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Virus lockdowns return

It’s not what anyone wanted for the holidays.

A second phase of lockdowns has already begun with weekly coronavirus cases in the U.S. surpassing 150,000 per week. The next few months of the pandemic could be the worst yet, health officials warn.

A glance around the nation indicates the trend has returned to encouraging isolation.

Statewide stay-at-home orders begin Monday in New Mexico. Washington state has ordered a one-month ban on indoor services at restaurants and gyms.

There is a 10 p.m. curfew on bars and restaurants in the state of New York. A statewide mask mandate has been imposed in Ohio.

In Nashville, the city has issued restrictions that forbid gatherings of more than eight people. In Chicago, the mayor issued a plea for families to cancel Thanksgiving plans and stay at home.

Wall Street forecaster James Bianco told CNBC the new economic lockdowns will hurt the holiday rush and retail business. Just as stores are gearing up for the holidays, more restrictions are being put in place for the health and safety of all Americans as the virus spreads.

According to Bianco, the fallout from surging coronavirus infections is starting to put consumers on alert due to job market uncertainty, particularly for those who can’t work from home.

“Roughly around 30% of the jobs in the American workforce can be effectively done at home. Seventy percent of them can’t,” Bianco told CNBC. “Think surgeon to waitress. They can’t do that at home.”

Bianco notes the impact will also widen the wealth gap.

“The people who can effectively work at home are at the higher end of the earnings spectrum,” he said. “They won’t be hurt as much by another work-from-home wave coming.”

Bianco believes a fresh round of coronavirus aid could have softened the blow. But he estimates it’ll take more than two months for Congress and the White House to approve it.

“Maybe another stimulus package would give them a little bit more incentive to spend,” added Bianco. “But right now, we’ve been waiting for that next stimulus package since Aug. 1, and it doesn’t look like we’re going to get anything probably until after Jan. 20, at the earliest.”