What is Coronavirus?

COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus causing the World Health Organization (WHO) to classify this outbreak as a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Anyone experiencing emergency signs such as difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or bluish lips or face should immediately seek medical attention.

For the latest updates and more information go to:

What You Should Know

Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person and the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The CDC urges citizens to monitor your health and practice social distancing. Social distancing means staying out of crowded places, avoiding group gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet) from others when possible.

ALTA COVID-19 Webinars

How GSE Guidance Updates Impact the Title Industry
Webinar: How Your Business Can Access Financial Assistance Due to COVID-19 Pandemic


  • Steve Gottheim, ALTA Senior Counsel

Webinar: ALTA COVID-19 Update


  • Diane Tomb, ALTA Chief Executive Officer
  • Mary O’Donnell, ALTA Board President
  • Steve Gottheim, ALTA Senior Counsel
  • Elizabeth Blosser, ALTA Senior Director of Government Affairs
  • Emily Tryon, ALTA Director of Policy

Coronavirus Articles

ALTA is producing a COVID-19 Update email that compiles the most important articles of the day. You can sign up to receive these updates.

Recent 2021 2020

Here are the 10 Executive Orders Biden’s Signing to Combat the COVID Pandemic
CNBC  |  January 22, 2021

On his first full day in office, President Joe Biden announced 10 executive orders to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, mandating masks on public transportation and directing agencies to use wartime powers to require U.S. companies to make N95 masks, swabs and other equipment. This article reviews the executive orders Biden plans to sign in his first two days in office to tackle the pandemic.

Study Finds 60% of Americans Don't Know Where or When to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine
CNN  |  January 22, 2021

About six in 10 Americans don't know when or where to get a coronavirus vaccine, according a survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation. The report suggests Americans are experiencing a range of emotions from the vaccine rollout. Half of the people surveyed said they are "frustrated," a third said they felt "confused" and nearly a quarter are "angry."

Almost 3 Million People Fell Off the Unemployment Benefits Cliff
CNBC  |  January 22, 2021

Nearly 3 million Americans appear to have fallen off the unemployment benefits cliff after Christmas, a scenario many had feared amid delays in pushing through another COVID relief bill. Legislators passed a $900 billion package on Dec. 21, but former President Donald Trump delayed signing the bill until Dec. 27, after the deadline had passed to avert a cliff. U.S. Labor Department data issued Thursday provides the first glimpse of how delays from Congress and the president affected benefits.

A COVID-19 Peak? Variants Muddy Forecasts for Coming Months
NBC News  |  January 22, 2021

As new, potentially more contagious variants of the virus circulate, coronavirus modelers warn that the U.S. is by no means out of the woods yet. The emergence of new variants isn't altogether surprising, but experts say that without a better understanding of how these strains affect things like transmissibility and the effectiveness of existing vaccines, it's difficult to know how the pandemic may play out.

Dr. Fauci Says COVID Vaccines Appear to be Less Effective Against Some New Strains
CNBC  |  January 22, 2021

New data shows that the COVID-19 vaccines currently on the market may not be as effective in guarding against new, more contagious strains of the coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci said. While it’s no surprise the virus is mutating, researchers are quickly trying to determine what the changes might mean for recently developed lifesaving vaccines and therapeutics against the disease.

U.S. Will Remain in WHO, Fauci Announces, as Biden Reverses Trump Move
NPR  |  January 22, 2021

"I am honored to announce that the United States will remain a member of the World Health Organization," Dr. Anthony Fauci said, informing the WHO's executive board that President Joe Biden has reversed former President Donald Trump's move to leave the U.N.'s health agency. The U.S. will also fulfill its financial obligations to the WHO, Fauci, chief medical adviser to the president, said, as well as cease a drawdown of U.S. staff who work with the organization.

Federal Update: Biden Already Facing Pressure to Scale Back $1.9T Relief Plan, Third Stimulus Check: When Could You Get $1,400?, Biden Inheriting Nonexistent Coronavirus Vaccine Distribution Plan
January 22, 2021

President Joe Biden’s first COVID-19 package is already facing hurdles in Congress that threaten to force the fledgling administration to curb some of its more progressive aims just one week after the proposal’s debut. While criticisms from the GOP were expected, odds the the bill would pass unedited grew longer after a report quoted Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia disparaging the size of the latest round of proposed stimulus checks.

Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan proposes a third round of stimulus checks of $1,400 for most Americans. Yet while that could extend a helping hand to millions of households still suffering from the pandemic's economic fallout, it could be months until the payments arrive, analysts say. The price tag of the relief package is likely to face pushback from Republican lawmakers, but most analysts think lawmakers on both sides of the aisle will back the $1,400 direct payments, which economists view as a lifeline for many cash-strapped workers who lost their jobs or seen their income plummet during the pandemic.

Biden and his advisers are inheriting no coronavirus vaccine distribution plan to speak of from the Trump administration, posing a significant challenge for the new White House. In the immediate hours following Biden being sworn into office, sources with direct knowledge of the new administration's COVID-related work said one of the biggest shocks that the Biden team had to digest during the transition period was what they saw as a complete lack of a vaccine distribution strategy under former President Donald Trump, even weeks after multiple vaccines were approved for use in the United States.

State Update: States Appeal for More Coronavirus Vaccine Doses, Consumers may be Slow to Snap Back to Old Habits, Florida Issues new Rules to cut Down on 'Vaccine Tourism'
January 22, 2021

State leaders are clamoring for more COVID-19 vaccine doses. Some state officials say they aren't seeing as many doses as the federal government reports distributing and the demand for the vaccine is outpacing the supply. Georgia, for example, reports adequate staff, volunteers and infrastructure but not enough doses.

Americans and consumers across the globe will be slow to revert to pre-pandemic habits like flying internationally, commuting by public transit and eating at restaurants, even when COVID-19 vaccines are widely available, according to a new survey from Nielsen. Only 40% of U.S. respondents said they have confidence in using public transportation, even when they know they can receive a COVID vaccine. That sentiment could be a major challenge for retailers and restaurants that rely on commuters and heavier foot traffic in cities and commercial hubs.

Florida issued new health guidelines in an attempt to cut down on "vaccine tourism," requiring that COVID-19 vaccines be given only to permanent and seasonal residents. Gov. Ron DeSantis said the shots should be reserved for part-time or full-time residents of the Sunshine State. "Now we do have part-time residents who are here all winter," he said. "What we don't want is tourists, foreigners. We want to put seniors first, but we obviously want to put people that live here first in line."

A Year Into the COVID Crisis, Scientists Explain What we Learned — and What we got Wrong
CNBC  |  January 22, 2021

Public health experts, doctors, scientists and leaders from industry and government say the past year has taught us a lot about the virus — and how those lessons can be applied to try to slow the pandemic now. In this article, those same experts provide their takeaways, from findings about the virus itself to reflections on the public's behavior.

Current, Deadly U.S. Coronavirus Surge has Peaked, Researchers Say
NPR  |  January 22, 2021

The devastating fall and winter wave of coronavirus infections appears to have finally peaked, according to researchers. While another surge remains possible, especially with new, more infectious variants on the horizon, the number of new daily infections in the current wave appears to have hit a high in the past week or two and has been steadily declining in most states since.

Hopes High for Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccine if Authorized
NorthJersey.com  |  January 22, 2021

A COVID vaccine being developed by Johnson & Johnson could dramatically speed up the fight against the pandemic because, unlike the two vaccines already in use, it would require only one dose and would not need to be stored at super-cold temperatures. Results from clinical trials of the new vaccine are expected by the end of this month.

 When Can Title Professionals Get COVID-19 Vaccine?
January 21, 2021

Guided by evolving federal recommendations and limited vaccine supplies, states continue to refine distribution plans that prioritize when specific workforce members and populations receive the COVID-19 vaccine. States are choosing who gets the vaccine and in what order based on various phases. Considered essential workers by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, title and settlement professionals fall into the last tier of phase one in most states. Read on for more information.

