More Than 400,000 Jobs Available as Coronavirus Prods People to Stock up on Necessities and Order Takeout

By Washington Examiner. The outbreak of the coronavirus across the United States has shuttered whole industries. Still, demand for essentials, such as food, toilet paper, and even pizza delivery, has increased hiring by over 400,000 jobs as people shelter in their homes and stock up on necessities.

Walmart, the largest employer in the U.S., wants to hire an additional 150,000 temporary workers by the end of May to meet the increase in demand at its stores. However, those temporary jobs could become permanent. , ,

The company will also implement a new process to expedite hiring dramatically for critical roles, such as cashiers and stockers. What is usually a two-week application cycle will be reduced to a 24-hour process.

Walmart looks to hire people who have been recently laid off because of the pandemic, said its president and CEO, Doug McMillon. . .

Amazon seeks to hire an additional 100,000 full- and part-time workers to keep up with e-commerce demand. It plans to invest over $350 million worldwide, which would include pay increases of $2 per hour for U.S. employees who work in its fulfillment centers, transportation operations, or stores, or those making deliveries so that others can remain at home. (Read more from “More Than 400,000 Jobs Available as Coronavirus Prods People to Stock up on Necessities and Order Takeout” HERE)

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Coronavirus Job Losses Hit These States the Hardest, According to Record Unemployment Claims

By Yahoo. The impact of the economic shutdown in the U.S. caused by the COVID-19 pandemic was revealed Thursday when the latest tally of Americans applying for unemployment benefits spiked to 3.28 million — the largest number ever recorded in history.

That weekly number quadruples the prior record and dwarfs, by far, the largest halt to employment seen during the 2008 financial crisis. Single weekly jobless claim numbers never topped 700,000, until now.

But digging further into the disastrous 3.28 million headline number reveals a slowdown that hit some states harder than others, and reveals why President Trump might be so eager to see businesses reopen in some communities sooner rather than later.

Key swing states, which Trump won by the slimmest margins in 2016, showed some of the largest percentage increases in unemployment applications for the week ending March 21. Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania each reported a jump in weekly unemployment applications that surpassed 2,300%.

On a percentage basis, New Hampshire suffered the worst spike in unemployment claims, up more than 3,300% from just 641 claims the week prior to top 21,000 weekly claims at last clip. Conversely, Utah, which hasn’t been hit with as many reported cases of coronavirus as other states, only saw jobless claims rise by less than 1%. (Read more from “Coronavirus Job Losses Hit These States the Hardest, According to Record Unemployment Claims” HERE)

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Mexicans Demand Crackdown on Americans Crossing the Border

By BBC News. Mexican protesters have shut a US southern border crossing amid fears that untested American travellers will spread coronavirus.

Residents in Sonora, south of the US state of Arizona, have promised to block traffic into Mexico for a second day after closing a checkpoint for hours on Wednesday.

They wore face masks and held signs telling Americans to “stay at home”.

Mexico has fewer than 500 confirmed Covid-19 cases and the US over 65,000.

The border is supposed to be closed to all except “essential” business, but protesters said there has been little enforcement and no testing by authorities. (Read more from “Mexicans Demand Crackdown on Americans Crossing the Border” HERE)

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Protesters in Mexico Block Lanes at Arizona Border Crossing to Demand Stricter Coronavirus Screenings

By USA Today. Protesters on the Mexican side of the border blocked the Mexico-bound lanes in the twin border cities of Ambos Nogales for several hours Wednesday to express their displeasure with the Mexican government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The protesters demanded greater controls and screenings on southbound traffic at the U.S.-Mexico border out of concern that travelers from the U.S. could import new cases of the coronavirus into Mexico.

Less than a dozen people wearing face masks and carrying signs used two of their vehicles for a blockade of the two southbound lanes at the DeConcini crossing, several hundred feet into the Mexican side of the border, video taken by Mexican media showed.

Some of the signs asked U.S. residents to “stay at home.” Others called on Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to step up controls and restrictions along the U.S.-Mexico border to contain the spread of COVID-19. (Read more from “Protesters in Mexico Block Lanes at Arizona Border Crossing to Demand Stricter Coronavirus Screenings” HERE)

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WATCH: Sleepy Joe’s Latest Shadow Briefing Goes Worse Than the First

Following Biden’s “Virtual Happy Hour” which my colleague, Bonchie, posted on here, the former Vice President decided to resume his shadow briefings on the Chinese virus on Wednesday. He wants to show Americans how a real president would handle this crisis. (He decided to skip Tuesday’s briefing. I suppose he was worn out after three ten minute interviews he’d given earlier in the day from his home studio.)

