Day: April 27, 2020

CityWatch: New York City ramps up tracing and introduces ‘self-swab tests’

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As new data shows that one in four, or 24.7%, of the New York City residents tested for coronavirus antibodies were positive, the city is ramping up testing and tracing efforts, hiring 1,000 tracers and streamlining coronavirus testing by introducing so-called “self-swab tests.”

The latest results from the ongoing, widespread and random antibody testing, which were announced Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, could suggest that more than two million Big Apple residents have had the virus, though experts question the legitimacy of the antibody tests and how accurately their findings can be scaled to apply on a city or statewide level.

Extensive testing, both antibody and actual coronavirus testing, has been lauded as critical to the reopening process.

“The more tests you do, the faster you move toward low-level transmission of this disease,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday. 

In New York City, 156,100 people have tested positive for coronavirus, 11,708 have died, and another 5,228 deaths are suspected to be due to the virus. 

Also on MarketWatch: After the apex, hospitals prepare to treat trauma in frontline medical staff

Last week, de Blasio and Cuomo both announced their plans for a widespread testing and tracing program, led by an “army of tracers” and on Monday, de Blasio said that New York City would start the process of hiring 1,000 contract tracers immediately.

“If you have experience in the health-care field, if you’re ready to lend your talents to this fight, we need you and we need you right away,” the mayor said. 

Two separate postings on the website of the Fund for Public Health NYC call for individuals with “health-related professional experience or public health training.” 

Don’t miss: These states are loosening economic shutdown orders; Texas expected to announce new rules soon.

One, requiring a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college, comes with a salary of $57,000. The other, requiring a master’s degree from an accredited college or university, has a salary of $62,000.

Both have responsibilities including conducting telephone calls with persons diagnosed with COVID-19; providing follow-up instructions to those individuals and to their contacts related to isolation/quarantine; providing people with approved information about isolation and quarantine procedures, and if appropriate, referring them to testing; and protecting and maintaining individuals’ privacy and confidentiality. 

It was not immediately clear whether former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg would be involved in the hiring and training process for the city hires, though it was announced on Wednesday that he would be spearheading the program for the state.

The recruitment drive is part of the city’s efforts to build a contact tracing network “like never seen before on a vast scale,” de Blasio said. “So, every time someone tests positive, immediately we can swing into action, figure out who were their close contacts, get those people tested to isolate anyone who needs isolation.”

The mayor also announced a streamlined and less invasive process for coronavirus testing

Currently, all tests are administered by a health-care worker, in full personal protective equipment, who swabs far inside a patient’s nose. 

Also see: Optimism over phased reopenings only slightly tempered by continued concerns over inadequate testing for COVID-19 virus

The new approach, according to de Blasio, would require the patient taking “something that’s basically a sterile Q-tip,” and taking a nose swab. “They don’t have to go way deep, just enough to get a sample,” according to the mayor. 

They would also provide a saliva sample. 

“Those two samples provide enough information for the testing to be done,” de Blasio said. “Much simpler, much easier for everyone involved, no chance to cause the same kind of sneezing that that long swab way up the nose does. Simpler but also safer, especially for that health-care worker.”

Personal Finance Daily: 6 possible reasons your stimulus payment hasn’t arrived and discounts on new and used cars are popping up online

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Stay safe, MarketWatchers, and don’t miss these top stories:

Personal Finance
Why haven’t I gotten my stimulus check yet? 6 possible reasons your payment hasn’t arrived

Nearly 90 million people have received their stimulus payments, the IRS says. Here’s why you could still be waiting.

Coronavirus survives longer airborne and travels further in these public spaces

‘While the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 via human respiratory droplets and direct contact is clear, the potential for aerosol transmission is poorly understood.’

With car dealerships closed, discounts on new and used cars are popping up online

‘If you have the wherewithal to afford a new vehicle, there so many great deals.’

14 million Americans risk major delays in their stimulus checks — should they use Square, PayPal or a bank account?

The FDIC and others are making a push to sign Americans up for bank accounts so they can get their stimulus checks faster and develop and long-term relationships with banks.

Your bank could lower your credit-card limit — what to do if that happens

In most cases, banks can lower a customer’s credit limit without giving them advance notice.

How do I self-quarantine? Can I walk my dog? Be warned, there can be legal consequences for violators

There’s a lot of confusion about preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus. Here’s what health experts recommend.

Letter from New York, epicenter of coronavirus: ‘The streets are virtually empty, but the birds go on singing’

‘People here have longed for clarity on how to keep themselves, and everyone else safe.’

‘I received an email from clients demanding their deposit back’: Coronavirus took a bite out of the wedding industry — but is this force majeure or force of government?

‘The coronavirus exposed a weakness almost universally across the wedding and event industry: legal concerns during a pandemic.’

Watch out for these six new coronavirus symptoms

The CDC has updated its list of COVID-19 warning signs, even as reports of rashes and ‘COVID toes’ also spread

‘We will not have a vaccine by next winter.’ Like the 1918 Spanish flu, CDC says second wave of coronavirus could be worse. So what happens now?

‘We will have coronavirus in the fall. I am convinced of that,’ Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Wednesday.

Elsewhere on MarketWatch
States start to reopen, ending coronavirus lockdowns: Restaurants and cinemas open doors in Georgia; Texas on tap for May 1

States all have their own definition of “reopening”. Here’s what’s happening in South Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma and elsewhere.

This is the greatest mistake an investor can make, according to the founder of the world’s biggest hedge fund

Ray Dalio revisits his “cash is trash” argument and urges investors to think unconventionally.

Investors have $5.1 trillion hiding out in the shares of five companies, which will be tested this week

The companies’ earnings reports will be interpreted through the lens of confirmation bias.

This one niche of the sagging real estate market is growing rapidly

The build-out of data centers and 5G technology stands in contrast to the retreating retail and commercial real estate markets.

Outside the Box: Warren Buffett will soon tell us what he really thinks about stocks, investing and the coronavirus pandemic

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As the coronavirus crisis unfolds, many are asking: Where is Warren Buffett? They want to hear and see more from America’s most literary and famed investor, noted for both calm and prowess in times of distress. People know the current crisis is more acute than any in living memory, including the 2008-09 financial crisis, and would welcome more clarity from the “Oracle of Omaha.”

We don’t have to wait long: On Saturday, May 2, Buffett will host the annual meeting of his company, Berkshire Hathaway BRK.A, +0.64% , BRK.B, +0.50% fielding questions from journalists and shareholders. Notably, Buffett’s longtime business partner, 96-year-old Charlie Munger Berkshire’s vice-chairman, will not be on the livestreamed call.

