Today’s coronavirus update: Unemployment surges, an eye on NOLA next

Nearly 3.3 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week as the coronavirus crisis slammed the US economy.

The staggering numbers reported by the US Labor Department Thursday are almost five times the previous record set in 1982.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin downplayed the surge in applications, saying it was a “short term” issue after a $2 trillion stimulus bill passed the Senate yesterday. The economic rescue package is expected to be passed by the House of Representatives Friday.

And despite the unemployment figures, US stocks rallied for a third straight day.

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Here’s what else we learned today:

Open by Easter?

  • President Trump, pushing to reopen the country by the April 12 holiday, said today his administration will rank counties by coronavirus risk and urge low-risk areas to relax social distancing rules.
  • But cases are growing across the country, with New Orleans now looking poised to become the next epicenter.

 

New York crisis:

  • The virus death toll in the Empire State spiked by 100 in just 24 hours to 385.
  • As cases skyrocket, hospitals are overrun and workers say they lack basic protective gear. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo today maintained that there’s no shortage of PPE.
  • One Manhattan restaurant is giving back to hospital staffers and feeding them for free. He’s our “Hero of the Day.”

Staying power:

  • A disturbing video shows how COVID-19 ravaged the lungs of a patient who had been asymptomatic just days earlier.
  • And experts now say the virus can stick on shoes for up to five days.

COVIDIOTS:

  • Apparently, there’s no cure for “covidiotism” either. A wanna-be influencer who went viral for for licking an airplane toilet seat in a “coronavirus challenge” now wants to cough on Dr. Phil.
  • When it comes to spraying germs, no one can beat this Pennsylvania woman.
  • And then there’s this 21-year-old from Tennessee who boasted about not social-distancing… and then caught COVID-19.

Meanwhile…

  • New Wave darlings the Knack released a coronavirus-themed “My Sharona” video today.

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