👋 Away Message: Hi there! Matt is currently out on parental leave. He'll return August 30th-ish. More details can be found here. In the meantime, Joe (the voice of the newscast/podcast) will be publishing an abridged version of WTF Just Happened Today? every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You can expect 5-7 news items covering a slightly wider range of political news in about two sentences each. We'll return to our regularly scheduled WTFJHT programming when Matt returns in late August.
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🔥 Daily Damage Report.
🌍 Global: Total confirmed cases ~5,074,000; Total deaths: ~331,000; Total recoveries: ~1,936,000. (Johns Hopkins University)
🇺🇸 U.S.: Total confirmed cases ~1,563,000; Total deaths: ~94,500; Total recoveries: ~294,300
💰 Markets: Dow 📉; S&P 500 📉; Nasdaq 📉
1/ Another 2.4 million workers filed new unemployment claims last week. Since efforts to the contain coronavirus pandemic nine weeks ago, more than 38.6 million Americans have sought unemployment benefits, leading to levels of unemployment not seen since the Great Depression. An analysis of the coronavirus pandemic’s effects on the labor market estimates that 42% of recent layoffs will result in permanent job loss. (Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal /Bloomberg)
The White House’s top economic official expressed uncertainty that America’s economy would quickly rebound from the downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic despite Trump’s confidence. Larry Kudlow said there are some “small glimmers of hope,” but “The numbers coming in are not good. In fact, they are downright bad in most cases.” (Washington Post)
📌 Day 1162: A record 3.28 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week – the largest number of unemployment claims ever recorded for a single week since the government began collecting data in 1967. The number shatters the Great Recession peak of 665,000 claims in March 2009 and the all-time mark of 695,000 in October 1982. As a result, the U.S. unemployment rate has likely already risen to 5.5% from 3.5% in February – a level not seen since 2015. A similarly large number of initial unemployment claims is expected next week when the Labor Department releases its report on claims filed this week. In the prior Labor Department report, for the week ended March 14, initial claims totaled 282,000. (NPR / CNBC / Washington Post / CNN / New York Times / Politico / Bloomberg)
📌 Day 1169: More than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week – double the 3.3 million who applied the previous week. About 6% of the U.S. work force filed for jobless benefits in the last two weeks. In March, more than 10 million Americans lost their jobs, erasing nearly all the jobs created in the past five years. Economists say the real number of people out work is probably higher and that as many as 20 million people could be out of work this summer. The Congressional Budget Office, meanwhile, updated its economic projections and expects U.S. unemployment to exceed 10% in the second quarter – eclipsing the peak of the last recession – and gross domestic product to fall by more than 7%, or an annualized 28%. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / Bloomberg / New York Times / Politico / CNBC / CNN / CBS News / The Guardian)
📌 Day 1176: Another 6.6 million Americans filed first-time unemployment claims last week — marking the largest and fastest string of job losses since 1948. More than 17 million new claims have been filed over the last three weeks – or about 10% of the U.S. workforce. Economists estimate that the U.S. unemployment rate is now 13% – the worst level of joblessness the nation has seen since the Great Depression. In February, the unemployment rate was 3.5%. The number of jobs lost in the last three weeks now exceeds the 15 million that it took 18 months during the Great Recession, from 2007 to 2009. (CNBC / Associated Press / Washington Post / New York Times / Politico / CNN / Vox / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)
📌 Day 1183: More than 5.2 million Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week. In the past four weeks, more than 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment aid — wiping out nearly all the job gains since the Great Recession. The U.S. unemployment rate is now over 20% and is expected remain close to 10% through the end of the year. (NPR / Washington Post / CNBC / Associated Press)
📌 Day 1190: More than 26 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits over the last five weeks – wiping out all of the job gains since the Great Recession. More than 4.4 million people filed for unemployment last week – down from more than 5.2 million the week before – which marks the fifth straight week that job losses were measured in the millions. Roughly 22 million jobs were created after the 2008 financial crisis. Economists predict that by summer the unemployment rate will be within range of the 25% peak recorded in 1933 during the Great Depression and that the U.S. GDP will shrink by around 6% this year. (Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / Politico / NBC News / CNBC / Reuters / The Guardian)
📌 Day 1197: Another 3.8 million Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week. The number of first-time claims over the past six weeks total 30.3 million people – roughly 18.6% of the entire U.S. labor force – the highest since the Great Depression and far above the 10% peak reached in 2009. Hundreds of thousands of Americans, however, are still waiting to receive unemployment benefits, which means the official unemployment tally is almost certainly an undercount. (CNN / CNBC / Washington Post / NPR / New York Times / New York Times / Bloomberg / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)
📌 Day 1204: An additional 3.2 million Americans filed unemployment claims last week, down slightly from 3.8 million the previous week. More than 33.5 million have filed for unemployment over the last seven weeks and the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the week ending April 25 was 15.5%. Continuing claims – the number of people receiving ongoing benefits – is now at more than 22 million, surpassing the recessionary peak of 6.6 million. (Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / Politico / ABC News / NBC News / The Guardian)
