Published On: Tue, Mar 24th, 2020

Leaders grapple to save lives, and the economy


Here are 700,000 open jobs that need to be filled immediately

Millions of Americans are already losing their jobs as the coronavirus spreads across the U.S. and wreaks havoc on the economy. But the pandemic is also driving a surge in hiring at businesses seeing a huge increase in demand for their products and services because of the outbreak. 

At least 700,000 jobs are open at the moment, according to a tally of big businesses such as Walmart and Amazon that have announced plans to hire. There are also plenty of “gig” economy jobs that are available for delivery workers, tutors, personal assistants and more. 

To be sure, the new jobs won’t come close to replacing all the work now being lost, especially in hard-hit sectors like travel, hotels and retail. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard predicts that unemployment could reach 30% over the next few months — that would exceed the highest jobless rate during the Great Depression, when unemployment hit nearly 25%.

Who benefits when a business goes cashless?


Japan’s leader says IOC has agreed to his proposal for 1-year Olympics delay

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says IOC President Thomas Bach has agreed “100%” to his proposal of postponing the Tokyo Olympics for about one year until 2021 because of the coronavirus outbreak. Bach had previously said the IOC would make an announcement about postponing the 2020 Olympics in the next four weeks.

Associated Press


Restaurant industry struggles with closures and layoffs

Restaurants across the U.S. have been required to alter their operations in order to survive, with several cities and states shutting down bars and restaurants over the coronavirus pandemic. Shifting to take-out only service is the only way some eateries can stay in business, but that requires fewer employees and altered menus. 

The shift has been difficult for restaurant workers facing increased layoffs and reduced hours. Ashley Gregg, a bartender in Ohio, was let go while still facing medical bills for her young son who died of cancer in 2018. 

“We have medical bills and everything that we need to catch up on,” Gregg told CBS News’ Vladimir Duthiers. However, she said she was “more concerned about the owners” of the brewery that let her go, “because, you know, this was their livelihood.”  

Restaurants struggle to adapt to coronavirus precautions

Restaurant owners across the country have had to make equally difficult calls. Click here to read the full report.


Americans struggle to follow “stay at home” orders and keep their distance

To help slow the spread of the coronavirus, Americans are being ordered to only leave their home for essential needs and stay six feet from other people when they do. But in crowded cities across the country, that’s not always easy to do.

“You forget, and then you have to take a step back,” said Matt Zender in Seattle. 

Zender said he was initially surprised by grocery store policies to help keep customers at a distance. Several major chains are limiting the number of people allowed inside. Others are adding visual cues like taped squares on the floor to space out customers waiting in line or placing large crates in front of registers to keep people away from cashiers, CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan reports. #

Cities struggle with social distancing


30 TSA staffers at airports nationwide have tested positive for the coronavirus

At least 30 Transportation Safety Administration workers at airports across the country have tested positive for the new COVID-19 disease since the end of February, including 25 airport screeners who deal directly with the public, the agency has confirmed.

“TSA is working with the CDC and state and local health departments to monitor local situations as well as the health and safety of our employees and the traveling public,” the agency said in a statement posted to its website.

The statement warns that some security checkpoints would be closed as necessary, so travelers “may be redirected to other security screening checkpoints at the airport.”

No restrictions have been imposed on domestic U.S. travel due to the virus outbreak as of Tuesday.


Arizona man dies after taking drug touted by Trump as coronavirus treatment

A Phoenix-area man has died and his wife is in critical condition after the couple took chloroquine phosphate, CBS affiliate KPHO reported. The additive is used to clean fish tanks and is also found in an anti-malaria medication that has been touted by President Trump as a treatment for COVID-19.

Banner Health said Monday that the couple in their 60s got sick within half an hour of ingesting the additive. The man couldn’t be resuscitated when he arrived at a hospital, but the woman was able to throw up much of the chemical, Banner said.

“Trump kept saying it was basically pretty much a cure,” the woman told NBC. She said her advice for people would be: “Don’t take anything. Don’t believe anything. Don’t believe anything that the president says and his people … call your doctor.”  Read the full story here. 



