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The link between restaurant spending and new cases of coronavirus

CNBC reports:

Higher restaurant spending appears to be linked to a faster spread of the coronavirus, according to a JPMorgan study.

Analyst Jesse Edgerton analyzed data from 30 million Chase credit and debit cardholders and from Johns Hopkins University’s case tracker. He found that increased restaurant spending in a state predicted a rise in new infections there three weeks later.

He also said restaurant spending was the strongest predictor across all categories of card spending.

The United States set a record for the single highest day of new infections on Wednesday. States in the South and West, including California, Texas and Florida, are seeing a surge of new cases and hospitalizations related to the virus.

According to the research note, Louisiana, West Virginia and Arizona showed the smallest relative declines in restaurant spending by Chase cardholders compared with the year-earlier period, while the District of Columbia and Massachusetts saw the sharpest drops.

Edgerton said in-person restaurant spending was “particularly predictive.” [Continue reading…]

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