Unemployment Claims Top 30 Million Over Last 6 WeeksThere were 3.84 million unemployment claims made in the past week, according to figures the Labor Department released on Thursday. That brings the rolling six-week total to a staggering 30.3 million, and emphasizes the devastating effect the coronavirus pandemic has had on the economy. President Trump’s economic adviser Kevin Hassett said of the unemployment numbers: “The fact is that right now we have 30 million people have filed for unemployment insurance. The unemployment rate is probably up around 19%. And those numbers are as startling as anything we’ve seen since the Great Depression.”
FDA Expected to Announce Emergency-Use Authorization for RemdesivirThe US Food and Drug Administration is expected to announce the emergency use of the coronavirus treatment remdesivir, according to The New York Times. “As part of the FDA’s commitment to expediting the development and availability of potential COVID-19 treatments, the agency has been engaged in … discussions with Gilead Sciences regarding making remdesivir available to patients as quickly as possible, as appropriate,” FDA spokesman Michael Felberbaum said in statement.
USNS Comfort Leaves NYCThe hospital ship USNS Comfort departed New York City at noon Thursday after supporting the Department of Defense’s COVID-19 response efforts to New York and New Jersey residents during the coronavirus pandemic, according to an ABC report. The departure occurs exactly one month after the navy hospital ship sailed into New York harbor. Wednesday, April 29, 2020
- According to Gilead Sciences, preliminary results of a clinical trial, shows at least 50% of patients with treated with a five-day dosage of remdesivir improved while more than half were discharged from the hospital within in a duration of two weeks.
- President Donald Trump signed an executive order under the Defense Production Act (DPA) to compel meat processing plants to remain open, after hundreds of plant workers have tested positive for coronavirus. Trump signed the order after some companies were considering keeping only 20% of their facilities open.
- The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics Evaluation (IHME) model, widely referred to predict the affect of COVID-19, increased its projected US coronavirus death toll to 74,073, up from 67,641 a week ago. The new figure remains lower than a projection of 90,000 US deaths a month ago. The institute said that the increase is due to “many states experiencing flatter and thus longer epidemic peaks.” It also said that coronavirus deaths across the country are not falling “very quickly” after their estimated peak.
- President Donald Trump is urging states to “seriously consider” reopening their public schools before the end of academic year, he said on a Monday call with governors.
- Southwest Airlines reported its first quarterly operating loss since the Great Recession of 2008, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Colorado, Minnesota, and Mississippi joined a handful of states that are beginning to reopen their economies. However, as reported in a New York Times article, many business owners and customers are confused by conflicting rules and guidance from local, county, and state governments.
- Restaurants across Tennessee are authorized to open Monday for the first time in almost a month. This step, as the state eases restrictions put in place to mitigate COVID-19’s spread, comes one day after the state reported its highest-single day jump in newly confirmed coronavirus cases with 478, a 5.2% increase from the previous day.
- A heartburn drug is being studied as a possible treatment for the coronavirus in New York hospital patients, officials said on Monday. The clinical trial consists of over 150 people and involves the use of famotidine, the active ingredient in Pepcid. The results of the trial could be released within the next few weeks, according to CNN.
- The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued, new interim guidelines advising meat and poultry processing.
- Despite receiving criticism, Georgia moved forward as planned on Friday by allowing some nonessential businesses like bowling alleys and hair salons to reopen. Georgia should not have began reopening until June 22, according to modeling by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
- President Trump on Friday signed into law the almost $480 billion package intended to aid small businesses and hospitals while expanding coronavirus testing. According to CNN, the package will “add to the already historic levels of spending to deal with the pandemic by authorizing an additional $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, which was set up to help small businesses struggling from the economic deep freeze triggered by coronavirus.”
- President Trump says he “strongly disagrees” with Georgia Governor Brian Kemp deciding to open businesses like barber shops and movie theaters.
- Sales of new, single family homes dropped by 15.4% in March, according to data from the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. “Given the widespread nature of the shutdown during April, it is probable that new home sales activity will drop much further when the April figure is reported,” said Ben Ayers, senior economist at Nationwide, in emailed comments.
- Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced on Thursday that she is evaluating the state’s stay-at-home order after reviewing the latest data of COVID-19 in Michigan. WHile didn’t specify which businesses could open, she’s keeping an open mind as she makes her assessment. “Is it public-facing? Does the majority of the work happen indoors or outdoors? Does it require more than one person using a set of instruments or machinery? These are three of many questions that we’re asking to assess risk inherent in different sectors of our economy.”
