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Pandemic accelerated an already booming market for personal chefs

  • Personal chefs are seeing sales boom as the coronavirus pandemic devastates the restaurant industry.
  • The United States Personal Chef Association estimates that there are between 5,000 and 6,000 personal chefs working nationwide.
  • Mounting restaurant closures tied to the pandemic could push more out-of-work chefs to start their own businesses.

The personal chef business is booming as more consumers choose to eat at home during the coronavirus pandemic, rather than at restaurants.

The virus is expected to cause the restaurant industry to lose $240 billion in sales this year, based on estimates from the National Restaurant Association. Lockdowns pushed many Americans to spend more time eating at home, whether it's restaurant food delivery, at-home cooking or the fruit of a personal chef's labor. 

"It's unfortunate that Covid-19 has brought what we do to the surface, but I'm starting to see a lot of people who are looking at the personal chef and in-home dining experience as a great alternative to the dining experience as of now," said Brian Driscoll, co-founder of the Glendale, Arizona-based personal chef company Driscoll Cuisine & Cocktail Concepts.

The United States Personal Chef Association estimates that there are between 5,000 and 6,000 personal chefs working nationwide. Personal chefs own their businesses, unlike private chefs, who are employees of a particular household.

According to Angela Prather, membership and partnership manager of the trade group, the personal chef industry started decades ago because of demand for outsourcing meal preparation. But special occasions have become a part of the business as well, and some — including Driscoll Cuisine — have opted to focus most of their efforts on attracting those customers.

The pandemic hit as the industry was in the middle of a boom, according to Prather, and has further accelerated the trend.

When restaurants began reopening for indoor and outdoor dining across the country, many consumers still felt uncomfortable partaking, particularly if they had underlying health conditions. While diners might know and trust the members of their party, they don't know who occupies neighboring tables. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has linked dining out to a higher risk of contracting Covid-19, although the National Restaurant Association has disputed the findings. 

Moreover, the experience of going to a restaurant today is vastly different from that at the same time last year. Menus are pared down, wait staff wear masks and dining with a party larger than six people may be illegal.

For consumers looking to celebrate anniversaries or birthdays, a meal from a personal chef can help make up for the disappointment of missing out on typical festivities. For example, brides and grooms who moved their weddings to Zoom and canceled their wedding receptions have decided to celebrate with more intimate dinners prepared by a personal chef with close family members instead.

"We've got a lot of pent-up demand because everyone lost Easter, Mother's Day, graduations — all of those occasions," Driscoll Cuisine co-founder Monique Hayward said.

But not all personal chefs have been seeing such a surge in sales. Personal chef Katie Simmons has owned her own Chicago-based business for eight years and specializes in cooking for busy families or people with dietary restrictions. 

When the pandemic first hit, Simmons' business was slashed in half. 

"People were really watching their budget, and they were home and more inspired to cook," she said.

But in the last two or three months, demand has returned, particularly from consumers looking to eat with their own health in mind. Simmons said that she's seen much more interest in at-home dinner parties, but she's had to turn down the requests because she lives with someone who is at higher risk for complications from Covid-19.

The pandemic has also triggered an economic crisis, with the unemployment rate in September hitting 7.9% and the U.S. gross domestic product plummeting 31.4% from April through June.

For some consumers, that may mean a personal chef is out of their budget, but Hayward said that the cost of a personal chef is similar to the same experience at a restaurant. For example, a five-course dinner with wine pairings created by one of her company's chefs will cost about $250 per person, including services and fees. 

"People who are already disposed to spending this kind of money on this kind of experience are already a bit recession-proof," Hayward said. "We're not generally seeing people in our target market and demographic who are concerned about cost, per se. It's been mainly the pandemic that's scaring people."

The personal chefs who are enjoying a lift in sales now might soon find more competition for their customers. Mounting restaurant closures mean a deluge of out-of-work chefs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there were 128,190 chefs and head cooks working in the U.S. last year, and employment in food services and drinking places has plummeted by 2.3 million since February. 

"I'm the membership manager, and I have definitely seen a great deal of interest from what we call brick-and-mortar chefs," Prather said, adding that the trend started before the crisis, thanks to the more flexible hours and higher quality of life.

