3.8 Million Americans Filed For Unemployment Last Week

The latest in COVID-19

Quick Take

  • FDA requests manufacturers to make hand sanitizers taste bitter.

  • Tupac Shakur files for unemployment along with 3.8 million Americans.

  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom outlines a four-phase reopening plan.

  • Governors in twelve states allow stay-at-home orders to expire.

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FDA Requests Hand Sanitizer To Be Unpalatable

The FDA is has requested the manufacturers of hand sanitizers to add denatured alcohol to their products in an effort to make them taste bitter and less appealing to people. FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn stated “It is important that hand sanitizer be manufactured in a way that makes them unpalatable to people, especially young children, and that they are appropriately labeled to discourage accidental or intentional ingestion,” 

He added that hand sanitizers are not proven to treat COVID-19, and like other products meant for external use, are not for ingestion. The safety call comes just days after President Trump questioned whether or not people infected with the illness could be “injected” with disinfectant to treat the virus. Last week, the FDA issued its first warning letter for a hand sanitizer product marketed with unproven COVID-19-related claims, in violation of federal law.

Tupac Shakur Filed For Unemployment In Kentucky 

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced earlier this week that a few “bad apples” including a person who filed an unemployment claim under the name of Tupac Shakur are responsible for slowing down the state’s unemployment processing. He blamed people who “think they’re funny” for making “thousands of other people wait” for their unemployment payments

The governor later apologized after receiving news that Tupac Shakur is a 46-year-old cook living in Kentucky who is struggling to pay his bills after being unemployed. Shakur says he appreciates the apology from the governor, adding that “he’s dealing with a lot, mistakes happen.”

3.8 million more Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the nation’s total unemployment figures to more than 30 million just in the last six weeks. A study by the Economic Policy Institute found that roughly 50 percent more people than counted as filing claims in a recent four-week period may have qualified for benefits but impeded hindered in the process of applying. Many state agencies are overwhelmed by the flood of claims, trying to scale up an outdated system built to keep claims low.

California Reopening Plan

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has outlined a four-phase reopening plan that could see schools open as early as August. The state is currently in stage one of the plan which includes building out testing, PPE, and hospital capacity. Stage two will reopen lower risk workplaces including retail, manufacturing, and offices. Reopening child care centers would also be a part of the second stage as well.

Stage three will see the reopening of personal care services, movie theaters, and in-person religious services. The final stage would see the reopening of concerts, sports events, and conventions. Newsom warned there would be size limits on gatherings and stated that California will not be going back to the way things were until the state gets to immunity or a vaccine.

Newsom also ordered all beaches in Orange County, California, to close starting this weekend, after photos surfaced of packed beaches despite social distancing guidelines. California has nearly 50,000 confirmed cases and 2,000 coronavirus deaths.

Some States Reopen As Federal Guidelines Expire

Millions of Americans will soon be able to eat at restaurants and shop inside stores as some states are moving toward reopening this weekend. Governors in twelve states including Alabama, Maine, Tennessee, Iowa, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Texas allow stay-at-home orders to expire, paving the way for certain businesses to reopen.

Federal guidelines encouraging people to stop nearly all public activities is also set to expire today after President Trump indicated he will not extend the guidelines. Texas is expected to take one of the most expansive actions, allowing retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and malls to reopen and operate at 25 percent capacity. 

Other states have opted to open the economy just one sector at a time. Alabama will allow many retail stores to reopen, while Maine will allow barber shops, hair salons and pet groomers to open. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci warns that premature action by states could lead to a rebound to get us right back in the same boat that we were in a few weeks ago. Several of the nation’s most populous states remain on extended lockdown, including California, New York, Illinois, and Michigan.