Coronavirus BRIEFING
Supported by Essilor

The Latest COVID-19 Data

Jobson COVID-19 Performance Tracker Week Ending Aug. 2

By Staff
Wednesday, August 5, 2020 12:30 AM NEW YORK—In the week ending Aug. 2, the U.S. optical business showed positive signs of slight growth even while the pandemic’s “new phase” has become “extraordinarily widespread,” as announced by Deborah Birx, MD, White House physician overseeing the coronavirus response. Many states actually experienced a decrease in the number of coronavirus cases over the past week, according to the CDC COVID Data Tracker.

Survey: 20 Percent of Adults Have Purchased Leisurewear During COVID-19 Crisis

By Staff
Thursday, July 30, 2020 3:14 PM NEW YORK—With the coronavirus pandemic changing the way many U.S. adults work, there’s also been a corresponding change in what people wear to “the office,” which more often than not is a home-office these days. As a result, months may have gone by since many Americans have worn anything but “non-soft pants,” according to a recent report by market research firm CivicScience.

“Sweat pants, joggers, and other comfy clothes have moved into the spotlight of peoples’ wardrobes, winning MVP since March (when lockdowns began),” the research firm noted. A rundown of the survey’s findings can be read here.

According to CivicScience’s research, that is the case. Based on responses from more than 2,500 adults, the survey found that 26 percent of those who wear leisurewear say they like and are wearing leisurewear more than they were before the COVID-19 situation.

Furthermore, in a survey of adults who have heard of leisurewear (which is 90 percent of the U.S. adult population), 20 percent say they have purchased leisurewear since the coronavirus crisis started, with another 15 percent answering that they plan to in the near future.

In addition, the survey found that women (28 percent) and younger individuals (18 to 24-year-olds, at 39 percent) are “the most amped about leisurewear and most likely to report they’ve been wearing it more.” Males (24 percent) aren’t too far behind females, though, when it comes to reporting wearing leisurewear more frequently.

A Look at the Americans Who Believe There Is Some Truth to the Conspiracy Theory That COVID-19 Was Planned

By Staff
Wednesday, July 29, 2020 4:19 PM Most Americans (71 percent) have heard of a conspiracy theory circulating widely online that alleges that powerful people intentionally planned the coronavirus outbreak. And a quarter of U.S. adults see at least some truth in it—including 5 percent who say it is definitely true and 20 percent who say it is probably true, according to a June Pew Research Center survey. The share of Americans who see at least some truth to the theory differs by demographics and partisanship.

Educational attainment is an especially important factor when it comes to perceptions of the conspiracy theory. Around half of Americans with a high school diploma or less education (48 percent) say the theory is probably or definitely true, according to the survey, which was conducted as part of the Center’s American News Pathways project. That compares with 38 percent of those who have completed some college but have no degree, 24 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree and 15 percent of those with a postgraduate degree.

Click here to read the full story from Pew Research Center.

Hoya Says Pandemic Significantly Impacted 1Q Eyeglass Lens, Contact Lens and IOL Sales

By Staff
Wednesday, July 29, 2020 12:27 AM TOKYO—Hoya Group (7741:JP) posted sales for the first quarter of the consolidated fiscal year ending June 30, 2020 of 109,327 million yen, a decrease of 22.4 percent compared to the same period in the prior fiscal year. Quarterly profit before tax amounted to 31,942 million yen with 25,629 million yen in profit, representing year-on-year decreases of 13.8 percent and 15.0 percent, respectively. Profit before tax ratio was 29.2 percent, representing a year-on-year increase of 2.9 points.

Almost Two-Thirds of Shoppers Express Concern About Safety at the Point-of-Sale

By Staff
Tuesday, July 28, 2020 12:23 PM NEW YORK—Retailers have faced many challenges over the past decade, not the least of which has been retaining loyalty in the face of changing consumer habits. Right there at the top of list, also, is the rise of e-cCommerce, which created a new battleground for bricks and mortar retailers who were no longer simply competing with one another, but also the comfort and convenience of shopping from home.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020 and many countries went into lockdown. As these measures began to lift and stores reopened, shoppers returning to physical locations have been met with a vastly different experience in order to meet government guidelines and to stop the spread of infection. This has now become the “new normal” for stores large and small and it isn’t going to change any time soon.

