COVID-19 Bulletin: October 21

October 21, 2020 • Posted in Daily Bulletin, News

Good Afternoon,

More news relevant to the plastics industry:

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  • The American Petroleum Institute reported a nearly 600,000-barrel increase in U.S. crude inventories last week, surprising analysts, who expected stockpiles to decline.
  • Domestic gasoline inventories rose by 1.9 million barrels last week, the biggest increase since May.
  • Crude prices were lower in mid-day trading today, with the WTI down 3.9% at $40.06/bbl and Brent down 3.3% at $41.74/bbl. Natural gas was 4.3% higher at $3.04/MMBtu.
  • Pioneer Natural Resources’ announced deal to acquire Parsley Energy for $4.5 billion will solidify its status as one of the largest producers in the U.S. Permian Basin of Texas and New Mexico.
  • Canada’s Alberta province is providing new tax breaks to oil producers to increase investment and production.
  • Nigeria repaid nearly $3 billion to oil companies including Exxon and Shell for joint production ventures begun in 2016. 
  • Estée Lauder is teaming up with SABIC to include larger amounts of post-consumer recycled content in its product packaging, utilizing SABIC’s polyethylene and polypropylene recycling technology.

Supply Chain

  • PG&E is cutting power to 54,000 in 19 counties in Northern California as high winds and dry conditions raise risks of wildfires in coming days.
  • Tropical Storm Epsilon, the 26th named storm of the season, is expected to increase to hurricane strength as it heads toward Bermuda.
  • A magnitude 7.6 earthquake shook the Alaska Peninsula Monday afternoon. Officials first released a tsunami warning for hundreds of miles of coastline but canceled it several hours later.
  • Canadian Pacific missed earnings forecasts in the third quarter, experiencing a 30% drop in energy, plastics and chemicals shipments.
  • Demand for workers at online fulfillment centers is up 475% this holiday season versus 2019, with the hourly wage up $2 per hour.
  • Trade wars, sanctions and a retreat from international treaties have led companies to reevaluate their supply chains, turning from full-on globalization toward regional agreements that take advantage of diversity and cheaper labor while keeping operations closer to home.
  • With tight freight capacity nationwide and supply constraints with many plastic resins, clients are advised to provide expanded lead times on orders to help ensure delivery dates. 


  • COVID-19 infections in the U.S. topped 60,000 yesterday, the third straight day of rising infections.
  • COVID-19 infections are trending higher in 36 states this week.
  • More people across the U.S. South are hospitalized for COVID-19 than in any other region. The South also holds the highest seven-day average for new cases.
  • North Dakota reported a record number of COVID-19 cases Tuesday, at 1,036 positive tests.
  • New Jersey’s governor urged citizens to refrain from all non-essential travel outside of the state as COVID-19 cases surge there. Infection rates now exceed the thresholds for its own tri-state advisory list of states whose citizens must quarantine when entering New Jersey.
  • New York added Arizona and Maryland to its travel advisory list, raising the number of states whose citizens must quarantine when entering New York to 43.
  • The story of a Kansas City nursing home, where all 62 residents caught COVID-19 within two weeks of the initial positive test, sheds light on how quickly the virus can spread indoors. 
  • A recent study in Israel suggests that 20% of COVID-19 patients do not develop antibodies and risk further infection.
  • Long-term consequences of COVID-19 may last for many months or more, and doctors are not yet sure how to address symptoms that show up after the initial infection.  
  • The U.S. death rate this year is nearly 300,000 higher than historic trends would suggest, with two thirds of the added deaths caused directly by COVID-19.  
  • Generation Z, aged 18 to 24, has suffered the most mental health effects from the pandemic, with 7 out of 10 reporting bouts of depression, according to a survey by the American Psychological Association.
  • Overdose deaths are on pace to hit an all-time high this year as the pandemic raises financial and emotional stress levels.
  • Non-COVID-19 hospitalizations, which fell by nearly half in April, remain 20% below normal as contagion fears cause people to avoid healthcare facilities and defer elective surgeries.
  • With public schools disrupted by the pandemic, school districts are serving half the normal number of subsidized meals, raising concerns about childhood nutrition. The federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides meals to about half of public-school students nationally.
  • Without yet knowing how to pay for them, states were required to submit their COVID-19 vaccine distribution plans to the federal government on Friday. The $200 million in federal funds already distributed for the purpose are inadequate for such an operation, officials say.
  • A Tuesday deadline for further U.S. economic stimulus has been informally pushed back to the weekend, with the Speaker of the House announcing hope for a deal with the U.S. Treasury Secretary later in the week.
  • Half of the 30 states that reported lower unemployment rates last month saw a decline in their labor forces as people withdraw from the workforce during the pandemic.
  • With 51% of people saying they are anxious about going to stores during the holiday season, a Deloitte survey suggests shoppers will visit fewer stores than ever in the remaining months of 2020.  
  • Online sales continue to surge at the expense of bricks and mortar retailing:
COVID-19 Crisis Accelerates Shift to Online Retail
Mass Exodus of Retail Stores
  • Nestlé’s health-sciences unit led the company to better-than-expected quarterly results as consumers become more health conscious during the pandemic. Other consumer brands are reporting a similar shift in buying behavior.
  • Consumer product makers P&G and Reckitt Benckiser, maker of Lysol, reported strong quarterly results driven by robust sales of cleaning and personal hygiene products.
  • Commodity food producers such as Archer-Daniels Midland are confronting stagnation in their historic markets and changing consumer preferences by diversifying into nutrition and specialty food categories.
  • California set rules for large amusement venues such as Disneyland and Universal Studios to reopen, requiring early ticket sales to allow for contract tracing, a 25% occupancy limit and mandatory face masks.
  • Due to increased competition from a wide variety of new streaming services, Netflix saw a slowdown in subscriber growth in the third quarter.
  • Ghost kitchens that prepare food for delivery are attracting investors, including Uber’s former CEO whose CloudKitchens venture is buying up closed restaurants and other real estate.
  • General Motors revealed an electric Hummer under its GMC brand, an attempt to move away from smaller, more mainstream offerings such as the Chevy Volt and Spark.  
  • In Florida on Monday, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a broad-strokes effort to reduce the 28 billion pounds of trash accumulating in the world’s oceans and waterways each year.


