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5.2 million more Americans file for unemployment amid COVID-19 crisis


The coronavirus pandemic has forced non-essential businesses to close.

An additional 5.2 million Americans filed for unemployment insurance last week, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday.

This brings the total to more than 20 million people who have already applied for unemployment insurance amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as non-essential businesses across the country have been forced to shutter.

This means nearly all the job gains since the 2009 recession have been wiped out in a month.

The adjusted unemployment rate for the week ending April 4 was 8.2%, the DOL said, which “marks the highest level of the seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate in the history of the seasonally adjusted series.”

The previous high was 7% in May of 1975.

Moody’s Investor Services is forecasting the unemployment rate to spike even higher and “average between 8.8% and 16.2% in the second quarter” as a result of business closures and the scaling back of work.

“Job losses have so far been concentrated in sectors directly impacted by quarantine restrictions,” Moody’s Senior Vice President Robard Williams said in a statement. “However, as shutdowns continue, job losses will likely extend into other areas of the labor market, such as business and professional services where firms may begin to see lower revenues from a second order pull back in demand.”

The rampant unemployment will likely further cut back household spending in the U.S., which already saw a steep decline in March, according to Williams.

Meanwhile, as the unemployment filings skyrocket, many Americans report ongoing struggles in applying for unemployment insurance across the country.

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.



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Coronavirus: One in five Americans ordered to stay at home


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Media caption60 days of coronavirus in the US – in 60 seconds

A number of US states have ordered shutdowns with one in five Americans soon set to be under a “stay at home” order.

Connecticut and New Jersey are joining Illinois and California in ordering residents to stay at home in order to combat the spread of coronavirus.

New York State has ordered non-essential businesses to close.

The virus has claimed nearly 230 lives in the US and infected more than 18,500 people.

Globally more than 270,000 patients have tested positive for the respiratory illness and more than 11,000 have died.

What measures are the states taking?

On Friday, Connecticut, Illinois and New York state announced measures directing tens of millions of people to stay at home. The restrictions order most workplaces to close and require residents to remain inside except for trips to grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations.

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo restricted public gatherings and ordered all “non-essential workers” to stay at home. The measures come as confirmed coronavirus cases in New York reached 7,000 – the highest of any US state.

“These provisions will be enforced,” Mr Cuomo told reporters. “These are not helpful hints.”

Late on Friday, President Trump declared a major disaster in New York state, a move which will release federal funding.

  • What can West learn from Asia’s coronavirus fight?
  • Dow erases Trump presidency gains in virus sell-off

New York and the neighbouring states of New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania also issued a joint order on Friday for the closure of all “personal care” businesses, such as hair and nail salons and piercing and tattoo parlours.

All outdoor team sports such as basketball games are also banned under the measures, which take effect on Sunday night.

The announcement comes after California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a similar order, telling all residents to stay at home. He estimated more than half of the 40 million people in his state would contract Covid-19 in just the next two months.

Images from Los Angeles show some of the city’s most famous landmarks completely deserted while the freeways are almost empty.

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Images from Los Angeles show some of the city’s busiest spots left completely empty

Illinois has also ordered all residents indoors with exceptions to shop for food and medicine or take exercise.

Nevada announced its own ban on non-essential businesses on Tuesday. In Hawaii, bars and clubs have been ordered to close and social gatherings have been limited to groups of 10, according to the New York Times.

President Trump has so far ruled out any nationwide lockdown.

He said during a press conference on Friday: “I don’t think we’ll ever find (a US shutdown) necessary”. He added that the US was “winning” the war against the virus.

As both the number of cases and the global death toll continued to soar, many countries and regions took new measures on Friday, including:

  • Spain: The government warned that army patrols would catch people outside without good reason
  • Bavaria: Germany’s second most populous state became the first state in impose a lockdown
  • France: Police said patrols at Paris railway stations had been reinforced to stop people going on trips for the weekend
  • Indonesia: A state of emergency will be in force in the capital Jakarta from Monday – bars, cinemas and many other businesses will be shut down.


Life goes on

By Sophie Long, BBC News, Los Angeles

These may be the most restrictive measures to be put in place in modern Californian history, but in Los Angeles life goes on and the streets are far from empty.

