The federal government might soon recommend that people wear face masks in public, at least in regions where covid-19 is prevalent, as more than 1,000 Americans were reported dead on Thursday alone. A social media campaign and some medical experts have been popularizing the idea of wearing homemade masks, and Vice President Pence said guidance would be issued within days, though White House officials are still debating the merits of the idea. Read about the debate here.
A border town in Texas has moved to the fore of the mask movement, threatening $1,000 fines for those who don't cover their noses and mouths. It hasn't gone over very well with the residents of Laredo, though. “I’d rather bury them in debt than bury them in a coffin,” city councilman George Altgelt said this week.
Meanwhile, efforts to slow the virus's spread through mass quarantines are running up against resistance from government officials, religious leaders and businesses in some states. “Experts are now warning that a group of governors in the South and the Great Plains — largely Republican-led states — risk acting too late,” we write in a report about quarantine resistance. President Trump has so far let states decide their own policies, but one of his top coronavirus advisers, Anthony S. Fauci, told CNN on Thursday that it's time for a national stay-at-home order.
Leading disease forecasters are questioning the government's widely publicized prediction of 100,000 to 240,000 coronavirus deaths in the country. “White House officials have refused to explain how they generated the figure — a death toll bigger than the United States suffered in the Vietnam War or the 9/11 terrorist attacks,” we write. Even the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has doubts about the model's accuracy, which you can read about here.
The $2.2 trillion stimulus package signed into law last week is running into early snags as the government tries to get the money to Americans. Some banks are balking at a program that offers $349 billion in government-backed loans to small businesses, which started Friday. And while the IRS says most Americans will be wired payments of up to $1,200 as soon as late next week, others could end up waiting months to be mailed checks. Find details about the lag here. Speedy distribution of the money is believed to be crucial, after mass layoffs, quarantines and business closures triggered what some economists fear will be a long depression.
With more than 1 million confirmed infections across the world, the pandemic is causing civic breakdowns and threatening to upset international order. A rash of haphazard border restrictions, export bans and nationalistic finger pointing is undermining the already weakened European Union. In the Ecuadoran city of Guayaquil, we report that bodies have been “abandoned in busy hospitals. Left decomposing inside homes. In some cases, even wrapped in plastic and cardboard and put out on the streets.”
U.S. Navy Capt. Brett Crozier has turned into something of a martyr for sailors on a virus-stricken aircraft carrier in Guam. A leaked letter Crozier wrote accused his commanders of “failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our sailors” by refusing to evacuate the ship. The Navy subsequently relieved the captain of his command, prompting hundreds of sailors to fill the deck and chant: “Captain Crozier!”
Your questions, answered
“I’m working at a dispensary. My boss has us doing curbside orders. He doesn’t want to shut down; he still has bills to pay. He says if we want to leave, then we can, but he can’t guarantee we will still have our jobs. What should I do? I have a child.” — Anonymous
The Post received this question from a reader as we investigate how employers are treating employees during the pandemic. Unfortunately, it’s far from the only example of someone being forced to choose between a paycheck and their family’s safety.
Our columnist Karla L. Miller outlined some new laws and benefits that might make the choice easier, including a federal act that adds $600 a week to unemployment checks. She quotes one expert who recommends that you file a jobless claim sooner than later — even if your boss refuses to lay you off or furlough you.
Has the outbreak affected your relationships?
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