Those who watched it said the presumptive Democratic nominee “devolved into gibberish” at times. In the clip below, Biden tells viewers, “I’m going to, Barack, significantly increase the number of pell grants that are out there. A pell grant is a family basically less than $50,000 you’re able to get at the time, it was less than six but it raised it to $6000.” . . .

Lloyd Constantine, a New York attorney and one-time senior policy advisor to former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, writes, “Biden is a melting ice cube. Those of us who have closely watched as time ravaged the once sharp or even brilliant minds of loved ones and colleagues, recognize what is happening to the good soldier Joe.” . . .

Biden’s decline over just the last week has been extraordinary. I don’t think it will be possible for the Democrats to keep this farce going until November. (Read more from “WATCH: Sleepy Joe’s Latest Shadow Briefing Goes Worse Than the First” HERE)

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U.S. is New Epicenter of the Coronavirus Pandemic, NYC’s Leaders to Blame?; Trump Administration to Publish Social Distancing Guidelines for Counties According to Risk

By Live Science. The coronavirus outbreak reached a somber milestone in the U.S. on Thursday (March 26) — the nation now has more coronavirus cases than any other country in the world.

There are now at least 82,174 cases of the new coronavirus disease, COVID-19, in the United States, according to worldometer, a website that tracks coronavirus cases. That’s higher than the case count in either Italy (which has 80,589 cases) or China (which has 81,285 cases). . .

Just a few days ago, the World Health Organization warned that the U.S. had the potential to become the new epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. (Read more from “U.S. Is New Epicenter of the Coronavirus Pandemic” HERE)

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Tucker Carlson Hammers New York’s Leaders, not Trump, for Spreading Chinese Virus

By Victor Garcia. Tucker Carlson focused the top of his Thursday show on New York City’s battle with the coronavirus, ripping city officials for increasing the “risk” for citizens and not taking the outbreak seriously in its early stages.

“As this deadly virus emerged from eastern China and began to spread inexorably across the globe, clearly headed here, leaders in New York not only failed to shield their citizens from it, they took affirmative and aggressive steps to increase the risk to their population,” Carlson said.

“Why would they do that? Well, because they were worried far more about being called racist than protecting human lives. That’s not an overstatement. That’s not hyperbole.”

Carlson criticized New York City health commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot, among others, who dismissed the incoming threat of the coronavirus in February.

“The risk to New Yorkers from coronavirus is low and … our preparedness as a city is very high,” Barbot said at a Feb. 2 press conference supporting the Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade and Festival. “There is no reason not to take the subway, not to take a bus, not to go out to your favorite restaurant and certainly not to miss the parade next Sunday [Feb. 9].” (Read more from this story HERE)
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Trump Administration to Publish Social Distancing Guidelines for Counties According to Risk

By The Blaze. President Donald Trump announced Thursday that his administration will roll out social distancing guidelines for state and local governments by categorizing counties according to their level of risk amid the coronavirus pandemic, in order to assist officials “in making decision about maintaining, increasing, or relaxing social distancing and other mitigation measures.” . . .

In a letter to the nation’s governors, the president wrote, ‘As we enhance protections against the virus, Americans across the country are hoping the day will soon arrive when they can resume their normal economic, social, and religious lives.”

“If furtherance of this shared goal,” President Trump continued, “my Administration is working to publish new guidelines for State and local policymakers to use in making decision about maintaining, increasing, or relaxing social distancing and other mitigation measures they have put in place.”

The president explained that this initiative can be achieved through the increased COVID-19 testing across the nation, providing data allowing the federal government to classify counties “with respect to continued risks posed by the virus” as the spread of the disease is monitored.

(Read more from “Trump Administration to Publish Social Distancing Guidelines for Counties According to Risk” HERE)

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Trump to Review Options to ‘Open the Country up’ as U.S. Coronavirus Cases Pass China, Italy

By CNBC. President Donald Trump will hear recommendations from the White House coronavirus task force this weekend on plans to “open the country up” as the economy continues to strain under the pandemic.

The new guidance on how to kickstart the economy will come days after the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. surpasses China or Italy, making it the country with the largest outbreak in the world.

Vice President Mike Pence told reporters at the White House on Thursday that the task force will share “a range of recommendations and additional guidance for going forward” with the next steps in its efforts to blunt the impact of the coronavirus.

“The president has made it clear, that in his words, he wants to open the country up. But we’re going to do that responsibly, and as the president told the governors today, we’ll do that based on the data,” said Pence, who leads the U.S. response to the outbreak. (Read more from “Trump to Review Options to ‘Open the Country up’ as U.S. Coronavirus Cases Pass China, Italy” HERE)

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Coronavirus Unemployment Benefits. Here’s Who Qualifies and How Much They Get.; A Record 3.3M Americans File for Unemployment Benefits

By NBC News. The coronavirus relief package dramatically expands unemployment insurance to for the jobless during the outbreak, aimed at easing the suffering imposed by the crisis as claims last week topped 3 million and shattered records.

