Local gas prices below U.S. mean

The price of regular gasoline in Chattanooga remains 33 cents per gallon cheaper than the U.S. average and 45.2 cents per gallon below fuel prices a year ago, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 170 stations.

Gas prices in Chattanooga rose by less than a penny a gallon last week to an average of $1.83 per gallon, compared with the U.S. average price of $2.16 per gallon for regular fuel.

"Average gasoline prices largely remain rangebound as the tug of war between market forces continues to keep prices confined near current levels," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.

"On one side, the coronavirus situation would be pulling prices down as year-to-date gasoline demand stands some 13% lower than last year, but on the positive side is the possibility of economic stimulus that could boost households ahead of the election if the two parties can manage to agree. For now, with little action on either issue, oil markets are seeing a good amount of speculation and seesawing, and that will continue until we have a clear answer on whether Washington will deliver more economic aid to hard hit Americans."


COVID-19 takes $16 trillion toll

The COVID-19 pandemic will exact a $16 trillion toll on the U.S. — four times the cost of the Great Recession — when adding the costs of lost lives and health to the direct economic impact, according to former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers and fellow Harvard University economist David Cutler.

About half of that amount is related to lost gross domestic product as a result of economic shutdowns and the ongoing spread of the virus, while the other half comes from health losses including premature death and mental and long-term health impairments, Cutler and Summers wrote in an essay published online Monday in in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"The immense financial loss from Covid-19 suggests a fundamental rethinking of government's role in pandemic preparation," the authors wrote. "Currently, the U.S. prioritizes spending on acute treatment, with far less spending on public health services and infrastructure."

The $16 trillion amount is equal to about 90% of annual U.S. GDP; it's also more than twice as much the U.S. has spent on wars since Sept. 11, 2001, including those in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, according to the essay.


Opioid maker to pay $1.6 billion in fines

Connecticut's Attorney General William Tong announced Monday that the generic opioid manufacturer Mallinckrodt has agreed to a $1.6 billion settlement to resolve a host of lawsuits that arose in response to tens of thousands of deadly opioid overdoses nationwide fueled, in part, by prescription drugs.

Exactly how the money will be distributed remains under negotiation, Tong said, but the settlement and pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic led the drug maker, one of the largest supplier of generic opioids, to file bankruptcy this week.

Mallinckrodt is the nation's highest volume manufacturer of generic opioids.

"For years, they balanced their business on the backs of a product they knew was dangerous and deadly, Tong said. "As Mallinckrodt now collapses and files for bankruptcy, this agreement ensures $1.6 billion will be placed in a trust and used to directly address the pain, suffering and trauma caused by the opioid epidemic."

In the settlement framework, Mallinckrodt has agreed to pay the money into a trust, which will go toward response to the opioid epidemic and help address individual claims against the company for its role in the crisis, Tong's office said.


Disney focuses more on streaming business

Disney said Monday that it is reorganizing its business units to focus even more on streaming.

The company said in August that its Disney Plus service has more than 60 million subscribers, and subscribers to its main combination of streaming services — Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and Hulu — top 100 million. It still plans to launch another international streaming service called Star.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit box-office revenue by closing many theaters and Americans continue to drop their cable subscriptions, affecting the company's TV networks.

So the company is creating three content arms, one each for sports, general entertainment and famous brands including Star Wars and Marvel. Their primary focus will be on making shows and movies for streaming services, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said in a statement. Meanwhile, a new distribution group will centralize how the content is sold and oversee streaming operations.

Disney's are among a slew of new streaming services from tech and entertainment companies — like NBCUniversal's Peacock and WarnerMedia's HBO Max — that are challenging Netflix for consumers' attention and money.


British Airways cuts 13,000 jobs

British Airways has said it will cut 13,000 jobs as the coronavirus pandemic batters the airline industry. On Monday, it announced one more job was going: the chief executive's.

Alex Cruz, the chief executive and chairman of British Airways, will step down from his role as chief executive immediately, the airline's parent company, IAG, said. He had held the position for 4 1/2 years.

The sudden change in management comes as British Airways, like much of the rest of the travel industry, is urgently trying to stay afloat. The spread of the coronavirus and ensuing travel restrictions have hit airlines, especially long-haul carriers, hard. Last month, IAG said it had seen "an overall leveling off of bookings" after a brief pickup in the summer. It said it planned to fly even less for the rest of this year and next than it had previously forecast.

Cruz, 54, will be replaced by Sean Doyle, who runs Aer Lingus, an IAG airline based in Ireland.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner