More than 1 million people have now tested positive for COVID-19, and 50,000 dying from the virus in a matter of months.
In the U.S., the curve continues to spike — with more than 258,000 cases as of noon on Friday and over 6,600 deaths.
Despite recommendations to issue formal guidelines on wearing face masks on a national scale — President Donald Trump said this shouldn’t be mandatory.
“Well, I think they’re going to be coming out with regulations on that. And if people want to abide by them, frankly, I don’t think, I don’t think there’ll be mandatory because some people don’t want to do that. But if people wanted as an example in the masks, if people wanted to wear them.
Now, recommendations coming out. We’ll see what that recommendation is for the patients. But I will say this, they can pretty much decide for themselves right now.”
Even if everyone outside wears a face mask — experts worry that it could give a false sense of security.
“We don’t want people to get an artificial sense of protection because they’re behind a mask, because if they’re touching things, remember, your eyes are not in the mask,” said Dr. Deborah Brix, White House Coronavirus Task Force. “So if your touching things and then touching your eyes, you’re exposing yourself in the same way. So we don’t want people to feel like, oh, I’m wearing a mask, I’m protected and I’m protecting others. You may be protecting others, but don’t get a false sense of security that that mask is protecting you exclusively from getting infected because there are other ways that you can get infected.”
President Trump also announced that the Javits Center in New York will soon be used to treat COVID-19 patients.
The massive convention center was initially set up as a temporary hospital to treat non-COVID 19 patients.
On the economic front, the federal government said about 60 million Americans should expect to get their stimulus checks by mid-April directly deposited to their bank accounts, based on their tax records in 2018 and 2019.
But there are many Americans who don’t have bank accounts and they may not get their checks until mid-august or later. Those checks will start rolling out by May 4 at a pace of only 5 million per week, meaning it would take up to 20 weeks to get all the checks out.
Meanwhile, Democrats are demanding the federal government to give out unemployment benefits within two weeks to the millions who lost their jobs.
“We Democrats are going to hold the Trump administration’s feet to the fire to make sure they get it done and get it done right. And at the top of the list, the administration must get their unemployment, and must ensure that people get their new unemployment insurance checks within two weeks,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer.
In the last two weeks alone — almost 10 million Americans filed for unemployment claims, with economists predicting that record-high number to continue climbing in the days and weeks to come.