States all over the country have begun transitioning to the yellow phase, allowing businesses to reopen. With businesses opening people are finally able to return to work resulting in a drop in unemployment claims. While this is something many have been waiting for, it also raises the risks of people spreading the virus once again. Hospitalizations correlated with the coronavirus are on the rise, and as of now the U.S. has seen a total of over 110,000 deaths. Businesses opening back up pose a risk of spreading coronavirus, and paired with the nations recent rise in protests experts say there is a real risk of another spike in cases. Protests across the nation have caused several testing sites to close down so it is impossible to accurately know how these conditions are affecting case numbers until they reopen.
Unemployment Claims Drop
In the last week of May, unemployment claims dropped to 1.9 million. This is the lowest number of claims since the coronavirus pandemic started in March.
More than 40 million people have applied for unemployment benefits since the pandemic started, and roughly 21.5 million are continuing to receive them.
The job market is “crawling out of the hole now,” said Torsten Slok, chief economist at Deutsche Bank Securities. “We do have the worst behind us,” he said.
Civil Unrest Forces Testing Sites To Close
Due to the recent protests, at least 70 coronavirus testing sites across the U.S. have been forced to close. Many of these sites were in private pharmacies in what are deemed “socially vulnerable” neighborhoods. While some worry that the protests will cause a spike in cases, the closures will make it harder to identify outbreaks and actual numbers of cases among protesters.
U.S. Hospitalizations On The Rise
According to Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former FDA chief, coronavirus hospitalizations are on the rise around the country as states push to reopen. He fears that this could become a big problem when flu season begins in the fall. If there are outbreaks of both viruses at once, health systems will become strained and hospitals will not have enough resources or room to treat everyone.
NYC On Track To Reopen Monday, June 8
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the city is seeing its lowest number of people testing positive for the coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic. This news means that the city is on track to begin phase 1 of the reopening process on June 8. The mayor also said that the city will distribute 2 million free face masks to businesses in order to help protect employees.
“Phase one is going to go on, and we will build from there,” de Blasio said. He also stated that phase 2 could begin as early as July.
Las Vegas Casinos Reopen With Safety Measures
Las Vegas has reopened many casinos, beginning with The D and Golden Gate, who opened their doors just after midnight on June 4. Casinos claim they are opening safely, taking preventative measures such as requiring dealers to wear face masks, and checking the temperatures of both guests and workers.
“We have, interestingly, the largest book of conventions in our history for the next 12 months, they start right now. And toward the end of August, we are hopeful that in some way we can start bringing conventions back to town,” said Steve Hill, president and COO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
Record Numbers In Brazil & Mexico
Over the past two weeks, other countries besides the U.S. have also reported a rise in new coronavirus cases. Brazil and Mexico reported their highest one-day virus-related death tolls on June 3. Mexico is the 14th country to surpass 100,000 confirmed cases.