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Amex EveryDay Preferred review: A good card for earning Amex travel points, and it gets even better if you use it 30 times a month

This article is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. It has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of the issuers listed. Some of the offers you see on the page are from our partners like Citi and American Express, but our coverage is always independent. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page.

Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express

American Express Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express

In order to make up for the $95 annual fee, you'll want to make sure to hit that 30-transaction minimum each month in order to get the 50% bonus. If you don't think that you will hit that total on most months, there may be cards with bigger bonuses and/or lower annual fees.

Bottom line: Especially if you regularly make at least 30 purchases in a billing cycle, the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card could be a great option. You'll get a 50% points bonus for hitting that transaction threshold, and the card offers 3x points on the first $6,000 you spend each year at US supermarkets (then 1x).

Amex EveryDay Preferred versus other Amex cards

  Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card Amex EveryDay Card Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Annual fee $95 $0 $95 (See Rates)
Rewards rate

3x points at US supermarkets*

2x points at US gas stations

2x points on eligible travel purchases made at Amex Travel

1 point per dollar on everything else

2x points at US supermarkets*

2x points on eligible travel purchases made at Amex Travel

1 point per dollar on everything else

6% cash back at US supermarkets*

6% cash back on select US streaming subscriptions

3% cash back at US gas stations and on transit

1% back on everything else

Welcome bonus 15K points after you spend $1K on eligible purchases in the first 3 months 10K points after you spend $1K in the first 3 months $250 back after you spend $1K in the first 3 months of account opening
Monthly transaction bonus Use your card 30 or more times in a billing period to earn 50% more points Use your card 20 or more times in a billing period to earn 20% more points N/A 
Intro APR offer 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months, then 12.99% to 22.99% Variable 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 15 months, then 12.99% to 23.99% N/A
  Not available through Business Insider Not available through Business Insider Learn more

*3x/2x points and 6% cash back at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year, then 1x/1% back

Amex EveryDay Preferred versus other rewards credit cards

  Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Annual fee $95 $95 $95
Rewards rate

3x points at US supermarkets*

2x points at US gas stations

2x points on eligible travel purchases made at Amex Travel

1 point per dollar on everything else

5x points on Lyft rides through March 2022

2x points on travel and dining 

1 point per dollar on everything else

2x miles on every purchase
Welcome bonus 15K points after you spend $1K in the first 3 months 80,000 points after you spend $4K in the first 3 months of account opening 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, plus another 50K miles after you spend $20K in the first 12 months
Other benefits Use your card 30 or more times in a billing period to earn 50% more points

No foreign transaction fees

Primary car rental insurance

No foreign transaction fees

Application fee credit of up to $100 for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck

Intro APR offer 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months, then 12.99% to 22.99% Variable N/A N/A
  Not available through Business Insider Learn more Learn more

*3x points at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year, then 1x

Using Membership Rewards points

If you redeem your Membership Rewards points through the Amex Travel site, you'll get a value of 0.7 to 1 cent per point. You can often get a lot more value by transferring your Membership Rewards points to American Express's hotel and airline travel partners.

Here are some of the best ways to earn and redeem American Express Membership Rewards points.

Amex EveryDay Preferred features

Aside from the welcome bonus and the points you can earn on everyday spending, the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card comes with a few lifestyle and shopping benefits.

  • ShopRunner membership — As a cardholder, you can enroll with ShopRunner to receive complimentary two-day shipping with a wide variety of online retailers.
  • Return protection — The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card offers return protection for eligible purchases made with your card, up to 90 days from purchase. You can receive up to $300 per covered item and up to $1,000 per year when your item cannot be returned to the merchant for a refund.
  • Purchase protection — You'll also get purchase protection to protect new items you buy with the card, up to $1,000 per covered purchase.
  • Extended warranty — The extended warranty feature gives you up to one additional year on warranties of five years or less when you purchase an eligible item with your card.
  • Secondary car rental insurance — Finally, the EveryDay Preferred card offers car rental insurance, but keep in mind that it's secondary (meaning it only kicks in after your personal auto insurance coverage) and doesn't include liability.

Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express

American Express Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express

Annual Fee
Regular APR
Credit Score
  • A five pointed star
  • A five pointed star
  • A five pointed star
  • A five pointed star
  • 4.4 out of 5 Stars
    Editor's Rating
    Annual Fee

    $95

    Regular APR

    12.99% to 22.99% Variable

    Credit Score

    ExcellentA five pointed star

  • A five pointed star
  • A five pointed star
  • A five pointed star
  • A five pointed star
  • 4.4 out of 5 Stars
    Editor's Rating
  • Details
  • Pros & Cons
    • The information for the Amex EveryDay Preferred Card has been collected independently by Business Insider, and has not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer
    • 3x points at US Supermarkets
    • 2x points at US gas stations
    • 1x points on all other eligible purchases
    • Use your Card 30 or more times on purchases in a billing period and earn 50% extra points on those purchases less returns and credits. Terms apply.
    Pros
    • Strong rewards at US supermarkets
    • You can earn a 50% points bonus each billing period when you make at least 30 purchases
    Cons
    • Annual cap on earning bonus rewards at US supermarkets
    • Not the best option for earning rewards outside of US supermarkets and US gas stations — especially if you don't make at least 30 purchases per billing statement to earn the bonus

    Amex EveryDay Preferred costs and fees

    As we've discussed, the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card comes with a $95 annual fee, which is not waived the first year. It does have a 0% introductory APR on purchases in the first 12 months of having the card. After that, the APR will be  12.99% to 22.99% Variable, depending on your creditworthiness and other market factors. Late and returned payments come with a fee of up to $40.

    Cash advances with the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card come with a fee of $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater. The cash advance APR is 25.24%. The EveryDay Preferred card also has a foreign transaction fee of 2.7%. So if you're outside the US, it's better to use one of our best cards with no foreign transaction fees.

    Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.

    Business Insider may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

    Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they’re subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.

    For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

    For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

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    Manhattan D.A. Can Enforce Subpoena For Donald Trump’s Tax Returns, Appeals Court Rules

    Donald Trump was dealt another setback in his latest effort to squelch a grand jury subpoena for his tax returns, after a federal appellate court ruled that Manhattan’s district attorney’s attempt to obtain the documents was not overly broad or done in bad faith.

    While the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruling is another legal victory for Manhattan’s district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., it does not mean that he can immediately obtain the records.

    In their unanimous decision, a three-judge panel rejected arguments from Trump’s lawyers that Vance was engaged in a “fishing expedition.”

    “It would be impossible for grand juries and district attorneys advising them to fashion document subpoenas with such refinement and precision that every document called for is useful in the criminal investigation,” the judges wrote. “Grand juries must necessarily paint with a ‘broad brush.’”

    Vance and Trump’s legal team have agreed to a 12-day period where the ruling will be stayed pending an appeal to the Supreme Court. That raises the question of timing, and whether Vance can obtain the records before the Nov. 3 election. Even if he did, the information would not be immediately made public.

    It also sets up questions for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett as she faces confirmation hearings starting next week. Democrats already are likely to ask her whether she would recuse herself from Trump’s personal legal challenges.

    The latest legal wrinkle comes as at least some of Trump’s financial information has been reported, even as he calls it “fake news.” The New York Times last week obtained tax return data from years of Trump’s returns, showing heavy losses and that he paid just $720 in taxes in 2016 and 2017.

    The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in July that Trump did not have immunity from the subpoena for his records, but they did say that the president could still challenge on other grounds. The subpoena was of Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA.

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    States Where COVID and the Flu Will Hit Hardest at the Same Time

    In the United States, a variety of respiratory viruses circulate, causing infections across the country — influenza, rhinovirus (one cause of the “common cold”), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), respiratory adenovirus, to name a few — and now, the novel coronavirus.

    While flu infection and death rates can vary dramatically from one year to the next depending on the dominant strain, flu-like illnesses tend to be most common during the fall and winter. This year, it remains to be seen if SARS-CoV2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 and that has devastated the U.S. since spring — will also peak during the flu season.

    To help answer this question and identify where in the United States there may be the highest likelihood of a convergence of severe COVID-19 and flu cases, 24/7 Wall St. constructed an index of the following measures:

    1) Flu vaccination rates during recent flu seasons.
    2) Hospital visits for flu-like illnesses during recent flu seasons.
    3) Average COVID-19 cases per day from Sept. 28, 2020 to Oct. 4, 2020.
    4) Average projected COVID-19 hospital beds that will be needed this fall and winter as a percentage of total bed capacity.

