the state has already shared with the public. It also sheds some new light on how the coronavirus spread following the wedding reception and some of the challenges Maine CDC investigators faced in piecing together the disparate parts of the outbreak, which spanned at least four counties.

Among the new details in the report:

  • The bride, groom and groom’s family came to the wedding from California the day before the wedding, Aug. 6, and received negative coronavirus tests before traveling, allowing them to avoid the two-week quarantine Maine otherwise requires of out-of-state travelers.
  • The “index patient” — the first patient known to have come down with COVID-19 as a result of the wedding reception — was a Maine resident.
  • The initial round of infections from the reception also included an employee of the Big Moose Inn, a vendor who was there, and a diner at the inn who was unconnected to the wedding.
  • The York County Jail employee who attended the wedding reception and subsequently spread the virus to the jail worked daily eight-hour shifts from Aug. 15-19 in two separate jail units while showing coronavirus symptoms.
  • Maine CDC investigators never obtained a wedding guest list, which led the state agency to likely undercount the number of cases ultimately connected to the wedding outbreak.
A diagram published in the U.S. CDC’s Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report illustrates how the coronavirus spread following an Aug. 7 wedding reception in the Millinocket region. The reception led to Maine’s largest COVID-19 outbreak to date. Credit: Courtesy of the U.S. CDC

The article in the CDC’s weekly epidemiology publication does not specifically mention the location or other geographical details about the outbreak, but it notes that the outbreak began with an Aug. 7 wedding reception before spreading to a nursing home and county jail. Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah has previously told the BDN that such an article was due to be published.

The 177 cases linked to the

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Pregnant women with coronavirus at higher risk of severe illness, death, CDC finds

Pregnant women who contract the coronavirus are more at risk for severe illness and death than non-pregnant women, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analysis found. The agency has previously warned that pregnant people might be at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, but research is ongoing.

The new report, issued Monday, analyzed data collected from over 400,000 women ages 15-44 with symptomatic COVID-19.

Of the 409,462 women with symptomatic coronavirus, 23,434 were pregnant.

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“After adjusting for age, race/ethnicity, and underlying medical conditions, pregnant women were significantly more likely than were non-pregnant women to be admitted to an intensive care unit, receive ventilation, receive extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and die,” the report said.

The CDC said the findings may be due to the physiologic changes associated with pregnancy.

The CDC said the findings may be due to the physiologic changes associated with pregnancy.
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The CDC said the findings may be due to the physiologic changes associated with pregnancy, including increased heart rate and oxygen consumption, decreased lung capacity, immunity changes and increased risk for thromboembolic disease.

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Separately, the analysis also found racial and ethnic disparities in both risks for infection and disease severity among pregnant women, “indicating a need to address potential drivers of risk in these populations,” the report said.

The health agency said pregnant women should be counseled about the importance of seeking prompt medical care if they develop symptoms of coronavirus, and that there should be a strong emphasis on coronavirus prevention for pregnant women at each medical appointment.

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“To minimize the risk for acquiring SARS-CoV-2 infection, pregnant women should limit unnecessary interactions with persons who might have been exposed to or are infected with SARS-CoV-2, including those within their household, as much as possible,” the CDC said. “When going out or interacting with others, pregnant women should wear a mask, social distance, avoid persons who are not wearing a mask, and frequently wash their hands.”

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The CDC also advised pregnant women stay up to date with flu shots and prenatal care.

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CDC: Pregnant women with COVID-19 have higher risk for preterm birth

Nov. 2 (UPI) — Pregnant women infected with COVID-19 are about 25% more likely to deliver their babies preterm, according to data released Monday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 13% of babies born to mothers with the disease were delivered preterm, or at less than 37 weeks, the data showed.

Just over 10% of babies in the United States are born preterm, according to the CDC.

“The proportion of preterm live births among women with [COVID-19] infection during pregnancy was higher than that in the general population in 2019, suggesting that pregnant women with [the disease] infection might be at risk for preterm delivery,” agency researchers wrote.

