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Coronavirus Quick Hits: 4.4 Million More Americans Are Unemployed, and More

Here are some of the major coronavirus developments that are making headlines right now . . .

1.  More than 4.4 million Americans applied for unemployment last week.  That takes the total up to 26.5 million people in five weeks . . . or one out of every SIX working Americans.

We haven’t had unemployment levels like that since the Great Depression . . . and all of the job gains since the Great Recession have now been wiped out.  In FIVE WEEKS.

2.  But here’s great news for America’s billionaires!  They’ve increased their wealth by 10% since the beginning of March.  So they’re all going to be just fine . . . in fact, most of them should come out of this even richer.

3.  Here’s more proof that WAY more people than we ever thought have had coronavirus.  A test of 3,000 people in New York found almost 14% had antibodies, which indicates they had and beat the virus.

If we had more testing, we’d be able to smartly quarantine and truly begin to re-open parts of the country.  But the U.S. still doesn’t have CLOSE to enough testing, so on we go.

4.  The White House just keeps on trying to tie the end of the pandemic to holidays.

The president’s Easter prediction didn’t come true . . . but yesterday, Vice President Pence predicted that, quote, “by Memorial Day weekend we will largely have this coronavirus epidemic behind us.”

And President Trump said yesterday that social distancing guidelines may extend beyond May 1st after all.

5.  A new study found that only 6% of the people hospitalized because of coronavirus in New York City had no pre-existing conditions.

6.  During the daily White House briefing yesterday, the president suggested potential “treatments” for coronavirus like blasting the inside of people’s bodies with UV light.

7.  The House of Representatives has passed the $484 billion relief bill for small businesses and hospitals.  It now goes to President Trump to sign.

Also, the company that got the biggest chunk of the first PPP program, $53 million, was a real estate firm called Ashford Inc. . . . which is run by a huge donor to the president and has two lobbying firms stocked with former Trump administration members.

8.  Ruth’s Chris has now decided to give back the $20 million small business PPP loan it got through a loophole.  Earlier this week, Shake Shack decided to return the loan they got.

9.  61% of Americans now say they wear face masks in public . . . that’s up from 53% last week and 34% two weeks ago.  And for the first time this week, even the majority of Republicans say they’re wearing masks.

The superintendent of Philadelphia schools says that when kids go back to school, they’ll almost definitely have to wear masks.

10.  More than half of Americans say they’ll be “comfortable” visiting friends right away when stay-at-home orders are lifted.  But there’s a big split on political lines:  73% of Republicans say they’ll be comfortable versus 37% of Democrats.

Also, 24% of people say a lockdown over the pandemic violates their constitutional rights.  And there are BIG divides here too . . . men are nearly twice as likely to say that as women, and Republicans are nearly FIVE TIMES more likely to say it than Democrats.

11.  A 40-year-old anti-vaxxer in Idaho was arrested for trying to hold a “playdate protest” at a playground.

12.  Here’s an unexpected side effect of coronavirus:  Criminals are social distancing too.  Miami hasn’t had a homicide in six weeks . . . that’s the longest stretch since 1964.  And that’s even with less of a police presence out.

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