As the longtime author of The Essays of Warren Buffett and numerous books about Buffett and Berkshire, I can provide some context about how Buffett is responding to the challenges both the U.S. and global economy face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For starters, those who interpret Buffett’s perceived silence as an ominous sign should consider a few points.  First, Buffett has been as vocal during this crisis as he has been in others — and his tune has not changed.  For instance, on February 24,, as the pandemic gathered lethal force, Buffett sat for an interview with Becky Quick of CNBC. He called the pandemic “scary stuff,” but said it does not alter his long-term outlook or approach — disciplined fundamental business analysis remains vital. 

Read: Warren Buffett on the ‘one-two punch’ market panic: It took me 89 years to experience something like this

Plus: ‘Quiet’ Warren Buffett has three ways to win in this market

On March 10, as the global economy began to shut down, Buffett was interviewed by Andy Serwer on Yahoo! Finance. He called the pandemic a “punch” for markets — made worse by related economic shocks, especially international intransigence on cutting oil production amid a glut. Buffett drew comparisons to the U.S. stock market crash on October 19, 1987 and the credit market panic of September 15, 2008 — from both of which the world eventually recovered.

Buffett has been just as vocal nowadays as he was during the 2008-09 financial crisis. On October 1, 2008, he sat for an interview with Charlie Rose and another with CNBC on March 10, 2009. In the first of those, Buffett said he had never before seen people more “fearful, economically;” that “the economy is going to be getting worse for a while;” and that frozen credit markets were “sucking blood” from the U.S. economy. Things were no better six months later, when Buffett said the economy had “fallen off a cliff” and a turnaround would take time — but that five years later normalcy would return.

Looking for reassurance

In the current crisis, many yearn for the soothing reassurance from Buffett they recall reading early in the last one. On October 17, 2008, Buffett penned an op-ed in The New York Times, a cheerleading piece for the national economy called “Buy American—I Am.” But as that crisis stretched out many months, in his March 10, 2009 interview, Buffett regretted his timing, saying he “wished he had written” that New York Times piece several months later than he did. In this current crisis, just as in the 2008-09, it is not only impossible to predict daily market volatility, it is impossible to predict how long it will last.

As for the lack of headlines today concerning Buffett’s investment activity, concerned observers recall how Berkshire made numerous opportunistic investments early in the 2008-09 crisis. These included significant investments in Goldman Sachs on September 23, 2008 and General Electric on October 1, 2008 as well as smaller sums throughout the rest of 2008 in companies such as Harley-Davidson, Tiffany & Co., and USG. In all of those cases, the companies approached Buffett, knowing his longstanding practice of waiting to receive offers from sellers, not proactively seeking them out.

In the current crisis, despite Berkshire commanding ample capital — almost $130 billion in cash — sellers do not appear to be lining up just yet. Indeed, in an April 18 interview with the Wall Street Journal, Munger said “The phone is not ringing off the hook. [Companies are currently] all negotiating with the government, but they’re not calling Warren.” You can be sure that, once companies seeking capital turn to the private sector, Buffett’s phone will ring.

Berkshire is just as frozen as every other company in a paralyzed global economy. 

Even if opportunities arise amid today’s pandemic, liquidity and survival remain paramount to Buffett. Munger likened Buffett’s spot to a ship’s captain facing an overwhelming typhoon — the goal is simply to survive the disaster with the ship intact. Berkshire’s survival includes maintaining abundant liquidity, meaning Buffett will not allocate all capital to acquisitions or other investments. That is why Berkshire is also actively adding to its already-large cash position: in early April issuing $1.8 billion of yen-denominated bonds and, following an issuance of a €1 billion European debt offering in February.

One unique difference between the crisis now and in 2008-09: Berkshire is just as frozen as every other company in a paralyzed global economy. As Buffett explained on CNBC recently, the construction industry has been stalled — hurting the carpeting business at Berkshire’s Shaw Industries unit and insulation sales at Johns Manville —and retail has been largely closed, hitting Berkshire’s businesses from Dairy Queen to See’s Candies.  Yet again stressing the long-term over the short term, Buffett said: “There’s always trouble coming.  The real question is where are those businesses going to be in five or 10 years.”

Calm in the storm

Despite the greater acuteness of today’s crisis, Buffett does not appear to be rattled by it. Perhaps this is because, catastrophic and unprecedented as the medical and economic havoc may be, such catastrophe did not come as a complete surprise to him. Consider his prescience just last year in his 2019 letter to Berkshire shareholders:

“A major catastrophe that will dwarf hurricanes Katrina and Michael will occur — perhaps tomorrow, perhaps many decades from now. “The Big One” may come from a traditional source, such as wind or earthquake, or it may be a total surprise involving, say, a cyberattack having disastrous consequences beyond anything insurers now contemplate.”

People have long dubbed Buffett the “Oracle of Omaha,” a moniker that still fits. The upshot for Berkshire may remain the same too, as he continued his 2019 message:

“When such a mega-catastrophe strikes, Berkshire will get its share of the losses and they will be big — very big. Unlike many other insurers, however, handling the loss will not come close to straining our resources, and we will be eager to add to our business the next day.”

Buffett will have a lot to say at what should prove to be a consequential Berkshire annual meeting. This year, more than 1 million people are expected to listen remotely on Yahoo! Finance. The meeting’s central feature will be similar, featuring Buffett answering questions, though it will be shorter and the co-star will not be Munger but Berkshire’s younger vice-chairman, Greg Abel. In the past, throngs of shareholders also gathered in separate lectures, meetings, and seminars led by authors and other experts on all aspects of Berkshire life. Many of those will be replicated online this year as well. (Including a webinar that I will host on the afternoon of Friday, May 1.)

Meanwhile, we would all do well to remember this insight from Buffett’s 2018 letter: “Since 1942, we have had seven Republican presidents and seven Democrats. In the years they served, the country contended at various times with a long period of viral inflation, a 21% prime rate, several controversial and costly wars, the resignation of a president, a pervasive collapse in home values, a paralyzing financial panic and a host of other problems. All engendered scary headlines; all are now history.”

From Warren’s pen to God’s ears.  

Lawrence Cunningham is a professor at George Washington University. He is the author of  many investing books  including The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America (Carolina Academic Press; 5th ed. 2019); Margin of Trust: The Berkshire Business Model (Columbia Business School Publishing; 2020) (mentioned by Buffett in this year’s shareholders’ letter); and Dear Shareholder: The Best Executive Letters from Warren Buffett, Prem Watsa and Other Great CEOs (Harriman House; 2020).

