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More than 33 million Americans have lost their jobs since the COVID-19 pandemic began -- including 3.2 million in just the past week. Oceanside shops and restaurants that usually draw tourists at this time of year are deserted, forcing layoffs. But major national retailers are also affected by the economic collapse, with Neiman Marcus and J.Crew filing for bankruptcy. William Brangham reports.
Big new numbers keep coming in the COVID-19 pandemic.
The coronavirus has now killed more than 75,000 people in the United States and infected well over 1.2 million people, including someone whose work in the White House has brought him near President Trump. And millions more jobs have been destroyed.
William Brangham begins our coverage.
In a tsunami of closings, more than 33 million Americans have now lost their jobs to the pandemic. That includes 3.2 million just in the last week.
Some would have been working in places like Ocean City, Maryland, usually packed with visitors and beachgoers, but now a virtual ghost town.
Anna Dolle Bushnell owns a candy shop on the boardwalk.
Anna Dolle Bushnell:
We went from 35 employees down to five. We had to lay off pretty much everybody. Anybody that was in manufacturing, anybody that was waiting on customers, they're all gone just because our doors are all shuttered.
Small businesses aren't the only casualty. Major retailers Neiman Marcus and J. Crew have now filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
And one of the country's oldest department stores, Lord & Taylor, announced it will liquidate its stores when they reopen. All that lost business is also robbing states of tax revenue. California today projected a budget shortfall of more than $54 billion this year, after running a $21 billion surplus a year ago.
Governor Gavin Newsom:
We really need the federal government to do more and to help us through this moment. We will do everything we are responsible for doing and more. We punch above our weight in this state, and we will come back stronger, more vibrant, more resilient than ever.
But exactly when states expect to reopen for business differs from region to region. So far, about half of all states have begun easing restrictions. Much of the West Coast and Northeast remain shuttered, while many states in the Southeast and Midwest have partially reopened.
In Montana, students at a handful of small rural schools were back in the classroom today. They're among the first in the country to open back up.
The Associated Press reported the Trump administration shelved a 17-page document from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that offered guidelines to states, cities and businesses for how to safely reopen. It was seen as a blueprint for making site-specific decisions for everything from schools and churches to restaurants and day care centers.
The recommendations were to have been published last Friday, but the AP reported, CDC scientists were told it would — quote — "never see the light of day." White House officials said today the CDC's guidance had not yet been approved by CDC leadership.
Separately, the White House confirmed today that one of the president's personal valets had tested positive for the coronavirus. Officials said both the president and vice president have now been tested again, and are still negative for the virus.
President Trump was asked about it during an afternoon event.
President Donald Trump:
So, we test once a week. Now we're going to go testing once a day. I have had very little contact, personal contact, with this gentleman. I know who he is, good person. But I have had very little contact. Mike has had very little contact with him.
Overseas today, the Bank of England warned that the British economy faces its sharpest economic downturn since 1706, back when Europe was engulfed in the War of the Spanish Succession.
Russia reported yet another record daily spike in infections, with more than 11,000 new cases. But, in China, the original epicenter of the outbreak, all regions have now been downgraded to low-risk, with no new deaths being reported in more than three weeks.
For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm William Brangham.
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William Brangham is a correspondent and producer for PBS NewsHour in Washington, D.C. He joined the flagship PBS program in 2015, after spending two years with PBS NewsHour Weekend in New York City.
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