Studies Point to Varied Effects of Masking

Crowded street market with people wearing masks

New research published by Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) Bangladesh, which tracked mask-wearing among 340,000 Bangladeshi adults, indicates mask usage can considerably reduce the spread of symptomatic COVID-19. 

Some medical professionals, however, remain uneasy about mask mandates in schools because of their possible impact on children’s learning and social health.

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Retail Sales Dipped in July Amid Spiking Coronavirus Cases

Woman shopping

Retail sales in the U.S. declined in July as the number of coronavirus cases spiked, localities renewed some restrictions and businesses delayed their return to in-person work.

Sales dropped 1.1% in July compared to June and totaled $617.7 billion, according to the Census Bureau report released Tuesday. The decrease was driven mainly by declining used and new car sales, clothing purchases, building materials sales, sports goods sales and furniture purchases.

Economists expected retail sales to fall 0.3%, a relatively modest drop compared to the actual decline, CNBC reported. All major stock market indices declined between 0.5% and 0.8% on Tuesday morning following the worse-than-expected report.

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Science on Mask Usage Indicates Scant Benefit

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended that all schools require mask-wearing indoors by teachers and students, vaccinated or unvaccinated against COVID-19. 

And many school districts are adopting that requirement, to the dismay of many parents.

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Number of Homeschooled Students Has Doubled Since Pandemic, Continues to Rise

Student working on school work at home.

As a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, the total number of students being homeschooled in the United States has more than doubled from pre-pandemic levels, and continues to rise even as schools begin to slowly reopen, according to Fox News.

By March of 2021, the total number of homeschooled students in America stands at over 5 million, in comparison to just 2.6 million in 2020. Christopher Chin, president of Homeschool Louisiana, said that “interest has exploded,” and that although some students may ultimately return to regular schools after the pandemic, “many parents [are] finding this is a better way of life for them and their children.”

Additionally, Chin says the homeschooling model has proven successful even for households where both parents work, due to the rise in remote work at many companies and places of business.

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Commentary: Instead of Tightening Government’s Grip on Healthcare, Give Americans a Personal Option

Healthcare workers

As America begins to put the COVID-19 pandemic in the rearview, the lesson from this once-in-a-generation crisis couldn’t be clearer: We need less, not more, central planning in our lives.

For example, a study earlier this year by health economist Casey Mulligan revealed that economic lockdowns mandated by government were counterproductive, given the significant steps workplaces took to prevent the virus from spreading.

The same is true with health care. By now, most folks know the story of how Operation Warp Speed — the previous administration’s unprecedented plan to trim bureaucracy from the vaccine development process — resulted in the creation of multiple safe and effective vaccines in record time. But an equally important storyline is how states took a sledgehammer to their own bureaucracies to expand access to care for those in need.

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GDP Surges 6.5 Percent as Economy Reaches Pre-Pandemic Size

The U.S. economy surged 6.5% in the second quarter of 2021 as states continued to end coronavirus-related restrictions that triggered an economic recession last year.

The U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of net services and goods produced, jumped at a 6.5% annual rate between April and May, according to a Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) report released Thursday. GDP plummeted 31.4% in the second quarter of 2020 amid the massive nationwide economic shutdowns that occurred during the first coronavirus outbreak.

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Three Texas Democrat State Legislators Who Fled to DC to Avoid Quorum Test Positive for COVID-19

Texas Democrats Test Positive for COVID

After more than 50 Texas Democrats fled the state to avoid a special legislative session, three of the lawmakers tested positive for COVID-19.

After one member tested positive for the virus on Friday, two more lawmakers received additional positive test results on Saturday.

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Analysis: What It Would Look Like If China Had to Pay Reparations for COVID-19

The U.S. and other nations can hold the Chinese government accountable for the 2020 outbreak of coronavirus and ensuing global pandemic through a variety of legal, financial and diplomatic means.