Read: Warren Buffett’s favorite stock-market indicator ‘scares the bejeezus’ out of this investor 

More: Investing in a stormy market: Warren Buffett’s advice still rings true

Coronavirus is upending summer internships — how to make your mark if your internship is now virtual

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When essential businesses were ordered to close in Maryland in mid-March, Judge Douglas Nazarian didn’t hesitate to find a way to keep his interns on.

“I never considered pulling the plug on these interns,” said Nazarian, who serves as a judge at the Court of Special Appeals in the Second Appellate Judicial Circuit in Baltimore and Harford County in Maryland.

But many companies have done just that, and now many college students’ summer plans are up in the air. Some 30% of college juniors and seniors have had their summer internship offers rescinded entirely, according to a survey of over 1,000 college students conducted by Handshake, a job-search site.

Elsewhere, internship programs at some of America’s largest companies have been postponed or will operate remotely. The changes are upending a key rite of passage for college students taking their first steps into the working world. For many, internships are a pathway to job offers.

“Internships are extremely crucial to getting a full-time job,” said Joshua Kahn, assistant director of research and public policy at the National Association of Colleges and Employers, a nonprofit professional membership organization for college career services based in Bethlehem, Penn.

Making it work virtually

Nazarian expects to take on well over six interns this summer, partly because other courts of law don’t lend themselves to remote internships but also because he knows how important internships are in terms of landing a full-time job.

He knew it wasn’t going to be nearly the same experience for interns who typically are in their first or second years of law school, but some way or another he was determined to find a way to make it work.

‘The thing that will be lost is those moments when we’re all there in one room and someone reads something or hits a point or a question and has the opportunity to raise it right then and there.’

— Judge Douglas Nazarian

Typically, interns write at least one official memo over the course of their internship. On a more daily basis, they’re responsible for fact checking official court decisions posted online. Because interns are not handling any sensitive materials, there aren’t many barriers to performing the normal duties that are expected of them remotely, he said.

“The thing that will be lost is those moments when we’re all there in one room and someone reads something or hits a point or a question and has the opportunity to raise it right then and there.”

Sometimes, he will alert interns when he notices something unique about the way a case is written or argued. “Everything will stop and we all talk about it together.”

Judge Douglas Nazarian, pictured, has kept all of his interns on amid coronavirus and says he has the ability to take on even more than usual this summer.

Douglas Nazarian

Now he tries to facilitate these types of interactions on morning video chats, but it is harder to coordinate when he can’t gather everyone together on a moment’s notice, he said.

He’s been able to learn from his experience working virtually with his spring interns and said he plans to take on more interns than ever this summer. Usually during in the summer he has about six interns who work part-time jobs because the program is unpaid.

Like Nazarian, many large tech companies have made their summer internship programs remote.

It’s easier for companies in the technology sector to adapt to remote internships, as opposed to research internships that take place in a lab, for example, said Emily Cardner, manager of campus recruiting at MongoDB MDB, +0.27%, a company that specializes in making document-based software for app developers.

“As a software company, many of the tools we already use are the same whether you’re in an office or working remotely,” Cardner said.

‘About one-third of our current engineering organization has come through this [internship] program.’

— Emily Cardner, manager of campus recruiting at MongoDB

The company, whose headquarters are in New York City, pushed back the start date and shortened its internship program by four weeks to buy more time to implement a new remote version for all 85 interns, Cardner said.

The company didn’t consider getting rid of the program, she said, because it “is one of our most successful pipelines for talent. About one-third of our current engineering organization has come through this program.”

All interns will have the opportunity to participate in weekly social activities such as “a virtual ‘escape the room’ challenge and coffee roulette where interns will be randomly paired with a MongoDB colleague for a 30-min coffee meeting.”

Like MongoDB, a slew of big tech companies including Google GOOG, -0.26% GOOGL, -0.45%, Apple AAPL, +0.07%, Facebook FB, -1.35%, Amazon AMZN, -1.42%, IBM IBM, +0.96% and Microsoft MSFT, -0.28% are also shifting to virtual internships.

“With new public-health advice, travel restrictions, and shelter-in-place orders being implemented across the globe, we’ve made the decision to make our summer internship program virtual,” a Google spokeswoman said. “They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and we will be doing everything we can to make the 2020 summer internship at Google an incredible experience for all our interns.”

Don’t miss: Working from home because of coronavirus? Don’t give your company a different kind of virus

Amazon said “the vast majority” of its 8,000 interns summer interns, the company’s largest intern class to date, will be working remotely across the globe.

“The experience will include mentorship with tenured Amazonians, moderated group discussions, opportunities to connect with other interns, weekly fireside chats with senior leaders, and a variety of networking events,” an Amazon spokesman said.

Apple said it plans to keep all 1,000 interns over the course of this year. Many of the summer interns will be working remotely, but a select few will be working in-person at Apple campuses, primarily in the Bay Area, a spokesman said, declining to give further details.

When you’re working remotely, ‘it’s easy to get comfortable in your own spaces and not show up to meetings you may have otherwise gone to in person.’

— Amanda Nachman, publisher and CEO of College Magazine

“We believe it’s important to keep this pipeline of opportunity going, and we will extend to our interns the same precautions and care that we’re extending to all our other personnel as a part of the ongoing COVID-19 response,” an Apple spokesman told MarketWatch.

All IBM interns will be working remotely this summer, Jennifer Carpenter, vice president of talent acquisition at IBM said.

“We’re all navigating in unprecedented times, but our first priority is to provide these new interns a safe and meaningful work experience.”

IBM shared that interns will have the ability to participate in “a virtual hackathon focused on IBM’s Call for Code COVID-19 response efforts and host their own ‘Intern Radio Hour’ show for fellow interns to tune in and ask questions and share their experiences.”

How to make your virtual mark a lasting one

When you’re working remotely, “it’s easy to get comfortable in your own spaces and not show up to meetings you may have otherwise gone to in person,” said Amanda Nachman, publisher and CEO of College Magazine, an online college guide featuring articles written by college students.

“Just showing up on the screen with energy and intention and communicating ideas with your supervisor and asking questions is probably one of the best ways to make your mark.”

If the company you’re interning for doesn’t organize social events, you should try to put in the effort to plan one yourself, said Nachman, whose book on how to navigate through the job search process “#Qualified: You Are More Impressive Than You Realize,” comes out this summer.