Mormons criticized for crowded airport welcoming of missionaries

Hours after hundreds of people welcoming missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints crowded together in an airport parking garage, authorities announced new rules to prevent it from happening again amid the coronavirus crisis.

The people who showed up Sunday at the Salt Lake City Airport and stood shoulder-to-shoulder, some hugging arriving loved ones, should have heeded warnings to keep their distance to help prevent the spread of the virus, said critics of the gathering, including Senator Mitt Romney, Utah’s governor and lieutenant governor, and the church itself.

While Utah residents welcoming returning missionaries is an airport tradition, officials this time asked for only one or two family members of each returning missionary to come, and to stay in their cars — guidance that wasn’t followed by many people, said airport spokeswoman Nancy Volmer.



With Americans in lockdown, hope and calm beat nervousness – CBS News poll

Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the personal has become national: the more danger you think you and your family are in from the virus, the more trouble you think the country is in, too.

Americans report staying calm and hopeful most of the time amid the outbreak, punctuated with feelings of nervousness and stress — especially for those who aren’t going out, and particularly for those concerned they’ll get the virus themselves. 

Our new CBS News Poll shows, however, that few Americans report feeling lonely often, even among those not leaving the house, and most remain optimistic that their fellow Americans will take the steps needed to stop the spread.


Detroit Police confirm member of the force has died of COVID-19

The Detroit Police Department has confirmed what appears to be the first death of a member of a U.S. police force due to the new coronavirus.

The department said in a brief statement released Tuesday morning that Chief James Craig would hold a press conference later in the day “to report out on the first loss of a member of the Detroit Police Department to COVID-19.”

No further information was provided on the department member who died, and it was unclear whether the individual was a police officer or worked for the force in another capacity. 


Americans see months-long pandemic fight ahead – CBS News poll

Most Americans (57%) say the nation’s efforts to combat the coronavirus are going badly right now, most call it a crisis and see a months-long process before it is contained. But the public is pinning its hopes heavily on the nation’s scientists, with eight in 10 optimistic about their ability to eventually find a cure or vaccine, and most are also optimistic that Americans themselves can take steps to slow the spread.  

Click here to read more about Americans’ views on the U.S. COVID-19 response, and how our leaders and experts are handling it.


WHO says “very large acceleration” of COVID-19 could make U.S. new pandemic epicenter

A spokeswoman for the World Health Organization said Tuesday that the U.N. health agency was seeing a “very large acceleration” in confirmed COVID-19 infections in the U.S.

According to the Reuters news agency, spokeswoman Margaret Harris said the rate of spread was putting the U.S. on pace to become a possible new global epicenter in the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are now seeing a very large acceleration in cases in the U.S.,” she said according to Reuters. “So it does have that potential” to become the most challenging outbreak around the world. 

Americans brace for predicted rise in coronavirus cases

For about two weeks the WHO has referred to Europe as the epicenter of the pandemic, with Italy and Spain bearing the brunt of the disease. There have been encouraging signs in Italy over the past two days, however, that draconian restrictions on daily life are starting to pay of: the rate of confirmed new infections in the hardest-hit northern region has levelled off. 


Iran reports record jump in new COVID-19 cases

Iran on has announced 122 new coronavirus deaths, raising the official toll in the country to 1,934. Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said a record 1,762 new cases were confirmed in Iran over the past 24 hours and 24,811 people were known to have been infected in total.

Iran accuses the U.S. of crippling its coronavirus response with sanctions, while the U.S. accuses Iran of lying about how and why the disease has spread so fast in the Islamic Republic.

As CBS News’ Seyed Bathaei reported Monday, Iranian authorities say harsh U.S. sanctions have made it hard for the country to import the medical equipment needed to fight the epidemic. Some Iranian officials have even pushed a claim that the U.S. government created the virus and deliberately unleashed it on the country.

President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have repeatedly said the sanctions do not affect medical resources, and Pompeo said Monday that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s “fabrications” about the disease were “dangerous and they put Iranians and people around the world at greater risk.” 


