Study: Unemployment Pays Better Than Work for 68 Percent of U.S. Workers

The federal unemployment insurance emergency payments of an additional $600 per week to those laid off because of COVID-19 restrictions discourages work and slows down economic recovery, several reports indicate. Several congressmen have introduced proposals to address the issue.

A report published by the Foundation for Government Ability (FGA) found that by nearly tripling average unemployment benefits through the CARES Act, “Congress has created a situation where unemployment now pays better than work” for roughly 68 percent of U.S. workers.

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Commentary: Blue States Have Been Hit Much Harder by COVID-19

In March, data guru Nate Silver wrote about the different ways blue states and red states were experiencing the COVID-19 epidemic, noting that “states Clinton won do have considerably more total reported cases.”

COVID-19 was not just a blue state problem though. Silver pointed out that cases in red states were increasing far more rapidly.

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Michigan Bars Closed for Indoor Service, Restaurants Now Allowed to Deliver Alcohol

Michigan restaurants and bars will now be allowed to sell to-go alcoholic beverages, thanks to a new package of bills signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday.

Bars and restaurants will now be able to sell drinks to-go, as well as deliver them, until December 31, 2025. Whitmer’s office said the bills are aimed at providing relief for restaurants and bars impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, according WXYZ.

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Britain’s Boris Johnson says COVID-19 Has Been a Disaster

Prime Minister Boris Johnson acknowledged Monday that the coronavirus pandemic has been a “disaster” for Britain, as he announced a spending splurge designed to get the country — and his faltering Conservative government — back on track.

As the U.K. emerges from a three-month lockdown, Johnson has lined up big-money pledges on schools, housing and infrastructure, in an attempt to move on from an outbreak that has left more than 43,000 Britons dead — the worst confirmed death toll in Europe.

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Joe Biden Keeps Inflating the Coronavirus Death Toll

Former Vice President Joe Biden has repeatedly inflated America’s coronavirus death toll by hundreds of thousands and millions of deaths when talking about the virus.

Biden gaffed on Thursday, saying that “over 120 million” people were “dead from COVID” before correcting himself. Biden has struggled to get right the number of coronavirus deaths, which is at roughly 121,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Gov. Abbott Orders Texas Bars to Close Again Amid Coronavirus Surge

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered that bars be shut down across the state for a second time on Friday amid a growing surge in coronavirus cases in his state.

Abbott also ordered restaurants to scale back their operating capacity from 75% to 50% starting Monday. In addition, Abbott ordered that outdoor gatherings of 100 people or more must also receive approval by local governments before taking place. Rafting and tubing businesses in the state have been ordered to close as well.

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US Health Officials Estimate 20M Americans Have Had Coronavirus

U.S. officials estimate that 20 million Americans have been infected with the coronavirus since it first arrived in the United States, meaning that the vast majority of the population remains susceptible.

Thursday’s estimate is roughly 10 times as many infections as the 2.3 million cases that have been confirmed. Officials have long known that millions of people were infected without knowing it and that many cases are being missed because of gaps in testing.

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US Breaks Single-Day Record of New Coronavirus Cases

The United States recorded nearly 37,000 new cases of the novel coronavirus Wednesday as the virus continued to spread across southern and western states, according COVID-19 trackers.

The 36,880 new cases is up from 34,700 recorded Tuesday, and broke previous single-day record for new cases set April 24 when 36,739 were confirmed, according to a New York Times database.

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Audit: US Sent $1.4B in Virus Relief Payments to Dead People

Nearly 1.1 million coronavirus relief payments totaling some $1.4 billion went to dead people, a government watchdog reported Thursday.

More than 130 million so-called economic impact payments were sent to taxpayers as part of the $2.4 trillion coronavirus relief package enacted in March. The Government Accountability Office, Congress’ auditing arm, cited the number of erroneous payments to deceased taxpayers in its report on the government programs.

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New York City Has 39,200 Criminal Cases Backlogged Amid COVID Outbreak

The New York City legal system has more than 39,000 pending criminal cases after trials were postponed in February, the city confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Trials by jury were postponed, prosecutions decreased as officials aimed to decrease the incarcerated population and various hearings were held virtually, The New York Times reported.

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US Citizens Likely to be Left Out as Europe Reopens Borders

Americans are unlikely to be allowed into more than 30 European countries for business or tourism when the continent begins next week to open its borders to the world, due to the spread of the coronavirus and President Donald Trump’s ban on European visitors.

More than 15 million Americans are estimated to travel to Europe each year, and such a decision would underscore flaws in the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic, which has seen the United States record the highest number of infections and virus-related deaths in the world by far.

