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When stupidity and narcissism become dangerous…US stock market crash, country near to collapes caused #coronavirus pandemic

US military restricts movement for thousands of personnel due to coronavirus

The fast-spreading coronavirus has forced the US military to restrict the movement of thousands of personnel in the regions overseas most exposed to the virus: Asia, Europe and West Asia, US military commands tell Reuters.

Reuters has learned that there are more American troops under special restrictions — including quarantine — elsewhere.

But the military commands that operate in Latin America and Africa declined to disclose their data.

Almost 10,000 personnel in Asia, Europe and West Asia are under restrictions, illustrating the challenges facing the Pentagon as it seeks to prevent an erosion of military readiness even as big chunks of the force are locked in place. The forces are either in isolation, quarantine or under some other restriction of movement.

The number is still a small fraction of the hundreds of thousands of US military personnel in Asia, Europe and West Asia.

US Army General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Pentagon virtual town hall that he expected there could be a low or even moderate impact on U.S military readiness for a conflict or crisis, “based on the numbers so far.”

“This could change. We’ll have to assess it, and we are assessing it frequently,” Milley said.

Each time a US Marine, sailor, soldier or any other servicemember is identified with the virus — and 227 have as of Wednesday morning — the US military seeks to isolate that person and anyone who has had contact with him or her.

The Pentagon has canceled military exercises and put in place several restrictions on personnel, whether they have the virus or not. They are not allowed to travel through or from high-risk countries around the world and all domestic US travel has been halted. The US military has also restricted access to the Pentagon building, including barring anyone who has traveled internationally in the past 14 days.

Thomas A. Lukaszuk
@LukaszukAB
When stupidity and narcissism become dangerous… #usaCoronavirus

Donald J. Trump
@realDonaldTrump

The LameStream Media is the dominant force in trying to get me to keep our Country closed as long as possible in the hope that it will be detrimental to my election success. The real people want to get back to work ASAP. We will be stronger than ever before!

 

Number of 401(k) millionaires in US drops by 500,000 over coronavirus crisis

The number of Americans with a pension account worth $1 million and $5 million has dropped sharply because of the recent US stock market crash caused by the coronavirus pandemic, US media outlets reported.

There were over 11 million 401(k) millionaires — households worth between $1 million and $5 million — in February, but that number has now plummeted by 500,000, an article by the New York Post said Wednesday, citing a report by the Spectrem Group, a stock market consulting firm.

“Households with a net worth of between $100,000 to $1 million dropped by 200,000 to 31.6 million since the end of 2019,” the report said.

Global markets and US stock futures retreated Thursday following a labor market report showing over three million Americans lost their jobs last week as huge swaths of the economy shut down to slow the spread of coronaviurs.

The benchmark S&P 500 is still nearly $8 trillion below its mid-February high, and investors expect more sharp swings.

Data on Wednesday pointed to a fast-slowing economy that analysts said signaled the United States already is in recession.

Over 450,000 people have been infected globally by the new coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, and more than 20,000 have died, according to the latest Reuters tally.

The number of known coronavirus cases in the United States neared 70,000 on Thursday, after more than 10,000 new cases confirmed to be infected in one day, according to Worldometers — a website which compiles data on COVID-19.

Health officials also reported at 1,031 total deaths in the country as of Wednesday evening.

 

US jobless claims surge to record 3.3 million over coronavirus crisis

The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits shot to record of more than 3 million last week as strict measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic ground the country to a sudden halt, unleashing a wave of layoffs that likely brought an end to the longest employment boom in U.S. history.

According to Press TV, initial claims for unemployment benefits rose to 3.28 million in the latest week from a revised 282,000 the previous week, eclipsing the previous record of 695,000 set in 1982, the U.S. Labor Department said on Thursday.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims would rise to 1 million, but estimates had ranged to as high as 4 million.

With streets in major US cities barren, and shops and restaurants forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic, economists warn of a record explosion of Americans filing for unemployment benefits.

Governors in at least 18 US states, accounting for nearly half the country’s population, have ordered residents to stay mostly indoors. “Non-essential” businesses have also been ordered closed. According to economists, a fifth of the workforce is on some form of lockdown.

Economists are projecting the pandemic’s shutdown could lead to a staggering 14 percent contraction of the US economy, and the Conference Board on Wednesday said unemployment could rise to as high as 15 percent later in the year — far beyond the 10 percent peak hit in October 2009 during the global financial crisis.

With layoffs surging, a significant expansion of unemployment benefits for the millions who will lose jobs as a result of the coronavirus outbreak was included in an economic relief bill nearing final approval in Congress. One provision in the bill would provide an extra $600 a week on top of the unemployment aid that states provide. Another would extend 13 additional weeks of benefits beyond the six months of jobless aid that most states offer.

Many people who have lost jobs in recent days have been unable to file for unemployment aid because state websites and phone systems have been overwhelmed by a crush of applicants and have frozen up. That logjam suggests that Thursday’s report on filings for unemployment benefits actually understates the magnitude of job cuts last week.

Even for those able to file a claim, the benefits will take time to kick in. It typically takes two to three weeks before applicants receive any money. State agencies must first contact their former employers to verify their work and earnings history. Only then can the employee’s weekly unemployment benefits be calculated.

Worsening the problem, most state agencies that handle unemployment claims are operating at historically low funding levels and staffing that are intended to handle a trickle of claims. Just weeks ago, the job market was in the strongest shape it had been in decades.

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