Virus roundup … 

    • The U.S. Department of Justice says as of Aug. 8, more than 5.2 million forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans have been approved, at a total of more than $525 billion. However, in less than six months, more than 50 people have been charged with allegedly committing fraud in connection with the program. The cases involve attempts to steal a total of more than $175 million from the program, with actual losses to the federal government totaling more than $70 million, the DOJ reports. WAFB-TV has the full story

    • The federal government has outlined a sweeping plan to make vaccines for COVID-19 available for free to all Americans, even as polls show a strong undercurrent of skepticism rippling across the land. In a report to Congress and an accompanying “playbook” for states and localities, federal health agencies and the Defense Department sketched out complex plans for a vaccination campaign to begin gradually in January or possibly later this year, eventually ramping up to reach any American who wants a shot. The campaign is “much larger in scope and complexity than seasonal influenza or other previous outbreak-related vaccination responses,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

    • The global economy is not doing as bad as previously expected, especially in the U.S. and China, but has still suffered an unprecedented drop due to the coronavirus pandemic, an international watchdog said today. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said in a report that the world’s gross domestic product is projected to decline by 4.5% this year—less than the 6% plunge it had predicted in June. The global economy is expected to rebound and grow by 5% next year, the organization said. Yet the OECD notes that its outlook is “subject to considerable uncertainty” as the pandemic continues, and assumes that “sporadic local outbreaks will continue” and a vaccine will not be available until late in 2021.

    Read more stories on how the coronavirus is impacting the Baton Rouge business community. See a roundup of resources available to those impacted by the pandemic. Click here to see a 225 magazine list of local restaurants offering patio seating or indoor dining during phase three of reopening.