- New autopsy results have revealed that two people in California died from COVID-19 in early and mid-February – that timeline is almost three weeks earlier than previously thought.”That is a very significant finding,” Dr. Ashish K. Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told CNN’s “New Day” on Wednesday.
- Data analysis from 33 states, conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, depict a distressing reality – blacks are dying from COVID-19 at higher rates than whites.
- A leading US model is now projecting that 66,000 Americans will die from COVID-19 by August, a 10% increase from its previous projection. The upward trajectory of expected fatalities is due to states updating their death tallies, and adding residents of nursing homes who officials are now counting as presumptive positive.
- President Trump announced a temporary halt on issuing green cards to prevent people from immigrating to the US.
- The Senate Passed an almost $480 billion relief package that includes hundreds of billions of dollars in new funding to aid small businesses affected by the pandemic.
- Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announced that Georgia will begin restarting the state’s economy the close of this week. Georgia’s timetable marks the most aggressive in the nation and will allow gyms, hair salons, bowling alleys and tattoo parlors to reopen as long as owners adhere to social-distancing and hygiene requirements.
- Gov. Cuomo said at his daily news briefing on Tuesday that he will speak to President Trump at the White House about New York’s testing capacity. Cuomo stated that he agrees with Trump’s position that sates should be in charge of their own testing, but feels’ COVID-19’s unprecedented scale requires federal assistance.
- After consulting with state officials, Facebook announced it will remove posts on anti-stay-at-home protests being organized in California, New Jersey, and Nebraska. The protests run counter of the states social distancing guidelines, a Facebook spokesman told CNN.
BREAKING: American Oil CrashesUS oil prices plunged today to below $0 to $-37.63 a barrel. The crash occurs as COVID-19 destroys demand and producers have run out of places for storing excess barrels of crude. “No one in America wants oil in the short term,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda told clients on Monday.
US Death Toll Exceeds 41,000; NY to Begin Aggressive Antibody TestingAs of today, there are now almost 771,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the US, and the virus has taken the lives of 41,349 US citizens. In response to the virus’ spread, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that the state will begin conducting antibody tests to determine how many New Yorkers were infected with the virus and recovered. A sample of 3,000 state will start receiving tests from the state Department of Health to detect the presence of antibodies produced by people infected with COVID-19, Gov. Cuomo said.
Facebook Releases Symptom Tracking MapFacebook today released a map that tracks COVID-19 symptoms county by county. The company plans to release the map while providing daily updates. Facebook partnered with Carnegie Mallon University to create an opt-in survey to help better identify coronavirus hotspots before infections are confirmed.
Dow Drops More than 400 PointsThe combination of recent COVID-19 news and a steep decline in US crude prices has stocks falling. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dropped 531 points, pointing to a Monday opening drop of about 500 points. S&P 500 futures dropped 1.8% while Nasdaq 100 futures lost 1.2%.
Trump Invokes Defense Production Act for Testing SwabsOn Monday, President Trump announced he would use the defense Defense Production Act to manufacture much needed testing swabs. Trump said that under the act, an addition 20 million swabs will be produced each month. Friday, April 17, 2020
US Deaths Surge to New Record HighThe US recorded a grim new record high in COVID-19 deaths on Thursday. Tragically, over 4,500 Americans died in a 24-hour period from the respiratory disease. The US still leads the world in both confirmed cases (685,845) and deaths (35,521). New York, the US’s coronavirus epicenter, now has 226,198 confirmed cases and 16,736 deaths, after reporting 630 deaths on Thursday alone. However, encouragingly New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reported that hospitalizations across New York are in decline. “Net change in total hospitalizations is undeniably on the decline. The three-day average, which is more accurate than any one-day number, also says the same thing. That’s not that telling to me because, as I said, the entire hospital is now basically an ICU ward,” Cuomo said as a news conference Friday.
Trump Reveals Federal Guidelines to Reopen USPresident Trump has revealed federal guidelines to gradually reopen the US. Three-phase plan would be led by the discretion of state governors. Trump is calling the recommendations “the next front in our war, which is called opening up America again.” The president said the strategy is based on “hard verifiable data” and that “benchmarks must be met at each phase.” “Now that we have passed the peak in new cases, we are starting our life again. We are starting rejuvenation of our economy again, in a safe and structured and a very responsible fashion,” Trump said. “We are not opening all at once, but one careful step at a time.”
COVID-19 Patients Responding to Experimental Drug RemdesivirCOVID-19 patients seem to be recovering quickly after being administered Gilead Sciences’ antiviral medicine remdesivir, according to STAT News. A Chicago hospital treating severe coronavirus patients with remdesivir in a closely observed clinical trial is seeing rapid recoveries in fever and respiratory symptoms, with nearly all patients discharged in under a week. To conduct this study, the University of Chicago Medicine recruited 125 people with COVID-19, of which 113 had severe disease. “The best news is that most of our patients have already been discharged, which is great. We’ve only had two patients perish,” said Kathleen Mullane, the University of Chicago infectious disease specialist overseeing the remdesivir studies for the hospital.
