For the week ending April 14, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a report revealing that 5.25 million Americans filed for unemployment in that week alone. This brings number of jobs lost due to the coronavirus and subsequent quarantines to nearly 22 million in just four weeks.
According to Fox News, “With a labor force that totals about 162 million people, that means the unemployment rate is close to 13 percent, meaning that about 1 in 7 Americans has lost their job.” Additionally, Fox notes that prior to the pandemic, the previous record for Americans claiming unemployment in four weeks dates back to 1982 when 2.7 million Americans lost their jobs.
In his press conference on Thursday April 16, President Trump announced that America will soon begin incrementally opening the economy.
According to the White House website which presents the “Guidelines for Opening Up America Again,” there are three phases for getting Americans back to work.
The three phases will be implemented on a state-by-state basis as long as a common set of criteria are first met. In order for phased implementation to begin, a state must have a downward trajectory of influenza-like illnesses and COVID-19-like cases within a 14-day period. A state must also be on a downward trajectory of COVID-19 confirmed cases or of positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period. Lastly, hospitals must be able to treat all patients without crisis care and have robust testing in-place for at-risk healthcare workers.
Assuming a state meets these criteria, it may begin a phased reopening of its economy.
“Our experts say the curve has flattened, and the peak in new cases is behind us,” President Trump stated at the press conference while announcing the reopening guidelines. “Based on the latest data, our team of experts now agrees that we can begin the next front in our war, which we are calling Opening Up America Again.”
However, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Thursday warned against the risks of opening up the economy too soon. “We want to have it be science-based, informed by those who can take a measure of what is the prospect of this getting worse should we relax shelter-in-place and the rest of it,” Speaker Pelosi said.
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