HCA Healthcare Returning $6 Billion In Federal Coronavirus Aid

It’s rare when a company returns federal money. It’s rarer still when that money amounts to billions of dollars. Yet that’s the situation with top U.S. hospital operator HCA Healthcare (NYSE:HCA), which aims to return gobs of government largesse from whence it came.

All told, HCA announced that it’s planning to return roughly $6 billion, $1.6 billion of which consists of federal COVID-19 grants and $4.4 billion in Medicare loans. Both were provided as part of the government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) passed in the early stages of the current pandemic.

HCA benefited from the loans and grants bestowed upon operators of healthcare facilities to help keep them afloat.

The company will pay those funds back because it continues to thrive, even though many elective surgeries have been postponed or canceled in the face of the coronavirus.

Last week HCA published a “preview” of its Q3 of fiscal 2020 results, indicating year-over-year revenue growth approaching 5%, to an estimated $13.3 billion. It is also projecting only a relatively modest drop in profitability, with non-GAAP (adjusted) EBITDA — earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization — sliding to around $2.03 billion from the year-ago result of almost $2.29 billion.

“During the early days of the pandemic, the Company took a conservative approach which included a number of actions to meet the operational and financial challenges this global health crisis was expected to present,” HCA explained in the press release heralding the preliminary Q3 figures.

The company did not provide a timetable as to when it would repay the federal grants and loans.

Tuesday was a good day for HCA stock; it rose by almost 2.1%, against the 0.6% drop of the S&P 500 index.

This article originally appeared in the Motley Fool.

Eric Volkman has no position

Coronavirus lockdown 2.0 deepens divisions in Israel

JERUSALEM (AP) — When Israel went into lockdown last spring, Jerusalem pub owner Leon Shvartz moved quickly to save his business — shifting to a delivery and takeaway model that kept him afloat throughout the summer. Then came the second lockdown.

With restaurants and shops shuttered again, Shvartz’s business is struggling to survive. He has laid off 16 of his 17 employees.

By contrast, Israeli software maker Bizzabo, which operates in the hard-hit conference-management sector, quickly reinvented itself last spring by offering “virtual events.” It has more than doubled its sales and is expanding its workforce.


Such tales of boom and bust reflect Israel’s growing “digital divide.”

Even before the pandemic, Israel had one of the largest income gaps and poverty rates among developed economies, with a few high earners, mostly in the lucrative high-tech sector, while many Israelis barely get by as civil servants, in service industries or as small business owners.

Those gaps have widened as the second nationwide lockdown, imposed last month, dealt a new blow to an economy already hit hard by the first round of restrictions.

The fallout from the pandemic has also deepened long-simmering divisions among Israeli Jews, pitting a largely secular majority against a powerful ultra-Orthodox minority.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a target of months of mass protests over his perceived mishandling of the pandemic, has been seen as favoring his ultra-Orthodox partners at the expense of the greater good. In trying to contain the latest outbreaks, Netanyahu opted for an economically devastating blanket lockdown instead of targeted restrictions in infection hot spots, including many ultra-Orthodox communities, presumably to avoid upsetting his allies.

The deep tear in Israel’s social fabric prompted a warning from Israel’s figurehead president, Reuven Rivlin.

“I feel the air is full of gunpowder. I feel the fury on the

Twitter slaps warning on President Trump tweet claiming coronavirus immunity

US President Trump has become subject to another fact-check warning on social media after claiming immunity to COVID-19.

In a tweet posted on Sunday, the US president claimed that physicians at the White House have given him a clean bill of health, and as a result, he is now “immune” to further infection by the novel coronavirus. 

Trump also claimed he is no longer contagious. 

See also: Twitter places public interest notice on President Trump’s tweet

“A total and complete sign off from White House Doctors yesterday,” the tweet reads. “That means I can’t get it (immune), and can’t give it. Very nice to know!!!”

After the message was published, Twitter slapped a warning label on the tweet. The microblogging platform says the tweet “violated the Twitter Rules about spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19.”

screenshot-2020-10-12-at-07-56-33.png

There are currently no concrete indicators that immunity from COVID-19 is assured following infection, and if resistance is built up due to the production of antibodies, it is not possible to know if an immune response is strong enough to fight off another case of the respiratory illness. 

In a statement on Saturday, White House physician Sean Conley said that Trump was no longer considered a “transmission risk to others,” but did not disclose if the president is now testing negative.

CNET: Huawei ban timeline: UK says there’s ‘clear evidence of collusion’ between Huawei and China

While Twitter may wipe out such messages and remove profiles entirely if they are spreading fake content surrounding the pandemic, as Trump is a significant political figure, the organization has chosen to keep the tweet accessible in the public interest. 

This is not the first time the US president has fallen afoul of Twitter’s rules. In May, a tweet posted by the US president was

Hinge CEO on how online dating is changing during coronavirus

  • Since the start of the pandemic, dating apps have seen a spike in usage.
  • But users also have new concerns that these apps have to address. 
  • Business Insider spoke with the founder and CEO of Hinge, Justin McLeod, on how coronavirus has changed the face of dating for good and what the company is doing about it. 
  • Hinge is taking steps like launching a partnership with mental health space Headspace and pushing for more video-based dates – which could stay popular even after it’s safe to meet in person. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The way people meet and date has changed dramatically since the onset of the pandemic, and dating apps like Hinge are trying to keep up with the shift. 

People are going on more dates than ever before, but they’re not meeting up as frequently, Justin McLeod, founder and CEO of the dating app Hinge, told Business Insider. Hinge has adjusted its app to account for these changes. The company launched a video chat and voice call option in June. It also added an in-app link to the World Health Organization’s coronavirus safety guide. 

“Everyone has very shifting senses of what the right type of dating for them to experience is,” he said. “Managing that amount of complexity, and helping our product team manage how the world is changing so quickly, has definitely been a huge challenge.”

Across the board dating apps are seeing more traction from users. Match Group, the online dating company that owns apps like Tinder, OkCupid, and Hinge, all saw a spike in premium subscriptions and downloads since the start of the pandemic. Hinge saw a 30% increase in messages among users this past March, according to the company’s research team, Hinge Labs.

While this increased usage is good, online dating