Republican senators and Asian policy experts have proposed a range of options for punishing the Chinese government for its alleged negligence responding to the outbreak and overseeing the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where coronavirus potentially leaked from in late 2019. Since the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a pandemic in March 2o20, the virus has killed more than 4 million people worldwide, nations have experienced economic devastation and the prevalence of other health issues such as depression has increased.

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Commentary: An Inside Look at Lockdown Orders from 2020

Person putting hands on glass, inside of home

Life in the United States and in many parts of the world was transformed in mid-March 2020. That was when the great experiment began. It was a test. How much power does government have to rule nearly the whole of life? To what extent can all the power of the state be mobilized to take away rights that people had previously supposed were protected by law? How many restrictions on freedom would people put up with without a revolt?

It was also a test of executive and bureaucratic power: can these dramatic decisions be made by just a handful of people, independent of all our slogans about representative democracy?

We are far from coming to terms with any of these questions. They are hardly being discussed. The one takeaway from the storm that swept through our country and the world in those days is that anything is possible. Unless something dramatic is done, like some firm limits on what governments can do, they will try again, under the pretext of public health or something else. 

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Workers’ Coronavirus Fears Hit Pandemic Low

U.S. workers’ fear of contracting coronavirus while on the job has hit a pandemic low as the economy continues its steady recovery.

The number of Americans not working due to their fear of getting the virus while at their job dipped to 3.05 million by the end of June, according to the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey released Wednesday. The figure hit its peak in July 2020 when 6.24 million unemployed Americans reported not looking for a job due to coronavirus fears, Axios reported.

“People are feeling safer about returning to work, which should help businesses staff-up to meet the tremendous demand we’re seeing right now,” Wells Fargo senior economist Sarah House told Axios.

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FLASHBACK: Atlanta’s Fox 5 Reported on COVID-19 Outbreak in October at Fulton County Election Preparation Center Warehouse Where Absentee Ballots from Drop Boxes Were Delivered

A little more than two weeks prior to the 2020 election, Atlanta’s Fox5 TV reported on a COVID-19 outbreak at the Fulton County Election warehouse.

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Daily COVID-19 Cases Are the Lowest They’ve Been Since the Pandemic Began

Daily coronavirus cases are at their lowest point since the pandemic began in March 2020.

The United States averaged approximately 16,500 daily cases this past week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, a 30% decline from the week prior. Daily cases declined in 48 states, while Arizona and Washington state both recorded increases of less than 5%.

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Science Magazine Publishes Letter Pushing for Better Investigation of COVID-19’s Origins

A group of scientists called for a more objective investigation into the source of COVID-19 in an open letter in Science magazine on Thursday.

“A proper investigation should be transparent, objective, data-driven, inclusive of broad expertise, subject to independent oversight, and responsibly managed to minimize the impact of conflicts of interest,” the 18 scientists wrote, many of whom have conducted extensive research in microbiology and are from top U.S. universities.

A World Health Organization-led team released a report on COVID-19’s origins in March, and the WHO’s director general, the White House, the U.S. State Department and 13 other countries expressed concern that the report was compromised, particularly as China blocked the team’s access to key data.

Public health agencies and research laboratories need to open their records for investigation, the scientists say in their open letter.

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Steve Bannon Presents ‘War Room: Pandemic’

An all new LIVE STREAM of War Room: Pandemic starts at 9 a.m. Central Time on Saturday.

Former White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon began the daily War Room: Pandemic radio show and podcast on January 25, when news of the virus was just beginning to leak out of China around the Lunar New Year. Bannon and co-hosts bring listeners exclusive analysis and breaking updates from top medical, public health, economic, national security, supply chain and geopolitical experts weekdays from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon ET.

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Steve Bannon Presents ‘War Room: Pandemic’

An all new LIVE STREAM of War Room: Pandemic starts at 9 a.m. Central Time on Saturday.