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Kudlow Echoes Pence, Says ‘No Second Wave’ of Coronavirus Coming

by Andrew Trunsky   White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said Monday that there “is no second wave” of the novel coronavirus coming, as states across the country reported rapid increases in new virus cases. Kudlow touted the progress that the country has made in combating the COVID-19 virus during…

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Comedian DL Hughley Announces He Is COVID-19 Positive After Fainting Onstage

Comedian D.L. Hughley announced he tested positive for COVID-19 after collapsing onstage during a performance in Nashville, Tennessee.

The stand-up comedian, 57, lost consciousness while performing at the Zanies comedy nightclub on Friday night and was hospitalized, news outlets reported. On Saturday, Hughley posted a video on Twitter in which he said he was treated for exhaustion and dehydration afterward.

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Federal Judge asks Michigan Supreme Court to Decide Emergency Power Questions

A federal judge asked the Michigan Supreme Court to settle questions regarding whether Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has the authority to issue executive orders under two state laws.

U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney certified two questions to the Michigan Supreme Court.

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Brazil Tops 1 Million Cases as Coronavirus Spreads Inland

Brazil’s government confirmed on Friday that the country has risen above 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases, second only to the United States.

The country’s health ministry said that the total now stood at 1,032,913, up more than 50,000 from Thursday. The ministry said the sharp increase was due to corrections of previous days’ underreported numbers.

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McDonald’s to Hire 260K People in the US as Pandemic Lockdowns Come to an End

McDonald’s plans to hire more than a quarter of a million people over the course of the summer as economic lockdowns continue to slow down, the company announced Thursday.

The restaurant chain will add 260,000 employees as it reopens dining rooms after shutting down amid lockdowns designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, according to the president of the company.

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Commentary: The Lockdowns Crushed Minority-Owned Businesses the Most

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, minorities have disproportionately suffered from the virus’s health effects. A new study reveals that the government-mandated economic lockdowns have also hit minorities hardest.

In response to the outbreak and under the guidance of federal agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control, state and local governments imposed quarantine orders and mandated shutdowns for many businesses deemed “non-essential.” Whether one supports lockdowns as a public health measure or not, they undoubtedly resulted in tens of millions of Americans and counting filing for unemployment and a sharp economic downturn.

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Report: U.S. Companies Adapting to Produce Coronavirus Supplies Will Reverse Globalization

Solvay, a polymer-specialist company in the mid-Ohio Valley with operations in Washington and Pleasants counties, has partnered with Paragon, a medical-supplies development company to create a special shield for health care workers.

Officials at Memorial Health System told local news outlets they are grateful for the new equipment and for the innovations of U.S. companies that have quickly manufactured necessary equipment needed in the fight against the coronavirus. They said they will continue to use the equipment even after the coronavirus subsides.

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Apple Closes Stores in Four States, Again, as Infections Rise

Apple is closing 11 stores in Arizona, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina that it had reopened just few weeks ago as coronavirus infections rates in some regions in the U.S. begin to rise.

The decision announced Friday is another sign that the pandemic might prevent the economy from bouncing back as quickly as some states have been hoping. Those concerns sent stocks on Wall Street lower Friday.

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Michigan Gyms to Reopen June 25, Judge Rules

Indoor gyms in Michigan will be able to reopen this month after a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders that continue to keep indoor gyms closed.

U.S. District Court Judge Paul Maloney said in an opinion published Friday that the state had given a “blanket ‘trust us’ statement that is insufficient to uphold a no-longer-blanket rule.”

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House Passes Resolution Opposing Whitmer Nursing Home Policies

The Michigan House of Representatives approved a concurrent resolution on Thursday demanding transparency from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer about information related to the coronavirus in Michigan and officially opposing her coronavirus nursing home policies.

Michigan only recently began publishing data about coronavirus cases and deaths in the state’s long-term care facilities like nursing homes.

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Coronavirus Prison Deaths Up 73 Percent Since Mid-May: Report

Coronavirus-related deaths in prisons and correctional facilities have reportedly increased by nearly 75% since mid-May, according to The New York Times.

Coronavirus-related deaths in prisons increased 73%  since mid-May totaling at least 607, according to the NYT’s database. The highest number of confirmed prison COVID-19 cases have been at Marion Correctional Institution in Ohio (2,439).

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Used for Decades to Treat Cushing’s Syndrome, Dexamethasone Shows Promise Preventing Deadly COVID-19 Symptoms

Researchers in England say they have the first evidence that a drug can improve COVID-19 survival: A cheap, widely available steroid reduced deaths by up to one third in severely ill hospitalized patients.

The results were announced Tuesday and the British government immediately authorized the drug’s use across the United Kingdom for coronavirus patients like those who did well in the study. Researchers said they would publish results soon in a medical journal, and several independent experts said it’s important to see details to know how much of a difference the drug, dexamethasone, might make and for whom.

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Stocks Rally Worldwide on Hopes for Coming Economic Recovery

Stocks rose again Tuesday, part of a strong and worldwide rally for markets, after a big rebound in buying at U.S. stores and online raised hopes that the economy can escape its recession relatively quickly.