“Doing virtual coffee meetings or lunches with other interns or even happy hours and drinking water if you’re underage can really go a long way in terms of making lasting connections,” she said.

Another way to stand out is to come to meetings prepared with questions in advance and make sure all of your technology works so you can actively participate, said Christine Cruzvergara, vice president of higher education and student success at Handshake.

If the company you are interning for doesn’t provide you with the technology you need to participate you should be proactive and reach out. Cruzvergara suggests interns asking employers “if there might be extra equipment that the company may be able to loan them to ensure you can get to participate fully.”

More than 215 internship programs have been cancelled altogether

Not every internship can be converted into an online internship, Cruzvergara, who previously worked as a career coach at Wellesley College, said. The same applies for full-time work.

“It comes down to will and creativity to create a new model of an internship,” she said. “That takes a lot of energy, time and effort and you have the hunger to do it.”

Over 215 companies have cancelled or postponed their internships programs this summer, according to an ongoing list of companies that have made changes to their internship programs on GitHub.

Many of the companies that have cancelled their internship program are in sectors such as transportation, travel, beauty, fashion and entertainment — all of which have been hit especially hard by the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Also see: Coronavirus erases almost all the 23 million new jobs created since the Great Recession

Kelsi Fulton experienced having her internship canceled firsthand.

Over the course of the past semester, Fulton, 20, a junior at Spelman College, took classes on Google’s Sunnyvale, California campus as part of the company’s Tech Exchange program. The computer science and systems major from Detroit expected to spend her summer in Atlanta at a paid internship with Delta Airlines DAL, -1.11%.

She was going to make $17.50 an hour working on the in-flight tech services team. She was told she’d have the opportunity to help develop new technology that would be used by flight attendants in-air.

Kelsi Fulton, pictured, took classes at a Google’s Sunnyvale campus this past semester. She was expecting to intern at Delta Airlines this summer but found out recently that the program was canceled amid coronavirus.

Kelsi Fulton

But as she was returning back to Sunnyvale from spring break, a Delta recruiter informed her the internship was off. “She told me that due to pandemic and the hiring freeze they would have to rescind the offer,” Fulton said.

“We made the difficult decision to suspend our internship programs as we manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to our business,” a Delta spokesman said. “Given our current focus, and that our headquarters is largely closed to all but critical work functions, we wouldn’t be able to provide these individuals with the experience they deserve.”

Suddenly, Fulton’s plans changed in a big way: she wouldn’t be going back to Atlanta, where her college is located, and she’d be stuck paying for the apartment she rented there for an entire year, assuming that she’d be living there during the school year and during her internship.

“I’m not sure at all what things are going to look like,” said Fulton, who’s now sheltering in place with her family in Detroit.

“I made a post on LinkedIn about losing my internship but it didn’t get a lot of traction,” she said. “People commented names of recruiters to reach out to and when I did, they told me that they don’t have any roles available, which is really stressful especially because it’s finals time.”

She’s been applying non-stop for internships and already has two interviews lined up. “I just have to keep persevering,” she said. She’s hopeful she will land another position.

Like Delta, Southwest Airlines LUV, -0.75% also slashed their summer internship program.

“As we began working through the impacts of COVID-19 on Southwest Airlines we were forced to make some tough business decisions including suspending our summer 2020 internship program,” a Southwest spokesman said. “With the current situation, and with the majority of our headquarters-based jobs working remotely, we felt it was best to suspend the program until we can once again offer the world-class internship experiences for which Southwest Airlines is known.”

Similarly L’Oréal LRLCY, +0.85% said that “it would not be possible to welcome our summer interns,” with its offices closed.

“We know how important professional development opportunities are to students and we remain committed to supporting them and helping them build their resumes,” Stephane Charbonnier, chief human resources officer at L’Oréal USA, said. “We are currently creating a virtual learning series sponsored by our executive leaders this summer, in addition to guaranteeing an internship to all accepted students for the 2021 program year.”

Students with a paid internship received nearly 50% more job offers than those who had either an unpaid internship or no internship

Sling TV, an online streaming platform owned by DISH DISH, +4.14% said it would be “impossible to deliver a safe and productive experience for both our interns and their mentors during the COVID-19 pandemic,” given the “collaborative and group-oriented nature of our internship program.”

(Several other companies who have cut their internship programs including Airbnb, Ticketmaster LYV, +9.85% Under Armour UAA, +4.40% and United Airlines UAL, -2.19% did not respond to MarketWatch’s request for a comment.)

“I’m devastated about the decision, both because I turned down many competitive offers in favor of Airbnb and because they made the decision so late that it will be incredibly difficult to find new opportunities in such a short time frame,” Ray Iyer, a computer science major at Stanford, told TechCrunch.

People like Iyer and Fulton whose offers were rescinded are at a significant disadvantage from those who were able to maintain their internships, said Kahn.

Students with a paid internship received nearly 50% more job offers than those who had either an unpaid internship or no internship, according to NACE’s 2018-19 Student Survey of over 22,000 college students.

In general, white students get more paid internships than black or hispanic students, Kahn added.

“With fewer paid internships available, it serves to reason that these students from underserved populations will find it even more difficult to find a paid internship,” Kahn said. “The downside to that is that they get less experience and fewer job offers in their chosen field of study.”

But students aren’t the only ones who lose out.

“Companies are at a disadvantage because they view their internship programs as a pipeline for their early talent to enter and progress through the company. Without internships, their pipeline is drier than they’d like.”

What to do if your internship gets cancelled

The good news is that there are still 500 and counting companies that are hiring for full-time positions and internships on Handshake’s site.

The bulk of the positions are within sectors such as technology, education, nonprofit, health care and government. But even if you’re unable to find an internship for this summer there are still ways to effectively gain professional experience.

The easiest way is to create a LinkedIn profile or update your existing one so that it best reflects your passions and professional interests, Nachman said.

“You don’t need to have the formal construct of internship to make connections and learn about people’s jobs.” She recommends reaching out to at least one person a day for a virtual coffee meeting.

That’s especially important for people whose offers were rescinded, she said. “The more connections you make the easier it will be to get your foot back in the door.”

You should also take the time to really explore what your passions are.

“Hit the pause button not just on Netflix NFLX, -0.84% but on what’s next for you. Start thinking about something you could do for hours on end, without even thinking about it.”

Why haven’t I gotten my stimulus check yet? 6 possible reasons your payment hasn’t arrived

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The IRS started cutting stimulus checks in mid-April and it’s already paid nearly 90 million people.

