Federal Update: Jobs Report Further Divides Republicans and Democrats on Coronavirus Relief, WHO Updates Guidance on Face Masks, COVID-19 Shined a 'Bright Light' on U.S. Health Care Disparities

June 5, 2020

  • A surprisingly strong May jobs report has widened the gulf between Republicans and Democrats on how to proceed with the economic recovery from the coronavirus. After the U.S. gained 2.5 million jobs for the month, President Donald Trump outlined a fairly short list of priorities such as a payroll tax cut and more stimulus checks for Americans. Vice President Mike Pence said that the White House would be “open” to more relief for state and local governments to cover budget crunches created by the pandemic. Despite the gains, the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 13.3%, a level still higher than at any point after the 2008 financial crisis. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said not injecting more money into the economy now would jeopardize the progress made in May.
  • The World Health Organization said it recommends that governments ask everyone to wear fabric face masks in public in hopes of reducing the spread of COVID-19, updated guidance released by the organization states, according to Reuters. Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO technical lead expert on COVID-19, said the organization is specifically recommending a fabric face mask because it is a non-medical mask. The WHO has previously said there was not enough evidence in support or against the use of face masks, though the organization has always recommended them for someone who is sick or who is caring for that person.
  • COVID-19 is shining a "bright light" on the U.S. disparities in the health and health care among people of color, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Friday. Black communities need the resources to have "the best possible chance with identification, isolation, and contact tracing to prevent the spread" of coronavirus, Fauci said. Fauci also called for a "long-term commitment to address these disparities of health that have been with us well before we had the challenge of coronavirus. We have an immediate and a long-term goal and responsibility," he said.

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