the coronavirus crisis
1:05 a.m.

Brazil's coronavirus death toll hit 34,021 on Thursday, with the country surpassing Italy to become third in the world when it comes to COVID-19 fatalities.

Only the United States and United Kingdom have higher death tolls. Brazil's health ministry also announced on Thursday night that there were 1,473 coronavirus deaths in the country over the last 24 hours, a daily record. Brazil now has 615,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with more than 70 percent of cities affected.

Despite the numbers skyrocketing, Brazil's far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, complained on Thursday about lockdown efforts by state governors and mayors who want to slow the spread of COVID-19. "We can't go on like this," he said. "Nobody can take it anymore. The collateral impact will be far greater than those people who unfortunately lost their lives because of these last three months here."

Miguel Lago, director of Brazil's Institute for Health Policy Studies, told The Guardian he is "very worried" about the number of cases in the country, adding, "we are going to witness hospitals collapsing in almost every state. I think the worst is still to come." Lago believes Bolsonaro is rushing to reopen the economy in order to help him get re-elected in 2022, telling The Guardian, "He doesn't care about the lives of the Brazilians who will die because of his absolutely irresponsible behavior." Catherine Garcia

May 28, 2020

The number of unemployment claims filed in the United States during the coronavirus crisis has now reached a staggering total of more than 40 million.

The Labor Department on Thursday said another 2.1 million initial unemployment claims were filed last week, which brings the total over 10 weeks to 40.7 million, The New York Times reports.

This was the tenth week in a row that weekly unemployment claims totaled more than one million, NBC News notes. Prior to the coronavirus crisis, weekly unemployment claims had never passed one million before; the record was 695,000. The number of first-time claims has, however, declined for the past eight weeks, per The Associated Press.

This unfortunate milestone comes less than 24 hours after another grim milestone, as on Wednesday, the United States hit 100,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, according to the tally from Johns Hopkins.

Bloomberg notes, though, that "continuing claims, which tally Americans' ongoing benefit claims in state programs, fell to 21.1 million" for the week ending on May 16, whereas analysts were anticipating an increase. The U.S. unemployment rate in April reached 14.7 percent, the worst since the Great Depression. Brendan Morrow

May 27, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday delivered a message to the families of the 100,000 Americans who are known to have died of COVID-19, letting them know that they are not alone.

"This nation grieves with you," he said in a video posted on social media. "Take some solace from the fact that we all grieve with you." On Wednesday, the U.S. coronavirus death toll surpassed 100,000, and Biden said this was a "moment in our history so grim, so heart-rending" that it will be "forever fixed in each of our hearts as shared grief."

Biden touched on how tragic a coronavirus death is, as many families and friends aren't able to be with their loved one due to hospital restrictions and they die alone. "It's made all the worse by knowing that this is a fateful milestone we never should have reached and could have been avoided," Biden said, referring to a recent Columbia University study that showed had federal social distancing guidelines been implemented one week earlier, 36,000 deaths may have been averted.

The grief may feel "suffocating" now, Biden said, and he knows his sympathies won't "dull the sharpness of the pain you feel right now," but he "can promise you from experience, the day will come when the memory of your loved one will bring a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye. My prayer for all of you is that the day will come sooner rather than later. God bless each and every one of you and the blessed memory of the one you lost." Catherine Garcia

May 27, 2020

Boeing announced on Wednesday it is immediately cutting more than 12,000 U.S. jobs, and several thousand more will be eliminated over the next few months.

This week, the company will lay off 6,770 employees. Boeing said an additional 5,520 workers accepted buyout offers, and will leave within the next few weeks. Globally, the company has about 160,000 employees, and most of the layoffs are expected to be in the Seattle area, where workers focus on commercial airplanes, The Associated Press reports.

Air travel is down tremendously because of the coronavirus, and Boeing CEO David Calhoun wrote in a memo to employees on Wednesday that because of this, there will be "a deep cut in the number of commercial jets and services our customers will need in the next few years, which in turn means fewer jobs on our lines and in our offices." Catherine Garcia

May 27, 2020

The United States has officially reached a heartbreaking milestone in the coronavirus pandemic.

