Nearly 1.2 million people nationwide applied for state unemployment benefits last week, signaling the cutting of jobs by companies due to uncertainty surrounding the pandemic. Although the number of the jobless remains high, the number of jobless claims declined by 249,000 from the previous week, the lowest total since mid-March.

According to data from the Labor Department, a total of 31.3 million people are now receiving some form of unemployment benefits.

A study released Monday by Cornell University found that 31% of those laid off or furloughed because of the pandemic had been laid off a second time. 

The states with the highest unemployment rates (from highest to lowest) are:

Nevada

Hawaii

California

Louisiana

New York

Connecticut

Georgia

Massachusetts

Michigan

MORE ON THE PANDEMIC

As negotiations continue in talks for the next coronavirus relief bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shot down the idea of a short-term extension of federal jobless benefits and is standing firm on cutting a broader deal with Republicans and the White House. Democrats are pushing to extend the extra $600 in unemployment aid while Republicans hope to lower the extra payment by several hundred dollars.

A forecast published by the CDC now projects more than 181,000 coronavirus deaths in the U.S. by August 29. 

“State-level ensemble forecasts predict that the number of reported new deaths per week may increase over the next four weeks in Hawaii and Puerto Rico and may decrease in Florida, Mississippi, New Mexico, the Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Texas, Vermont, and the Virgin Islands.” the agency says on its website. [READ MORE]

As teachers nationwide express their concerns over returning to classrooms this fall, infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci suggests educators wear goggles or face shields to add an extra degree of protection when teaching. 

Fauci explained the virus can enter the body through the mouth, nose and the eyes, but because studies have not been done yet, there’s no formal guidance on wearing goggles to protect against the virus.

So far, 62 of the nation’s largest 101 school districts will begin the 2020-21 school year with full online remote learning. This accounts for nearly 7 million students. 

Five school districts that have yet to make a decision on how it will return to school in the fall include: New York City, Hillsborough County, Florida; Dallas, Texas; Greenville, South Carolina; and Boston, Massachusetts.

Six students and one staff member in a Mississippi school district have tested positive for coronavirus. At least 116 people associated with those infected are quarantining for 14 days. Classes started in the district in Corinth, Mississippi on July 27. Of the seven people infected, five are high school students, one is in middle school and the other is a staff member at an elementary school. Students who are in self-quarantine are now receiving remote instruction.

Twenty percent, or one in five workers at Delta Air Lines, has voluntarily left the company as it continues to remain in business during the pandemic.

The offering of voluntary early separation packages was put into place in July to avoid furloughs, said the airline. The company spent $27 million in cash each day in June to stay afloat, said Delta CEO Ed Bastian in a memo to employees. Other major airlines, including American and United, have sent notices of possible furloughs to its employees.

To support communities amid the pandemic, Walmart is turning several of its parking lots across the country into drive-in theaters.

From Aug. 14 through Oct. 21, the company will host 320 movie showings at 160 of its stores, including “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Black Panther” and other animated movies. 

 Sign up to reserve a parking space for a viewing at thewalmartdrivein.com

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