Republican Lawmaker Proposes Bill to Sell Minnesota’s $6.9 Million COVID-19 Morgue

A Republican lawmaker has drafted a bill that would require Minnesota to sell a facility it purchased for the storage of deceased COVID-19 patients.

Due to a projected surge in COVID-19 fatalities, the state of Minnesota spent $6.9 million in May to acquire a warehouse for the “temporary storage of human remains.” As of early June, however, the facility had yet to be used.

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United Will Warn 36,000 Workers They Could be Laid Off

United Airlines is warning 36,000 employees – nearly half its U.S. staff – they could be furloughed in October, the clearest signal yet of how deeply the virus pandemic is hurting the airline industry.

The outlook for a recovery in air travel has dimmed in just the past two weeks, as infection rates rise in much of the U.S. and some states impose new quarantine requirements on travelers.

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Walz Expected to Call Another Special Session to Extend Emergency Powers

Gov. Tim Walz is expected to call another special session by the end of the week in order to extend his peacetime emergency powers.

House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) alerted members and staff in a Monday email about the likely special session.

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Protective Gear for Medical Workers Begins to Run Low Again

The personal protective gear that was in dangerously short supply during the early weeks of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S. is running low again as the virus resumes its rapid spread and the number of hospitalized patients climbs.

A national nursing union is concerned that gear has to be reused. A doctors association warns that physicians’ offices are closed because they cannot get masks and other supplies. And Democratic members of Congress are pushing the Trump administration to devise a national strategy to acquire and distribute gear in anticipation of the crisis worsening into the fall.

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Paycheck Protection Program Is Supporting More Than 51 Million Small Business Jobs, Trump Administration Announces

The $670 billion Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has supported more than 51 million jobs since its launch in April, the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration announced Monday as it released information on 4.9 million loans disbursed by the program.

“The PPP is providing much-needed relief to millions of American small businesses, supporting more than 51 million jobs and over 80 percent of all small business employees, who are the drivers of economic growth in our country,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement Monday.

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Millions of Potential Coronavirus Vaccine Doses Already Being Made, NIH Director Says

Millions of coronavirus vaccine doses are being manufactured, even before testing has been completed, the National Institutes of Health director said in an interview recently.

Doses of potential vaccines are being made to shorten the time it traditionally takes to develop a drug for public use, director Dr. Francis Collins told Intelligencer. Collins said he is “guardedly optimistic” that at least one vaccine will pass through the large phase of trials by December.

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Gov. Cuomo’s Order Sent More Than 6,000 Coronavirus Patients into Nursing Homes, Officials Say

Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s orders sent more than 6,300 coronavirus patients to nursing homes at the height of the pandemic, new numbers from state officials show.

Thousands of elderly coronavirus patients died after Cuomo issued an order March 25 mandating assisted-living facilities admit coronavirus patients, and state officials are now reporting that the number of admitted carriers is even higher than previous estimates.

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Brazil’s President Bolsonaro Tests Positive for COVID-19

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro said Tuesday he has tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the coronavirus’s severity while deaths mounted rapidly inside the country.

The 65-year-old populist who has been known to mingle in crowds without covering his face confirmed the results while wearing a mask and speaking to reporters huddled close in front of him in the capital, Brasilia. He said he is taking hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug that has not been proven effective against COVID-19.

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Minnesota Board of Medical Practice Investigating Republican Senator for Speaking Out on COVID-19

State Sen. Scott Jensen (R-Chaska), a practicing physician, revealed Sunday that anonymous complaints were filed against him with the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice for his public comments on the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is one of the most important videos I’ve made and one of the hardest,” Jensen said in a video posted to Facebook. “Less than a week ago, I was notified by the Board of Medical Practice in Minnesota that I was being investigated because of public statements I had made.”

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Minnesota Board of Medical Practice Investigating Republican Senator for Speaking Out on COVID-19

State Sen. Scott Jensen (R-Chaska), a practicing physician, revealed Sunday that anonymous complaints were filed against him with the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice for his public comments on the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is one of the most important videos I’ve made and one of the hardest,” Jensen said in a video posted to Facebook. “Less than a week ago, I was notified by the Board of Medical Practice in Minnesota that I was being investigated because of public statements I had made.”