The $2 trillion bill, which was passed the Senate and is set to be approved by the House on Friday, creates two main categories of benefits for individuals. The first is Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which covers people who are unable to work because of the coronavirus outbreak — that includes independent contractors, gig workers, sick people and those caring for a loved one during the outbreak. The second is an extra $600 per week over the next four months for those who are out of work and getting jobless benefits in their state. . .

Once you’re on unemployment insurance in your state, you will be eligible for an extra $600 per week in emergency federal compensation through July 31, 2020. That’s in addition to what you’ll receive in state benefits. . .

This bill creates a new program, called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, that extends benefits to gig workers, contractors and others who wouldn’t otherwise qualify for unemployment compensation but cannot work due to the coronavirus emergency. You’ll get the $600 per week, plus half the average unemployment benefit in your state. . .

In most states, people who lose their job can typically get up to 26 weeks of unemployment, and then it stops, even if you haven’t found a new job. This bill will provide another 13 weeks once it runs out. After those 39 weeks, if an “extended benefits” program is triggered, that can provide an additional 13 to 20 weeks of compensation. (Read more from “Coronavirus Unemployment Benefits. Here’s Who Qualifies and How Much They Get.” HERE)

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A Record 3.3M Americans File for Unemployment Benefits as the Coronavirus Takes a Big Toll on the Economy

By USA Today. Layoffs are skyrocketing to unprecedented levels as the coronavirus upends the U.S. economy.

The number of Americans filing initial applications for unemployment benefits jumped nearly twelvefold to a record 3.28 million last week, the Labor Department said Thursday, offering the most vivid evidence yet of the pandemic’s widespread damage to the economy.

The total was well above the 1.5 million claims economists forecast, according to the median estimate of those surveyed by Bloomberg. Workers file claims for unemployment benefits when they lose their jobs.

“A definite and unmistakable sign the United States has entered a recession,” Chief Economist Scott Anderson of Bank of the West wrote in a note to clients.

The pandemic has set off the most abrupt near-shutdown of the economy in history. Many restaurants, shops, movie theaters, sports arenas and other gathering spots across the country suddenly closed their doors or scaled back service last week to contain the spread of the virus. (Read more from “A Record 3.3M Americans File for Unemployment Benefits as the Coronavirus Takes a Big Toll on the Economy” HERE)

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Grocery Store Throws out $35,000 Worth of Food It Says Woman Deliberately Coughed on; What Grocery Stores Are Doing to Protect Workers During Coronavirus Outbreak

By Washington Post. The past few weeks have been tough for Gerrity’s Supermarket, a small family-owned chain in northeastern Pennsylvania. Like grocers nationwide, it has been deluged with orders and has struggled to keep basics such as chicken breasts and toilet paper on the shelves. Employees have been working overtime, pausing only for five-second breaks to wipe everything down with disinfectant wipes.

Then, on Wednesday afternoon, a woman came in and deliberately coughed all over the produce section, meat case and bakery department, co-owner Joe Fasula said. The store had to throw away more than $35,000 worth of food. . .

With most other businesses shuttered in an attempt to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, grocery stores have found themselves on the front lines of the global pandemic. Numerous supermarket employees nationwide have already tested positive for covid-19, and fears about being exposed to the virus run rampant. Meanwhile, a disturbing trend has emerged: People deliberately coughing on workers, other shoppers or the food. (Read more from “Grocery Store Throws out $35,000 Worth of Food It Says Woman Deliberately Coughed on” HERE)

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What Grocery Stores Are Doing to Protect Workers During Coronavirus Outbreak

By New York Post. Grocery stores like ShopRite have taken drastic measures to help and protect their customers and workers from the coronavirus pandemic — from $2 pay raises to installing plexiglass sneeze guards, and now allowing workers to wear protective masks and gloves.

Grocery stores have mentioned Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines in notices on whether they would allow workers to wear masks. The CDC has told the public not to buy masks as medical workers worldwide face a massive shortage. The agency also says the fitted N95 masks require training to be worn properly. . .

ShopRite posted a notice inside at least one of its stores Thursday, which was obtained by The Post, noting that employees would be allowed to wear masks. . .

The powerful United Food and Commercial Workers International Union said in a press release that store employees represented by the union would get a 10 percent increase in pay during the coronavirus outbreak. Workers will also receive two additional weeks of paid leave if they become sick.