Former White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon began the daily War Room: Pandemic radio show and podcast on January 25, when news of the virus was just beginning to leak out of China around the Lunar New Year. Bannon and co-hosts bring listeners exclusive analysis and breaking updates from top medical, public health, economic, national security, supply chain and geopolitical experts weekdays from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon ET.

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WHO Team Investigating Pandemic’s Origins Must Have Better Access, Officials and Scientists Say

Francis Collins

The next phase of the World Health Organization (WHO) investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic must be more scientific and data-driven, a group of scientists wrote in an open letter to the WHO on Friday.

China should not be permitted to veto the team members chosen for the next WHO-led investigation and the team should be granted full access to related data such as medical records and biological samples, signers of the letter wrote.

The letter is authored by various international scientists and academics and co-organized by Jamie Metzl, a WHO advisor and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank.

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Steve Bannon Presents ‘War Room: Pandemic’

An all new LIVE STREAM of War Room: Pandemic starts at 9 a.m. Central Time on Saturday.

Former White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon began the daily War Room: Pandemic radio show and podcast on January 25, when news of the virus was just beginning to leak out of China around the Lunar New Year. Bannon and co-hosts bring listeners exclusive analysis and breaking updates from top medical, public health, economic, national security, supply chain and geopolitical experts weekdays from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon ET.

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Steve Bannon Presents ‘War Room: Pandemic’

An all new LIVE STREAM of War Room: Pandemic starts at 9 a.m. Central Time on Saturday.

Former White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon began the daily War Room: Pandemic radio show and podcast on January 25, when news of the virus was just beginning to leak out of China around the Lunar New Year. Bannon and co-hosts bring listeners exclusive analysis and breaking updates from top medical, public health, economic, national security, supply chain and geopolitical experts weekdays from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon ET.

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Small Number of Vaccinated Adults Later Tested Positive for Coronavirus, CDC Says

About 5,800 individuals tested positive for coronavirus after receiving a complete dosage of the vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The number of people who have reportedly contracted coronavirus after vaccination represent a tiny sliver of the nearly 77 million fully-vaccinated Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. The CDC said that 396 people have required hospitalization and 74 people have died from the virus after they received a full coronavirus vaccine dosage, according to CNN.

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Steve Bannon Presents ‘War Room: Pandemic’

An all new LIVE STREAM of War Room: Pandemic starts at 9 a.m. Central Time on Saturday.

Former White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon began the daily War Room: Pandemic radio show and podcast on January 25, when news of the virus was just beginning to leak out of China around the Lunar New Year. Bannon and co-hosts bring listeners exclusive analysis and breaking updates from top medical, public health, economic, national security, supply chain and geopolitical experts weekdays from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon ET.

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Steve Bannon Presents ‘War Room: Pandemic’

An all new LIVE STREAM of War Room: Pandemic starts at 9 a.m. Central Time on Saturday.

Former White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon began the daily War Room: Pandemic radio show and podcast on January 25, when news of the virus was just beginning to leak out of China around the Lunar New Year. Bannon and co-hosts bring listeners exclusive analysis and breaking updates from top medical, public health, economic, national security, supply chain and geopolitical experts weekdays from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon ET.

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Texas Coronavirus Cases Drop over Two Weeks After Restrictions, Mask Mandate Lifted

Covid cases are falling in Texas, over two weeks after Gov. Greg Abbott (R) lifted restrictions, including the statewide mask mandate, Breitbart reported. 

In March, Abbott announced the end of the statewide mask mandate, which had been in effect since July, and lifted restrictions allowing businesses to operate at 100 percent capacity.

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WHO Delays Report on COVID’s Origins as China ‘Fights Tooth & Nail Over Each Sentence,’ WHO Advisor Says

China has delayed the release of a World Health Organization report on the origins of the coronavirus pandemic as it reviews the document, according to a World Health Organization advisor.

A team of scientists led by the WHO was expected to release the report this week, after an investigation in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the first known cases of COVID-19 were found.