The S&P 500 climbed 1.9% for its third straight gain, bringing it back within 8% of its record set in February. Gains have built in recent weeks as reports bolster investor expectations that the worst of the downturn may have already passed.

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May Retail Sales Jumped 17.7 Percent, Double the Forecast As States Came Out of a Lockdown-Induced Hibernation

Retail sales rebounded in May as states eased coronavirus-induced lockdown measures, allowing retail stores to regain more ground than analysts expected, according to Department of Commerce data.

Retail sales jumped 17.7% in May, effectively doubling expectations and marking the biggest single-month gain in records going back more than 20 years, according to a Commerce Department report released Tuesday. A Bloomberg News survey of economists had anticipated 8.4% increase in retail sales in May as COVID-19-related measures melted away following a 14% decline in April.

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Academy Delays 2021 Oscars Ceremony Over Coronavirus Concerns

For the fourth time in its history, the Oscars are being postponed. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the ABC Television Network said Monday that the 93rd Academy Awards will now be held April 25, 2021, eight weeks later than originally planned because of the pandemic’s effects on the movie industry.

The Academy’s Board of Governors also decided to extend the eligibility window beyond the calendar year to Feb. 28, 2021, for feature films, and delay the opening of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures from December until April 30, 2021.

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GOP Bill Would Withhold Funding from Schools That Don’t Reopen by September

Republican lawmakers introduced a bill Thursday meant to incentivize schools to reopen from coronavirus closures by September 5.

Republican Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana and Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin introduced the Reopen Our Schools Act Thursday, which would withhold federal funding from schools that don’t open in the fall for in-person learning.

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Trump Admin Considers Months-Long Suspension of Work Visas

The Trump Administration is considering a months-long suspension of work visas during the coronavirus, officials familiar with the plan told the Wall Street Journal.

The order could restrict H-1B visas for highly skilled workers, H-2B visas for seasonal workers and other types of work visas, and might extend past Oct. 1., according to the WSJ.

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Overnight Camps To Reopen June 15, Whitmer Announces

Overnight summer camps will now be allowed to meet beginning June 15, according to an executive order signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday.

Day camps were allowed to open on June 8 per an order from Whitmer handed down on June 1. The most recent order comes as the state continues to open various services and businesses, including restaurants, gyms, and salons.

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Michigan Publishes Data on Coronavirus Cases in Long-Term Care Facilities

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is now providing data about the confirmed cases of coronavirus in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes on its website.

During a reporting period between June 3 and June 10, 98 percent of skilled nursing facilities in Michigan gave reports on the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in their facilities, according to the MDHHS website. The numbers are expected to be updated daily.

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Whitmer Touts Report Showing Stay-At-Home Order Decreased Infection Rate Even As Experts Warn of Second Wave

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer touted her stay-at-home policies on Thursday after a new report showed a drop in infection rates after the implementation of the orders, even as the report itself warns that the pandemic is not yet over.

The Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team released a report on May 24 detailing how stay-at-home orders and other interventions impacted the infection rate in individual states in the U.S. The report shows that Michigan’s rate of infection fell as Whitmer instituted various polices such as closing restaurants and schools. It continued to fall when she instituted a stay-at-home mandate on March 23, crossing the threshold of infection rates fewer than one around March 30.

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Michigan Publishes Map of WiFi Hotspots to Increase Accessibility As Residents Continue to Work, Learn At Home

Michigan has released a map of WiFi hotspots available in the state as a way to assist residents who may not have reliable internet access while they continue to work or learn at home during the pandemic.

The WiFi mapping — spearheaded by the Michigan Public Service Commission, Connected Nation Michigan, the Department of Technology, Management and Budget, and the Department of Education — highlights locations where public internet access is available, such as libraries, public schools and parks. More than 300 locations have already been added to the map, which also includes information about the location and the password used to access the internet there.

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Newt Gingrich Commentary: A Critical Turning Point for US-China Policy

As the United States copes with the aftermath of the horrific killing of George Floyd by police in Minnesota and the massive protests that came after, we must not forget our previous crisis – the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is clear that the blatant lies, destruction of samples, and silencing of doctors orchestrated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) during the coronavirus pandemic amplified the devastation and tragedy the world has endured throughout the past few months.

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Commentary: President Trump’s Reelection Odds Will Improve in the Coming Months as America Reopens

The U.S. economy created over 3.8 million jobs in May in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ household survey, and 2.5 million in its establishment survey, heralding the bottom of labor markets in April.

How do we know April was the bottom? Unless we’re anticipating losing 3.8 million jobs in June when America is reopening, barring a resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the momentum is moving precisely in the opposite direction, the likelihood is that June, July and August will only add to what has already been gained.