As of Wednesday, more than 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in the U.S., according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

Experts expected the U.S. would hit the milestone this week, and in anticipation of the number, The New York Times recently published an unforgettable front page filled with the names of victims of the pandemic, representing just a small portion of the "incalculable loss." The U.S. passed 50,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths on April 24.

In March, the White House had warned that the U.S. might be facing between 100,000 and 200,000 coronavirus deaths even if Americans did everything "almost perfectly," as Dr. Deborah Birx said, although President Trump in April suggested the death toll could be between 50,000 and 60,000. Later, Trump said "we're going to lose" up to 100,000 people total. Reported cases and hospitalizations are still on the upswing in many states.

Every U.S. state has now begun the process of reopening their economies, even as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country stands at over 1.6 million. Experts have cautioned there may be a second wave of cases in the fall, although Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Wednesday that this is "not inevitable." Fauci previously told Congress that the United States' coronavirus death toll is likely higher than has been reported. Brendan Morrow

May 27, 2020

As the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic continues, Paul Krugman says he's feeling "more positive than I expected to be" about the recovery.

The economist and New York Times writer spoke in an interview with Bloomberg about the state of the U.S. economy amid the coronavirus pandemic, cautioning that the crisis should not be looked at as "a garden-variety recession" instead of a "shutdown enforced by social distancing."

Asked how long the economic fallout might last, Krugman explained that looking at past recessions, "until now we've had two kinds: 1979-82-type slumps basically caused by tight money and the 2007-09 type caused by private-sector overreach. The first kind was followed by V-shaped 'morning in America' recoveries; the second by sluggish recoveries that took a long time to restore full employment."

Krugman argues that the current crisis is "more like 1979-82 than 2007-09," not being caused "by imbalances that will take years to correct," which suggests a "fast recovery" once the coronavirus is contained. He offers a few caveats, though, nothing that it's unclear how long the pandemic will last and that states reopening too soon could "extend the period of economic weakness."

Almost 40 million Americans have filed initial unemployment claims since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and economists from Goldman Sachs in a report earlier this month forecasted that the unemployment rate will reach 25 percent with the pre-virus rate not returning for years. Krugman tells Bloomberg, though, that all in all, he doesn't "see the case for a multiyear depression."

This interview with Krugman comes after Jason Furman, former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, predicted to Politico a "partial rebound" with "the best jobs and growth numbers ever" in the months before the November election. Read the full interview at Bloomberg. Brendan Morrow

May 26, 2020

Health officials in Missouri and Kansas are calling on people who packed the Lake of the Ozarks over Memorial Day weekend to go into self-quarantine for 14 days.

Lake of the Ozarks is a popular reservoir in central Missouri, and video posted online showed revelers standing shoulder to shoulder in pools by the lake, with most not wearing masks. On Monday night, the St. Louis County Department of Health issued an advisory saying anyone who was there and ignored social distancing guidelines should self-isolate for 14 days or until they test negative for coronavirus. On Tuesday, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment made the same recommendation.

"This reckless behavior endangers countless people and risks setting us back substantially from the progress we have made in slowing the spread of COVID-19," St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said in a statement. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) said during a press conference on Tuesday that "poor decisions were made and the social distancing was not followed," which is "potentially dangerous for everyone, especially our most at-risk individuals."

As of Tuesday evening, there are 12,291 confirmed coronavirus cases in Missouri, a 1.3 percent rise over the last 24 hours and an 8.3 percent increase over the last week, ABC News reports. Catherine Garcia

May 26, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that President Trump is "supposed to lead by example" when it comes to wearing a mask and social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, but has failed at that and also keeping the death toll down.

The U.S. is close to reaching the grim milestone of 100,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths. In an interview with CNN's Dana Bash, Biden said it is as important as ever to stay safe by social distancing and wearing a face covering, as the COVID-19 threat is "not over."

Biden then appeared to reference a recent report by Columbia University researchers who found that enacting federal social distancing measures nationwide just one week earlier in March would have prevented about 36,000 coronavirus deaths, with thousands more deaths averted under earlier closures. The first imported case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was reported on Jan. 20, with community transmission following a few weeks later.

"One hundred thousand deaths and at least 35,000 to 50,000 were avoidable, but for a lack of attention and ego," Biden said. Catherine Garcia

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