Whole Foods says on its website that the company has adjusted its hours, is providing a $2 pay bump and unlimited call outs for sick workers, and all team members placed into quarantine or diagnosed with COVID-19 will receive up to an additional two weeks of paid time off, as announced by its parent company, Amazon. (Read more from “What Grocery Stores Are Doing to Protect Workers During Coronavirus Outbreak” HERE)

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FBI Agent Charged With Stalking Ex-Girlfriend

A Montana FBI agent has been charged with stalking his ex-girlfriend and obstructing officers investigating the case.

Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton said Ricky James Shelbourn was arrested on the misdemeanor charges on March 16, the Independent Record reported Monday.

Shelbourn, the supervisory senior resident agent in Montana, was released on his own recognizance. He is not allowed to possess or have access to any firearms. (Read more from “FBI Agent Charged With Stalking Ex-Girlfriend” HERE)

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James Dyson Designed a New Ventilator in 10 Days. He’s Making 15,000 for the Pandemic Fight

Dyson has received an order from the UK government for 10,000 ventilators to support efforts by the country’s National Health Service to treat coronavirus patients.

James Dyson, the company’s billionaire founder, confirmed the order in a letter to employees shared with CNN on Wednesday.

Dyson said the company had designed and built an entirely new ventilator, called the “CoVent,” since he received a call 10 days ago from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. . .

A spokesperson for the company, which is best known for its vacuum cleaners and hand dryers, said the ventilators would be ready by early April. Dyson, who has wealth worth $10 billion according to Bloomberg, wrote in his letter that he would also donate 5,000 units to the international effort to tackle the pandemic. (Read more from “James Dyson Designed a New Ventilator in 10 Days. He’s Making 15,000 for the Pandemic Fight” HERE)

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Amid Pandemic, Pentagon Urges ‘Hyper-Vigilance’ Against Foreign Investment

The Pentagon’s top acquisition official is worried that adversary nations may use the economic downturn caused by the new coronavirus pandemic to buy out American-made technologies.

During a Wednesday news conference, Ellen Lord warned that it “is critically important that we understand that during this crisis, the [defense-industrial base] is vulnerable to adversarial capital, so we need to ensure that companies can stay in business without losing their technology.”

The Pentagon over the last several years has become increasingly vocal about concerns that foreign nations — primarily China — are investing in U.S. startup companies whose technologies could have national security applications. Those startups have been willing to accept Chinese funds in exchange for Beijing having ownership or access to certain technologies.

Several times the officials were asked if there is a specific threat they are seeing from foreign investment at this moment, but both Lord and Jen Santos, deputy assistant secretary of defense for industrial policy, spoke only in general terms.

“I think it presents a greater attack surface, if you will, as there is uncertainty especially with small businesses as to whether their contracts will continue,” Lord said of the current pandemic. “To basically mitigate that uncertainty, that’s why we’re being forward-leaning and over-communicating, probably, to say: ‘We are open.’” (Read more from “Amid Pandemic, Pentagon Urges ‘Hyper-Vigilance’ Against Foreign Investment” HERE)

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Eighty Percent of Coronavirus Tests ‘Donated’ by China to Czechs Don’t Work; Same Problem in Spain

By Washington Examiner. Some 80% of coronavirus rapid tests China donated to the Czech Republic as part of the communist country’s global goodwill effort are faulty, according to news reports.

A medical official from the Moravian-Silesian region that borders Slovakia and Poland said the test “error rate was quite high.”

According to the Czech radio site iROZHLAS, regional hygienist Pavla Svrcinova said that the tests give false positive and false negative results. She suggested that the tests only be used on people who are ending their virus-related seclusion and who have never been tested.

A government official, however, dismissed the concerns and said the “wrong methodology” was being used for the tests. “I don’t think it’s a scandalous revelation that it’s not working,” he said. (Read more from “Eighty Percent of Coronavirus Tests ‘Donated’ by China to Czechs Are Faulty” HERE)

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Chinese Coronavirus Tests in Spain Faulty, Too

By Sinéad Baker and Ruqayyah Moynihan. Microbiology experts in Spain have said that rapid coronavirus tests that the country bought from China are not consistently detecting positive cases.

The error was discovered as Spain is in the grip of one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the world, second only to Italy in the number of reported deaths.

Studies on the tests done in Spain found that they had only 30% sensitivity, meaning they correctly identify people with the virus only 30% of the time, sources told the Spanish newspaper El País.

Those sources told the newspaper that the tests should have a sensitivity of more than 80%. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says rapid tests for influenza are required to have 80% sensitivity. (Read more about the faulty Chinese coronavirus tests HERE)

Editor’s note: the Chinese communist government is claiming that the Spanish tests were not “donated” but were sold by an unauthorized Chinese company.

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