That’s good news for everyone who’s received the payments and now has $1,200 in hand to use as they see fit during a coronavirus outbreak with massive health and financial consequences.

But it’s another source of stress for everybody else who’s still waiting for their money.

There are answers for the delays, but first, here’s where things stand so far on those checks: The IRS had distributed 88.1 million stimulus checks as of April 17 and paid out $157.96 billion, according to statistics released April 24. That’s more than half of the $290 billion put aside for direct payments to individuals in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act stimulus bill.

The IRS started mailing paper checks the week of April 20, according to a timeline from the U.S. House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee. The IRS will put approximately 5 million checks in the mail each week for up to 20 weeks. The agency started mailing checks to the people who have the lowest incomes first, the timeline said.

It’s cold comfort to hear the check’s in the mail. In fact, it can be a real problem for many people who are tight on cash and eyeing bills that are late or coming due.

Here are some reasons why you still may not have gotten a stimulus check — and, in some cases, what you can do to speed the process.

The IRS doesn’t have your bank account information on file

Approximately 14 million Americans don’t have bank accounts, according to a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation survey from 2017. That’s about 6.5% of American households.

The FDIC is urging people to open bank accounts so they can get their stimulus money quicker. (Consumers with bank accounts will also bypass pricey fees from a check cashing business — some of which can charge more than $100 to cash a stimulus check for a family of four, according to an analysis from Miami’s Mayor Francis Suarez.)

After opening a bank account, consumers can submit their banking information to the IRS. If they don’t file taxes (some people don’t make enough money to file taxes), they’ll need to submit the information to an IRS website for people who don’t file taxes.

People who have filed taxes but did not give the IRS their banking information can submit direct deposit information through the IRS “Get My Payment” tool. The tracking tool can also show the payment status, but some people have complained that the tool doesn’t give them any information.

There are reasons for the non-answer, according to the IRS.

For example, it could be that the agency isn’t done processing the person’s 2019 return. It could also be that the person typically doesn’t file a tax return and has submitted non-filer information via the IRS web portal, which is still being processed.

“We update Get My Payment data once per day, overnight so there is no need to check more often,” the IRS says on its website.

A Spanish language version of “Get My Payment” will be available in a couple of weeks, according to the IRS.

You make too much money

Some people might not be getting a $1,200 stimulus payment right now because they make too much money.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act authorized $1,200 payments to individuals making below $75,000 and $2,400 to married couples earning under $150,000. The program also pays parents $500 for each child age 17 and under.

The payments decline by $5 for every $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 threshold. Anyone making over $99,000 doesn’t qualify, nor do couples making over $198,000.

People who exceed the income limit might still have a chance at the money — albeit next year. That’s because the stimulus payments are technically an advance credit for next year’s tax season. The credit is just being paid right now.

So if someone made too much money on tax returns they are filing now for their 2019 income, they could still get the money based on tax returns they file in 2021 for their income this year.

Someone else is claiming you as a dependent

Some young adults might be missing out on stimulus check money because their parents have claimed them as dependents.

When it comes to stimulus checks, the IRS counts a dependent as age 17 and under. But if the IRS is only reviewing a 2018 return, it could be looking back at a point in time when someone was a high school senior, but now they’re in college.

In one case, a 19-year-old college student told MarketWatch his dad claimed him as a dependent in 2018 returns. But as MarketWatch’s tax columnist Bill Bischoff noted, this student could still be eligible for a stimulus payment themselves on their 2019 return.

The IRS also supplied some hope for young adults. It said someone graduating high school this year will not receive a $1,200 stimulus payment if they are claimed as a dependent this year and claimed as a dependent next year either. But, if nobody can claim the student during the next tax season, the student might be eligible for a $1,200 check at that point.

See also:Can you alter your 2019 taxes in order to qualify for the $1,200 stimulus check?

Glitches could be slowing delivery

Some national tax preparers offer advances on a client’s refund, with the money loaded onto a debit card. Yet that could mean the IRS might not be putting the stimulus money in the right account.

For example, H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt both have prepaid cards, and both said they are working to make sure all customers get the money they’re entitled to.

H&R Block HRB, +1.36% said in a statement the IRS has its clients’ banking information. The IRS “created confusion by not always using clients’ final destination bank account information for stimulus payments. We share our clients’ frustration that many of them have not yet received these much-needed payments due to IRS decisions, and we are actively working with the IRS to get stimulus payments sent directly to client accounts.”

In a statement, Jackson Hewitt advised customers to update their direct deposit information on the IRS’ Get My Payment tool. But if the IRS already put the money on a Serve or Bluebird card that the customer no longer has, they can go onto their account and ask for a replacement.

“Serve customers who would like to receive their stimulus payment to their Serve Account should confirm their direct deposit information with the IRS and update it if necessary,” Jackson Hewitt said. The company said other information on the process is available here.

Debt collectors could be taking the money

Consumer advocates have pointed out the wording of the CARES act does not prevent private debt collectors from seizing stimulus checks that suddenly come into a bank account.

A debt collection trade group said members are “acting with compassion” at this time, but even still, it noted collectors wouldn’t know the source of money that suddenly comes into an account.

But Lauren Saunders, an associate director at the National Consumer Law Center, said there are steps consumers can take to keep their stimulus money out of debt collectors’ hands. One way is to cash your stimulus check without depositing it into your bank account, she said.

It’s also important to know state laws. Approximately 10 states, Washington D.C. and several cities and counties are releasing orders preventing garnishment of stimulus checks, according to a list from the National Consumer Law Center.

Your immigration status could be complicating matters

The government is paying the stimulus checks to U.S. citizens. The checks are also going to certain categories of non-U.S. citizens. This includes “legal permanent residents,” also known as green card holders, according to the IRS.

But if someone still has a green card application pending, they may not be getting a stimulus check, at least not any time soon, according to Washington D.C. immigration attorney Allen Orr. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) field offices, which administer in-person interviews before issuing green cards, closed temporarily in March because of the pandemic. As of now, offices are closed until June 3, USCIS said.

Orr, first vice president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, had a client ready for a green card interview on March 15, but the government office closed on March 14. “He’s out of luck with his stimulus check, which he would qualify for,” Orr told MarketWatch. Whenever the USCIS re-opens its offices, Orr said, it’s likely green cards will be issued at a slower pace, meaning a slower pace on stimulus checks for new green card holders.

Marriage to a green card holder doesn’t necessarily mean a second stimulus check, Orr added.