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Report: Consumers on Track for Record Year of Debt Repayment Before Coronavirus Hit

U.S. consumers were on track for a record year of debt repayment before the coronavirus shutdown, according to a new 2020 Credit Card Debt Study published by the personal-finance website WalletHub.

Consumers entered 2020 owing more than $1 trillion in credit card debt after a $76.7 billion net increase during 2019. By the end of March, however, they posted the largest first-quarter credit card debt paydown – $60 billion – since at least 1986.

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Commentary: For Seniors, the Difference Between Florida and New York Is a Matter of Life and Death

Florida has the largest percentage of seniors 65-years-old and older in its population most vulnerable to the Chinese coronavirus among larger states and second nationwide, at 20.5 percent, or 4.3 million. Yet it has a relatively low mortality rate for a large state for the China-originated COVID-19 pandemic, at just 2,660, according to data from the Florida Department of Health and the U.S. Census Bureau.

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Government Job Losses Are Piling Up, and It Could Get Worse

Jobs with state and city governments are usually a source of stability in the U.S. economy, but the financial devastation wrought by the coronavirus pandemic has forced cuts that will reduce public services — from schools to trash pickup.

Even as the U.S. added some jobs in May, the number of people employed by federal, state and local governments dropped by 585,000. The overall job losses among public workers have reached more than 1.5 million since March, according to seasonally adjusted federal jobs data released Friday. The number of government employees is now the lowest it’s been since 2001, and most of the cuts are at the local level.

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Commentary: School Reopenings in Denmark Did Not Worsen COVID-19 Spread, Data Show

A new Reuters report says data show the school reopenings in Denmark did not lead to an increase in the spread of COVID-19.

Sending children back to schools and day care centers in Denmark, the first country in Europe to do so, did not lead to an increase in coronavirus infections, according to official data, confirming similar findings from Finland on Thursday.

As nations around the world seek to end the restrictive lockdowns designed to curb the spread of COVID-19, many expressed worry that reopening schools could result in a surge of coronavirus cases. That did not happen in Denmark.

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Michigan Had 17 of 25 Counties with Highest Unemployment Nationally in April

Michigan was home to 17 of the 25 counties with the highest unemployment numbers in the nation in April.

According to a database from Lansing State Journal, Cheboygan County led the nation in unemployment with a 41.2 percent unemployment rate. Second in the nation was Mackinac County at 38.1 percent.

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Commentary: America’s Small Business Owners Have Been Horribly Abused During These Riots and Lockdowns

For nearly 20 years, Bridget McGinty and her sister ran Tastebuds, a popular lunch spot in downtown Cleveland.

On May 1, she made the torturous decision to close it forever after keeping it on life support for weeks after being closed due to the COVID-19 lockdowns.

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May Jobs Report: 2.5 Million Jobs Gained, Unemployment Falls to 13.3 Percent

The U.S. economy gained 2.5 million jobs in May, while the unemployment declined to 13.3%, according to Department of Labor data released Friday.

Total non-farm payroll employment rose by 2.5 million in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, and the number of unemployed persons fell by 2.1 million to 21.0 million.

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Leading Study on Malaria Drug for Coronavirus Retracted: ‘Based on This Development, We Can No Longer Vouch for the Veracity of the Primary Data Source’

Several authors of a large study that raised safety concerns about malaria drugs for coronavirus patients have retracted the report, saying independent reviewers were not able to verify information that’s been widely questioned by other scientists.

Thursday’s retraction in the journal Lancet involved a May 22 report on hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, drugs long used for preventing or treating malaria but whose safety and effectiveness for COVID-19 are unknown.

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Executive Director of Michigan Rising Action Calls for Whitmer to Focus on Nursing Homes, Not Politics

Michigan Rising Action is calling for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to “put politics aside and focus on Michigan.”

In an opinion published on May 30 in The Detroit News, Tori Sachs, the executive director for Michigan Rising Action, argued that Whitmer should shift her focus from politics and “raising her national profile” back to the state of Michigan.

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Medicare to Ratchet up Enforcement Against Nursing Homes as Coronavirus Fatalities Exceed 25,000

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) unveiled enhanced enforcement actions on Monday against nursing homes after preliminary federal data shows that at least 25,923 nursing home residents across the country have died from coronavirus.

“This data, and anecdotal reports across the country, clearly show that nursing homes have been devastated by the virus,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma and Centers for Disease Control Director Robert Redfield wrote in a letter to U.S. governors on Sunday.

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Whitmer Fails to Discuss Nursing Home Deaths in Testimony to Oversight Committee

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer left out information on nursing homes and other long-term care residential facilities during her testimony about the coronavirus to the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Energy and Commerce on Tuesday.

The state’s decision to place people diagnosed with the novel coronavirus into nursing homes has been met with harsh criticism, especially as the state continues to not track or report data related to deaths in those facilities.

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