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U.S. reports record Covid hospitalizations as states roll out restrictions ahead of Thanksgiving

“We are pecking out on our ability to continue to treat patients based on our staffing limitations,” Rich Rasmussen, CEO of the Montana Hospital Association, said….

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Medical professionals treat a patient infected with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas, November 12, 2020.

Callaghan O’Hare | Reuters

The United States reported a record-high number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 on Friday as more states roll out fresh restrictions to slow the spread of the virus ahead of the holiday season, with some officials urging Americans to cancel their Thanksgiving plans and stay at home.

More than 68,500 are hospitalized with Covid-19 across the country, more than at any other point during the pandemic, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project, which is run by journalists at The Atlantic. More than 13,100 people in the U.S. are currently in the ICU, according to the COVID Tracking Project’s data.

Deaths caused by Covid-19 continue to trend upward, as well. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is projecting a rise in newly reported Covid-19 deaths over the next month. The CDC updated their forecast this week to say that newly reported deaths “will likely increase over the next four weeks, with 5,500 to 13,400 new deaths likely to be reported in the week ending December 5, 2020.”

The country continues to push new records for cases. The U.S. reported record one-day spike of more than 177,200 new cases on Friday, pushing the seven-day average over 139,900 cases per day, up more than 35% compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The seven-day average of daily new cases has hit a fresh record everyday for at least the past ten days, Hopkins data shows.

The surge is pushing hospitals in some parts of the country, particularly the Midwest and Western U.S., to their limits. Rich Rasmussen, CEO of the Montana Hospital Association, said in a phone interview on Friday that adjusted for population, Montana is among the hardest hit states in the country.

“The actual on-the-ground impact in a small state like ours is greater than it is nationally,” he said, adding that the state’s hospitals are quickly running out of resources. “We’re competing with the rest of the nation for staffing and that’s our biggest challenge right now… What we don’t have is the rich depth of staffing that other more urban states have. That is our biggest challenge.”

He said most of the state’s hospitals are “above 100% staffing capacity” and hospitals are trying to share the load of patients by transporting hospitalized people across the state. But the problem, Rasmussen said, is that the virus is spreading in nearly every community, burdening all hospitals in the state.

“So we are pecking out on our ability to continue to treat patients based on our staffing limitations,” he said.

Dr. Alan Kaplan, CEO of UW Health at the University of Wisconsin, painted a similar picture of overwhelmed health workers in Wisconsin. He said Thursday that his system’s hospitals are overwhelmed in both rural and urban communities.

“We are short of staff all times, either because they have Covid or they have some other illness and we need to rule out Covid before we bring them back to work,” he said on “Squawk on the Street.” “There is no surplus now.”

With the virus resurging, state and city officials are taking action to curb the spread and safeguard hospitals. However, while in the spring, officials rolled out widespread restrictions and stay-at-home orders, this time around, officials are largely trying to implement more targeted measures to protect the economy.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot last week asked all residents to cancel Thanksgiving plans and stay at home unless they need to go to work or school or to tend to essential needs such as a doctor’s appointment or grocery shopping.

“This is serious life and death,” Lightfoot said at a press conference. “We are sounding the alarm that we are at this inflection point where we have to do more than we’ve already done.”

City and state officials elsewhere are also urging people to cancel holiday plans, especially if it requires interstate travel. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said last month: “I hate to say it, but I have to urge all New Yorkers: Do not travel out of state for the holidays.”

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker also suggested last month that people should reconsider their holiday plans. And Dr. Celine Gounder, a member of President-elect Joe Biden’s Covid-19 advisory board, said Friday that traveling for Thanksgiving would be like “pouring gasoline on a fire.”

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Friday announced some of the most sweeping actions taken this fall by a governor in response to the virus. The governor’s new restrictions limit restaurants to takeout service only; limit retailers, grocery stores and pharmacies to 75% capacity; close gyms, fitness centers and indoor and outdoor event centers; limit attendance at places of worship and require other businesses to use remote work as much as possible.

“If this all sounds familiar to our Stay Home, Save Lives order I issued back in March, that’s because it is,” Brown said at a news briefing. “The cycle of this virus is such that we are seeing case rates topping 1,000 per day now and that means our hospitals are headed for some very dark days ahead.”

Other hard-hit states are also taking action, rolling back reopening plans and issuing statewide mask mandates. Idaho Gov. Brad Little, for example, said Friday he would sign an executive order mobilizing 100 members of the state’s national guard to help with Idaho’s Covid-19 response and issue a new public health order placing more restrictions on businesses and gatherings.

