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PPP was not enough for small businesses as coronavirus crisis surges

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has left much to be desired for needy small businesses around the U.S., and the overwhelming majority of recipients are about to exhaust their funding and may start laying off employees.

Why it matters: The PPP has been derided by some economists and researchers as inefficient and ineffective, but a new Goldman Sachs survey shows that even for the businesses and employees it helped, it has not been enough.


What's happening: The Goldman survey, provided first to Axios, finds 84% of PPP loan recipients will exhaust their funding by the first week of August and only 16% say they're very confident they will be able to maintain payroll if no further government relief is provided.

  • A recent survey by the right-leaning National Federation of Independent Business found 22% of PPP recipients anticipate having to lay off at least one employee after using their loan.

The big picture: The $669 billion program was meant to be a bridge between government-imposed economic shutdowns and a reopened U.S. economy that would recoup its earlier strength.

  • Goldman's survey found 77% of loan recipients were able to maintain 75%–100% of payroll.
  • But extended lockdown periods, continued fear of the virus, and the recent uptick in new infections and deaths have meant small business owners are facing more significant troubles now than when the program was launched.

By the numbers: 63% of small business owners say less than 75% of their revenue before the pandemic started has returned.

  • 60% say that less than 75% of their customers from before the pandemic started have returned.

Between the lines: The picture is even worse for Black-owned businesses, Goldman notes.

  • 34% say less than 25% of their pre-coronavirus revenue has returned (compared to 20% of survey respondents overall).
  • 7% percent are very confident they will be able to maintain payroll if no further government relief is provided (Overall: 16%).
  • 28% believe they can survive another wave of the pandemic should similar shutdown protocols become necessary (Overall: 37%).

Of note: PPP applications were extended until Aug. 8 in an 11th-hour deal before the deadline expired June 30. However, there is still around $150 billion left unclaimed as few new borrowers have been approved for loans and more money has been returned.

Fauci says if people won't wear masks, maybe it should be mandated

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN on Friday evening that if "people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it."

Why it matters: Fauci made the comments the same day the U.S. hit its highest daily COVID-19 case count since the pandemic began.

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Harris to Black voters: Casting a ballot is about honoring your ancestors

Sen. Kamala Harris appealed to Black voters in Georgia on Friday, urging them to "honor the ancestors" by casting ballots, and again calling President Trump a "racist."

Why it matters: The U.S. saw a significant decline in African-American voter turnout between 2012 and 2016, reaching its lowest point since 2000. Higher turnout among Black Americans this year could tip the balance in favor of Democrats in key battleground states, including Georgia.

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U.S. hits highest daily COVID-19 case count since pandemic began

The U.S. confirmed at least 83,010 coronavirus cases on Friday, the country's highest daily total since the pandemic started, according to data from COVID tracking project.

By the numbers: Friday's total surpassed the previous daily case record set on July 17 when 76,842 cases were recorded.

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Fauci: Trump hasn't been to a COVID task force meeting in months

President Trump has not attended a White House coronavirus task force meeting in “several months,” NIAID director Anthony Fauci told MSNBC on Friday.

Why it matters: At the beginning of the pandemic, the task force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, met every day, but in the "last several weeks," members have held virtual meetings once a week, Fauci said, even as the number of new cases continues to surge in the country.

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Universal mask use could save 130,000 lives in U.S.

Nearly 130,000 fewer people will die of COVID-19 this winter if 95% of Americans wear face masks in public, according to research published Friday.

Why it matters: “Increasing mask use is one of the best strategies that we have right now to delay the imposition of social distancing mandates," Dr. Christopher Murray of the University of Washington told the N.Y. Times.

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Israel and Sudan begin normalization process after call with Trump

Sudan and Israel announced today that they will “end the state of belligerence” between them and start the process of normalizing ties.

Driving the news: The announcement came after a phone call hosted by President Trump with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, and the head of Sudan's governing council, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

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We're all guinea pigs for Tesla's latest self-driving tech

Tesla is beta-testing its latest self-driving technology with a small group of early adopters, a move that alarms experts and makes every road user — including other motorists, pedestrians and cyclists — unwitting subjects in its ongoing safety experiment.

Why it matters: Tesla hailed the limited rollout of its "full self-driving" beta software as a key milestone, but the warnings on the car's touchscreen underscore the risk in using its own customers — rather than trained safety drivers — to validate the technology.

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Trump removes Sudan from state sponsors of terrorism list

President Trump signed Friday an order to remove Sudan from the State Department’s state sponsors of terrorism list, senior U.S. officials tell me.

Why it matters: Trump’s signature paves the way for the U.S. and Sudan to move forward on a larger deal — which will also include a Sudanese announcement on normalizing its relations with Israel.

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