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Commentary: Trump Economy Is Well Ahead of Schedule

The U.S. economy has added a record 7.8 million to 8.8 million jobs back in May and June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) respective establishment and household surveys, bringing the reported unemployment rate down to 11.1 percent even as the number of Americans returning to the civilian labor force following the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns continues to increase.

This is incredible news because it means for certain that the labor market hit its bottom in April, the same month the IHME-estimated number of new cases daily was peaking at about 250,000 on March 29, down to an estimated 70,000 new cases a day now.

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Study: Unemployment Pays Better Than Work for 68 Percent of U.S. Workers

The federal unemployment insurance emergency payments of an additional $600 per week to those laid off because of COVID-19 restrictions discourages work and slows down economic recovery, several reports indicate. Several congressmen have introduced proposals to address the issue.

A report published by the Foundation for Government Ability (FGA) found that by nearly tripling average unemployment benefits through the CARES Act, “Congress has created a situation where unemployment now pays better than work” for roughly 68 percent of U.S. workers.

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Commentary: Blue States Have Been Hit Much Harder by COVID-19

In March, data guru Nate Silver wrote about the different ways blue states and red states were experiencing the COVID-19 epidemic, noting that “states Clinton won do have considerably more total reported cases.”

COVID-19 was not just a blue state problem though. Silver pointed out that cases in red states were increasing far more rapidly.

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Walz Says Statewide Mask Mandate Is ‘On the Table’

Gov. Tim Walz said a statewide mask mandate to help curb the spread of COVID-19 is “on the table” during a Monday press conference.

According to Walz, Republican governors who participated in a Monday phone call with Vice President Mike Pence were also “exploring the idea.”

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Walz Says Statewide Mask Mandate Is ‘On the Table’

Gov. Tim Walz said a statewide mask mandate to help curb the spread of COVID-19 is “on the table” during a Monday press conference.

According to Walz, Republican governors who participated in a Monday phone call with Vice President Mike Pence were also “exploring the idea.”

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Britain’s Boris Johnson says COVID-19 Has Been a Disaster

Prime Minister Boris Johnson acknowledged Monday that the coronavirus pandemic has been a “disaster” for Britain, as he announced a spending splurge designed to get the country — and his faltering Conservative government — back on track.

As the U.K. emerges from a three-month lockdown, Johnson has lined up big-money pledges on schools, housing and infrastructure, in an attempt to move on from an outbreak that has left more than 43,000 Britons dead — the worst confirmed death toll in Europe.

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Joe Biden Keeps Inflating the Coronavirus Death Toll

Former Vice President Joe Biden has repeatedly inflated America’s coronavirus death toll by hundreds of thousands and millions of deaths when talking about the virus.

Biden gaffed on Thursday, saying that “over 120 million” people were “dead from COVID” before correcting himself. Biden has struggled to get right the number of coronavirus deaths, which is at roughly 121,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Gov. Abbott Orders Texas Bars to Close Again Amid Coronavirus Surge

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered that bars be shut down across the state for a second time on Friday amid a growing surge in coronavirus cases in his state.

Abbott also ordered restaurants to scale back their operating capacity from 75% to 50% starting Monday. In addition, Abbott ordered that outdoor gatherings of 100 people or more must also receive approval by local governments before taking place. Rafting and tubing businesses in the state have been ordered to close as well.

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Walz Distributes $841M in Federal COVID Aid to Cities, Counties

Gov. Tim Walz approved plans Thursday to distribute $841 million in federal coronavirus aid to cities and counties across Minnesota, along with another $12 million for food banks and food shelves that have seen a surge in demand since the pandemic hit the state.

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US Health Officials Estimate 20M Americans Have Had Coronavirus

U.S. officials estimate that 20 million Americans have been infected with the coronavirus since it first arrived in the United States, meaning that the vast majority of the population remains susceptible.

