The Wider World

Joblessness is now at 36 million

LAYOFFS because of the coronavirus pandemic have pushed unemployment claims past 36 million (Shutterstock).

The total number of American workers who have applied for unemployment benefits in the last two months is at about 36 million, now that almost 3 million more people this week have also taken that step.

According to the Associated Press, another 842,000 people have applied for help last week through a program for the self-employed and “gig” workers. CNN places the latest burst of claims pushes joblessness to 22.4 percent.

The eventual numbers could decline, as the Connecticut Labor Department reported Thursday that its report contained a 200,000 person “data entry reporting error.”
Kentucky leads the nation in unemployment claims with 36.2 of the work force filing.

Burr steps down in face of FBI inquiry

Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina is temporarily yielding his post as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee in the wake of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s inquiry into the sale of stocks in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

The FBI served a warrant on Burr’s cell phone on Wednesday. At stake is whether Burr, a Republican, had and used advance warning about an impending pandemic when he sold about $1.7 million in stocks before the market declined dramatically.

Burr, first elected to the Senate in 2004, is in his fifth term, which would end in 2023.

“Darkest winter” warns whistleblower

Government vaccine scientist Dr. Rick Bright on Thursday told a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives that the nation still lacks a comprehensive plan to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Bright, also known as a “whistleblower” from his earlier criticisms of the Trump Administration’s policies, told the panel that America needed to do better with equipment for health care workers, supply chains prepared to distribute vaccines and medicine, and testing.

Without those measures, the nation could face “the darkest winter in modern history,” he said, according to the Associated Press.

President Donald Trump said that Bright seemed to be “an angry, disgruntled employee.”

COVID-19 death toll passes 302,000

The number of deaths worldwide from the coronavirus passed the 300,000 mark on Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The actual count is 302,376, with the United States leading with 85,898 fatalities, followed by Great Britain with 33,698 and Italy with 31,368.

Total confirmed cases worldwide are at 4,442,163, with the U.S. leader with 1,417,774, followed by Russia with 252,245 and Great Britain with 234,245.

Weather: A little warmer and then …

Temperatures in Orange County heading into the weekend will warm up slightly, and then begin a slow decline.  According to the National Weather Service, Friday should be sunny with a high of 79, changing to mostly sunny at 81 degrees on Saturday. But highs will drop to 76 on Sunday under partly cloudy skies, with a 10 percent chance of rain.





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