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[Weekly Review]

Weekly Review

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Donald Trump announced the development of a “super-duper missile.”

The Federal Reserve chair said that 40 percent of Americans making less than $40,000 a year have lost their jobs since March, when statewide lockdowns to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus began, and that the United States can expect to experience unemployment levels similar to those seen during the Great Depression, but not another Great Depression.1 2 A study showed that 16 million Americans who have filed for unemployment since March have not received any benefits; the U.S. Secret Service said it believes Nigerian fraudsters have stolen millions of dollars from state unemployment insurance systems; and a new report showed that U.S. billionaires increased their total wealth by $369 billion in the past two months.3 4 5 The House of Representatives heard testimony from a whistleblower who warned that America is facing the “darkest winter in modern history,” and narrowly passed a fifth coronavirus stimulus package, which would be the most expensive single bill in U.S. history, despite opposition from both the right and the left.6 7 8 Pentagon officials expressed concern that pandemic relief might hurt the nation’s nuclear weapons budget; Donald Trump announced the development of a “super-duper missile”; and NASA revealed plans to slam a spacecraft into an asteroid named Didymoon in order to test its capacity to prevent a larger asteroid from destroying Earth.9 10 11 Department of Homeland Security officials said American telecom companies should expect attacks on 5G cell phone towers because of a conspiracy theory that claims the technology causes COVID-19.12

Texas began lifting restrictions and reported the largest single-day spike in new cases since the pandemic began, and Governor Greg Abbott announced plans to reopen bars, bowling alleys, bingo halls, zoos, and aquariums.13 14 In several states, protesters armed with assault rifles were stationed outside of small businesses that had reopened prematurely.15 “We’re the Wild West,” said Governor Tony Evers, whose stay-at-home order was overturned by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.16 17 “It’s a frightening place to be.” In Oklahoma, two white men trapped a black delivery driver in a gated community after he refused to reveal the name of the customer who allowed him to enter, and in Kentucky, the governor called for an investigation into an incident in which Louisville police killed a black emergency medical technician in her home.18 19 More than 70 percent of federal inmates who have been tested for COVID-19 have been found to have the illness.20 Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman who was serving a seven-and-a-half-year sentence for fraud, was released into home confinement, and a lawyer for Michael Cohen, the president’s former personal lawyer who lied to Congress, complained that Cohen wouldn’t be released until next month.21 Security footage showed inmates in Los Angeles breathing into a face mask and passing it around in an attempt to contract the coronavirus, and a quarterly report about Operation Inherent Resolve said that conditions are ripe for a “mass breakout” of Islamic State prisoners in Syria.22 23 Iran proposed a prisoner swap with the United States, citing concern for the health of Iranians in the U.S., then fired a missile at its own ship during a training exercise, killing 19 sailors.24 25

Across the United States, thousands of pig carcasses rotted as grocers ran out of meat; in Minnesota, some farms used wood chippers to dispose of the surplus.26 27 Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro cancelled a large party, which critics had called “the barbecue of death,” then rode a Jet Ski to another barbecue on a boat.28 In Hong Kong, a shop began selling tear-gas-flavored ice cream, and in France, where women can still be fined for wearing burqas, the government encouraged citizens to wear face masks in most public places and to eat more cheese.29 30 31 Dutch officials advised single men and women to procure quarantine “sex buddies,” and police in Siberia cited two teenagers for breaking stay-at-home orders after they reported being raped on the street.32 33 Officials in Singapore announced that a robotic dog equipped with cameras would begin patrolling a park to enforce social-distancing measures, and officials in the Philippines dressed up as Star Wars characters to deliver relief packages.34 35 In Canada, a military jet crashed into a house during a flyover intended to honor frontline coronavirus workers.36 New York governor Andrew Cuomo got tested for COVID-19 on live television.37 “I’m not in pain,” he said. “I’m not in discomfort!”  —Adam Iscoe

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