Florida Governor Authorizes Some Beaches to Open; Ramps Up TestingFlorida Governor Ron DeSantis gave the green light for some beaches and parks to reopen if it can be done safely after being closed to the COVID-19 outbreak. At news conference, DeSantis said that some municipalities should feel free to start opening up parks and beaches, if that can be done safely with distancing guidelines remaining in place. The governor feels its important for people to have outlets for getting exercise, sunshine and fresh air. “Do it in a good way. Do it in a safe way,” DeSantis said. Also, Gov. DeSantis announced the opening of two walk-up testing centers in Broward County, and says that Florida is almost “neck and neck” with California in terms of coronavirus testing.
US Could Face “New Normal” Without VaccineFormer US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Tom Frieden says Americans will have to maintain social distancing measures until a vaccine is developed. He told MSNBC on Friday “We don’t know when a vaccine will come.” Dr. Frieden added that, “Anyone who is not afraid of the devastation this virus causes is not taking it seriously enough and that can be a deadly error. This is a highly infectious virus. It’s spreading like a super SARS — all of the way SARS spread and more.” Thursday, April 16, 2020
- COVID-19 continues to have a calamitous effect on the nation’s workforce. Americans filed 5.2 million jobless claims in the last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday, hiking the four-week total to over 22 million.
- The $349 billion emergency small business lending program officially tapped on Thursday, according to a CNN report. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Democrats will now reconvene to attempt and reach an agree on a package that will immediately increasing funding.
- The US Food and Drug Administration is calling on all people who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate blood plasma. The reason for the request is that convalescent plasma, the liquid part of the blood, contains antibodies which can be used to boost the immune response of people still fighting the virus.
- President Trump announced on Tuesday that the US is halting funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) pending a review into handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
- The US Food and Drug Administration issued emergency use authorizations for two new COVID-19 antibody tests on Wednesday.
- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order that mandates anyone outside in the state will be required to wear a mask or some type of protective face wear.
- COVID-19 patients might be most infectious before showing symptoms, according to the findings of a new study published today in the journal Nature Medicine.
- The US Food and Drug Administration has authorized the emergency use of a diagnostic test can detect COVID-19 in saliva.
- South Korea will ship a total of 750,000 COVID-19 testing kits to the US, according to a public health official.
- Boston University may cancel all in-person classes until 2021. “The Recovery Plan recognizes that if, in the unlikely event that public health officials deem it unsafe to open in the fall of 2020, then the University’s contingency plan envisions the need to consider a later in-person return, perhaps in January 2021,” the university said in a statement.
- Oprah is using her platform to sound the alarm about the disproportionate effect COVID-19 is having on the African American community.
- Over the weekend the US became the world-leader in COVID-19 deaths, surpassing Italy. The US now has a death toll of 22,115, and overall 560,433 confirmed cases. New York remains the hardest hit state, and has more confirmed cases than any foreign country. New York governor Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday that 758 more people died in New York – the state currently has 189,415 confirmed cases and 9,385 deaths. However, Cumo encouraged that the rate of hospitalizations is decreasing, and that statement appears supported by US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, who said some US hot spots, including NY, appear to be “leveling off” or reducing.
- Tragically, a sailor assigned to the COVID-stricken air carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt died of coronavirus complications Monday.
- South Korea will send 600,000 testing kits to the US, according to South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- The US Food and Drug Administration approved a new method that uses saliva to test for COVID-19. The test was developed by researchers at Rutgers University’s RUCDR Infinite Biologics and Spectrum Solutions and Accurate Diagnostic Labs.
FDA Green-Lights System of Cleaning N95 MasksThe US Food and Drug Administration announced a plan on Sunday to decontaminate millions of N95 respirators per day. The system, called the STERRAD Sterilization System, uses “vaporized hydrogen peroxide gas plasma sterilization”, according to the FDA. The system is installed in thousands of hospitals, and can now be used on the N95 protective masks, which are in short supply. Saturday, April 11, 2020
IRS Deposits First Wave of Stimulus ChecksThe Internal Revenue Service sent out the first wave of stimulus checks to Americans on Saturday, according to a tweet they posted. The deposits will continue in the days ahead, with people who have filed tax returns for 2018 and 2019 and authorized for direct deposit being the first to receive their money.