To better understand attitudes about in-store safety, Cennox worked with research house Vitreous World and polled 2,000 consumers. The results provide retailers with unique insight into the trends that are affecting consumer decision making during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the key findings of the study are:

• Baskets and shopping carts (66 percent) are considered the most high-risk area for the spread of COVID-19, followed by the checkout (51%) and aisles (49 percent).

• 50 percent of shoppers believe cleaning solutions such as anti-bacterial wipes or bleach immediately kill traces of COVID-19

• Almost two thirds (63 percent) of shoppers are concerned about the spread of COVID-19 at the point of sale, highlighting the concerns that customers have when visiting this particular part of the store.

• Just 38 percent of shoppers trust staff to correctly disinfect payment terminals after every use.

• Three-quarters (75 percent) of shoppers have increased the use of contactless payments in order to avoid having to touch surfaces.

The History of Vaccines

By Staff
Friday, July 24, 2020 4:01 PM More than two centuries ago, on May 14, 1796, the English doctor Edward Jenner carried out what was later proven to have been the first modern-day vaccination, when he injected a young boy with pus from cow pox (or vaccinia virus) blisters on a milkmaid’s hands. This immunized him against smallpox and the virus’ name coined the term “vaccine.”

Jenner was the first doctor to introduce and scientifically study the smallpox vaccine. But the concept of giving yourself a mild form of the disease to immunize against a harsher form existed as early as 16th century China or early 18th century India.

With the progress of science in the 20th century, the development of vaccines was accelerating, but the latter part of the century also gave rise to skepticism and conspiracy theories surrounding vaccines. This infographic from Statista.com takes a look at the history of vaccines. Click here to read the full story. 

How Close Is the World to a Coronavirus Vaccine?

By Staff
Thursday, July 23, 2020 5:10 PMcoronavirus vaccine candidate being developed by the University of Oxford has successfully triggered a strong immune response in trials involving 1,077 people. Scientific journal The Lancet published the hugely promising results of Phase I/II trials and they have raised hopes that a safe, effective and accessible vaccine will be attainable to help end the pandemic. The trial provoked a T cell response within 14 days of vaccination and an antibody response within 28 days. 

Even ahead of the tests, there have been commitments to supply over 2 billion doses of the vaccine to the United Kingdom, the United States, Europe's Inclusive Vaccines Alliance,  the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness, Gavi the Vaccine Alliance and the Serum Institute of India. Vaccines generally take years to develop but the University of Oxford have been working on their current project at an unprecedented pace. It is one of over 140 Covid-19 vaccine candidates listed by the World Health Organization, according to The Guardian and several are already in advanced testing. 

Read the full story in Statista.com. And in Monday’s Data Feed, look for an infographic on the history of vaccines. 

Renowned Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Anthony Fauci Joins WebMD's Dr. John Whyte for an Update on the Pandemic

By Staff
Wednesday, July 22, 2020 11:30 AM NEW YORK—WebMD's chief medical officer, Dr. John Whyte recently sat down with Dr. Anthony Fauci, infectious disease expert and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, for an in-depth conversation about the latest developments in the COVID-19 pandemic. Drs Whyte and Fauci touched on a variety of subjects ranging from mask wearing to the outlook for back-to-school plans and the status of a possible vaccine for the virus. The interview was part of Dr. Whyte's Coronavirus in Context Video Series. Click here to watch the full interview which also includes a transcript of their conversation. Read More

Jobson Performance Tracker: ECP Revenues, Exam Rates, and Sales Increase

By Staff
Wednesday, July 22, 2020 12:33 AM NEW YORK—Even as the majority of the country experiences increasing COVID-19 cases, the U.S. optical business experienced slight increases in all service and product categories in all regions of the country, according to the latest edition of the Jobson COVID-19 Performance Tracker for the week ending July 19.

