Latest Updates & U.S. Response

  1. white house

    Trump plans a ‘recovery summer’ message against a bleak backdrop

    Surprise job growth last month is giving Trump the message he wanted in a brutal election year. Democrats are already borrowing from the GOP playbook to push back.

    President Donald Trump and his team are heralding a summer of economic recovery — a dramatic turnaround that will become the centerpiece of his pitch to voters, casting aside attention on nationwide protests and the coronavirus pandemic.

    Many fellow Republicans — and Democrats burned by hopeful economic messaging a decade ago — view the coming months with far greater caution, warning about a chest-thumping declaration of victory.

    Read More »

  2. politics

    Conservatives charge liberals with social-distancing hypocrisy

    They say liberals have stopped scolding protesters for violating social-distancing guidelines for political expediency.

    Conservatives have found their latest example of liberal hypocrisy: Disappearing outrage over protesters refusing to social distance.

    The charge has spread through conservative Twitter and is invoked frequently on conservative media outlets, from Red State to Fox News. They note that when lockdown protesters flooded state capitol buildings, politicians and pundits alike expressed horror that gatherings would accelerate the coronavirus pandemic. But now, with thousands of people gathering to protest police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s killing at the hands of the Minneapolis police, conservatives are asking: Where did that concern go?

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  3. coronavirus

    Coronavirus drugmakers' latest tactics: Science by press release

    Pharmaceutical companies are using the media to tout treatments that are still under review.

    Vaccine maker Moderna attracted glowing headlines and bullish investors when it revealed that eight participants in a preliminary clinical trial of its coronavirus vaccine had developed antibodies to the virus. The company’s share price jumped nearly 20 percent that day as it released a massive stock offering.

    But the full results of the 45-person safety study haven’t been published, even though Moderna began a second, larger trial in late May aimed at determining whether the vaccine works. Several vaccine researchers say the scant public information on the earlier safety study is hard to evaluate because it addresses less than 20 percent of participants.

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  4. Employment

    How the U.S. economic response could change as people go back to work

    Despite the drop in the unemployment rate in May, many economists feel further aid is needed.

    As Congress debates whether to allocate further relief to shore up the U.S. economy and get workers back on their feet, the unemployment rate has suddenly and unexpectedly fallen.

    Here’s a look at how the new numbers are shaping the debate over how the government can keep the turnaround going.

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  5. White House

    W.H. ignored social distancing at event because 'it looked better,' WHCA says

    Chairs for the media at the president's Rose Garden speech were originally spaced out. Then, they were moved closer together in defiance of CDC guidelines.

    White House staff bunched up chairs reserved for journalists at President Donald Trump’s Rose Garden speech Friday, prompting the White House Correspondents’ Association to accuse the administration of endangering the health of reporters.

    ABC News reporter Jon Karl, president of the WHCA, wrote in a statement that the White House press office said it had moved the chairs, which had been spaced out, closer together because “it looks better” — a sentiment echoed by Trump during his address.

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  6. White House

    Trump declares victory amid turmoil

    Surprisingly positive jobs numbers had the president ebullient on Friday, gleeful that the upswing indicated America’s ills were on the mend.

    It had been an unrelenting week for President Donald Trump.

    The country had descended into the most destabilizing protests in half a century. Major cities were under curfew. America’s once-buzzing commercial hubs had boarded up their windows, fearful of looting and vandalism. The president was threatening to deploy the military to “dominate” American streets. The possibility of a protest-fueled coronavirus resurgence loomed.

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  7. Coronavirus

    Trump hails 'tremendous progress' on Covid-19 vaccine

    The White House and HHS didn't elaborate on which company currently developing a vaccine had 2 million doses available.

    President Donald Trump on Friday touted “tremendous progress” on combating the coronavirus pandemic and said the development of therapeutics and vaccines is going “incredibly well.”

    "In terms of transportation and logistics, we have over 2 million ready to go — if it checks out for safety,” Trump said of the vaccines currently being developed and tested, none of which have yet been proven safe or effective against the virus.

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  8. health care

    UK trial on hydroxychloroquine: ‘It doesn’t work’

    It's the latest twist for controversial drug, which has been championed by Trump.

    A large, randomized U.K. trial found “no clinical benefit” of hydroxychloroquine to treat hospitalized Covid-19 patients, researchers announced Friday.

    “It doesn’t work,” declared Martin Landray, one of the lead researchers, at a briefing. Patients receiving hydroxychloroquine died at about the same rate — about one in four — as those receiving regular care in a randomized trial being conducted by the University of Oxford and the U.K. National Health Service.

    Read More »

  9. Congress

    Republicans cheer latest unemployment data

    The positive report could alleviate pressure on the GOP to expand unemployment benefits.

    Republican congressional leaders were ecstatic with Friday’s unexpectedly positive jobs report, coming after months of grim news over the coronavirus pandemic and the imploding U.S. economy.

    What the surprisingly strong economic data will do to the political landscape remains to be seen, and Democrats cautioned that the unemployment rate is still far worse than the level hit during the Great Recession of a decade ago.

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  10. finance & tax

    States move cautiously in contending with huge budget gaps

    Many wait to see what Congress will do before committing to tax hikes, big spending cuts

    States and localities are hemorrhaging revenue because of the coronavirus, but many are also in no rush right now to raise taxes.

    It’s not a stance they can take forever — states, cities, towns and tribal governments are almost certainly going to need to tighten up their fiscal situations with both new revenue and spending cuts at some point.

