April 2, 2020 9:12 am
WASHINGTON (AP) – More than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, far exceeding a record high set just last week, a sign that layoffs are accelerating in the midst of the coronavirus. The job cuts are mounting against the backdrop of economies in the United States and abroad that have almost certainly sunk into a severe recession as businesses close across the world. Last week’s figure is much higher than the previous record of 3.3 million reported for the previous week. The surging layoffs have led many economists to envision as many as 20 million lost jobs by the end of April.
April 2, 2020 10:30 am
MOSCOW (AP) – President Vladimir Putin has ordered most Russians to stay off work until the end of the month to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Speaking in a televised address to the nation on Thursday, Putin said he was extending the non-working policy he ordered earlier for this week to remain in force throughout April. He said there are exceptions for essential industries will keep operating, and grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open. He said Russia’s virus-prevention strategies have bought time and helped slow down the outbreak but also warned that cases haven’t yet peaked.
April 2, 2020 2:39 am
A Washington County pastor has made national news because he says he plans to organize an outdoor “Woodstock-like” Easter service to protest the stay-at-home orders to prevent coronavirus. Conservative Christian pastor Jonathan Shuttlesworth made the announcement on social media Tuesday. “I’m gonna announce it. We’re gonna hold an outdoor Easter blowout service. Not online. A national gathering. You come from all over, like Woodstock. And we’re gonna gather and lift up Jesus Christ,” Shuttlesworth says. His announcement comes following the arrests of several pastors in the U.S. for violating the stay-at-home orders. Shuttlesworth is a televangelist who co-founded Revival Today TV. Shuttlesworth did not announce where the gathering would be held. The only address listed for him is a post office box in Prosperity. Washington County Commission Chairperson Diana Irey-Vaughan tells WJPA news that she has alerted public safety officials and they are looking into the claims.
April 2, 2020 2:39 am
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday placed all of Pennsylvania under an order to stay at home, dramatically expanding the geographic footprint of the quarantine as state officials combat the coronavirus pandemic. In one stroke, Wolf added 34 counties to his stay-home edict, meaning that residents of all 67 of Pennsylvania’s counties must now stay home as much as possible to help slow the spread of COVID-19. With coronavirus infections continuing to rise dramatically in the state, with nearly 1,000 new confirmed cases reported Tuesday, Wolf called a statewide quarantine “the most prudent option.” Residents may leave their homes for a number of reasons that include working at a business that’s still open, going to the grocery store or pharmacy, visiting a doctor, caring for a relative or heading outside to exercise. Police will continue to focus on informing residents of the order rather than on enforcement, according to the governor’s office. The order will last at least through April 30. Separately, schools and nonessential businesses are closed until further notice.
April 2, 2020 2:46 am
There are 1,211 additional positive cases of the coronavirus in Pennsylvania, bringing the total to 7016, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Of the total number of cases, 643 are in western Pennsylvania. In addition to the new cases, 16 more deaths have been reported. The statewide death total is now at 90. There are 47,698 patients who have tested negative. Here is a breakdown of cases in western Pennsylvania counties:
Allegheny County: 419 (2 deaths)
Westmoreland County: 72
Butler County: 64 (2 deaths)
Beaver County: 54 (2 deaths)
Washington County: 35
Fayette County: 14 (1 death)
Lawrence County: 13 (2 deaths)
Greene County: 9
Mercer County: 8
Indiana County: 6
Armstrong County: 5
Clarion County: 4
Venango County: 3
April 2, 2020 3:58 am
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump says he is weighing grounding domestic flights between coronavirus hot spots as he ramps up efforts to try to contain the pandemic’s spread. Trump told reporters at a White House briefing Wednesday that he was worried about the impact on already-struggling airlines but is considering the move nonetheless. The comments came a day after Trump warned the nation to brace for a “hell of a bad two weeks,” with 100,000 to 240,000 coronavirus deaths now projected, even if current social distancing guidelines are maintained. Limited flights continue to run between cities like New York and Detroit, though passenger counts have plummeted nationwide.
April 2, 2020 3:54 am
NEW YORK (AP) – New York is mobilizing thousands of volunteers to help deal with an outbreak that caused the statewide death toll from the coronavirus to double in 72 hours to more than 1,900, while other hot spots flared around the U.S. Spain reported a record 864 deaths in one day, for a total of more than 9,000, while France registered an unprecedented 509 and more than 4,000 in all. In Italy, with over 13,000 dead, the most of any country, morgues overflowed with bodies, caskets piled up in churches and doctors were forced to decide which desperately ill patients would get breathing machines. Experts drew hope though the spread was already slowing in the country, alongside China, where the virus was first detected in December.
April 2, 2020 3:57 am
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has recommended that the city’s 4 million people wear masks when going outside amid the spreading coronavirus. Garcetti on Wednesday said people in the nation’s second-largest city who are performing essential tasks such as food shopping should wear homemade, non-medical face coverings, or even bandannas, as people in other countries hard-hit by the COVID-19 virus have done. But Garcetti says residents shouldn’t use medical-grade masks, which are needed for healthcare workers. He also says people should still stay home as much as possible.
April 2, 2020 3:55 am
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. Navy officials say nearly 3,000 sailors aboard a U.S. aircraft carrier where the coronavirus has spread will be taken off the ship by Friday as military leaders struggle to quarantine crew members in the face of an outbreak. The USS Theodore Roosevelt is now docked in Guam. Navy leaders say fewer than 100 of the 5,000 sailors assigned to the Roosevelt have tested positive for the virus. But the Navy is moving sailors into various facilities and probably will begin using hotel rooms in the coming days. Navy leaders are talking with government officials to identify rooms for the crew members.
April 2, 2020 3:56 am
Nursing homes across the country have been in lockdown for weeks under federal orders to protect their frail, elderly residents from coronavirus. But a wave of deadly outbreaks nearly every day since suggests the measures including a ban on visits and daily screenings of staffers either came too late or were not rigorous enough. Recent outbreaks in Tennessee, New Jersey, Ohio and Maryland have pushed nursing home deaths to at least 450 and highlight the biggest gap: Screenings of workers don’t involve testing but the taking of temperatures or asking health questions that still allow asymptomatic people to slip through.