    States with high vaccinations rates, low flu hospitalization rates, low COVID-19 cases per day, and low projected hospital beds needed were deemed to have a better chance to weather the upcoming flu season.

    Click here to see our full methodology. 

    Getting a flu vaccine may be more important this year than ever before amid the pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Approximately 42% of adults have been vaccinated against the flu every year since the 2010-2011 season. With one exception, South Dakota, most adults in every state do not get a flu vaccine.

    Vaccination rates for children are higher, with an average of 57.3% of 6 month to 17 year olds receiving flu vaccinations in an average year.

    Last year’s flu season started off considerably worse than usual and ended April 4 as one of the worst in a decade. Preliminary data show that as many as 56 million illnesses, 18 million to 26 million doctor visits, 740,000 hospitalizations, and 62,000 deaths were associated with influenza across the United States.

    An estimated 35.5 million illnesses, 16.5 million doctor visits, 490,600 hospitalizations, and 34,200 deaths were associated with influenza in the United States during the 2018-2019 flu season. Deaths were lower than during the two preceding flu seasons, but worse than in 2015-2016, when relatively few 22,705 flu-related deaths were reported. COVID-19 cases will no doubt add to the load of the health care system — the question is by how much.

    With more than 7.5 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, more than 210,000 related deaths have been documented in the U.S. since March. Based on projections by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IMHE), there will be an average of 1,641 COVID-19 deaths every day during the fall and winter of this year.

    Click here to see the states where COVID and flu will likely hit at the same time.

    Source: Read Full Article

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    Less than 11% of people with federal student debt are repaying their loans during Covid-19

    • Less than 11% of people with federal student loans are repaying them during the pandemic, according to data analyzed by higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz.
    • That means that4.6 million out of 42 million borrowers are continuing to pay down their debt. 
    • Here's what life is like without the monthly payments. 

    In March, as it rapidly became clear that the coronavirus pandemic would upend our lives, the U.S. Department of Education offered student loan borrowers a break from their monthly payments. 

    They accepted. 

    Less than 11% of people with federal student loans are repaying them during the pandemic, according to data analyzed by higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz. That means about 4.6 million out of 42 million borrowers are continuing to pay down their debt. 

    The government's so-called coronavirus forbearance on federal student loans has freed up money for basic essentials for many borrowers, many of whom have seen their income dry up due to the public health crisis. It's also given people a window into what life would be like without education debt.

    More from Personal Finance:
    Here's how the new retirement legislation could fall short
    Turning 26? How to navigate your own health insurance
    How to come out of performance review season with a raise

    Student loans have long outpaced credit card and auto debt as a burden to Americans, and each year 70% of college graduates start off their lives in the red. The average balance is around $30,000, up from $10,000 in the early 1990s, but many borrowers owe $100,000 – or more. The typical monthly payment is $400. 

    U.S. Department of Education Press Secretary Angela Morabito said that while "the vast majority of our loan portfolio is currently in forbearance," borrowers made nearly $6.2 billion in federal student loan payments in May, June and July 2020. Still, that's a drop in the bucket compared to the outstanding $1.6 trillion student loan balance in the U.S.

    Before the pandemic, New Yorker Cecilia Sena had to work three jobs just to cover her rent, groceries and monthly $250 student loan bill. She owes around $25,000 in education debt. 

    Zoom In IconArrows pointing outwards

    Her full-time position as a research assistant at Columbia University, from which she graduated in 2019, pays just around $38,000 a year, so she babysat on weeknights and taught Hebrew school on the weekends.

    "I was out all the time," Sena, 22, said. "It was exhausting. There just wasn't time for myself." 

    As student debt has ballooned, wages have sputtered. Starting salaries for new college graduates have grown less than 1% over the past two years, remaining at around $50,000.

    Now that Sena can take a break from her monthly student loan bill, she doesn't have to work as much and is able to spend more time at home. 

    When she was juggling multiple jobs, she rarely cooked and relied on microwavable meals and take-out. Now she cooks every day. Some of her favorite meals? Steamed sweet potatoes with tahini butter, chickpea salad and challah, honey and apples. 

    "It's so soothing," she said, of cooking. "It's one way I feel present in my body and life." With the extra time, she also does yoga and takes long strolls and bike rides around the city. 

    But the debt still hangs over her. 

    "When student loan payments become mandatory again, that's a scary thought," she said.

    Sena worries about having to take on more jobs that could put her health in jeopardy. New York City appears at risk of a second wave of the virus. "I'm relieved that I don't have to seek additional work at this moment that would put me and my roommates in a more difficult situation," Sena said. 

    In March, the U.S. Department of Education said student loan borrowers could pause their payments without interest accruing until September 2020, but then President Donald Trump signed an executive order that extended the reprieve through the end of the year. Still, that means borrowers may have to resume their payments in less than three months, while unemployment rates remain high and cases of the virus continue to surge across the U.S. 

    Changing priorities

    In the meantime, Olivia Elder is enjoying a life that no longer revolves around paying down her student loans. She left The George Washington University in 2018 with more than $30,000 in debt, and had been throwing all of her extra cash, including her tax refunds and bonuses at work, to the balance. 

    "There was never a ton of money in my checking account," Elder, 24, said. "It wasn't comfortable."

    The pandemic — and the break for student loan borrowers — has changed her priorities.

    "My life has just expanded to much more than that," she said.

    Recently, Elder, who works in criminal justice reform at a political organization, became the owner of a two-bedroom condominium in Washington, D.C., thanks to a first-time homebuyer program in the city. 

    "It feels great," she said. "My grandparents always stressed the importance of owning something." 

    Student debt is a hindrance to homeownership. Researchers at the Urban Institute found that if a person's education debt went from $50,000 to $100,000, their chance of homeownership declines by 15 percentage points.

    Even when her student loan bill resumes, Elder said, she'll probably just make the minimum payments. She cares much more now about building up her own savings. 

     "I don't feel my job is in danger, but neither did a lot of people before the pandemic," she said. "At least I could pay my mortgage for awhile if something were to happen." 

    During the break from her $500 monthly student loan bill, Morgan Hopkins, the director of political strategies at a national nonprofit, has paid off more than $12,000 in credit card debt and has started saving for a down payment on a house in Philadelphia.

    She'd like to buy a home within two years with a backyard, and she and her partner are thinking about children, too. 

    "It's been completely life-changing," Hopkins, 32, said. "I used to feel like I was suffocating under student loan debt." She still owes around $68,000. 

    These months without student loan bills have served as a social experiment, she said: "We're seeing what's possible for our generation." 

    Source: Read Full Article

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    Standard Chartered Cutting More Than 100 UAE Jobs

    Standard Chartered Plc is cutting more than one hundred jobs in the United Arab Emirates, the latest effort by the lender to shrink costs globally.

    The reductions will center on the lender’s retail and global banking division, according to two people familiar with the matter. The bank employs about 1,700 people in the UAE.

    A spokesman for the bank confirmed that a number of roles are being made redundant. The bank will pay them the equivalent of their salary until the end of year in addition to their severance pay, according to the spokesman.

    The UAE is the biggest market of Standard Chartered’s Middle East and Africa business. The region suffered a difficult first six months of 2020, as profits plummeted by 80% after a slump in oil prices.

    The cuts come shortly after Standard Chartered’s private bank eliminated positions in Dubai and London. Other international banks, including Nomura Holdings Inc. and Credit Suisse Group AG, have also been reducing their Dubai presence.

    The London-headquartered firm started a fresh round of job cuts at the end of July after pausing the process during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The Asia-focused lender employs about 85,000 people across its corporate and institutional businesses as well as retail, commercial and private banking units in 60 countries.

    Chief Executive Officer Bill Winters, under pressure from investors to improve returns and boost the bank’s share price, has already shrunk middle management and spent billions to improve technology.

    Source: Read Full Article

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    Now the CDC confirms Covid-19 is airborne — here's what that means for you

    The Centers for Disease Control revised its Covid-19 guidelines on Monday to include that the novel coronavirus can be spread through aerosols, which "can linger in the air for minutes to hours" and travel farther than six feet.

    Until now it was understood that the coronavirus is spread is through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks or breathes, and experts still believe that is the main way it is spread. But now experts also agree that airborne transmission is a key piece of the Covid-19 puzzle.

    "I believe pretty confidently that there is some element [of airborne transmission]," White House advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday. 

    Here's how to interpret these new guidelines and stay safe:

    What it means that coronavirus is airborne

    So what's the difference between the virus spreading through respiratory droplets and being airborne? It comes down to the size of the droplets and how they travel.