More Businesses Will be Able to Apply for PPP Loans Next Week
The New York Times  |  January 15, 2021

After giving small lenders a head start, the Paycheck Protection Program will open for all applicants on Tuesday, the Treasury Department said. Borrowers seeking a second loan will need to demonstrate a 25 percent drop in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020. Second loans will also be limited to companies with 300 or fewer workers, and the amounts will be capped at $2 million.

America is Tuning Out the Coronavirus at the Peak of its Destruction
Axios  |  January 15, 2021

The U.S. is now averaging nearly 250,000 new coronavirus cases per day — a crisis of staggering proportions, even though many Americans have tuned it out. It's not even sufficient to say the pandemic is “still going on,” as if it’s a fire that hasn’t finished burning out. The pandemic is raging. Its deadliest and most dangerous days are happening right now. And it keeps getting worse.

Still Going to the Grocery Store? With New Virus Variants Spreading, it’s Probably Time to Stop
Vox  |  January 15, 2021

Recent developments in the COVID-19 pandemic have exposed a grim reality: If we keep doing what we’re doing now to prevent infections, we’re screwed. Health experts say you should avoid optional trips whenever you can. You probably need a better mask, too.

More Than 90,000 Americans Could Die of COVID-19 in Next Three Weeks, CDC Forecast Shows
CNN  |  January 15, 2021

More than 38,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 in the first two weeks of the new year. Another 92,000 are projected to die from the virus over roughly the next three weeks, according to an ensemble forecast published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the end is in sight -- with the help of ongoing COVID-19 vaccinations -- the nation is still facing challenging times ahead.

What We Know About the Spread of COVID Among Children — and Whether Shutting Schools Reduces the Risk
CNBC  |  January 15, 2021

The science around the link between children and the spread of the coronavirus is still evolving, but a growing body of evidence suggests that kids attending school do play an important role in community transmission.

Federal Update: Biden Calls for More Direct Cash to Americans in New Stimulus, U.S. to Change Vaccine Allocation to Favor States that Quickly Administer Shots, Unemployment Claims Jump to 965,000
January 14, 2021

President-elect Joe Biden detailed his proposals for additional stimulus measures on Thursday, which included plans to dole out more direct aid to American households. The Biden administration plans to give eligible Americans an additional $1,400 – topping their total second round payments off at $2,000, an amount supported by Democrats and outgoing President Donald Trump. Biden’s overall package, which also includes expanded unemployment benefits, an aggressive vaccination plan and a federal minimum wage hike, is expected to cost around $1.9 trillion.

The federal government is changing the way it allocates coronavirus vaccine doses, now basing it on how quickly states can administer shots and the size of their elderly population. States will be given two weeks to prepare for the change. That should give states enough time to improve their data reporting to the government and ensure all vaccinations are being “promptly” documented.

The number of people seeking unemployment aid soared last week to 965,000, the most since late August and evidence that the resurgent virus has caused a spike in layoffs. The latest figures for jobless claims, issued Thursday by the Labor Department, remain at levels never seen until the virus struck. 

State Updates: These States Have Done Best—and Worst—at Vaccinating Residents, New York Says COVID Vaccine Appointments are Booked 14 Weeks Out, How L.A. Became Nation's Largest Coronavirus Hot Spot
January 14, 2021

One month into the vaccination effort — the largest inoculation drive in American history — some states are moving quickly to vaccinate their populations. Other parts of the country are lagging badly. Many states are struggling to get their vaccination efforts off the ground. In all, less than a third of all doses that have been distributed across the country (and to U.S. territories), or 10.3 million out of nearly 30 million, have been given to people. 

The New York State Department of Health says appointments to get the COVID-19 vaccine are booked for the next 3½ months, quickly filling up after the state expanded eligibility criteria to adopt new federal guidelines. Local officials across the U.S. are struggling to ramp up vaccine distribution as millions clamor for a few thousand open slots to get the first inoculations.

In Los Angeles County, 10 people on average test positive for the coronavirus every minute. Every six minutes, someone dies from Covid-19, according to county public health data. The startling figures come as California’s most populous county rapidly approaches 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases since the pandemic started last year.