  • India’s infection rate has fallen to 310 a day per 1 million people, among the lowest in the world. The country ranks second behind the U.S. in total COVID-19 cases — nearly 7.7 million.
  • Singapore will ease some of its strict pandemic rules after reducing infections to near zero.
  • COVID-19 infections in the Philippines are declining.
  • Russia broke a record for new COVID-19 infections Tuesday, tallying an additional 16,319 to bring the country’s total count to 1,431,635.
  • Bulgaria’s COVID-19 infections hit a new daily record, climbing just over 1,000 on Tuesday in a country of 7 million people. Officials have made masks mandatory outside.
  • Greece reported a new daily record of 667 COVID-19 cases Tuesday.
  • British officials have imposed the strictest available restrictions on the country’s second-largest urban area, Manchester. 
  • Argentina is the fifth and smallest country to top 1 million COVID-19 cases, behind the U.S., India, Brazil and Russia.
  • Thailand extended its state of emergency for the seventh straight month at the same time it takes steps to reopen the country to foreign visitors to help revive the economy.
  • U.K. researchers are starting a plan to intentionally infect healthy people with the COVID-19 virus, part of an attempt to accelerate vaccine testing.
  • The U.S., Mexico and Canada agreed to extend their border-crossing restrictions at least through November.
  • The United Nations said world trade is recovering slowly and will be down 7% to 9% this year.
  • Public borrowing in the U.K. was at a record high in the first six months of the year, with a drop in tax receipts compounded by high stimulus spending, as the national debt rose to 103% of annual GDP.
  • After a cut to the nation’s credit rating last week, Moody’s downgraded the ratings of three of the U.K’s largest banks on Tuesday.  
  • Retail sales in Australia fell for the second straight month in September, down 1.5%, following three consecutive months of growth after early lockdowns caused a plunge in spending in April.
  • London Heathrow is using a one-hour COVID-19 test to clear passengers for travel to Hong Kong.

Our Operations

  • Resource Center: M. Holland offers a host of resources to clients, prospects and suppliers. To arrange a videoconference or meeting, contact:
  • To access 3D Printing training, order parts and seek technical assistance, visit our new online resource.

Thank you,

M. Holland Company

We will provide further COVID-19 bulletins as circumstances dictate. For all COVID-19 updates and notices, please refer to the M. Holland website.

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