Today’s In Crisis headlines


(NEW YORK) — Here are today’s In Crisis headlines:

Unemployment declines to 7.9% but fewer jobs added than expected
The national unemployment rate declined in September to 7.9% from the previous month’s rate of 8.4%, according to figures released Friday morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  While that number is better than expected, it reflects the addition of 661,000 jobs, which is fewer than expected and represents a significant slowdown in the number of jobs added since the economy started opening up after the pandemic-induced shutdown.  Today’s report also doesn’t take into account the recent spate of layoffs that have been in the news, which could further negatively impact next month’s jobs picture.  Job gains occurred in the leisure and hospitality industries, in retail trade, in health care and social assistance, and in professional and business services. Government employment declined over the month, mainly in state and local government education.  Unemployment declined the most for adult men and women and white Americans, with little change in unemployment numbers for teens, Blacks and Hispanics.  An additional 837,000 Americans applied for unemployment benefits in the week ending September 26, according to U.S. Labor Department figures released Thursday morning.  That figure is in keeping with expectations and marks the 28th consecutive week of record high unemployment.

COVID-19 numbers
Here’s the latest data on COVID-19 coronavirus infections and deaths.

Latest reported numbers globally per Johns Hopkins University
Global diagnosed cases: 34,332,476
Global deaths: 1,023,708.  The United States has the most deaths of any single country, with 207,816.
Number of countries/regions: at least 188
Total patients recovered globally: 23,884,945

Latest reported numbers in the United States per Johns Hopkins University
There are at least 7,279,065 reported cases in 50 states + the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.  This is more than in any other country.
U.S. deaths: at least 207,816.  New York State has the greatest number of reported deaths in the U.S., with 33,144.
U.S. total patients recovered: 2,860,650
U.S. total people tested: 104,845,628

The greatest number of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is in California, with 822,775 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 39.51 million.  That ranks third in the world after Maharashtra, India, which has 1,400,922 reported cases, and Sao Paulo, Brazil, which has 991,725 reported cases.

President Trump, first lady test positive for COVID-19
The White House announced early Friday morning that President Trump and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19.  Hours before that news came word that presidential advisor Hope Hicks had tested positive, and that the president and Mrs. Trump were themselves being tested.  Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary tweeted Friday morning that Pence and his wife had tested negative for the virus, and noted that the vice president is tested daily. 

While it’s not confirmed that Trump contracted COVID-19 from Hicks, nor is it known how long the president and first lady may have had the virus, there is an ongoing flurry of contact tracing this morning to determine with whom the president and Hicks have had recent contact.  That includes former Vice President Joe Biden, who debated Trump last Tuesday.  A Biden campaign source confirms to ABC News that the former vice president is scheduled to be tested this morning.  Biden himself tweeted Friday morning that he and Mrs. Biden “send our thoughts” to the president and first lady “for a swift recovery.  We will continue to pray for the health and safety of the president and his family.”

Sources further tell ABC News that Hope Hicks’ positive test results were returned Wednesday, the day she traveled with the president and his top advisors, including son-in-law Jared Kushner, whom the White House said Friday morning has tested negative, as has his wife, Ivanka Trump.  Trump’s youngest son, Barron, has also reportedly tested negative, according to the White House.  Also Friday morning, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel revealed she had tested positive last week and has been recovering at home since Saturday.

Hicks is reportedly symptomatic.  A person can be infected with COVID-19 for up to two weeks and yet display no symptoms, but can still transmit the virus to others.  The president is well known for his disdain for wearing masks to prevent COVID-19’s spread and for his lack of social distancing, including at campaign rallies and daily events.  He is also in the high-risk group for COVID-19 complications, both because of his age – he turned 74 in June – and also because of his generally poor health, including a body mass index of 30.4, which is considered obese; the president is 6’3” and 244 pounds.  CDC health guidelines show Trumps weight alone makes him three times more likely to be hospitalized due to his infection than a non-obese person, while his age further increases the likelihood of hospitalization and both factors place the president in the highest risk group for COVID-19 complications.

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