Mnuchin and Schumer say deal expected today on $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package

Top congressional and White House officials emerged from grueling negotiations at the Capitol over the nearly $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package saying they expected to reach a deal Tuesday.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said they had spoken by phone with President Donald Trump during the long night of negotiations. While the two sides have resolved many issues in the sweeping package, some remain.

At midnight Monday, they emerged separately to say talks would continue into the night.

“We look forward to having a deal tomorrow,” Mnuchin told reporters after exiting Schumer’s office.

“The president is giving us direction,” Mnuhcin said. “The president would like to have a deal, and he’s hopeful we can conclude this.”

Moments later, Schumer agreed that a deal was almost within reach. “That’s the expectation – that we finish it tomorrow and hopefully vote on it tomorrow evening,” he said. 

– Associated Press

Senate continues to argue over relief package


Confusion as U.K.’s semi-lockdown takes effect

Confusion rippled through Britain on the first morning after Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered a three-week halt to all nonessential activity to fight the spread of the new coronavirus. The government has told most stores to close, banned gatherings of three or more people and said everyone apart from essential workers should leave home only to buy food and medicine or to exercise once a day. 

But photos showed crowded trains on some London subway lines Tuesday amid confusion about who is still allowed to go to work.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted: “I cannot say this more strongly: we must stop all non-essential use of public transport now. Employers: please support your staff to work from home unless it’s absolutely necessary. Ignoring these rules means more lives lost.” 

The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London
A commuter wearing a protective face mask with people on a platform at Hammersmith underground station as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, London, Britain, March 24, 2020.


The government says police will have powers break up illegal gatherings and fine people who flout the rules. But some expressed doubts about whether the lockdown could be enforced.

– Associated Press  


Virus outbreak forces major downgrading of Olympic torch relay

With this year’s Tokyo Summer Olympics likely to be postponed, organizers made a last-minute decision Tuesday about how to handle one of the most visible icons of the Games: The highly symbolic torch relay will go on ― but without runners, spectators or even the flaming torch itself.

While 10,000 runners were originally enlisted to carry the Olympic flame on foot, traversing a route meant to showcase Japanese culture and scenery while building local enthusiasm for the quadrennial sporting event, the relay instead has been downgraded to just a safety lantern ― the kind used to transport the flame aboard aircraft ― ferried by car. The four-month relay is set to kick off at the J-Village soccer training center in Fukushima on March 26. 

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic flame is displayed outside the railway station in Tono, Iwate prefecture on March 22, 2020. 


Would-be torchbearers didn’t conceal their disappointment. “I was so happy when I was chosen to be a torch runner,” one Fukushima man told TBS TV. “Just having a lantern is extremely regrettable.”

But if reports are accurate, runners will eventually get their day on the macadam ― if the Olympics are rescheduled, organizers say a proper torch relay will be reassembled to usher it in.


China eases curbs on one-time virus epicenter

Chinese authorities are lifting a lockdown in most of its virus-hit Hubei province.

People who are cleared will be able to leave the province after midnight Tuesday.

The city of Wuhan, where the outbreak started in late December, will remain locked down until April 8. China barred people from leaving or entering Wuhan starting Jan. 23 and expanded it to most of the province in the days that followed.

Hubei has seen almost no new infections for more than a week. 

-Associated Press


Activists push for the release of vulnerable inmates during pandemic

The nearly 2.3 million people incarcerated across America are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus outbreak, activists warn, and the virus has already made its way behind bars. The close proximity of inmates, coupled with inadequate treatment, can cause diseases to spread quickly inside prisons, where resources like soap, cleaning supplies and warm water can be hard to come by.

The disease, COVID-19, has sickened tens of thousands of Americans, including 21 inmates and 12 staffers at New York City jails, the largest outbreak behind bars to date. There are more than 40,000 confirmed cases in the U.S., including more than 20,000 in New York state alone. 

After freeing two dozen inmates, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he and city officials were reviewing the cases of 200 others and considering them for early release. Across the Hudson River, the New Jersey Supreme Court approved the release of up to 1,000 inmates serving time for low-level offenses, which is believed the largest release in response to the virus.

Read more here. 

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