If a spouse was married to a green card holder and present in the United States before they received their legal permanent resident status, they too should be getting a check, Orr said. But if someone married a green card holder afterward, they wouldn’t get the same benefit.

Receiving a stimulus check shouldn’t disrupt a person’s path to citizenship if they already have a green card, Orr said. “No one is giving you anything. It’s something you’re entitled to.”

Their Stories: Jazz guitar legend Bucky Pizzarelli dies at 94 after testing positive for coronavirus 

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Bucky Pizzarelli was a true master of his craft, having spent three-quarters of a century perfecting his technique. After spending years as a respected but mostly anonymous supporting player and session guitarist, he started to step into the spotlight in the late 1960s, became a mainstay of the New York jazz scene in the 1970s, and went on to perform and record with some of the most iconic singers in jazz and popular music. Pizzarelli’s unparalleled technical prowess, rhythmic footing, and harmonic understanding remained on display as he performed into his 90s, despite multiple hospitalizations caused by a stroke and pneumonia.

“It’s amazing what rooms Bucky Pizzarelli ended up in,” wrote John Pizzarelli, Bucky Pizzarelli’s oldest son and regular musical partner, on Facebook. “My father was a mentor to so many guitarists, both professional and amateur. Always doling out advice, always encouraging, always in tune, and always ready for a record date.” 

Pizzarelli died at the age of 94 on April 1 in Saddle River, N.J. John Pizzarelli said the cause was the coronavirus, and later revealed that his mother, Ruth, died exactly a week later; her cause of death remains unknown. (“I am certain Bucky called for her,” said John Pizzarelli on Facebook. FB, -1.35%

John Paul Pizzarelli was born on Jan. 9, 1926, in Paterson, N.J., where his parents, John and Amelia (DiDomenico) Pizzarelli, owned a grocery store. Two uncles, Pete and Bobby Domenick, played mandolin and banjo and taught young John some musical basics from the age of nine. His nickname was bestowed by his father, who as a teenager became obsessed with the Wild West and worked as a ranch hand in West Texas. After returning to New Jersey, he nicknamed his young son “buckskin,” which was later shortened to Bucky.

In his teens, Pizzarelli often sat in with a local pianist and accordionist named Joe Mooney, and began his first professional career in 1943, when he joined a big band led by the popular singer Vaughn Monroe. The following year, he turned 18, was drafted into the Army, and served in the 86th Infantry Division in Germany during the final months of World War II. After two years of military service, Pizzarelli returned to New Jersey and rejoined Monroe’s outfit, touring the country until the band broke up in 1953. 

Pizzarelli spent the 1950s and ’60s establishing himself as a sought-after sideman. His playing could be heard on hundreds of records across various genres, including some of the period’s most famous recordings such as Ray Charles’ “Georgia On My Mind,” Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me,” and Brian Hyland’s “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.” Though he was often uncredited, Pizzarelli developed a reputation as a master of the rhythm guitar as well as a gifted soloist. 

Pizzarelli saw his stature grow due to numerous high-profile television gigs, beginning in the 1950s as a staff musician at NBC, where he played in “The Tonight Show” ensemble under Skitch Henderson, and later Doc Severinsen. In the 1970s, he served in Bobby Rosengarden’s band for ABC’s “The Dick Cavett Show” and contributed to the network’s short-lived “Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell.”

Pizzarelli also enjoyed a successful association with Benny Goodman, which began in 1966 and included European tours. It lasted until Goodman’s death in 1986. 

The 1970s saw Pizzarelli performing more frequently in New York nightclubs in order to stay close to his four school-age children and their New Jersey home. He played solo, led small groups, and sat in as a sideman with popular jazz players including the saxophonists Zoot Sims and Bud Freeman and the violinists Stéphane Grappelli and Joe Venuti. 

In 1980, Pizzarelli began a fruitful partnership with his son John, who was only 20 years old at the time. Father and son proceeded to perform and record together, often joined by John’s younger brother, Martin, on bass, and John’s wife, Jessica Molaskey, on vocals. As John Pizzarelli’s fame grew, he frequently employed his father as a sideman. 

During his career, Pizzarelli played with legends such as Buddy Rich, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Nat King Cole, Paul McCartney, Frank Sinatra, and more. He performed at the White House for President Ronald Reagan twice, the first time in 1982 as part of the Benny Goodman Quartet, and for Bill Clinton in 1998. 

Pizzarelli was among the few popular guitarists to play an instrument with seven strings rather than the standard six. In the late 1960s, Pizzarelli found himself captivated by the guitarist George Van Eps, who actively promoted his use of a seven-string guitar featuring an additional bass string. (“I always wanted to do solo guitar playing,” Pizzarelli told NPR in 2009, “and when we heard George play…he was knocking everybody out.”)

Pizzarelli tuned the extra string to a low A, which enabled him to provide a bass line when playing unaccompanied or in a duo. His signature Benedetto archtop guitar is on display at the National Museum of American History. 

Read more stories of the lives lost to COVID-19:

Renowned for his devotion to his family, Pizzarelli resisted uprooting his family for career opportunities in New York City or Hollywood, instead choosing to raise his children in his native New Jersey.  

“He was a wonderful dad,” recalled John Pizzarelli in his tribute. “But he was music first and foremost and it showed in his artistry.”

Pizzarelli is survived by his two sons; two daughters, Anne Hymes and Mary Pizzarelli; and four grandchildren.

The Margin: Watch out for these six new coronavirus symptoms

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Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC has warned people to monitor themselves for fever, cough and shortness of breath. That list of warning signs has gotten longer.

Six more potential symptoms of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 have been added to the CDC’s list. They range from mild symptoms to severe illness, which can develop two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. They include:

  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Those are in addition to the original three symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

This expanded list of warning signs is significant because most testing sites require a patient to show symptoms before they can be tested.

Related:These 21 companies are working on coronavirus treatments or vaccines — here’s where things stand

The CDC stresses that this list is not all-inclusive, however, as there is still so much we don’t know about the coronavirus, in that it is novel. For example, there are reports of coronavirus patients in Italy exhibiting skin rashes, while some children and teens in Spain developed pseudo-frosbite lesions (called pernio, or chilblains) on their toes, which is being called “COVID toes.”

Some young COVID-19 patients that were otherwise healthy are suffering severe strokes, while others are developing blood clots even while on anticoagulants. Broadway actor Nick Corduro had to have a leg amputated due to clotting resulting from the virus. 

The bottom line: Call your doctor or local health department if the above COVID-19 signs emerge, or you’re seeing any symptoms that are severe or causing concern.