#IRS deposited the first Economic Impact Payments into taxpayers’ bank accounts today. We know many people are anxious to get their payments; we’ll continue issuing them as fast as we can. For #COVIDreliefIRS updates see: https://t.co/hEEWmgHA9V pic.twitter.com/2bSHOTjMAS— IRSnews (@IRSnews) April 11, 2020
- Dr. Anthony Fauci said officials are seeing “some favorable signs” that coronavirus curve may be flattening in the US. Dr. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert said during an appearance on CNN’s “New Day” that: “What we’re seeing right now are some favorable signs as I’ve discussed with you a few times on this show,” Fauci explained. “It’s looking like that in many cases, particularly in New York. We’re starting to see a flattening and a turning around.”
- Some Americans who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 will start seeing more money in their pockets soon. States are beginning to implement historic enhancements to unemployment benefits, a feature that Congress included in its 2.2 trillion relief package. It includes a $600 weekly increase for up to four months, coupled with state benefits.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci says the idea of Americans carrying certificates of immunity to prove they tested positive for the antibodies to COVID-19 might “have some merit under certain circumstances.”
- The Spanish government is working on introducing a preliminary version of universal income to assist Spaniards facing the economic blows of COVID-19, CNN reports. “This [health] crisis has placed on the table the urgency of a universal basic income, that it is essential and fundamental to guarantee dignity and a minimum purchase power for many Spanish families that are in a desperate situation,” the second deputy Spanish Prime Minister, Pablo Iglesias, said in an interview with national broadcaster TVE on Friday.
- The coronavirus pandemic continues to have an unprecedented affect on the job market as another 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. In total, over 16 millions Americans have made jobless claims in the last three weeks, and when compared to the 151 million people on payroll in the last monthly payroll report, it means that country has lost 10% of its workforce in just three weeks.
- COVID-19 might have been circulating in New York longer than originally thought and the earliest cases likely stem from travelers coming from Europe and the other parts of the US, according to the findings of two separate research projects.
- Antibody tests, which can reveal whether someone have had COVID-19 without being diagnosed, either before the outbreak started or during the test day, will soon be readily available, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci.
- The number of people traveling via plane had decreased by approximately 96%, according to a CNN report.
- The US recorded its highest number of deaths in a single-day with more than 1,800 fatalities reported on Tuesday. That exceeds the previous record of 1,344 deaths which was recorded on April 4. The US currently has 406,697 confirmed cases and 13,868 deaths.New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the grim announcement today that NY also set a single-day record in deaths with 779 on Tuesday, up from Monday’s total of 731. COVID-19 has now claimed the lives of more New Yorkers than the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center.
- Major city mayors are now looking to address the disproportionate death rate affecting minorities with the novel coronavirus, especially African Americans.
- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy imposed more restrictions to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 community spread in the state. Murphy ordered all non-essential construction sites to shut down indefinitely, effective at 8 p.m. ET on Friday.
- US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has started the process for quick passage of a $251 billion stimulus bill for additional small businesses loans, CNN reports.
- Dick’s Sporting Goods will furlough a “significant number” of its roughly 40,000 employees beginning Sunday.
- UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in intensive care on Wednesday, but is “improving” and “sitting up in bed” talking to physicians, according to Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
- Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Wednesday that Canada’s national lockdown will continue “for many more weeks” as the nation makes assessments on when to resume some economic activity.
- Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell said he hopes to approve further funding to help small businesses affected by the pandemic.
- Investors are feeling better about a recent decline in COVID cases. Stocks surged on Monday with The Dow up 1,600 points, its third highest point gain ever. The S&P 500 went up 7% to its highest level since March 13. The S&P rebounded by around 20% from its 52-week low on March 23. Today, the Dow is trading 846 points higher at the open, or more than 3%. The S&P is up 3.2% while the Nasdaq Composite surged 2.8%.
- President Trump announced a tough negotiation between his administration and 3M has ended with a deal which will see 3M delivering an addition 5.5 million “high-quality face masks” each month.
- Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ space venture Blue Origin has joined other rocket companies in the fight against COVID-19 by volunteering to make products needed by front-line health care workers. Blue Origin workers are offering to make plastic pieces needed for face shields, the company said in a video released on Tuesday.
- Major League Baseball (MLB) and its players are focused on a plan that could allow them to start the season as early as May, ESPN reports. The plan, should it come to fruition, would dicate that all 30 teams play games in the Phoenix area in stadiums with no fans.
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was transferred to intensive care on Monday, after his persistent coronavirus symptoms worsened.
- China reported no new COVID-19 deaths for the first time since January, the National Health Commission said.