In a city famous for its gridlocked rush-hour traffic, cars are moving more freely past the palm trees on Sunset Boulevard. In Hollywood cyclists still overtake joggers and families still go out for a stroll. But these could all be seen as essential excursions.

People have been told that those who work in critical sectors should still go to work. Busses are still running and grocery stores, pharmacies and banks are all still open.

But many people are staying at home and friends and neighbours are keeping their distance. Restaurants and bars closed their doors days ago, but now all gatherings outside the home have been banned and there is no indication when the restrictions will be lifted.

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Like a scene from a disaster movie, a freeway into Los Angeles is almost empty as the lockdown bites

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Venice Beach in Los Angeles on the first day of lockdown


Why has the US restricted border traffic with Mexico and Canada?

Also on Friday, the US suspended all non-essential traffic across its borders with both Mexico and Canada.

The curbs take effect at midnight on Saturday but will not affect trade, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

President Donald Trump said on Friday: “In normal times, these massive flows [of immigrants] place a vast burden on our healthcare system, but during a global pandemic, they threaten to create a perfect storm that would spread the infection to our border agents, migrants and to the public at large.”

Hours after he spoke, the White House announced that a staff member in Vice-President Mike Pence’s office had tested positive for coronavirus, though a spokeswoman said the unnamed patient did not come into close contact with Mr Pence or Mr Trump.

Earlier this week President Trump announced that the border with Canada would be closed to non-essential traffic “by mutual consent”.

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Media captionStudents on spring break defy Covid-19 warnings

During Friday’s news conference, Mr Pompeo said the restrictions would take effect on Saturday and also apply to Mexico. They are due be in place for at least 30 days.

US citizens “should arrange immediate return” unless they intend to remain abroad for some time, Mr Pompeo said.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said the US was “working with both our Canadian partners as well as our Mexican partners”.

He added: “We want to make sure cargo continues, trade continues, healthcare workers continue to be able to traverse that border. But tourism, some recreational activities and other things need to stop during this crisis.”

The announcement comes as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said asylum seekers crossing into the country on foot from the US would be turned back as part of the border shutdown.

How have the president’s businesses been affected?

According to US media, Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago golf club in Palm Beach, Florida, has closed following an order by the state’s governor to shut all bars and restaurants.

A spokesperson for the Trump Organization would not confirm the mothballing of the resort, but told CNN: “Various facilities are temporarily closed given local, state and federal mandates.

“We anxiously await the day when this pandemic is over and our world-class facilities can reopen.”

Mr Trump’s hotel in Las Vegas has already closed after coronavirus restrictions were introduced by the governor of Nevada.

The president’s hotels in New York and Washington DC remain open, though more than 200 staff have reportedly been laid off as their occupancy rate plunges amid the pandemic.

The bar and restaurant of the Trump International Hotel in the nation’s capital have shut in response to a virus-containment directive from the city authorities.



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Americans Sick of President ‘Lies All the Time’



Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Saturday celebrated his big Nevada caucus win with supporters in San Antonio, Texas, declaring that the American people are “sick and tired of a president who lies all of the time.”

Multiple media outlets on Saturday evening called the Nevada race for the socialist senator, and he celebrated with supporters in San Antonio:

“I’m delighted to bring you some pretty good news. I think all of you know we won the popular vote in Iowa, we won the New Hamshire primary, and according to three networks and the AP, we have now won the Nevada caucus,” he said as supporters broke out in cheers of “Bernie.”

“No campaign has a grassroots campaign like we do, which is another reason we are going to win this election,” he declared, also proclaiming that he will win the Democrat Primary in Texas and in the general election.

Sanders told supporters that Trump gets “very very upset easily” so “don’t tell him we’re going to beat him in Texas.”

“We are going to win in Texas and across the country because the American people are sick and tired of a president who lies all of the time,” Sanders said.

“They are sick and tired of a corrupt administration. They are sick and tired of a president who is undermining American democracy, who thinks he is above the law, and who apparently has never read the Constitution in this country,” he continued.

“The American people are sick and tired of a government which is based on greed, corruption, and lies. They want an administration which is based on the principles of justice —  economic justice, social justice, racial justice, and environmental justice,” he added.