Health officials emphasize that the “emergency warning signs” for COVID-19 include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent chest pain or pressure in the chest
  • Confusion or inability to arouse/wake after sleeping
  • Bluish lips or face

You should always call 911 for any medical emergency.

If you’re not showing these emergency warning signs, you may be told to self-isolate and recover at home. The CDC notes that decisions about testing are at the discretion of state and local health departments and/or individual clinicians.

And most infected people continue to be expected to experience mild illness and to be able to recover at home without medical care. While the death toll from the virus is staggering and even frightening, 869,935 people and counting have also recovered.

Read more:Coronavirus survives longer airborne and travels further in these public spaces — here’s where to be extra careful

So if you feel sick, stay home, take care of yourself and avoid public transportation to prevent spreading the virus. Try to separate yourself as much as possible from the rest of your household, and stay in frequent touch with your doctor. For tips on how to self-quarantine, click here.

And find more information about caring for someone with COVID-19 here.

Read more: He said it was the sickest he’s ever been in his life’: How to care for a coronavirus patient at home

As of Monday afternoon, the global COVID-19 case tally was approaching 3 million people, with at least 206,803 dead. The U.S. continues to have the highest case toll in the world, approaching 1 million people infected, as well as the highest death toll, with almost 55,000 having succumbed to the virus.

Read more of MarketWatch’s coronavirus coverage here.

Key Words: This is the greatest mistake an investor can make, according to the founder of the world’s biggest hedge fund

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‘The greatest mistake of all investors is to think that what has done well lately is a better investment rather than more expensive. And what has done worse lately is the worst investment — get me out of it! — rather than it’s cheap.’

That’s Ray Dalio, the billionaire behind Bridgewater Associates, talking about where investors tend to go wrong in the stock market.

“Unless you know how to deal with the differences of those, which most people don’t, they’re going to be in trouble,” he said in a Ted Talk appearance earlier this month.

In the clip, which was highlighted on the “Investor Talk” YouTube channel over the weekend, Dalio also revisited his much-covered “cash is trash” argument.

“Do not think that cash is a safe investment,” he explained in the interview. “Cash is a seductive investment because it doesn’t have as much volatility, but it taxes you in your buying power about 2% a year. So cash is almost always the worst investment.”

Instead, he said, investors should think unconventionally.

“Do you have a little bit of gold… in case this monetary system breaks down and money is redefined,” he said. “Diversify well, be humble, don’t market time and be conscious of the dangers of cash.”

Watch the full clip:

Cash clearly wasn’t the best place to be in Monday’s session, with the Dow DJIA, +1.74% , S&P SPX, +1.68% and Nasdaq COMP, +1.26% all logging solid gains.

It was fair winds and following seas for small-business owners like these ship captains. Then came coronavirus

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When the tall, bearded sailing ship captain danced into her life late in 2009, Julie McKay was ready to be swept off her feet. McKay, a massage therapist, was living near Baltimore when she flirted with Hugh Covert at a contra dance at an old stone church one evening.

Over the sound of Celtic fiddle music, Julie learned just enough about Hugh to “almost say ‘yes, I’ll marry you’” within a few minutes of meeting him, she recalled, a decade later.

Over the next few years she quit her job to follow Hugh to Drummond Island, one of the remotest corners of upper Michigan, and opened — then closed — a massage practice there after Hugh decided to finally make good on a longstanding dream: building a tall ship from scratch and launching a business to take tourists on trips as short as two hours and as long as two weeks.

As for so many small-business owners, their journey has been a seven-day-a-week labor of love. And as for so many who chase dreams, the payoff was uncertain. Despite that, Julie — now Julie Covert, aged 51 — and Hugh, 59, had just hit their stride.

Open barely a year and a half, they were hoping for a profitable 2020. Then the coronavirus crisis exploded. Now, like so many Americans, they’re in an unfamiliar place: scrambling for scarce resources in the aftermath of a global trauma.

“We are falling through the cracks,” Julie said.

2016: Julie and Hugh take a break after planking the schooner hull

DI Tall Ship

When the couple set out to build the schooner in 2014, they assumed it would take Hugh, working full-time, one year to complete the project. Instead it took three. Julie closed her massage practice and joined him full-time at the year-and-a-half mark, and the couple also had a rotating cast of volunteers.

“We christened her in June 2018, put the mast in at the beginning of August and sailed through September that year,” Julie said. The ship’s name is Schooner Huron Jewel — H for Hugh, J for Julie.

A reality of life in a northern town is the short season: Memorial Day through September. But the company got off to a solid start, and in 2019 were already seeing repeat customers. In December, people bought gift certificates for the year ahead, and through the winter Julie had bookings. She even made plans to bring aboard three summer deckhands, the company’s first employees.

“We were really looking forward to an even better year ahead,” she said.

Until early March, that is.

The phone stopped ringing. And by April, the first cancellations were rolling in. “I’m thinking, okay, where am I going to come up with that refund money?” Julie said.

Related:These small-business owners made their dreams come true — and then the coronavirus hit

The couple’s big expenses are insurance for about $5,500, dockage fees at about $1200 each month, fuel and licensing fees, such as for the food they serve on the boat. But they also took out a business loan to build the boat.

“I’m glad I’m with a small bank,” Julie said. Her banker was understanding, and told her to defer payments until things turned around. He even offered another loan for “working capital,” Julie said.

“I grew up understanding why it was good not to rack up debt. The thought of taking out another loan is a step back,” she said, but recognizes she might have no other choice.

The first week the Small Business Administration made its Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance funds available, Julie spent hours, “and two rum and tonics,” trying to slog through the paperwork. Once done, she got one automatic response by email that suggested that, if the company were eligible, she might receive up to $5,000.

Three agonizing weeks later, and with no additional communication, she learned she’d been approved for a $4,000 loan.

At the beginning of April, Michigan made $5 million available statewide, with only $500,000 allocated to the Upper Peninsula. Julie applied, asking for $10,000, “but saying, we’d take anything.” They got nothing.

“Hugh and I have both applied for unemployment,” Julie said. “We need groceries. We need gas in the car.”

The company is not eligible for perhaps the best-known of the stimulus programs, the federal Payroll Protection Plan, because this summer would have been the first time they had a payroll. And even that’s in question: Julie still hopes that things settle down by mid-May, and the three deckhands — one retiree, one college student and one mid-career professional — can still show up.

Related:Many small business owners are being ‘shut out’ of $350 billion loan program

But cash flow is just one concern. How the world will change is a bigger one.