Thursday’s estimate is roughly 10 times as many infections as the 2.3 million cases that have been confirmed. Officials have long known that millions of people were infected without knowing it and that many cases are being missed because of gaps in testing.

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US Breaks Single-Day Record of New Coronavirus Cases

The United States recorded nearly 37,000 new cases of the novel coronavirus Wednesday as the virus continued to spread across southern and western states, according COVID-19 trackers.

The 36,880 new cases is up from 34,700 recorded Tuesday, and broke previous single-day record for new cases set April 24 when 36,739 were confirmed, according to a New York Times database.

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Audit: US Sent $1.4B in Virus Relief Payments to Dead People

Nearly 1.1 million coronavirus relief payments totaling some $1.4 billion went to dead people, a government watchdog reported Thursday.

More than 130 million so-called economic impact payments were sent to taxpayers as part of the $2.4 trillion coronavirus relief package enacted in March. The Government Accountability Office, Congress’ auditing arm, cited the number of erroneous payments to deceased taxpayers in its report on the government programs.

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New York City Has 39,200 Criminal Cases Backlogged Amid COVID Outbreak

The New York City legal system has more than 39,000 pending criminal cases after trials were postponed in February, the city confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Trials by jury were postponed, prosecutions decreased as officials aimed to decrease the incarcerated population and various hearings were held virtually, The New York Times reported.

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US Citizens Likely to be Left Out as Europe Reopens Borders

Americans are unlikely to be allowed into more than 30 European countries for business or tourism when the continent begins next week to open its borders to the world, due to the spread of the coronavirus and President Donald Trump’s ban on European visitors.

More than 15 million Americans are estimated to travel to Europe each year, and such a decision would underscore flaws in the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic, which has seen the United States record the highest number of infections and virus-related deaths in the world by far.

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Kudlow Echoes Pence, Says ‘No Second Wave’ of Coronavirus Coming

by Andrew Trunsky   White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said Monday that there “is no second wave” of the novel coronavirus coming, as states across the country reported rapid increases in new virus cases. Kudlow touted the progress that the country has made in combating the COVID-19 virus during…

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Comedian DL Hughley Announces He Is COVID-19 Positive After Fainting Onstage

Comedian D.L. Hughley announced he tested positive for COVID-19 after collapsing onstage during a performance in Nashville, Tennessee.

The stand-up comedian, 57, lost consciousness while performing at the Zanies comedy nightclub on Friday night and was hospitalized, news outlets reported. On Saturday, Hughley posted a video on Twitter in which he said he was treated for exhaustion and dehydration afterward.

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Minnesota Schools Given Possible Scenarios for the Fall

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) gave additional guidance for what school could look like in the fall.

The guidance recommended school districts plan for three possible scenarios: in-person learning for all students; hybrid learning with social distance and capacity limits; or distance learning only.

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Brazil Tops 1 Million Cases as Coronavirus Spreads Inland

Brazil’s government confirmed on Friday that the country has risen above 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases, second only to the United States.

The country’s health ministry said that the total now stood at 1,032,913, up more than 50,000 from Thursday. The ministry said the sharp increase was due to corrections of previous days’ underreported numbers.

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McDonald’s to Hire 260K People in the US as Pandemic Lockdowns Come to an End

McDonald’s plans to hire more than a quarter of a million people over the course of the summer as economic lockdowns continue to slow down, the company announced Thursday.

The restaurant chain will add 260,000 employees as it reopens dining rooms after shutting down amid lockdowns designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, according to the president of the company.

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Commentary: The Lockdowns Crushed Minority-Owned Businesses the Most

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, minorities have disproportionately suffered from the virus’s health effects. A new study reveals that the government-mandated economic lockdowns have also hit minorities hardest.

In response to the outbreak and under the guidance of federal agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control, state and local governments imposed quarantine orders and mandated shutdowns for many businesses deemed “non-essential.” Whether one supports lockdowns as a public health measure or not, they undoubtedly resulted in tens of millions of Americans and counting filing for unemployment and a sharp economic downturn.

