- U.S. jobs report for July reflects stalled progress in reopening economy.
- Washington lawmakers still at an impasse in agreeing to further coronavirus aid.
- India passes 2 million official cases, has seen more than 41,800 die from COVID-19.
- Brazil close to becoming the 2nd country with more than 100,000 deaths.
- More than 160 vaccines at various stages of testing.
The United States added 1.8 million jobs in July, a pullback from the gains of May and June and evidence that the resurgent coronavirus is stalling hiring and slowing an economic rebound.
With confirmed viral cases still elevated in much of the nation and businesses under continued pressure, many employers appear reluctant or unable to hire. Even counting the hiring of the past three months, the economy has now recovered only about 42 per cent of the 22 million jobs it lost to the pandemic-induced recession, according to the Labour Department’s jobs report released Friday.
The unemployment rate did decline in July from 11.1 per cent to 10.2 per cent, though that still exceeds the highest rate during the 2008-2009 recession.
The acceleration of the viral outbreak that began in late June more than doubled the daily U.S. confirmed case count by mid-July, though the rate of new reported cases has since declined.
The outbreaks have led many states and cities to close bars and other businesses for a second time and have dampened confidence, causing many consumers to continue limiting their shopping, travelling and eating out.
July’s job gain was much lower than June’s 4.8 million and May’s 2.7 million jobs, both of which were revised slightly.
Two bright spots for the economy have been housing and auto sales, produced in part by the Federal Reserve’s ultra-low interest rates.
It is against that backdrop that Washington talks on vital COVID-19 rescue money teetered on the brink of collapse after a marathon meeting Thursday in the Capitol generated lots of recriminations but little progress on the top issues confronting negotiators.
“There’s a handful of very big issues that we are still very far apart” on, said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. He talked of impasses on aid to states and local governments and renewing supplemental unemployment benefits in the Thursday night meetings.
Both sides said the future of the talks is uncertain. President Donald Trump is considering executive orders to address evictions and unemployment insurance, but they appear unlikely to have much impact.
A breakdown in the talks would put at risk more than $100 billion US to help reopen schools, a fresh round of $1,200 direct payments to most people and hundreds of billions of dollars for state and local governments to help them avoid furloughing workers and cutting services as tax revenues shrivel.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, and top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York emerged to give a pessimistic update about the chances for an agreement.
WATCH l Distribution questions will follow access to vaccines:
The Democratic pair say the federal coronavirus aid package needs to be huge to meet the moment: a surge in cases and deaths, double-digit joblessness and the threat of poverty for millions of the newly unemployed.
“Don’t nickel-and-dime our children,” Pelosi said. “Don’t say, ‘We want to give a tax break to a business lunch and not give more money for children to have food stamps.”‘
Pelosi was referring to a Republican proposal to increase the deduction for business meals from 50 per cent to 100 per cent.
Senate Republicans have been split, with roughly half of McConnell’s rank and file opposed to another rescue bill at all. Four prior coronavirus response bills totalling almost $3 trillion have passed on bipartisan votes despite intense wrangling. But Trump and McConnell want a bill and discussed the topic at the White House on Thursday morning.
The U.S. has recorded 158,250 deaths from the coronavirus, according to tracking from Johns Hopkins University, with over 4.8 million cases.
WATCH l Trump interview with false virus claim pulled:
In the fallout over Trump’s false claims this week that children have immunity from the virus — which led to censure from social media companies — experts say it’s hard to pin down the exact number of COVID-19 cases in kids in the U.S.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says at least 175,000 cases have been confirmed in those aged 17 and under, accounting for less than 10 per cent of all confirmed cases. But the true number is likely much higher, because many kids are asymptomatic or exhibit only vague symptoms and don’t get tested.
Data on kids and coronavirus spread is also murky. Hundreds of infections have been reported in children and staff members at U.S. day care centres, but whether kids or adults were the main spreaders isn’t known.
What’s happening with coronavirus in Canada
As of 7 a.m. ET on Friday, Canada had 118,561 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 103,104 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 9,004.
Whle the overall picture is generally positive, officials are on guard for spikes in cases and localized outbreaks. In Manitoba, union leaders who witnessed a devastating COVID-19 outbreak at meat-packing facilities in Alberta are calling for the Maple Leaf Foods plant in Brandon to shut down before its four cases of the novel coronavirus expand.
Leaders of the province’s four opposition parties are backing that union call, hoping to avoid the type of deadly outbreaks seen at food processing facilities in Alberta and the U.S.
WATCH | Survey indicates there is still vaccine hesitancy to overcome:
Dozens of workers at the Brandon plant have been forced to quarantine as a result of the positive cases.
The Manitoba government offered little in the way of specifics but said it is working with leaders in the meat-processing industry and that the transmission doesn’t appear to have spread to the production floor.
CBC News asked Maple Leaf for an interview, but the company instead sent an emailed statement saying it plans to keep the plant open for now.
“After a careful and detailed review of the circumstances around the cases, it appears very likely that the [employees] contracted COVID-19 in the community,” the company said in a Thursday morning statement.
What’s happening in the rest of the world
As India hit another grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, crossing two million cases and more than 41,000 deaths, community health volunteers went on strike, complaining they were ill-equipped to respond to the wave of infection in rural areas.
The Health Ministry reported 62,538 cases in the past 24 hours, raising the nation’s total to 2,027,074. Also, 886 more people died, for a total of 41,585.
The caseload in the world’s second-most populous country has quickly expanded since the government began lifting a months-long lockdown hoping to jump-start a moribund economy.
Around 900,000 members of an all-female community health force known as Accredited Social Health Activists began a two-day strike on Friday, protesting that they were being roped in to help with contact tracing, personal hygiene drives and in quarantine centres but weren’t given personal protective equipment or additional pay, according to organizer A.R. Sindhu.
“But ASHA workers don’t have masks or PPEs or even sanitizers,” she said.
In Germany, officials in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania have shut down two schools after new cases of coronavirus were confirmed only days after the northeastern state became the country’s first to resume classes.
The sparsely populated state has been Germany’s least affected by the pandemic, with 910 positive tests for COVID-19 and 20 virus-related deaths among its 1.6 million residents.
Schools fully reopened on Monday with no mask or distancing requirements but with children divided into fixed groups for classes in an effort to compartmentalize possible outbreaks.
The development raises concerns as Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, prepares to send its 2.5 million students back to school next week. It has the country’s strictest guidelines, including a mask requirement at all times in school buildings.
Brazil is poised, at current trends, to surpass 100,000 dead in the coming days. The country reported 53,139 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 1,237 deaths from the disease caused by the virus in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Thursday.
Brazil has registered 2,912,212 confirmed cases of the virus since the pandemic began, while the official death toll from COVID-19 has risen to 98,493, according to ministry data. It is the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak after the United States.