Even if her customers want to travel to Drummond Island — and the Coverts feel comfortable welcoming them — “I’m trying to think how we’ll socially distance on a boat,” Julie said. “How will I ‘wipe down’ the ship after every use?”

Schooner Huron Jewel on Potagannissing Bay

DI Tall Ship

Julie speaks pragmatically about the business. She says “we’ll figure something out” a lot. And while many Americans are feeling “cabin fever” after quarantining for several weeks, she’s more stoic: “This isn’t much of a change for us in the winter. We’d generally only get to town once or twice a week for essential errands.”

But she gets emotional talking about her community. The daughter of a good friend, an ICU nurse “downstate,” had to spend her birthday alone in early April. It’s hard seeing local businesses having to do take-out business from behind closed doors, Julie finds. And Drummond’s economy is essentially all tourists.

“If we don’t have a summer season I don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said.

For now, she and Hugh go to work on the boat every day, making ready for a summer season that may never happen.

“A true sailor takes the weather and adjusts the sails and helm hour by hour and day by day and that’s what we’re doing,” Julie said.

Your bank could lower your credit-card limit — what to do if that happens

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If the spending limit on your credit card suddenly shrank, you’re not alone.

Some banks have started to decrease consumers’ credit limits as the job and income losses spurred by the global coronavirus pandemic has increased the possibility that people could miss their monthly payments.

Synchrony Financial SYF, +4.12%, the company that backs many credit cards offered by retailers, is taking a closer look at card holders’ ability to repay amid the virus outbreak.

“We’re continuing to utilize internal and credit bureau triggers to dynamically reevaluate the customer’s credit worthiness to manage credit exposure,” Brian Wenzel, Synchrony’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, said during an earnings call last week.

Other banks also said that they were evaluating borrowers’ credit limits at this time.

Banks typically reduce a customer’s credit limit to minimize risk, said Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst at LendingTree TREE, +3.19%.

“When the economy goes bad, all the calculus changes,” Schulz said. “Because people’s financial situations can literally change overnight, unused credit lines equal major risk.”

In other words, banks are worried about what could happen if someone makes a lot of purchases with their credit card, loses their job and misses payments because of their lack of income.

Don’t miss:How to get help paying your mortgage, credit-card bills and student loans if you’re laid off due to the coronavirus pandemic

“Periodically, we review every account, and based on a variety of factors make the decision to adjust the spending limit,” a spokeswoman with Wells Fargo WFC, +5.10% told MarketWatch.

American Express AXP, +0.34% said it bases a person’s credit limit on a real-time evaluation of their financial health.

“We want to accommodate their spending needs, while also helping to ensure they do not take on excessive levels of debt,” Ashley Tufts, American Express vice president of corporate affairs and communications, said in an email.

‘Banks are taking a balanced approach informed by economic data, which is consistent with legal and underwriting obligations to ensure credit lines match consumers’ ability to repay.’

— Jeff Sigmund, spokesman for the American Bankers Association

“While we are not pro-actively reducing more credit limits due to COVID-19, we will continue to take credit actions on accounts, if necessary,” she added.

American Express card holders who see their credit limits reduced can file an appeal to have their limit reinstated to its higher level, she said.

A spokesman for U.S. Bank USB, +4.91% said the company will “continually monitor economic conditions as we work to maintain the integrity of our credit quality across all our products, which is a requirement of all banks.”

Some credit-card issuers, including Citi C, +6.94% and Discover DFS, +3.72%, have specified that they have not decreased credit lines directly in response to COVID-19.

“In response to the coronavirus pandemic, many issuers are supporting their customers by offering flexible bill payments and by waiving late fees and interest,” said Jeff Sigmund, spokesman for the American Bankers Association. “Banks are taking a balanced approach informed by economic data.”

Read more: Need money because of the coronavirus pandemic? Here are the best and worst ways to get fast cash

Why more banks could cut credit lines in the coming months

If history serves as a guide, card issuers could begin trimming credit lines in earnest soon. A 2008 survey of senior loan officers conducted by the Federal Reserve found that 20% of banks reduced credit limits on existing credit-card accounts to prime borrowers at the start of the Great Recession. For subprime borrowers, that figure soared to 60%.

When banks do cut credit lines, they don’t need to give people much warning either. “Most people don’t realize how much freedom credit-card issuers have to cut limits or even cancel cards without warning,” Ted Rossman, industry analyst at CreditCards.com.

Also see:Mortgage rates go up slightly as some lenders tighten restrictions on who qualifies for a home loan

For most changes made to a card, banks are required to give consumers at least 45 days of notice. That isn’t the case when it comes to changing the credit limit — unless the reduced credit limit will lead to a cardholder facing overdraft fees.

‘Most people don’t realize how much freedom credit card issuers have to cut limits or even cancel cards without warning.’

— Ted Rossman, industry analyst at CreditCards.com

Banks are also providing consumers with assistance during the pandemic. While some card issuers are cutting credit limits at this time, most credit-card companies are working with consumers who have been hard-hit by the economic downturn to manage their debts.

“If you’re someone who has been severely affected by the outbreak, you absolutely can get help from your issuer in terms of temporary rate reductions, limit increases and fee waivers,” Schulz said.

What to do if your credit limit is decreased — and how to prevent that from happening

Americans shouldn’t be afraid to negotiate with their credit-card company. “Ask your issuer to reconsider,” Schulz said. “Chances of success may not be high, but it is worth asking.”

People with multiple credit cards should make small purchases on all of them. Banks are likely to close dormant credit cards, and making even a small purchase will keep the credit card active. One way to do this easily is to move an automatic payment to cards you don’t use often for day-to-day spending.

‘If you’re someone who has been severely affected by the outbreak, you absolutely can get help from your issuer in terms of temporary rate reductions, limit increases and fee waivers.’

— Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst at LendingTree

Keeping your cards open will maintain a stronger credit-utilization ratio, which is one of the main factors that determines a person’s credit score, Rossman said. This ratio measures how much credit a person has used versus what is available to them.

If your limit is decreased on one card, you can ask a different lender to increase the limit on another card. You can also try applying for a new credit card, though those may be hard to come by right now.

Don’t miss: 5 ways to cut your home energy bill to protect the environment and save during the coronavirus pandemic

If your credit line was decreased, you should also work to pay off your balance to give yourself more of a cushion.

Ultimately, consumers should be careful about treating their credit cards like lifelines right now given the current economic uncertainty.

“This underscores why it’s dangerous to use your credit card as your emergency fund, because that credit line could be pulled out from under you,” Rossman said.

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