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Report: U.S. Companies Adapting to Produce Coronavirus Supplies Will Reverse Globalization

Solvay, a polymer-specialist company in the mid-Ohio Valley with operations in Washington and Pleasants counties, has partnered with Paragon, a medical-supplies development company to create a special shield for health care workers.

Officials at Memorial Health System told local news outlets they are grateful for the new equipment and for the innovations of U.S. companies that have quickly manufactured necessary equipment needed in the fight against the coronavirus. They said they will continue to use the equipment even after the coronavirus subsides.

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Republicans Say Gov. Walz Has Failed to Provide Legal Justification for Coronavirus Shutdown

Republican lawmakers who sued Gov. Tim Walz said Friday that he has failed to provide legal justification for his response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are winning on this issue, and Gov. Walz knows it,” said Rep. Jeremy Munson (R-Lake Crystal), one of 13 Republican lawmakers who joined a lawsuit against Walz over his use of emergency powers during the pandemic.

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Apple Closes Stores in Four States, Again, as Infections Rise

Apple is closing 11 stores in Arizona, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina that it had reopened just few weeks ago as coronavirus infections rates in some regions in the U.S. begin to rise.

The decision announced Friday is another sign that the pandemic might prevent the economy from bouncing back as quickly as some states have been hoping. Those concerns sent stocks on Wall Street lower Friday.

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Minnesota Waives Absentee Ballot Witness Signature Requirement

Minnesota will waive its witness requirements for absentee ballots for the statewide primary election in August under the settlement of two lawsuits sparked by the health threat from the coronavirus pandemic.

The lawsuits were filed by political arms of the League of Women Voters of Minnesota and the Minnesota Alliance for Retired Americans. A Ramsey County judge signed off on the consent decree with the retirees Wednesday while a federal judge scheduled a hearing for Thursday on the league’s case.

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Coronavirus Prison Deaths Up 73 Percent Since Mid-May: Report

Coronavirus-related deaths in prisons and correctional facilities have reportedly increased by nearly 75% since mid-May, according to The New York Times.

Coronavirus-related deaths in prisons increased 73%  since mid-May totaling at least 607, according to the NYT’s database. The highest number of confirmed prison COVID-19 cases have been at Marion Correctional Institution in Ohio (2,439).

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Nine More Lawmakers Join Lawsuit Against Gov. Walz Over Use of Emergency Powers

Nine more Republican lawmakers have joined a lawsuit against Gov. Tim Walz regarding his use of emergency powers during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Stocks Rally Worldwide on Hopes for Coming Economic Recovery

Stocks rose again Tuesday, part of a strong and worldwide rally for markets, after a big rebound in buying at U.S. stores and online raised hopes that the economy can escape its recession relatively quickly.

The S&P 500 climbed 1.9% for its third straight gain, bringing it back within 8% of its record set in February. Gains have built in recent weeks as reports bolster investor expectations that the worst of the downturn may have already passed.

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Used for Decades to Treat Cushing’s Syndrome, Dexamethasone Shows Promise Preventing Deadly COVID-19 Symptoms

Researchers in England say they have the first evidence that a drug can improve COVID-19 survival: A cheap, widely available steroid reduced deaths by up to one third in severely ill hospitalized patients.

The results were announced Tuesday and the British government immediately authorized the drug’s use across the United Kingdom for coronavirus patients like those who did well in the study. Researchers said they would publish results soon in a medical journal, and several independent experts said it’s important to see details to know how much of a difference the drug, dexamethasone, might make and for whom.

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May Retail Sales Jumped 17.7 Percent, Double the Forecast As States Came Out of a Lockdown-Induced Hibernation

Retail sales rebounded in May as states eased coronavirus-induced lockdown measures, allowing retail stores to regain more ground than analysts expected, according to Department of Commerce data.

Retail sales jumped 17.7% in May, effectively doubling expectations and marking the biggest single-month gain in records going back more than 20 years, according to a Commerce Department report released Tuesday. A Bloomberg News survey of economists had anticipated 8.4% increase in retail sales in May as COVID-19-related measures melted away following a 14% decline in April.