- Encouragingly, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a video briefing on Monday that the death toll in the state has been “effectively flat” for the past two days, adding that: “If we are plateauing, we are plateauing at a high level.”
- Stocks are rising, and rebounded from sharp losses over the previous week with the Dow Jones Industrial Average trading at 1,200 points higher, or up more than 5%. The S&P 500 gained 5.5% while the Nasdaq Composite jumped by 5.4%.
- World Health Organization (WHO) officials are now warning that COVID-19 can spread in asymptomatic patients one to three days before the onset of symptoms. “It’s very important to note that even if you are pre-symptomatic, you still have to transmit through droplets.
- Boris Johnson admitted to hospital.
- Spain’s death toll has reportedly dropped for the fourth consecutive day on Monday, with 637 confirmed deaths today. Spain’s number of mortalities from the novel virus have been steadily falling since they hit a peak of 905 last Thursday, according to a Reuters report.
- Tiger at the Bronx Zoo tests positive for coronavirus.
- Spain’s death toll has reportedly dropped for the fourth consecutive day on Monday, with 637 confirmed deaths today. Spain’s number of mortalities from the novel virus have been steadily falling since they hit a peak of 905 last Thursday, according to a Reuters report.
- A third passenger aboard the Coral Princess cruise ship died on Sunday after being transported by a plane ambulance to a Florida hospital, CNN reports. The Coral Princess departed Santiago, Chile on March 5, and announced operations were halting one week later. Two passengers perished on board the ship before it docked and six others were transported from the ship to local hospitals on Saturday.
- Vice President Mike Pence announced on Sunday that hydroxychloroquine will be used in a trial of 3,000 patients at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, and the results will be tracked in a formal study. Pence added that they are “more than prepared” to make hydroxychloroquine available to doctor’s offices and pharmacies in the Detroit area “as they deem appropriate.”
- Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx emphasized on Saturday that the next weeks will be pivotal in flattening the curve. She stated: “This is a very important — the next two weeks are extraordinarily important, and that’s why I think you’ve heard from Dr. (Anthony) Fauci, from myself, from the President and the Vice President that this is the moment to do everything that you can on the presidential guidelines,” Birx said.
- The United States became the epicenter for COVID-19 cases less than a week ago, and since has seen its numbers surge to over 258,000 cases and 6,572 deaths. Dr. Anthony Fauci explained in a CNN interview that even with mitigation efforts in place in the form of social distancing, the amount of US deaths has yet to reach its apex. “Even when you suppress or stabilize the number of new infections, its still going to take awhile before you see a decrease in hospitalizations, a decrease in intensive care, and a decrease in deaths.” Adding that: “In fact, deaths are the last thing that lag. So you could be doing well, and having a good effect on mitigation, and still see the deaths go up.”
- The USNS Comfort, the Navy hospital vessel deployed to NYC to treat non-COVID patients, is only currently treating 20 patients, according to a Navy spokesperson. However, the Navy expects that number to rise appreciably as the referral process is refined. New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio said in a CNN interview that: “There’s no question in my mind that will get resolved quickly. You’ll see that number grow.”
- US Government Will Only Issue New Passports in ‘Life-or-Death’ Emergencies
- The spread of COVID-19 has had an astronomically dire effect on the US job market as 6.6 million US workers filed for unemployment benefits in the week ending on March 28, meaning that nearly 10 million jobless claims have been made in the last two weeks.
- Amid the pandemic, the Democratic National Committee decided to postpone the party’s presidential convention in Milwaukee from July 13 to August 17, one week before the Republican Party’s convention.
- A venerable panel of scientific experts informed the White House that research shows COVID-19 can spread not just through sneezing and coughing, but also by just talk, or possibly even just breathing.
- Out of 70 students who boarded a plane from Austin, Texas to Mexico for spring break two weeks ago, more than 40 have now tested positive for COVID-19 – all of them University of Texas at Austin students.
- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered the closure of all New York City playgrounds on Wednesday to mitigate the virus’ spread.
- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced a stay-at-home order for all Floridians to impede COVID’s spread.
- Stocks fell by 4% on Wednesday following President Trump’s aforementioned warning of deadly days to come. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 909 points, or 4.1% in midday trading, while the S&P 500 fell by 4.4% and the Nasdaq Composite dropped by 3.9%. This comes one day after the Dow closed out their worst quarter since 1987.
- President Trump warns of a ‘painful’ next weeks as the virus’ peak nears closer.
- New data from Iceland reveals that 50% of patients who tested positive for COVID-19 said they did not present with any symptoms.
- The COVID-19 death toll in the United Kingdom rose by a record 563 in the last 24 hours, and now Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government is under fire for failing to keep its promise to ramp up testing.