Still, the findings are “preliminary and describe primarily women with second and third trimester infection, and … subject to change pending completion of pregnancy for all women in the cohort,” they said.

For the analysis, the CDC researchers reviewed data on pregnancy and infant outcomes among 5,252 women with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 from 15 states and Puerto Rico reported between March 29 and Oct. 14.

Among 3,912 live births with known gestational age, 12.9% were preterm, the agency said.

However, fewer than 3% of infants for whom test results were available had evidence of the virus, and most of them were born to mothers who had been infected within one week of delivery, the agency said.

Among 610 infants with reported test results, 2.6% tested positive for COVID-19, the data showed.

Previous studies have shown that pregnant women are unlikely to pass the disease on to their children.

However, data released by the CDC in June indicated that expecting mothers may be at increased risk for severe illness from the virus.

These concerns appear to have been confirmed in a separate analysis the agency released Monday, which found that pregnant women infected with COVID-19 were more than twice as likely to require treatment in a hospital intensive care unit and nearly three times as likely to need mechanical ventilation than “non-pregnant” women.

However, “the absolute risks for severe outcomes for women were low,” according to the CDC.

“Pregnant women were at increased risk for severe COVID-19-associated illness,” the CDC researchers said.

“To reduce the risk for severe illness and death from COVID-19, pregnant women should be counseled about the importance of seeking prompt medical care if they have symptom sand measures to prevent [coronavirus] infection should be strongly emphasized for pregnant women and their families,” they said.

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CDC: COVID-19 more likely to be serious, deadly in pregnant women

  • Pregnant women with COVID-19 are more likely to be admitted into the intensive care unit, put on ventilators, need life support, and die than coronavirus patients who aren’t pregnant, a CDC report found.
  • Racial disparities existed too, with pregnant Hispanic women more likely to contract COVID-19 and Black women with the illness more likely to experience serious complications, whether or not they were pregnant. 
  • The findings add to past research showing COVID-19 can increase the risk of pregnancy complications, though the overall risks are still low. 
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Most pregnant women with COVID-19 fare well, but they are still at increased risk for serious complications when compared to nonpregnant women with the disease, a large report out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found. 

The analysis looked at data from about 400,000 15- to 44-year-old women who had symptomatic COVID-19 between late January and early October. They found that pregnant women were more likely to be admitted into the intensive care unit, put on ventilators, need life support, and even die than those who weren’t pregnant. 

Specifically, pregnant women with COVID-19 were nearly four times as likely to need ventilation and twice as likely to die than nonpregnant women with COVID-19 of the same age. Still, their overall risks for complications were low: 1.5% of pregnant women went to the ICU, 0.29% needed ventilation, 0.07 required life support, and 0.15% died. 

The findings demonstrate how important it is for pregnant women and their families to take coronavirus transmission measures seriously. They could also inform how healthcare systems treat pregnant COVID-19 patients. 

Women of color were disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and negative outcomes 

In 2019, 24% of pregnant women were Hispanic and 51% were white. In the current analysis, 30% of the COVID-19 positive pregnant women were Hispanic and only 24% were white. Like past research, this finding suggests people of color are disproportionately susceptible to contracting COVID-19. 

The report illuminated other racial disparities too, with pregnant Asian and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander women seeming to be at disproportionate risk of ICU admission, and non-Hispanic Black women, whether or not they were pregnant, having higher rates of death from COVID-19.  

Marian Knight, the lead author of a UK study that found more than half of pregnant women who were admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 were Black or from other minority ethnic groups, previously told Insider more qualitative research involving talking to women about their experiences is “urgently needed.”

That work, she said, will help discern what puts pregnant women of color at such risk for COVID-19, be it household arrangements, jobs that make physical distancing difficult, restricted access to healthcare, something else, or all of the above. 

In contrast to past research, the findings suggest pregnant women with COVID-19 are more likely to die than nonpregnant women with the illness 

The current report had some limitations, mostly related to incomplete data. For instance, providers may be more inclined to report more serious outcomes and

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