“Just received confirmation that release of the @WHO-organized int’l committee/Chinese gov’t report on #COVID19 origins has again been delayed, apparently as the Chinese side fights tooth & nail over each sentence. Anyone believe this compromise report can possibly be credible?” World Health Organization advisory committee member Jamie Metzl said Friday in a tweet.

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Ex-CDC Director Says He Believes Coronavirus Escaped from a Chinese Lab

Dr. Robert Redfield, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cast doubt on the prevalent theory about the origins of the coronavirus, saying in an interview released Friday that he believes the virus escaped from a science lab in China.

“I do not believe this somehow came from a bat to a human,” Redfield told CNN’s Sanjay Gupta for a special on the virus that airs Sunday.

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Social Media Doesn’t Allow Posts That Break COVID-19 Narratives, Even Though Health Organizations Keep Backtracking Previous Findings

Social media companies have policed coronavirus-related content based on information from top health organizations, even as those organizations have contradicted themselves.

Facebook and Google instituted policies early in the pandemic restricting user content shared on their platforms to information that doesn’t contradict World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) findings. However, the organizations have contradicted, backtracked or retracted their own findings throughout the pandemic.

Facebook’s policy states that the site “will debunk common myths that have been identified by the World Health Organization.” Shortly after coronavirus was declared a pandemic, Facebook announced its “Coronavirus Information Center,” which curates updates from “organizations such as the World Health Organization.”

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Steve Bannon Presents ‘War Room: Pandemic’

An all new LIVE STREAM of War Room: Pandemic starts at 9 a.m. Central Time on Saturday.

Former White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon began the daily War Room: Pandemic radio show and podcast on January 25, when news of the virus was just beginning to leak out of China around the Lunar New Year. Bannon and co-hosts bring listeners exclusive analysis and breaking updates from top medical, public health, economic, national security, supply chain and geopolitical experts weekdays from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon ET.

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Fauci: Daily New Cases Should Be Below 10,000 Before U.S. Lifts Pandemic Restrictions

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday that the U.S. should not relax restrictions that have been put in place to slow the spread of coronavirus until new infections are under 10,000 per day, a number that is about 85% lower than current case levels.

Fauci said that the case levels may have to be “considerably less” than 10,000 per day for him to support rolling back mask and social distancing mandates in place in many U.S. cities and states.

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Biden Administration Won’t Allow Media to Tour Migrant Children Facility ‘Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic’

Members of the media will not be able to visit migrant detention centers holding minors near the southern border due to COVID-19, a spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Reporters will not be allowed inside the Carrizo Springs facility for unaccompanied minors that was recently opened under the Biden administration in Texas, a Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families (ACF) spokesperson told the DCNF.

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Steve Bannon Presents ‘War Room: Pandemic’

An all new LIVE STREAM of War Room: Pandemic starts at 9 a.m. Central Time on Saturday.

Former White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon began the daily War Room: Pandemic radio show and podcast on January 25, when news of the virus was just beginning to leak out of China around the Lunar New Year. Bannon and co-hosts bring listeners exclusive analysis and breaking updates from top medical, public health, economic, national security, supply chain and geopolitical experts weekdays from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon ET.

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Johnson & Johnson’s Coronavirus Vaccine Offers Strong Protection, Reduces Spread, FDA Analysis Finds

Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine is effective in preventing severe and fatal coronavirus cases, and may reduce the virus’s transmission among vaccinated people, the FDA said in new analyses Wednesday.

The drug maker announced in January that its vaccine was 72% effective against the virus in the United States and 64% effective in South Africa, where a mutated, more transmissible strain has become dominant. Its vaccine was 86% effective in preventing severe virus cases in the U.S., meaning that a vaccinated individual is at a far smaller risk of being hospitalized or dying from COVID-19.

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U.S. to Pay $4 Billion for Coronavirus Vaccine Distribution in Poor Countries

Joe Biden is set to announce today that the United States will be spending $4 billion on an effort to increase distribution of the coronavirus vaccine in poor and third-world countries, as reported by ABC.