    Read More »

  11. White House

    Trump casts job data as cure-all for a deeply divided America

    The president said the improved unemployment numbers marked a “great day” for George Floyd.


    President Donald Trump on Friday cast the release of unexpectedly encouraging unemployment statistics as a salve to the twin crises ravaging the United States — seeking political relief in the positive economic news amid continued criticism of his response to nationwide racial unrest and the coronavirus pandemic.

    Speaking from the White House Rose Garden in a previously unannounced news conference, Trump touted Bureau of Labor Statistics figures showing the unemployment rate had dropped to 13.3 percent in May as the “greatest comeback in American history.”

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  12. Employment

    Surprise unemployment drop sparks debate over how fast the economy will rally

    The rate reflects parts of the economy reopening in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.


    An unexpected drop in the unemployment rate set off a fresh round of debate on Friday over how fast the economy can rebound from the coronavirus pandemic and how much the government should intervene to help.

    The unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent in May from a peak of 14.7 percent in April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported — surprising economists who had widely expected the rate to jump to about 20 percent in May, given that more than 40 million people have applied for unemployment benefits in recent weeks.

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  13. Canada

    Ottawa is offering financing of last resort to Canada's biggest companies. Will any of them use it?

    To date, the federal government has not approved any applications for its large employer financing facility.

    OTTAWA — Weeks after the government announced long-awaited bridge financing for Canada’s largest employers, companies in some of the sectors hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic aren’t in any hurry to use it.

    While some observers point out that the large employer emergency financing facility is meant to provide liquidity of last resort only after all other options have been exhausted, others say the conditions attached to the program may make it prohibitive for many companies.

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  14. Europe

    UK and EU clash over British share of Covid fund

    London says it should not have to pay into — or benefit from — changes to budget agreed after the UK left the EU.

    LONDON — London and Brussels are embroiled in a new Brexit row over up to €300 million in U.K. contributions to the EU's emergency coronavirus fund.

    British officials have questioned the size of the U.K.'s contribution to the €3 billion "Emergency Support Instrument," set up to help member countries respond to the pandemic. They argue that, under the terms of last year's Withdrawal Agreement, the U.K. should not be liable to pay for major changes to the EU budget introduced after Brexit took place.

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  15. health care

    States prod nursing homes to take more Covid-19 patients

    Offered vastly higher reimbursements, many substandard facilities are jumping at the chance to accept sick residents.

    Programs designed to help elderly people with coronavirus are creating a perverse financial incentive for nursing homes with bad track records to bring in sick patients, raising the risks of spreading infections and substandard care for seriously ill patients, according to advocates for the elderly and industry experts.

    Coronavirus-positive patients can bring in double or more the funding of other residents. States including California, Massachusetts, Michigan and New Mexico, wanting to relieve pressure on crowded hospitals, are providing extra incentives for nursing homes to accept such patients.

    Read More »

  16. employment

    Mounting unemployment crisis fuels racial wealth gap

    Black workers are more likely to be out of a job, to have lost income or to have left the labor market altogether, economic data and surveys show.


    The economic meltdown that has devastated the country amid the coronavirus pandemic has proven uniquely damaging for black Americans, threatening to exacerbate an already staggering racial wealth gap and fueling nationwide protests focused on racial justice.

    Black workers are more likely to be out of a job, to have lost income or to have left the labor market altogether, economic data and surveys show — and less than half of black adults are now employed. More than 1 in 6 black workers was out of a job in May, the Labor Department reported Friday, and the black unemployment rate continued to rise even as the overall rate ticked downward.

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  17. coronavirus

    Mass arrests jeopardizing the health of protesters, police

    The arrest and detention of thousands nationwide is heightening the risk of coronavirus spread in the broader community.

    Mass arrests of protesters across the country — many held for hours in vans, cells and other enclosed spaces — are heightening the risk of coronavirus spread, according to public health experts and lawsuits filed by civil rights groups.

    As tens of thousands of people take to the streets to protest police brutality after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the arrest and detention of thousands further jeopardizes the health of demonstrators — and that of police officers and the broader community.

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  18. Coronavirus

    Suddenly, Public Health Officials Say Social Justice Matters More Than Social Distance

    For months, health experts told Americans to stay home. Now, many are encouraging the public to join mass protests.

    For months, public health experts have urged Americans to take every precaution to stop the spread of Covid-19—stay at home, steer clear of friends and extended family, and absolutely avoid large gatherings.

    Now some of those experts are broadcasting a new message: It’s time to get out of the house and join the mass protests against racism.

    Read More »

  19. Europe

    Spain announces reopening of border with Portugal (without telling Lisbon)

    Diplomatic blowback forces Madrid to walk back surprise plans only hours after they were unveiled.

    Spain was forced into a U-turn after announcing that its borders with Portugal and France were to reopen this month — leading Lisbon to complain that it hadn't been informed.

    During a meeting with members of the international press Thursday morning, Spanish Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto unexpectedly revealed that the restrictions on border crossings with neighboring France and Portugal would be lifted on June 22, the day after Spain's national lockdown measures end.

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  20. congress

    Republicans face looming unemployment dilemma

    GOP senators oppose the extra benefits, but letting them expire could be politically perilous.

    Forty million Americans are unemployed and extra unemployment benefits expire at the end of next month. Meanwhile, Senate Republicans are grappling with deep ideological divisions over what to do with the popular program in the middle of a pandemic and an election year.

    Most Republicans have roundly rejected the House Democrats’ approach of extending a $600 weekly boost to unemployment checks though January 2021, and some say the enhanced benefits may need to end altogether.

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