For Many Seniors, Whether They get a COVID-19 Vaccine may Depend on Their Families
U.S. News  |  January 14, 2021

As seniors begin to get offered COVID-19 vaccines, some families are finding the burden of getting one into the arm of an elderly loved one is falling entirely on them. There's no nationwide response specifically targeted at creating access for seniors, and state-by-state programs vary with much of the vaccination distribution happening on a county-level.

Smart Watches Can Help Detect COVID-19 Symptoms Days Before They Show
CBS News  |  January 14, 2021

Smart watches and other wearable devices that continuously measure users' heart rates, skin temperature and other physiological markers can help spot coronavirus infections days before an individual is diagnosed.

Coronavirus Survivors' Lungs Worse Than Those of a Smoker, Surgeon Says
FOX News  |  January 14, 2021

The scarring on some coronavirus survivors’ lungs is worse than in those who smoke, a trauma surgeon in Texas recently said when speaking to just one of the possible long-term effects this novel disease can have on its victims. 

Target for New COVID Scam: Small Business Owners
Federal Trade Commission  |  January 13, 2021

There’s a new coronavirus-related scam making the rounds, but this time the crooks are targeting small businesses. It starts with an email that claims to come from the “Small Business Administration Office of Disaster Assistance.” It says you’re eligible for a loan of up to $250,000 and asks for personal information like birth date and Social Security number.

SBA, Treasury Re-open PPP, Issue New Guidance
January 12, 2021

This round of the PPP continues to allow small business borrowers to have their loans forgiven if they spend the funds on job retention and certain other expenses through March 31.

Don't Miss Out on the Next Round of PPP Funding
Inc.  |  January 8, 2021

The Paycheck Protection Progrram left some business owners out in the cold--minority-owned businesses chief among them. Following are five tips to avoid that fate in round two.

U.S. Reports More Than 4,000 COVID Deaths for First Time as Outbreak Grows Worse Than Ever
CNBC  |  January 8, 2021

More than 4,000 people died of COVID-19 in the United States in one day for the first time on Thursday as the country reports record-high numbers and the outbreak grows more severe by the day. The U.S. has reported a record-high daily death toll on five of the past 10 days, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

How Will the National Guard Help With COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution?
Military Times  |  January 8, 2021

In 2021, the National Guard will be assisting with coronavirus  vaccine distribution in at least 26 states, according to senior Guard officials. Of those 26 states, 11 plan to exclusively assist with the administrative and logistics processes necessary to push the vaccine to healthcare providers. Ohio’s National Guard, for example, is only unloading and repackaging vaccine shipments for transport to inoculation sites.

Here's How the U.S. can Jump Start its Sluggish COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout
NPR  |  January 8, 2021

The vaccination campaign has gotten off to a sluggish start in the U.S. Instead of 20 million people vaccinated by the end of 2020 — a frequent promise of the Trump administration — only around 6 million people have gotten their first dose so far. How can the U.S. jump-start the COVID-19 vaccination campaign? 

Yes, You Can Still Get Infected With COVID-19 After Being Vaccinated. Here's Why
CNN  |  January 8, 2021

On Dec. 18, a San Diego emergency room nurse was given a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. A week later, he tested positive for the virus, a CNN affiliate reported. Stories like this will become more common as millions of Americans are administered the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines over the coming months. Over time, many who are vaccinated will still get infected with the novel coronavirus. During trials, the vaccines were shown to be about 95% effective — which means some vaccinated people were still infected.

Federal Update: HHS Hopes to Replace Potentially Faulty COVID Tests Used by Congress, Hospitals Press Administration for Fed Help with Vaccine Distribution, Stimulus Debit Cards to be Mailed This Week
January 8, 2021

The federal health department is working to provide alternative COVID testing for Congress after the Food and Drug Administration warned the test lawmakers have relied on is prone to false results, HHS testing czar Brett Giroir said. FDA earlier this week raised concern about the performance of a lab-based coronavirus test made by Curative and used by several major cities as well as Congress, saying it carries a “risk of false results, particularly false negative results.”

The American Hospital Association pressed Health Secretary Alex Azar to provide more federal support and coordination for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, saying the slow rollout has raised questions about how fast they can inoculate the public. The group, which represents nearly 5,000 hospitals and health systems across the country, said the rollout “has led to concern about whether the task of vaccinating all who are able to take the vaccine will happen as quickly as federal leaders have suggested it would."

