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Urban flight means home improvement trends will become a sustained shift

People walk into a house for sale in Floral Park, Nassau County, New York, the United States, on Sept. 6, 2020. Home buyers eying for cozy backyards and more office space are staging bidding wars in the suburbs surrounding New York City amid the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wang Ying | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

As some Americans flee cities and move into suburban or rural areas during the coronavirus pandemic, some analysts are predicting home projects and repairs will shift from a trend to long-term habit.

That could add up to more sales for Home Depot, Lowe’s and other retailers with a wide variety of home improvement items, from paint and tools to kitchen appliances, according to a Wells Fargo Securities research note. Those retailers have already seen strong sales and growing profits during the pandemic, as Americans spend more time in their homes and dollars they would have otherwise doled out for restaurant bills or summer vacations.

The suburban shift could also benefit auto-focused retailers, such as Carvana, AutoZone, O’Reilly Automotive and Advance Auto Parts, according to the note.

In the research note, Wells Fargo senior equity analyst Zachary Fadem spelled out factors that have driven some people out of cities. Among them, he said, about 65% of early Covid-19 cases were concentrated in dense cities. People have sought out more space as they work and learn at home and as aspects of city life from public transit to high-end restaurants are unavailable or unappealing.

He pointed to recent earnings reports by retailers that soared past Wall Street expectations, citing de-urbanization as one of the causes.

A survey of about 1,000 consumers by the Wells Fargo analysts found that more than 88% planned to increase their retail spending in the second half of the year

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Otay Mesa detainees say shift of health services to private contractor complicates care

After spending the first part of the pandemic in the public spotlight for a large COVID-19 outbreak at Otay Mesa Detention Center, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has contracted out medical care at the facility to the private prison company that owns and operates it.



a close up of a door: Detainees at the Otay Mesa Detention Center in south San Diego wait in one of the secure areas of the medical section. (Nelvin C. Cepeda / The San Diego Union-Tribune)


© Provided by San Diego Union Tribune
Detainees at the Otay Mesa Detention Center in south San Diego wait in one of the secure areas of the medical section. (Nelvin C. Cepeda / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Detainees interviewed by the San Diego Union-Tribune say the medical care, which had already been criticized by them and their advocates, has grown even worse than it was under ICE.

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Detainees complained of missed and late medications, multiple-day waits for medical attention and a lack of transfer of records that left staff in the dark about what treatment individual detainees were supposed to be receiving. It has also meant that those who had been approved for specialty care, such as oncology and orthopedics, would have to begin the lengthy process anew.

“The first couple of days, it was chaos,” said Guillermo Alvarez Mendonza, a detainee with diabetes, hypertension and chronic back pain. “If you were getting your blood sugar checked two or three times a day, it was midnight before they came for the first blood-sugar check.”

Both CoreCivic and ICE denied the detainees’ allegations.

“Our clinic is staffed with licensed, credentialed doctors, nurses and mental health professionals who contractually meet the highest standards of care,” said Amanda Gilchrist, spokeswoman for CoreCivic. “CoreCivic also maintains several accreditations from nationally recognized industry leaders such as the American Correctional Association, the National Commission on Correctional Health Care and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, which ensures we meet the highest standards for health care delivery.”

She said

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