Virus brief: Jobless claims near 39 million; Senate declines to debate aid; and more morning updates
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Virus brief: Jobless claims near 39 million; Senate declines to debate aid; and more morning updates

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The number of Americans thrown out of work since the coronavirus crisis struck two months ago has climbed to nearly 39 million, the government said Thursday.

More than 2.4 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week in the latest wave of layoffs from the outbreak that has triggered nationwide business shutdowns and brought the economy to its knees, the Labor Department reported. That brings the running total to a staggering 38.6 million.

An additional 2.2 million sought aid under a new federal program for self-employed, contractor and gig workers, who are now eligible for unemployment benefits for the first time. Those figures aren’t adjusted for seasonal variations, so they are not included in the overall number of applications.

Here's an update on all developments. Scroll or swipe further for in-depth coverage.

  • As Americans confront a crisis unlike any in modern times, the Senate, which prides itself on being the world's greatest deliberative body, is doing almost anything but deliberate the coronavirus. It's as though the challenge has split the chamber into two.
  • The top Democratic leaders are urging President Donald Trump to fly flags at half-staff on public buildings across the country when the U.S. coronavirus death toll reaches 100,000.
  • About 5 million people worldwide have been confirmed infected, and over 328,000 deaths have been recorded. That includes more than 93,000 in the U.S. and around 165,000 in Europe, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University and based on government data. Experts believe the true toll is significantly higher
  • Federal recommendations meant to keep meatpacking workers safe as they return to plants that were shuttered by the coronavirus have little enforcement muscle behind them, fueling anxiety that working conditions could put employees' lives at risk.
  • Growing numbers of U.S. colleges are pledging to reopen this fall, with dramatic changes to campus life to keep the coronavirus at bay. Big lectures will be a thing of the past. Dorms will will be nowhere near capacity. Students will face mandatory virus testing. And at some smaller schools, students may be barred from leaving campus.
  • China began its most important political event of the year Thursday, bringing together 2,000 delegates in surgical masks, after a two-month delay because of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • There are no daily public displays of gratitude for Russian doctors and nurses during the coronavirus crisis like there are in the West. Instead of applause, they face mistrust, low pay and even open hostility.
  • The coronavirus has infected more than 10,000 health care workers in hard-hit Iran, news outlets reported Thursday.
  • Macy’s is warning that it could lose more than a $1 billion during its first fiscal quarter after the coronavirus pandemic paralyzed retail operations nationwide.

For more summaries and full reports, please select from the articles below. Scroll further for a closer look at contact tracers, interactive maps tracking the spread and more.

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Who are the virus tracers?

There is an army of health professionals around the world filling one of the most important roles in the effort to guard against a resurgence of the coronavirus. The practice of so-called contact tracing requires a hybrid job of interrogator, therapist and nurse as they try coax nervous people to be honest. The goal: To create a road map of everywhere infected people have been and who they’ve been around. Read the full story here:

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