And in North Dakota, which has one of the most rapidly spreading Covid-19 outbreaks, per capita, in the country, the state health officer ordered a statewide mask mandate on Friday.

“Right now, the data demands a higher level of mitigation efforts to reverse these dangerous trends, to slow the spread of this virus and to avoid the need for economic shutdowns,” North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said. “Our situation has changed, and we must change with it.”

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/11/14/us-reports-record-covid-hospitalizations-as-states-roll-out-restrictions-again.html

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Nike earnings and sales beat estimates as retailer books record revenue in North America

Nike on Thursday reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings and sales that topped analysts’ estimates, fueled by record revenue in North America.

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A man walks in front of Nike products exhibit, on February 22, 2021 in New York City.

John Smith | Corbis News | Getty Images

Nike on Thursday reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings and sales that topped analysts’ estimates, fueled by record revenue in its largest market, North America.

It also offered a better-than-expected sales outlook for the upcoming year, driven by optimism around its women’s category, apparel business and Jordan brand.

Nike continues to benefit from consumers seeking out comfortable clothing to wear for workouts but also around the house. Even as people return to schools, offices and other social settings, many are still searching for relaxed options such as sneakers and stretchy pants.

Nike also saw a boost to its wholesale business — something that was largely inactive a year earlier during the Covid pandemic, when shopping malls and department stores had to temporarily shut their doors and put orders for merchandise on pause. Some of Nike’s key wholesale partners include Dick’s Sporting Goods, Foot Locker and JD Sports.

Nike shares jumped more than 12% in after-hours trading.

Here’s how the company did during its fiscal fourth quarter, compared with what analysts were anticipating, using Refinitiv estimates:

  • Earnings per share: 93 cents vs. 51 cents expected
  • Revenue: $12.34 billion vs. $11.01 billion expected

Nike’s net income for the period ended May 31 rose to $1.5 billion, or 93 cents per share, compared with a loss of $790 million, or 51 cents per share, a year earlier. That topped analysts’ forecast of 51 cents per share, using Refinitiv data.

Total revenue rose to $12.34 billion from $6.31 billion a year earlier, topping estimates for $11.01 billion. Sales were aided by the company selling more goods at full price and relying less on markdowns.

In North America, Nike’s biggest market, sales more than doubled to a record $5.38 billion as the company surged from a year earlier when the Covid pandemic was hitting the retail industry the hardest. The region’s sales were up 29% on a two-year basis.

In Greater China, sales were up just 17% at $1.93 billion. Though China is typically one of the fastest-growing markets for Nike, consumers in China have threatened a boycott after some Western brands including Nike expressed concern about allegations of forced labor in Xinjiang.

Management said Thursday that Nike is seeing improvement in China sequentially month by month.

“Building on our 40-year history in Greater China, we continue to invest in serving consumers with the best products Nike has to offer in locally relevant ways,” CFO Matt Friend said during a post-earnings conference call.

Digital sales were up 41% compared with the prior year and rose 147% compared with the same period in 2019.

The company said its membership model is helping to fuel its e-commerce business. Online purchases from Nike members, who receive first access to exclusive products and other perks, hit a record $3 billion during the fourth quarter. Nike said it now has more than 300 million members globally.

“Fueled by our momentum, we continue to invest in innovation and our digital leadership to set the foundation for Nike’s long-term growth,” said Nike CEO John Donahoe.

In fiscal 2022, Nike is expecting revenue to grow a low double-digit percentage, surpassing $50 billion. Analysts were looking for annual revenue of $48.5 billion.

The company anticipates the first half of the year to grow faster than the second half, Friend said.

“It’s important to note as we normalize our post-pandemic business and continue to reshape the marketplace, we do not expect quarter-by-quarter growth to be linear,” he said.

Nike also anticipates supply chain delays and higher logistics costs will persist throughout much of fiscal 2022. The headaches have been plaguing much of the retail industry for months now. A shortage of containers and a dearth of truck drivers, among other factors, have stalled merchandise from getting from ports to warehouses to shoppers’ homes.

Nike shares are down more than 5% year to date. The company has a market cap of $211 billion.

Find the full earnings press release from Nike here.

Nike continues to benefit from consumers seeking out comfortable clothing to wear for workouts but also around the house. Even as people return to schools, offices and other social settings, many are still searching for relaxed options such as sneakers and stretchy pants.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/24/nike-nke-q4-2021-earnings.html

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