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‘It’s not like we have a massive recession or worse,’ says Trump after millions lose their jobs

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“It’s artificial because we turned it off,” Trump said of the economic crisis, a distinction that makes no difference to the millions who have lost their jobs and their health insurance.

During a Coronavirus Task Force briefing late Thursday following news that 10 million Americans filed jobless claims over just a two-week period last month, President Donald Trump downplayed the intensifying economic downturn as “an artificial closing” and insisted that businesses like restaurants will be “bigger and better” than before once the COVID-19 crisis subsides.

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“It’s not like we have a massive recession or worse. It’s artificial because we turned it off,” Trump said, drawing a distinction that makes no difference to those who have lost their jobs—as well as employer-provided health insurance—or seen their hours drastically cut due to the crisis.

“Oh thank God, for a second I thought I was actually unemployed and not just artificially unemployed,” one Twitter user quipped in response to the president’s comments.

Amid widespread criticism that the federal government’s economic stimulus and relief efforts have been far too slow and inadequate, Trump said “we will probably do more.”

Watch:

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The president’s remarks came after the Labor Department announced Thursday morning that 6.6 million Americans filed jobless claims last week, a record-breaking figure that economists warned could portend an unprecedented depression.

“This kind of upending of the labor market in such a short time is unheard of,” wrote Heidi Shierholz of the Economic Policy Institute. “Given the incredible deterioration of the labor market in a matter of weeks, federal policymakers will absolutely need to come back and provide more desperately needed relief, and more support for the recovery once the lockdown is over.”

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World virus cases top 6 million as leaders disagree on pandemic response

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The number of coronavirus cases worldwide topped six million Sunday, with Brazil registering another record surge in daily infections as divisions deepened on how to deal with the pandemic.

Latin American countries are bracing for difficult weeks ahead as the disease spreads rapidly across the region, even as much of the world exits lockdowns that have wrecked economies and stripped millions of their jobs.

In Brazil -- the epicenter of South America's outbreak with nearly 500,000 confirmed cases, lagging only behind the United States -- disagreement among leaders over lockdown measures has hampered efforts to slow the virus as the number of fatalities in the country nears 30,000.

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Scientists warn of ‘superspreaders’ as Americans flock back to restaurants, salons and churches

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SAN DIEGO — Churches. Hair salons. Restaurants. Malls. What do they all have in common?They’ve all been cleared to reopen in San Diego County amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic — and by and large, they all require people to congregate inside, potentially with strangers.This comes as an increasingly vocal group of scientists has sounded the alarm about the danger of indoor gatherings due to the potential for airborne transmission of the disease by “superspreaders.”This week Kimberly Prather of UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography penned an urgently worded perspective paper in t... (more…)

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Justice Roberts took ‘clear swipe’ at Kavanaugh in opinion siding with liberals in religion case: report

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On Friday night, the Supreme Court handed down a decision in South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom, holding that California Gov. Gavin Newsom's restrictions on church gatherings are not a violation of religious liberty. Chief Justice John Roberts crossed over to join with the liberals for a 5-4 split.

But the ruling was dramatic in a key way. As court watcher Mark Joseph Stern wrote for Slate, Justice Brett Kavanaugh "falsely accused the state of religious discrimination in an extremely misleading opinion that omits the most important facts of the case" in his dissent — and was so dishonest that Roberts went out of his way to rebuke him in the Court opinion.

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