    Respiratory droplets are larger than aerosols — which are microscopic droplets or particles. Because of their size and weight, larger respiratory droplets get "sprayed like tiny cannonballs onto nearby individuals" and typically fall to the ground in a matter of seconds, within six feet of the source, according to paper published Monday in the journal Science, which called for stronger public health guidance on how the virus travels and spreads through the air.

    Viruses in aerosols, on the other hand, are smaller and don't just drop — they're suspended in the air for minutes or hours and can be inhaled.

    An easy way to visualize how these airborne particles act is to think about the way that cigarette smoke lingers and can be inhaled, Linsey Marr, coauthor of the paper and a professor of engineering at Virginia Tech, said in a press conference Monday. Like smoke, aerosols can accumulate in a confined space, like a poorly ventilated room or areas where people are breathing heavily.

    Although aerosolized particles are much smaller than droplets, they can be concentrated enough to spread Covid-19 to other people, according to the CDC.

    How to prevent airborne transmission of Covid-19

    The best way to prevent the spread of Covid-19 is still wear a mask, maintain social distance and avoid large indoor gathering. Remember: The virus is mainly spread through respiratory droplets when people have close contact with one another.

    Wearing a standard double-layer cloth face mask can add a layer of protection, because it prevents your respiratory droplets from spreading. But they don't provide enough protection to filter out airborne or aerosolized particles, only a N95 respirator can do that. But the CDC says N95 respirators should be saved for health care workers and other medical first responders. 

    Since airborne spread is a possibility, keep in mind that indoor gatherings (especially in places that are not well ventilated) with people outside your household increase your risk of infection. Going back to the smoking analogy, picture a person smoking a cigarette in the room with you. "What if all of the people in that situation are smoking? Are you going to be exposed? Will you breathe a lot of cigarette smoke? If yes, you need to do something to change the situation," Marr said in the release.

    Beyond wearing a mask and maintaining social distance, using portable air purifiers is one way to reduce airborne contaminants in a space. And simply opening windows to introduce clean air into your space is another way to increase ventilation.

    In September, the CDC posted a draft of revised guidelines that included information about airborne spread, and then removed the update. The agency said it was still in the process of updating its recommendations when they were published in error.

    The new guidelines published Monday cite "published reports showing limited, uncommon circumstances where people with Covid-19 infected others who were more than 6 feet away or shortly after the COVID-19-positive person left an area," the CDC said in a statement. 

    Check out:

    • How using an air purifier in your home can and can’t prevent the spread of Covid-19
    • Dr. Fauci says we should prepare to ‘hunker down’ again — here’s how to mentally get through fall and winter
    • Apple engineers designed a custom face mask for employees — take a look

    Don't miss: The 6 best credit cards for shopping at Costco

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    McDonald’s Adds Apple Fritter, Blueberry Muffin, Cinnamon Roll To Its Menu

    McDonald’s is adding bakery items to its core menu for the first time in more than eight years. The fast food giant said that the new McCafé Bakery lineup will be available to customers from Wednesday, October 28.

    Customers can enjoy a new Apple Fritter, Blueberry Muffin or Cinnamon Roll at participating restaurants in the U.S. The new menu items will be available all day.

    McDonald’s Apple Fritter is a hand-held treat made with cinnamon and apples, fried to a golden brown and drizzled with a sweet glaze icing.

    The Blueberry Muffin is soft and fluffy muffin, baked with real blueberries and topped with a streusel crumb topping.

    The Cinnamon Roll is loaded with cinnamon layered between buttery, flaky pastry dough and drizzled with a delicious cream cheese icing.

    The new options will be offered alongside McCafé cookies and pies. They will be available in restaurants via carry-out, at the Drive Thru or through McDelivery.

    “We’re continuing our breakfast innovation by adding tasty new sweet options with our new McCafé Bakery lineup. We know our customers deserve a break now more than ever, and are excited to give them another reason to visit their favorite breakfast destination by offering delicious flavors they crave, any time of the day,” said Linda VanGosen, Vice President, Brand and Menu Strategy of McDonald’s USA.

