Surge of U.S. virus cases appears to be plateauing — for now
NEW YORK — While deaths from the coronavirus in the U.S. are mounting rapidly, public health experts are seeing a flicker of good news: The second surge of confirmed cases appears to be leveling off.
Scientists aren’t celebrating by any means, warning that the trend is driven by four big, hard-hit places — Arizona, California, Florida and Texas — and that cases are rising in close to 30 states in all.
Some experts wonder whether the apparent caseload improvements will endure. It’s also not clear when deaths will start coming down. COVID-19 deaths do not move in perfect lockstep with the infection curve, for the simple reason that it can take weeks to get sick and die from the virus.
The virus has claimed over 150,000 lives in the U.S. plus more than a half-million others around the globe.
Over the past week, the average number of deaths per day in the U.S. has climbed more than 25%, from 843 to 1,057. Florida on Thursday reported 253 more deaths, setting its third straight single-day record. The number of confirmed infections nationwide has topped 4.4 million.
Prez, GOP suggest temporary fix for $600 jobless benefit
WASHINGTON — The White House and some of its Republican allies in the Senate are signaling they want to extend, at least temporarily, a $600-per-week expanded jobless benefit that has helped keep families and the economy afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. The move looks to be too little, too late to prevent the lapse of the benefit officially on Friday.
Republicans have been fighting to trim back the $600 jobless benefit in the next coronavirus package, but President Donald Trump and some Senate Republicans suggested they could accept keeping the full $600 benefit for now. Late-night talks were expected at the Capitol.
“We want a temporary extension of enhanced unemployment benefits,” Trump said at the White House. “This will provide a critical bridge for Americans who lost their jobs to the pandemic through no fault of their own.”
But Democrats have so far rejected a piecemeal approach, saying the next relief bill needs to move as a complete package.
Prosecutor: No charges for cop in Michael Brown’s death
CLAYTON, Mo. — St. Louis County’s top prosecutor announced Thursday that he will not charge the former police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
It was nearly six years ago that a grand jury declined to indict Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot Brown, a Black 18-year-old. Civil rights leaders and Brown’s mother had hoped that Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell, the county’s first Black prosecutor, would reopen the case after he took office in January 2019.