Congress had approved spending the funds on an international vaccine distribution effort back in December; half of the money will go to an organization called Gavi, an international group that focuses specifically on vaccine distribution and is backed by the United Nations. The funding will cover Gavi’s operations throughout 2021 and 2022.

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Pfizer, Moderna Vaccines May Offer Less Protection Against South African Coronavirus Variant

Recent studies indicate that the Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus vaccines may have reduced protection against the South African coronavirus strain, according to reports in the New England Journal of Medicine, raising concerns that they could be less effective against future mutations.

Though both vaccines appeared to generate enough antibodies to neutralize the mutant strain, they both produced fewer antibodies when compared to the original virus. But experts warned that it was unclear just how much protection was needed to neutralize the variant, which scientists believe is more contagious than the original strain.

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Steve Bannon Presents ‘War Room: Pandemic’

An all new LIVE STREAM of War Room: Pandemic starts at 9 a.m. Central Time on Saturday.

Former White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon began the daily War Room: Pandemic radio show and podcast on January 25, when news of the virus was just beginning to leak out of China around the Lunar New Year. Bannon and co-hosts bring listeners exclusive analysis and breaking updates from top medical, public health, economic, national security, supply chain and geopolitical experts weekdays from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon ET.

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China Withheld COVID-19 Data from World Health Organization Team Investigating Virus Origins: Report

Chinese authorities refused to share raw data on 174 early cases of Covid-19 with a World Health Organization team investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, one of the scientists on the team told The Wall Street Journal.

According to The Journal, government authorities provided summaries of the coronavirus cases to the WHO team, but withheld raw data that could provide clues about how the virus transmitted early on in the pandemi

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Steve Bannon Presents ‘War Room: Pandemic’

An all new LIVE STREAM of War Room: Pandemic starts at 9 a.m. Central Time on Saturday.

Former White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon began the daily War Room: Pandemic radio show and podcast on January 25, when news of the virus was just beginning to leak out of China around the Lunar New Year. Bannon and co-hosts bring listeners exclusive analysis and breaking updates from top medical, public health, economic, national security, supply chain and geopolitical experts weekdays from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon ET.

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Safety Concerns Make a Third of Americans Hesitant to Receive the Coronavirus Vaccine, Poll Shows

Approximately a third of Americans say that they are unlikely to receive the coronavirus vaccine due to perceived safety concerns, according to an Associated Press poll released Wednesday.

While 67% of Americans said that they either planned to receive the vaccine or had already done so, 17% said that they were unlikely to receive it and 15% said that they were definitely not going to receive it, the poll showed. Among those who expressed vaccine hesitancy, the majority cited concerns over possible side effects and doubts over whether it was really safe, and nearly 40% said that they did not believe that they needed a vaccine.

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Life Will Return to Normal in Seven Years, Vaccine Database Shows

It will take seven years for life to return to normal and for coronavirus to subside, a Bloomberg database tracking worldwide coronavirus vaccinations found.

Although countries like the U.S. and Israel have administered coronavirus at a rate that will ensure herd immunity by 2022, most countries have fallen behind that pace and will not catch up for seven years, according to Bloomberg. More than 119 million vaccines have been administered in 67 countries and the most recent rate of vaccination was 4.54 million doses per day, the vaccine database showed.

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Steve Bannon Presents ‘War Room: Pandemic’

An all new LIVE STREAM of War Room: Pandemic starts at 9 a.m. Central Time on Saturday.

Former White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon began the daily War Room: Pandemic radio show and podcast on January 25, when news of the virus was just beginning to leak out of China around the Lunar New Year. Bannon and co-hosts bring listeners exclusive analysis and breaking updates from top medical, public health, economic, national security, supply chain and geopolitical experts weekdays from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon ET.