The socialist senator also told his supporters that Trump and his friends “think they are going to win this election”  by dividing people by race, religion, and sexual orientation.

“We are going to win because we are doing exactly the opposite,” he declared.

President Trump reacted to Sanders’ strong showing in Nevada on Saturday, warning him against allowing the Democrat establishment to steal the nomination from him.

“Looks like Crazy Bernie is doing well in the Great State of Nevada. Biden & the rest look weak, & no way Mini Mike can restart his campaign after the worst debate performance in the history of Presidential Debates,” he said.

“Congratulations Bernie, & don’t let them take it away from you!”:





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2 jets with Americans escaping coronavirus land in California



Two jets carrying about 350 Americans have arrived in California at Travis Air Force Base after fleeing the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China.

One of the aircraft is scheduled to refuel at the base near Vacaville before heading to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar near San Diego later Wednesday. According to the U.S. Northern Command, the travelers are subject to a 14-day federal quarantine under orders from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At Miramar, space has been set aside to house the passengers, who include families with children, in a bachelors quarters complex and at base inn.

According to Dr. Christopher Braden, a deputy director with the CDC deployed to handle repatriation flights from China, everyone on the planes were screened for symptoms of coronavirus before boarding in China. They will undergo the same screening process when they land at Miramar.

“If there is anybody who is ill or who has fever, they are not allowed on the plane,” Braden said. “Once they arrive, another screening is the first thing that we will do on this end, and if there are any people who have symptoms and/or fever, consistent with coronavirus infection, they are transported to a medical facility for a full medical evaluation and isolation.”

Miramar and Travis are two of the four U.S. facilities the Department of Defense tapped to house quarantined Americans. The others are Fort Carson in Colorado and Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. March Air Force Base in Riverside County has also set up tents on its tarmac in preparation for any passengers who may be diverted to the base for screenings.

Last week, a plane carrying a group from Wuhan landed at March. Nearly 200 people remain under quarantine there, where they will be monitored for symptoms until the virus’ 14-day incubation period has ended.

On Tuesday, another person traveling from mainland China was transferred from Los Angeles International Airport to the base. The traveler will be isolated from the other people and will remain under quarantine for the next few days.

To date, there have been nearly 500 deaths in mainland China and one in the Philippines, and more than 24,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus globally. The CDC has confirmed 11 cases of the virus in the United States, including six in California.

While officials expect that count to continue growing, they point out that the flu remains a bigger health threat to people in the U.S. than coronavirus, causing tens of thousands of deaths a year.

San Diego Union-Tribune writers Andrew Dyer and Paul Sisson contributed to this report.





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Trump traveling to Delaware to honor Americans killed in Afghanistan


This marks at least the third trip Trump has made the trip to the Delaware Air Force base to witness what is called a dignified transfer, which honors American military members who die while serving their country.

In February 2017, Trump traveled to Dover after Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens was killed during a U.S. raid in Yemen. In January, he visited when the remains of four Americans killed by a suicide bomber in Syria were returned to the U.S.

Last month, Trump vividly described the anguish families feel when he has visited with them at Dover as he defended his decision to move troops in northern Syria, paving the way for a Turkish invasion.

Trump said that he has been surprised at how well the families appear to be dealing with the death of their loved one.

“I see people that were smiling, saying, ‘Oh, Mr. President, thank you for being here,’” he said.

But it’s short-lived. He said the families break down when the cargo plane arrives and the transfer case, covered with an American flag, is carried out with military personnel on each side.

“I’ve seen people that I thought were really incredible the way they were, I didn’t even understand how they could take it so well, scream like I’ve never seen anything before,” Trump said. “Sometimes, they’ll run to the coffin. They’ll break through military barriers, they’ll run to the coffin and jump on the coffin.”

“Crying mothers and wives, crying desperately,” Trump said. “And this is on these endless wars that just never stopped and there’s a time and there’s a place, but it’s time to stop.”

Knadle and Fuchigami had been assigned to 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

At least 19 Americans have been killed in combat in Afghanistan this year. In total, more than 2,400 Americans have died since the U.S. first arrived in Afghanistan in October 2001.



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