The U.S. Is Headed for a COVID-19 Baby Bust. Here’s Why That Matters

The U.S. Is Headed for a COVID-19 Baby Bust. Here’s Why That Matters

Thursday, October 15, 2020 from Timehealth Time.com
BY TARA LAW

The U.S. Is Headed for a COVID-19 Baby Bust. Here’s Why That Matters

s soon as my colleague Eliana Dockterman saw a report from the Brookings Institution that said there will be about 500,000 fewer babies born in the U.S. in 2021, a 13% drop from 2019, she knew that hundreds of thousands women across America were struggling with the decision of whether or not to get pregnant during the pandemic. However, when Dockterman set out to find women to talk about their experiences, it took her months to find enough people willing to allow their names to be published in the story, a sign of how much pressure women face when deciding whether or not to have children.

“Having a baby—or the decision not to have one—is such a personal decision,” she later told me. “The few people who do post about it online are met with a lot of judgment, either way. Either people telling them health-wise it’s unsafe to have a baby right now or telling them how much they’re missing by not having a baby.”

As Dockterman spoke with more women, she was struck by how terrified and angry they are about their situation. Being a mother and holding down a career in the U.S. has always been challenging given the country’s demanding work culture and lack of childcare options, but the pаndemic has made it all but impossible. However, putting off becoming a parent can mean that women don’t have as many children as they’d originally planned, or even whether they become mothers at all.

As Dowell Myers, the director of the Population Dynamics Research Group at the University of Southern California, tells Dockterman, “Women see a major crunch because they have to complete their education, get their careers started, find a partner and have babies—if they plan to do that—in just a 10-year span.”

Although Americans traditionally view the decision to have children as a private choice, those decisions have immeasurable consequences for the entire country. Women leaving the workforce immediately robs the economy of crucial workers, and in the long term, their decisions not to have children deprives the U.S. of future workers to buoy the GDP and support social security, especially if the country continues to restrict the entry of new immigrants.Going forward, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic must be a wakeup call about the ways our current system burdens women, and holds back our entire economy.

Read more here.


TODAY’S CORONAVIRUS OUTLOOK

The Global Situation

More than 38.5 million people around the world had been diagnosed with COVID-19 as of 1 a.m. E.T. today, and more than 1 million people have died. Here’s where daily cases have risen or fallen over the last 14 days, shown in confirmed cases per 100,000 residents:

On Oct. 14, there were 380,426 new cases and 6,003 new deaths confirmed globally. Here’s how the world as a whole is currently trending:

Here is every country with over 500,000 confirmed cases (“per cap” is number per 100,000 people):

If you’re young and healthy and hoping to get a coronavirus vaccine next year, you might be out of luck, World Health Organization chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan warned yesterday. If a vaccine is available next year, health care workers and the elderly will be at the front of the line, “I think an average person, a healthy young person, might have to wait until 2022 to get a vaccine,” Swaminathan said in an online question-and-answer session.

European countries have continued to expand health restrictions to limit the spread of coronavirus amid a surge in cases. French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced today that the entire country will now be under new restrictions, including a rule allowing only six people per table at restaurants, and limits on private parties, which were once limited to the areas that were worst affected by the virus, the New York Times reports. Paris and other cities will also be under a 9 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfews starting tomorrow, CNN reports . New restrictions are also being imposed in the United Kingdom; in London, people will not be allowed to mix with other households indoors, U.K. health secretary Matt Hancock announced today.

While some families and friend groups around the world are creating quarantine “bubbles” with others to socialize during the pandemic, Hong Kong and Singapore are planning something much more ambitious: a quarantine bubble between their two cities. Under current restrictions, most non-residents from Singapore can’t fly into Hong Kong; people coming to Singapore from Hong Kong must quarantine for seven days. The South China Morning Post reported today that the two governments are planning to exempt residents from places from their respective quarantine restrictions.

The Situation in the U.S.

The U.S. had recorded more than 7.8 million coronavirus cases as of 1 a.m. E.T. today. More than 215,800 people have died. Here’s where daily cases have risen or fallen over the last 14 days, shown in confirmed cases per 100,000 residents:

On Oct. 13, there were 52,406 new cases and 802 new deaths confirmed in the U.S. Here’s how the country as a whole is currently trending:

Kamala Harris, the Democratic candidate for Vice President, won’t hold any in-person events until Monday after two people connected with the Biden campaign tested positive for the coronavirus, including Harris’ communications director, according to Biden’s campaign manager. Joe Biden’s campaign said Harris, the former vice president and other staff members did not have contact with the two individuals for 48 hours before the positive results. The COVID-19 pandemic has radically reshaped the American college experience, forcing many students to do schoolwork remotely or agree to repeated testing and restrictions on gatherings. Nationwide, it’s also led to a 4% drop in undergraduates since last year, according to a report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center published today. The biggest drop was among first-time students, whose enrollment declined 16.1% nationally (and 22.7% at community colleges) compared to last year. There were about 898,000 new unemployment claims during the week ending Oct. 10, an increase of 53,000 from the previous week’s revised count, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This could be another sign that the economy’s recovery from the recession caused by the coronavirus is slowing down, and that it’s in dire need of a government rescue package, Reuters reported. All numbers unless otherwise specified are from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering, and are accurate as of October 15, 1 a.m. E.T. To see larger, interactive versions of these maps and charts, click here. WHAT ELSE YOU SHOULD KNOW Trump Administration Briefing on Virus Led to Stock Sell-Off Back on Feb. 24, President Trump was publicly praising the health of the stock market. But that same day, officials from his economic team raised concerns about the virus’ potential impact on the economy in a briefing to a conservative think tank, leading a hedge fund consultant who had attended the meeting to warn investors, the New York Times reports. Read more here. Workers Are Being Passed Over For Their Own Jobs Although some companies are hiring again, not all are approaching the same workers who they’d laid off earlier in the pandemic, or they’re offering lower-paid work. Read more here. ‘Letting the Virus Rip’ Is Dangerous and Inhumane The White House has embraced a controversial new document written by three scientists known as the Great Barrington Declaration, which advocates for allowing the population to build COVID-19 immunity. But as Gavin Yamey of Duke University’s Center for Policy Impact in Global Health writes for TIME, this could cost many people their lives or their long-term health. Read more here. Thanks for reading. We hope you find the Coronavirus Brief newsletter to be a helpful tool to navigate this very complex situation, and welcome feedback at coronavirus.brief@time.com. If you were forwarded this and want to sign up to receive it daily, click here. Today’s newsletter was written by Tara Law and edited by Elijah Wolfson.

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