AN ECONOMIC adviser to the campaign of US Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has warned of ‘evictions, homelessness, and food insecurity’ by the end of this month.
‘Families are going to face high rates of eviction, homelessness, food insecurity, and hunger,’ Indivar Dutta-Gupta said in an interview with NPR last Friday, further stressing that Americans might soon have to battle income losses of up to 70 per cent once a federal aid programme expires.
‘And the economy overall is going to see much slower progress in a recovery than otherwise,’ he added.
The co-executive director of Georgetown’s Centre on Poverty and Inequality made the comments as a new poll revealed that 60 per cent of all Americans ‘disapprove’ of Trump’s handling of the pandemic.
‘Families really need well over $600 a week,’ Dutta-Gupta said. ‘And even when you add in the state benefits, it’s really grossly inadequate. There’s just no way to afford the cost of housing, the cost of care-giving, the cost of food.’
New claims for US unemployment benefits hit 1.3 million last week.
As part of a package passed by US Congress, Americans unemployed due to the Covid-19 pandemic receive payments of $600 per week – but the programme is set to expire on July 31.
‘Overall demand in the country has shrunk dramatically and that will lead to further layoffs, further income losses,’ Dutta-Gupta warned.
‘In just about a week and a half, we’re going to see hundreds of billions of dollars in reductions in spending get underway because Congress has failed to act to date.’
- The US Navy has issued a ‘stop-work order’ to a major shipyard in Norfolk near San Diego, following a blaze aboard an amphibious assault ship, the second fire to hit a warship in the docks there this week.
The fire aboard USS Kearsarge, which was said to have been caused by a spark from welding nearby, was extinguished last Friday by a fire watch – a sailor assigned to put out large blazes on a ship or on its tracks.
In response, the Navy issued the ‘stop-work order’ for all ships in maintenance at General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard to ensure compliance with safety protocols, Naval Sea Systems Command spokesman Rory O’Connor told ‘Defense News’ on Saturday.
The incident came as General Dynamics NASSCO was already reviewing its safety protocols, according to Anthony Paolino, a spokesman for the company.
Paolino said that NASSCO would fully support the Navy’s measure in the wake of a massive blaze and explosion last week aboard Bonhomme Richard, another San Diego-based amphibious assault ship.
The explosive blaze, which heavily damaged the warship, was believed to have been finally extinguished last Thursday, following a four-day costly and highly hazardous firefighting effort.
Firefighting crews from a dozen San Diego-based ships and more than 400 sailors assisted federal firefighters to combat the conflagration.
The origin of the fire and the extent of the damage are still unknown and Navy officials have not said whether the ship will be repaired.
The blaze on the 844-foot vessel broke out last Sunday, sending pungent plumes of smoke into the San Diego skies for days.
The US Navy said the ship had been docked for scheduled maintenance between deployments.
Scores of American sailors and civilians were injured in the massive fire and the large explosion that followed it.
- The World Health Organisation (WHO) has, for a second day in a row, reported a record increase of almost 260,000 new coronavirus cases worldwide.
The WHO report registered on Saturday a total of 259,848 new cases in 24 hours while the previous record was 237,743 last Friday.
Global deaths also rose by 7,360 – the biggest one-day increase since May 10.
The new figures bring the world’s total fatalities to 601,213 and the confirmed cases to more than 14.2 million, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
The United States is the worst-hit country by the coronavirus pandemic, with over 3.7 million infections and more than 140,000 deaths.
The US has been trying to rein in the outbreak at both state and local levels but with only limited success.
Brazil is following the US, with over two million cases and nearly 72,000 contagions.
The Latin American country has started to resume business in many areas despite mounting cases as Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro still opposes the imposition of lockdown measures.
The following is the latest on the coronavirus pandemic from across the globe:
- El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele announced on Saturday that the country would move to the second phase of reopening its economy despite the fact that cases of the novel coronavirus continue to rise in the Central American country.
Under a plan outlined by the government last month, the manufacturing, footwear, paper and cardboard industries as well as public transport will reopen as of July 21.
El Salvador has registered 11,508 total cases of coronavirus and 324 deaths.
- India has recorded its biggest surge in coronavirus cases to date with 38,902 new cases and 543 deaths ‘in the last 24 hours’ (on Sunday).
The country’s total infections now stand at 1,077,618 and the total death toll has climbed to 26,816, according to the Indian Health Ministry data.
- Victoria, Australia’s second most-populous state, has compelled people in Melbourne to wear masks when leaving their homes, as the state marked two weeks of triple-digit increases in new coronavirus infections on Sunday.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said people not wearing face coverings will be fined 200 Australian dollars ($140).
Victoria, which has forced nearly five million people into a partial six-week lockdown since July 9th, reported 363 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, after 217 cases the previous day.
Three deaths from Covid-19 were reported in Victoria on Sunday, bringing the total to 38 and raising Australia’s death toll to 122.
Australia has recorded a total of about 11,800 cases.
- Police in Barcelona are curbing access to some of the Catalonian city’s beaches as tourists are ignoring regulations amid a resurgence of the coronavirus.
Catalan health authorities reported more than 1,200 new cases on Saturday in 24 hours.
The new outbreak has forced regional officials to announce the prohibition of gatherings of more than 10 people that went into effect last Saturday.
The new restrictions were imposed less than four weeks after Spain ended a state of emergency when its 47 million population was subjected to one of the world’s toughest lockdowns to slow the spread of the flu-like pathogen.
The disease has claimed more than 28,400 lives in the country.
- Coronavirus infections in Nigeria have risen to 36,107 with 653 new infections, according to official statistics.
Six new fatalities were recorded in the West African nation, bringing the total to 778, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said – while more than 14,900 people have recovered from the virus in the country.
- South Africa now ranks fifth in global confirmed coronavirus cases, according to research by the Johns Hopkins University, as the African continent faces the pandemic’s first wave.
South Africa on Saturday reported 13,285 new confirmed cases for a total of 350,879 – the tally puts the country ahead of Peru and accounts for roughly half of all cases in Africa.