    The addition of baked goods to its core menu is part of McDonald’s efforts to boost its breakfast sales, which has come under pressure amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    In late March, the fast food giant had cut back on its menu at its U.S restaurants for a few weeks in a bid to simplify operations in the kitchens and for the crew amid the coronavirus outbreak.

    McDonald’s breakfast innovations over the years include the classic Egg McMuffin in 1971, breakfast burritos in 1991, McGriddles in 2003, and 2015’s introduction of All Day Breakfast.

    McDonald’s rival Wendy’s had launched its breakfast menu across the U.S. in early March. The menu included signature items such as the Breakfast Baconator, Frosty-ccino, and Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit.

    Source: Read Full Article

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    25 Most Dangerous Cities in America

    Cities across the United States are reporting a spike in gun violence and homicide during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first six months of 2020, there was a nearly 15% increase in murders nationwide, and across a sample of 59 cities tracked by the FBI, the number of murders was up 28% from January through July compared to the same period in 2019. 

    The increase reflects a sudden reversal of a long-term trend, as violent crime has fallen in the U.S. for four consecutive years. In 2019, there were 367 violent crimes reported for every 100,000 people in the United States, a low not seen since 2014 and a far cry from the highs of the early 1990s that topped 750 violent crimes per 100,000 people annually. 

    While a complete picture of the incidence of violence in the United States in 2020 remains to be seen, there are dozens of cities across the country that were already plagued by violence before this turbulent year. 

    24/7 Wall St. reviewed violent crime rates in the 295 U.S. cities tracked by the FBI that are home to at least 100,000 people to determine the 25 most dangerous cities in America. Violent crime rates are population-adjusted figures calculated using the number of rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults, and homicides committed in 2019 per 100,000 people. 

    Violent crime is a difficult social phenomenon to explain. Certain factors, however, may affect the incidence of violence, especially employment. Higher employment rates among at-risk groups have been shown to reduce the likelihood of violent crime — and some experts are pointing to the ongoing unemployment crisis to help explain the current surge in violence nationwide. Indeed, many of the cities on this list were struggling with widespread joblessness even before the COVID-19 recession. Here is a look at the cities with the worst COVID-19 unemployment crisis right now

    The relationship between income and crime is complicated, but cities with high poverty also often have higher crime rates. In the vast majority of cities on this list, the poverty rate exceeds the comparable 14.1% national rate. Here is a list of America’s poorest cities.

    Click here to see the 25 most dangerous cities in America.
    Click here to read our detailed methodology.

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    Boris Johnson Warns of New Covid-19 Outbreaks in London and Midlands

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    U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned coronavirus is spreading across London and the Midlands, as new analysis showed 19 out of the 20 areas under local lockdown measures in England have seen a rise in infection rates.

    Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labour Party, urged Johnson to explain why restrictions in these areas hadn’t had an effect. “It’s obvious that something has gone wrong here,” he told lawmakers in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

    The analysis, released by Labour as Johnson faced questions in Parliament, showed the town of Bolton, in northwest England, saw its infection rate rise from 22 cases per 100,000 people to 255 per 100,000 since it was placed under restrictions on July 30.

    The infection rate in Burnley, another northwest town, increased more than 20 times to 434 cases per 100,000 from 21, the study found.

    Johnson declined to comment on the reasons behind the rises, but agreed infections are rising across the country.

    “I wish I could pretend that everything was going to be rosy in the Midlands or, indeed, in London where, alas, we are also seeing infections rise,” he said. “That is why we need a concerted national effort, we need to follow the guidance.”

    Starmer criticized inconsistencies over the way local restrictions have been imposed by the government.

    ‘Not Working’

    In the premier’s own local authority of Hillingdon, in west London, there are no local restrictions despite cases reaching 62 per 100,000 — higher than the rates in the 20 lockdown areas when local measures were imposed, Starmer said. “Local communities genuinely don’t understand these differences,” he added.

    Johnson is under increasing pressure to take action to curb the rise in infections as Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon prepares to announce new tougher measures later on Wednesday. The prime minister has repeatedly said he doesn’t want another national lockdown, but all options remain on the table as hospitalizations continue to rise.

    Leaders in the northern cities of Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle wrote to the government on Wednesday warning existing restrictions are “not working, confusing for the public and some, like the 10pm [pub curfew] rule, are counter-productive”. They called for extra powers to enforce the rules and a locally-run test and trace system.

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