Sat. 5/2/20: COVID-19 Daily Update


Job losses spike even as millions are uncounted – New York Times. 

All around the country, unemployment systems have been overwhelmed by the number of claims. Officially, over 30 million people have made initial unemployment claims in the past 6 weeks, but some researchers believe the actual number of unemployed people might be much higher, suggesting that people may not be applying because the process is too long and difficult.

Florida, for instance, has only this week begun paying out on 45% of the 916,000 verified claims filed since mid-March.

Hawaii Food & Wine Festival shows ‘aloha’ to restaurant workers with new financial assistance program – Pacific Business News. 

Starting May 12, laid-off workers can apply to the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival (at to receive $250 Visa cards for use at restaurants statewide. It will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Currently they have $68,500, which is enough for 274 Visa cards.

As workers fall ill, U.S. presses Mexico to keep American-owned plants open – New York Times. 

The U.S. is pressuring Mexico to force factory workers back to work, even without sufficient protection, even as the pandemic sweeps through factory workplaces. The U.S. ambassador to Mexico makes a veiled threat that if Mexico doesn’t reopen factories now, companies might move elsewhere.

This is how the companies that control the world economy drive a race to the bottom for workers—forcing them to compete with one another for scraps, taking lower and lower wages in worse and worse conditions.

When workers in those countries try to unionize, they are met with strong resistance and even violence. If workers try to move from those countries to the U.S. to get out of these terrible situations, they get locked up, separated from their children, subjected to all sorts of humiliation. And then if they survive all that, they are sent back.

It is time to stop looking at the US economy from Wall Street – Opinion by Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez, published in Al Jazeera. 

Excerpt: “Americans are not struggling with individual health or finance problems. They are in a collective struggle for economic survival in a country where the government refuses to take care of its own people. Today in the US, not only most of the wealth but also most of the political power is consolidated in the hands of a privileged few.”

Excerpt: “While some economists and politicians, such as Treasury Secretary and former Goldman Sachs Executive Steven Mnuchin, claim that the American economy was doing just fine before the start of the pandemic, the truth is many Americans have been living on the verge of economic collapse long before COVID-19 reached the country.”

Anti-Union Operative Warns Business of Historic Rise in Labor Activism – The Intercept. 

The bosses know as well as we do that unions protect workers and help them get better wages and benefits; and right now, many of them are worried because they know how badly they’ve been treating their workers. They know that right now, it’s clearer than ever why we need unions. This article mentions UNITE HERE.

Survey: Jobs Losses, Worries About Paying Rent Widespread On Kauai – Honolulu Civil Beat. 

In more than 56% of Kauai households, at least one member of the household has lost their job because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than a third aren’t sure they can pay next month’s rent or mortgage and nearly a third include people with health conditions that put them at highest risk of infection.

COVID Cases Today

World: Cases: 3.42M (+80k). Deaths: 243(+5k)
USA: Cases: 1.13M (+30k). Deaths: 66.3 (+1.3k). Total Tested: 6.8M (+300k)
Hawaii: Cases: 620 (+1). Deaths: 16 (+0). Hospitalized: 72 (+0). Recovered: 541(+9)