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St. Paul Saints to Play Season in Sioux Falls for Now Because of ‘Capacity Restrictions’

The St. Paul Saints announced Friday that the team will be participating in a 60-game season beginning July 3, but all games will be played in Sioux Falls, South Dakota until “capacity restrictions for outdoor events have relaxed.”

The American Association of Independent Professional Baseball said the shortened season will run from July 3 to September 10, concluding with a championship series between the top two teams. The league will consist of six teams based in three separate hubs.

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Academy Delays 2021 Oscars Ceremony Over Coronavirus Concerns

For the fourth time in its history, the Oscars are being postponed. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the ABC Television Network said Monday that the 93rd Academy Awards will now be held April 25, 2021, eight weeks later than originally planned because of the pandemic’s effects on the movie industry.

The Academy’s Board of Governors also decided to extend the eligibility window beyond the calendar year to Feb. 28, 2021, for feature films, and delay the opening of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures from December until April 30, 2021.

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Resolution to End Walz’s Peacetime Emergency Fails to Pass, But Receives Bipartisan Support

Yet another resolution to end Gov. Tim Walz’s peacetime emergency declaration was rejected Friday, but this time the proposal received bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

The resolution passed the Republican-controlled Senate in a vote of 38-29, with three Democratic senators joining Republicans in voting to end the governor’s emergency powers, which first took effect March 13 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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GOP Bill Would Withhold Funding from Schools That Don’t Reopen by September

Republican lawmakers introduced a bill Thursday meant to incentivize schools to reopen from coronavirus closures by September 5.

Republican Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana and Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin introduced the Reopen Our Schools Act Thursday, which would withhold federal funding from schools that don’t open in the fall for in-person learning.

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Trump Admin Considers Months-Long Suspension of Work Visas

The Trump Administration is considering a months-long suspension of work visas during the coronavirus, officials familiar with the plan told the Wall Street Journal.

The order could restrict H-1B visas for highly skilled workers, H-2B visas for seasonal workers and other types of work visas, and might extend past Oct. 1., according to the WSJ.

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Ramsey County Board Wants COVID Morgue Relocated, Worried About ‘Taboo of Dead Bodies’

The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners expressed its “alarm and concern” regarding the state’s recent purchase of a commercial facility in St. Paul for the storage of deceased COVID-19 patients.

“On behalf of the Ramsey County Board, we are writing to express our alarm and concern regarding your decision to purchase the former Bix site for use as a morgue during the COVID-19 emergency. We fear that this location will only exacerbate the challenges facing the surrounding community, which is already one of the poorest, most vulnerable, and most disinvested in Minnesota,” the board said in a letter sent last week to Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Joe Kelly.

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Newt Gingrich Commentary: A Critical Turning Point for US-China Policy

As the United States copes with the aftermath of the horrific killing of George Floyd by police in Minnesota and the massive protests that came after, we must not forget our previous crisis – the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is clear that the blatant lies, destruction of samples, and silencing of doctors orchestrated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) during the coronavirus pandemic amplified the devastation and tragedy the world has endured throughout the past few months.

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Group Calls on Commissioner Malcolm to Resign for Failing to Address Long-Term Care Crisis

One of Minnesota’s most influential pro-life organizations has called on Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm to resign for failing to address the crisis in the state’s long-term care facilities.

As of Tuesday, COVID-19 fatalities among nursing-home residents accounted for 79 percent of Minnesota’s 1,217 total deaths. Under the threat of a legislative subpoena, Malcolm revealed in a 74-page letter to lawmakers that dozens of long-term care facilities have allowed COVID-19 patients to return to a congregate-care setting after being discharged from the hospital.

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Commentary: President Trump’s Reelection Odds Will Improve in the Coming Months as America Reopens

The U.S. economy created over 3.8 million jobs in May in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ household survey, and 2.5 million in its establishment survey, heralding the bottom of labor markets in April.

How do we know April was the bottom? Unless we’re anticipating losing 3.8 million jobs in June when America is reopening, barring a resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the momentum is moving precisely in the opposite direction, the likelihood is that June, July and August will only add to what has already been gained.

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