Click here to view the complete Jobson COVID-19 Performance Tracker. 

Citing Negative Impact of COVID-19, Johnson & Johnson Reports That Second-Quarter Sales Declined 10.8 Percent

By Staff
Friday, July 17, 2020 12:24 AM NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.—Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) noted Thursday the negative impact of COVID-19 when it reported second-quarter results showing a sales decline of 10.8 percent (a decline of 9 percent on an operational basis) on a company-wide basis.

Where Coronavirus Is Spreading Fastest

By Staff
Thursday, July 16, 2020 2:10 PM New cases of COVID-19 across the U.S. continue to go up, accounting for over a fourth of all new global cases on Wednesday. While the Eastern U.S. was the primary source of early cases in March and April, states from all parts of the country are now experiencing record surges and are becoming global hotspots for the virus.

Data from Johns Hopkins University shows Louisiana as having the fastest rate of COVID-19 case growth over the past two weeks, with the seven-day average of new cases up 112 percent vs. two weeks ago. Tennessee and Georgia followed close behind, with growth rates of 84 percent and 74 percent, respectively, over the past two weeks. However, the new hotspots for the past month have been accumulating in Florida, Texas and California.

Click here to read the full story from Statista.com.

Coronavirus Could Push Back-To-School Spending to Record Level as Uncertain Families Gear Up for At-Home Learning

By Staff
Wednesday, July 15, 2020 12:54 PM WASHINGTON—Consumers tentatively plan to spend a record amount to prepare students for school and college this year as they buy more laptops and computer accessories in anticipation that at least some classes will take place online because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the annual survey released this week by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

“By any measure, this is an unprecedented year with great uncertainty, including how students will get their education this fall whether they are in kindergarten or college,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Most parents don’t know whether their children will be sitting in a classroom or in front of a computer in the dining room, or a combination of the two. But they do know the value of an education and are navigating uncertainty and unknowns so that students are prepared.”

Parents with children in elementary school through high school say they plan to spend an average $789.49 per family, topping the previous record of $696.70 they said they would spend last year. Spending is expected to total $33.9 billion, up from $26.2 billion last year and breaking the record of $30.3 billion set in 2012.

College students and their families expect to spend an average $1,059.20 per family, which would top last year’s record of $976.78. College spending is expected to total $67.7 billion, up from $54.5 billion last year and breaking the record of $55.3 billion set in 2018.

New Consumer Survey Shows Safety and Hygiene are Top of Mind for Back-to-School Season

By Staff
Monday, July 13, 2020 2:52 PM A new survey provides a detailed update on consumer behavior and sentiment amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis. According to the survey, which was fielded on July 8, safety and hygiene are top of mind for consumers for the upcoming back-to-school season. A little over four in 10 back-to-school shoppers said they will buy face masks and/or other hygiene products/personal protective equipment for their children.

Online remains the preferred shopping channel for clothing and footwear.

Updated Forecast Shows E-Commerce Sales Climbing 18 Percent in 2020, But Overall Retail Dropping 10.5 Percent

By Staff
Friday, July 10, 2020 9:58 AM NEW YORK—It has been a difficult year for brick-and-mortar retail, of course. But, for e-commerce, the year 2020 has been a record-breaker for many firms. This is borne out in a revised forecast by eMarketer for the U.S. retail sector.

The research firm, in its February retail forecast, projected modest growth of 2.8 percent (to $5.62 trillion in total U.S. retail sales), but then the coronavirus pandemic hit hard, leading to “store closures, stay-at-home orders and declined demand for nonessential goods,” according to eMarketer.

As a result, the firm said it now expects there to be a 10.5 percent decline in U.S. retail sales this year, with a 14.0 percent drop in brick-and-mortar sales.

However, eMarketer said it believes the “news isn't dire for all retail channels. E-commerce is poised to grow 18.0 percent following a 14.9 percent gain in 2019, further evidence of the digital shift.”