Democratic leaders are pushing to extend a $600 per week federal unemployment benefit enacted in March in response to the coronavirus pandemic. But if the Trump administration has its way, those extra funds will go away at the end of next month.
Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia said the $600 payment, which is in addition to normal unemployment benefits, is no longer needed. He pointed to an unexpectedly positive jobs report released last Friday, and the reopening of states as reasons to let the benefit expire on July 31.
Democrats, citing that the unemployment rate will remain high after the summer, are attempting to pass a plan that will extend the relief benefit through January 2021. Republicans argue that the $600 weekly payments resulted in most recipients being paid more on unemployment than they earned while working.
The money has helped millions stay in their homes and pay bills while the pandemic continues, and the unemployment rate hit its highest levels since World War II.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC
Long-term care residents are being put on alert as some nursing homes insist that low-income residents turn over their $1,200 economic stimulus checks.
Several lawmakers are calling on the Health and Human Services inspector general’s office to warn nursing homes and assisted living facilities that demanding stimulus checks is “improper and unlawful.”
Low-income Medicaid recipients must not be “coerced into wrongly handing over their checks for fear of being kicked out of their homes,” wrote Massachusetts Representative Richard Neal and New Jersey Representative Frank Pallone. Any funds taken must be returned.
Members of the D.C. National Guard have tested positive for COVID-19 after it was deployed to respond to the protests over George Floyd’s death in Washington. An exact number of those infected was not disclosed because of what a Guard official called “operational security.”
As US cities and states continue to reopen, infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci says the public still needs to exercise caution when going about their daily activities. In an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Wednesday, Fauci recommended people continue to wear masks, practice physical distancing, clean their hands often and avoid gathering in large numbers.
The New York City Health Department has issued guidelines to help people have safer sex during the pandemic. Although the says abstinence is the best way to lower the risk of infection, the guidelines say that during the crisis, people “will and should have sex.”
Researchers have found traces of the virus in feces and in men’s semen, even after the men have recovered from Covid-19. Scientists continue to study the probability of transmitting Covid-19 through sex, but think it is unlikely.
Several universities this week are reporting coronavirus cases within their athletic programs. Athletes in several sports programs at Arkansas State, Auburn University, Texas Tech and the University of Iowa all reported positive Covid-19 cases. Most of those student athletes are asymptomatic and remain in quarantine for 14 days.
AMC Theaters, the largest theater chain in the nation, plans to reopen all its locations in July. The chain said it would limit capacity, block off seating, require face coverings and implement cleaning procedures.
Cinemark also plans to reopen its 345 theaters beginning June 19.