📌 Day 1211: Another 2.98 million people filed unemployment claims last week, bringing the two-month total to 36.5 million. While the weekly count of new claims has been declining since late March, it was the eighth-straight week of numbers in the millions. Continuing claims is now at around 22.8 million. A survey by the Federal Reserve found that in households making less than $40,000 a year, nearly 40% of those who were working in February lost their jobs in March or the beginning of April. The jobless rate has more than tripled to 14.7% from 4.4% a month earlier. Trump, meanwhile, said he doesn’t see the U.S. unemployment rate dropping below 10% until September. (NBC News / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / The Guardian / Bloomberg / CNBC)
2/ Mitch McConnell promised House Republicans that enhanced unemployment benefits enacted earlier this spring “will not be in the next bill.” The $600 per week federal unemployment benefit, which adds to the sum individuals normally get from states, will expire at the end of July. House Democrats passed a $3 trillion rescue package last week that would extend the financial backstop through January, but McConnell has questioned the need for more federal spending and has said he is comfortable waiting to see how effective the nearly $3 trillion in previously approved coronavirus spending is before moving forward on the next relief legislation. (Politico / CNBC)
3/ The United States could have prevented about 36,000 deaths if social distancing had been put in place seven days earlier — about 40% of fatalities reported to date. If the U.S. imposed social distancing two weeks earlier, about 83% of the nation’s deaths would have been avoided, according to from Columbia University disease modelers. (New York Times / Washington Post)
4/ Trump warned Americans that “we are not closing our country” again if the U.S. is hit by a second wave of coronavirus infections. “People say that’s a very distinct possibility, it’s standard,” Trump said. “We are going to put out the fires. We’re not going to close the country. We can put out the fires. Whether it is an ember or a flame, we are going to put it out. But we are not closing our country.” (CNBC)
- Dr. Anthony Fauci hasn’t given a national television interview or spoken at a coronavirus task force briefing in about two weeks. Fauci’s last nationally televised interview was on May 4. Fauci has been on “modified quarantine” after possibly being exposed to the virus, but he still managed to testify remotely before the Senate last week. He also appeared at Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed” briefing on Friday, but he was conspicuously silent the entire time. (CNN Business)
5/ Trump refused to wear a mask while touring the Ford manufacturing plant in Michigan despite recommendations from federal health officials and an executive order from the state’s governor. Michigan’s attorney general implored Trump to wear a face mask on his tour, citing a “legal responsibility” under state law, as well as a “social and moral responsibility.” Trump claimed “I had one [a mask] on before,” in an area that was not visible to reporters and that it was “not necessary,” but added: “I didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it.” (CNBC / Washington Post / CNN)
6/ The Trump administration will withdraw from another international major arms control treaty. The Open Skies treaty allows 35 nations, including Russia, to conduct unarmed reconnaissance flights over each other’s territory in order to assure that nations are not preparing for military action. The Trump administration argued that Russia has been violating the agreement by blocking the U.S. from flying surveillance missions. (CNBC / New York Times / Washington Post / CNN)
7/ Michael Cohen was released from prison to serve the remainder of his three-year sentence under home confinement due to the coronavirus in U.S. federal and state prisons. Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to lying to Congress, tax fraud, making false statements to a bank, and two campaign finance charges for facilitating hush money payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal – two women who claimed they had affairs with Trump. (CNN / The Guardian)
8/ The Senate confirmed Rep. John Ratcliffe as the next director of national intelligence in a 49-to-44 vote along party lines. Ratcliffe received more votes against his confirmation than any DNI in the 15-year history of the office. (Washington Post / Politico)
- The Senate Foreign Relations Committee advance Trump’s choice to head the Voice of America and other U.S. government-funded international broadcasters. Michael Pack’s whose nonprofit organization is being investigated for possible tax violations. (Associated Press / Washington Post)
9/ The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted to authorize a subpoena targeting Joe Biden’s son, Hunter. The committee authorized Sen. Ron Johnson to subpoena Blue Star Strategies, a public relations firm that did consulting work for Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company where Hunter Biden served on the board. Johnson’s probe claims Blue Star tried to leverage Hunter Biden’s position on the board to influence U.S. State Department matters under the Obama administration. The subpoena is seeking documents from Blue Star Strategies and an interview with CEO Karen Tramontano. Trump has openly encouraged the Senate’s investigation. (Politico)
poll/ 51% of Americans who rely on the White House for coronavirus news believe the pandemic is overblown, 40% say the outbreak has been approached about right, and 8% say the task force has made it a smaller deal than it really is. Meanwhile, Americans who rely mainly on national news outlets, local news outlets, local and state officials, or public health officials and organizations for coronavirus news are more likely to say that the outbreak has been underplayed. (Pew Research Center)
poll/ 65% of Americans think it will take at least six months before things return to “normal” as states reopen. 32% of those surveyed think it will take less than six months. 78% of Democrats and 55% of Republicans feel the same. (NPR)
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