The Wider World

4.4 million more jobless Americans

ABOUT 26 MILLION people have applied for unemployment benefits in the last five weeks, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (Shutterstock).

The ranks of unemployed Americans are continuing to swell, as the coronavirus and its effects throw more people out of work.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced Thursday that over 4.4 million more people applied for unemployment benefits last week, bringing to 26 million the number of people who have filed for jobless assistance over a five-week period, according to the Associated Press.

One out of six workers are now unemployed, the highest rate since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  At the depth of that downturn, one-quarter of working Americans were out of a job.

Some states have or soon will pursue plans to “open up” by allowing previously closed businesses to reopen as long as they practice social distancing and other safeguards. However, some of those states have different rules than the federal guidelines.

House passes $500 billion virus aid bill

Another huge appropriation to try to rescue a staggering economy was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday. The House, on a 388-5 vote, passed a package of bills for almost half a trillion dollars to provide aid to employers and hospitals impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Millions of people are out of work,” said Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. “This is really, a very, very sad day,” she said, according to the Associated Press.

The largest part will be $250 billion to refill the fund established earlier for small and medium sized businesses. Another $100 billion will go to hospitals and a national testing program. Small banks and community development firms focusing on urban and rural areas will get $60 billion, and a like amount will be devoted to small business loans and grants.

President Donald Trump declared he would sign the bill and said “This bill will help small businesses to keep millions of workers on the payroll,” according to the AP.

Antibody test suggests higher infection rate

A state survey in New York is showing that more people may have been exposed to the coronavirus than was previously believed.

Tests in New York City – the part of the country hardest hit by the pandemic – indicated that 21 percent had tested positive for antibodies. That would mean that they have come into contact with the COVID-19, but their own bodies’ immune systems had prevented infection. Statewide the figure was 14 percent.

However, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said results from the test were “preliminary” and that further research was needed.

“We’ll have a larger and larger sample,” he said. “But I want to see snapshots of what is happening with that rate. Is it going up, is it flat, is it down? And it can really give us data to make decisions.”

Burrow chosen first in NFL draft

UPDATE: As expected, quarterback Joe Burrow of LSU was selected as the first pick of the 2020 NFL draft, chosen by the Cincinnati Bengals. Selected second was defensive lineman Chase Young of Ohio State (Washington Redskins) and third was cornerback Jeff Okuhah, also of Ohio State (Detroit Lions). For the complete draft results, go to www.nfl.com .

The National Football League’s annual draft of college players – itself a major event – will start Thursday (today) in an unfamiliar setting: electronically.

JOE BURROW (Wikipedia, Tammy Anthony Baker).

Using video kits, cell phones, a microphone and a headset, prospective draftees will be sitting at home during the broadcast, then joining the event remotely when they name is called.

The draft will be simulcast across ABC, ESPN and the NFL Network, and live-streamed through the NFL and ESPN websites and mobile apps. It stretch over three days and will double as a telethon-type fundraiser for six charities involved in coping with the COVID-19 outbreak.

Expected to be drafted first is Joe Burrow, the LSU quarterback. The Cincinnati Bengals have the first pick.

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