The Treasury Department announced Thursday that approximately 8 million second stimulus payments will be mailed out starting this week in the form of prepaid debit cards. The debit cards, called Economic Impact Payment (EIP) cards, are issued by MetaBank, N.A., and will arrive in a white envelope that “prominently displays the U.S. Department of the Treasury seal.”

States Update: States Say Feds 'Overpromised and Underdelivered' on Vaccines, Californians Told to Stay Within 120 Miles of Home, 800 Georgia National Guardsmen have Tested Positive for COVID-19
January 8, 2021

The federal government "overpromised and underdelivered"on coronavirus vaccine expectations, leaving states understaffed and without enough money to immunize their residents quickly, state health officials said. "We overpromised and underdelivered as a nation," Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, said. "We only got a third of what we thought we were going to get based on the initial modeling."

Set forth by the California Department of Public Health,  a newly issued California Travel Advisory seeks to restrict residents’ movements further. What’s more it includes the idea that, “non-essential travelers from other states or countries are strongly discouraged from entering California." The advisory is called a “recommendation,” and replaces the previous, less-stringent order issued in November.

The total number of Georgia National Guardsmen who have tested positive for COVID-19 has more than doubled to 800 since last summer, when hundreds were dispatched to help fight the spread of the disease and boost security amid the protests for racial justice. They represent nearly 6% of the 13,791 guardsmen who have tested positive nationwide. Five guardsmen from California, Hawaii, New Jersey, North Dakota and Texas are among the 15 U.S. servicemembers who have died from COVID-19.

WHO Calls for More Intensified Measures to Fight UK Coronavirus Variant
CNN  |  January 8, 2021

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called on European countries to intensify coronavirus measures as the region deals with a new variant that was first detected in the UK. WHO Europe director Hans Kluge said further measures were needed to "flatten the steep vertical line" of rising cases in some countries. In the UK, health workers are struggling with a steep rise in cases and deaths. The country recorded a total of 1,041 further deaths on Wednesday, as well as 62,322 new cases.

UK-bound Travelers Must Show Negative COVID-19 Test at Border
FOX News  |  January 8, 2021

All international travelers landing in the U.K. will be mandated to show a negative COVID-19 test result upon arrival. The new regulations require all passengers traveling into the U.K. to show proof of a negative coronavirus test taken 72 hours prior to departure. Passengers who are unable to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test will be fined $678 (500 pounds), the U.K. Department of Transport announced Friday. 

Viral Mutations may Cause Another ‘Very, Very Bad’ COVID-19 Wave, Scientists Warn
Science  |  January 8, 2021

As in early 2020, the world is anxiously watching a virus spread in one country and trying to parse the risk for everyone else. One concern is that the COVID-19 variant will become the dominant global variant with its higher transmission and will drive "another very, very bad wave,” says an infectious disease expert. Whereas the pandemic’s trajectory in 2020 was fairly predictable, the expert thinks "we’re going into an unpredictable phase now,” as a result of the virus’ evolution.

How COVID-19 Attacks the Brain and may Cause Lasting Damage
NPR  |  January 8, 2021

Early in the pandemic, people with COVID-19 began reporting an odd symptom: the loss of smell and taste. That worried neurologists. Their fears proved well-founded — though the damage may come from the body and brain's response to the virus rather than the virus itself. Many patients who are hospitalized for COVID-19 are discharged with symptoms such as those associated with a brain injury. 

Tokyo Declares State of Emergency While London Declares Major Incident
January 8, 2021

After days of record coronavirus counts and a rapidly rising death toll, Japan declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures on Thursday, the country’s first such declaration since April. The announcement by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga came five days after governors from the affected prefectures had pleaded with the central government to act, and after his own coronavirus expert panel had recommended the emergency declaration. Meanwhile, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared a major incident because the National Health Service is on the cusp of being overwhelmed by the rapid spread of COVID. “One in 30 Londoners now has COVID-19. If we do not take immediate action now, our NHS could be overwhelmed and more people will die,” Khan said via Twitter.