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Johnson & Johnson’s Coronavirus Vaccine Is 72 Percent Effective, But Offers Weaker Protection Against New Strains

Johnson & Johnson announced on Friday that its coronavirus vaccine was 72% effective in combating COVID-19, but only 57% effective against a novel South African strain.

While slightly less effective than Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines, which were both approved by the FDA in December, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines provides significant distribution advantages that could be crucial in the nation’s fight against the virus. Unlike Pfizer and Moderna, Pfizer’s vaccine is just one shot, and can be stored in refrigerators instead of freezers.

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New Jobless Claims Decrease to 847,000, Economists Expected 875,000

The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims decreased to 847,000 last week as the economy continued to suffer the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to the Department of Labor.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) figure released Thursday represented a decrease in the number of new jobless claims compared to the week ending Jan. 16, in which there were 900,000 new jobless claims reported. Roughly 18.3 million Americans continue to collect unemployment benefits, according to the BLS report Thursday.

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Northam Extends Virginia’s COVID-19 Restrictions

Virginia’s public gathering limits, daily curfews, face mask requirements and other COVID-19 restrictions will stay in place until the end of February, drawing concern from some members of the business community.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced Wednesday he issued Executive Order 72, which extends and slightly modifies the state restrictions. Under the new restrictions, face masks will be required in not only indoor settings but also in any outdoor setting when a person cannot remain 6 feet away from other people.

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U.S. Sees Largest Rise in Poverty Rate in 50 Years Amid Pandemic

The U.S. poverty rate saw its sharpest increase since the 1960s as the coronavirus pandemic devastated the economy in 2020, according to a recent study.

The poverty rate increased 2.5 percentage points from 9.3% in June to 11.8% in December, according to the study released Monday by economists Bruce Meyer, of the University of Chicago, and James Sullivan, of the University of Notre Dame, Bloomberg reported. In total, 8.1 million Americans were added to ranks of the poor, according to the researchers.

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Mexico President Says He’s Tested Positive for the Coronavirus

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Sunday that he tested positive for coronavirus, according to The Hill.

“I regret to inform you that I am infected with COVID-19,” López Obrador tweeted, according to The Hill. “The symptoms are mild but I am already under medical treatment. As always, I am optimistic. We will all move forward.”

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Steve Bannon Presents ‘War Room: Pandemic’

An all new LIVE STREAM of War Room: Pandemic starts at 9 a.m. Central Time on Saturday.

Former White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon began the daily War Room: Pandemic radio show and podcast on January 25, when news of the virus was just beginning to leak out of China around the Lunar New Year. Bannon and co-hosts bring listeners exclusive analysis and breaking updates from top medical, public health, economic, national security, supply chain and geopolitical experts weekdays from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon ET.

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U.S. Deficit 60.7 Percent Higher Than This Time Last Year

The federal deficit in the first three months of the budget year is 60.7 percent higher than over the same time period as last year, a record-breaking $572.9 billion.

The deficit surged as a result of Congressional spending of $3.5 trillion in 2020 in response to the coronavirus, although critics note that spending on pork barrel programs that had nothing to do with the virus increased and also drove the deficit. At the same time, revenue declined because of ongoing state lockdowns.

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Steve Bannon Presents ‘War Room: Pandemic’

An all new LIVE STREAM of War Room: Pandemic starts at 9 a.m. Central Time on Saturday.

Former White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon began the daily War Room: Pandemic radio show and podcast on January 25, when news of the virus was just beginning to leak out of China around the Lunar New Year. Bannon and co-hosts bring listeners exclusive analysis and breaking updates from top medical, public health, economic, national security, supply chain and geopolitical experts weekdays from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon ET.

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Pfizer Vaccine Effective Against Contagious Coronavirus Strain, Study Shows

The vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech protects against a highly contagious strain of coronavirus that originated in South Africa and the U.K., according to a study published Thursday.

The study, which was commissioned by Pfizer, is likely to alleviate some fears that the virus variant would evade protections offered by the vaccine.

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