people, coronavirus, pandemic, covid-19

Signs Of Economic Boom Emerge As Retail Sales Surge, Jobless Claims Hit Pandemic Low   20%

Retail sales jumped nearly 10% in March, as shoppers, flush with $1,400 relief payments, are feeling more confident about venturing out. Weekly unemployment claims dropped to a pandemic low.

Narrowing the gender gap benefits everyone   6%

We need to counter embedded gender inequality with the same level of urgency that we were compelled to face the pandemic with. The year 2020 has negatively impacted us on many levels. The pandemic

COVID response: What the German federal government's new powers mean   20%

For much of the pandemic, Germany's 16 states have been in charge of coronavirus pandemic regulations. Amid criticism and chaos, Germany's federal government is taking the reins — but will this make a difference?

Rising Debt, Falling Income: How to Dig Out   37%

More Americans over age 55 are carrying debt loads, and their nonmortgage debt grew significantly during the pandemic.

Japan races to assure Olympic organisers with 100 days until Tokyo games  

As #Tokyo marks 100 days until the start of the #Olympic Games, concerns remain over the city’s preparedness to hold the sporting festival during the #coronavirus pandemic. With just one percent of #Japan's population currently vaccinated, the majority of the country is against holding the Games.

Tomorrowland, when the pandemic began and Bob Evans started recording   -15%

Jebediah frontman and singer-songwriter Kevin Mitchell recorded his new solo album just as the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down.

Why are so many babies dying of Covid-19 in Brazil?   10%

As the pandemic rages in Brazil, hundreds of babies and young children are dying of Covid.

Letters to the Editor: L.A. is lucky to have Austin Beutner as its schools chief  

The LAUSD superintendent has done an admirable job serving the district's most vulnerable students during the pandemic.

Brazil's top court confirms probe into Bolsonaro's Covid-19 response as richest state warns of imminent healthcare collapse  

Brazil's Supreme Court upheld an earlier decision by one of its judges that its Senate should investigate the handling of Covid-19 pandemic by the federal government of Jair Bolsonaro amid a surge in cases across the country.
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Without Parties, Theres No Place to Show Off That Expensive Watch   -50%

Persuading people to spend a lot of money on luxury goods is more difficult in the pandemic. “Why do I put on a $200,000 timepiece if I have a clock on my microwave?”

Pandemic learning gains: Resilience. Responsibility. Lunch.  

Along with noting learning loss during the pandemic, educators and parents are seeing gains in academics and life skills, like resilience and hope.

Covid-19 deaths reach 3 million worldwide as cases continue to surge   7%

Just over a year since Covid-19 was declared a pandemic, the world crossed a threshold on Saturday with the global death toll reaching 3 million lives.It took around 10 months from the first known cases of the disease before one million deaths were confirmed in late September last year. The loss of another million lives was recorded on January 14, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.Even as the roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines has brought hope for an end to the pandemic, cases are…

This is what your front-line looks like right now: exhausted  

The time when we will have to start triaging who will and will not get emergency care appears even closer, and our moral distress runs deep. We love our work, but we are running on fumes as this pandemic rages, and feel powerless to turn the situation around.

COVID culture war: How Albertas GraceLife Church and its pastor became flashpoints for growing tensions over health restrictions  

GraceLife Church has turned into a fixation for the alt-right, amid growing tensions over pandemic health restrictions in Alberta

The Covid crisis: some people think its all over it isnt   -5%

A new reality check is coming unless the west replicates its ‘whatever-it-takes approach’ to help poorer countries cope

Denial. Panic. False dawn. Relief mingled with a decent dollop of euphoria. Britain’s response to Covid-19 has moved through distinct phases, and there are at least two more to come. Despite the success of the vaccine programme, a look around the world – to India, to Chile, to Brazil, to France and Germany – can lead to only one conclusion: this is not over yet.

The early stages of the crisis are now easy to document. The denial phase lasted from the first cases of Covid-19 being reported in China towards the end of 2019 until the middle of March 2020. Initially, perhaps, some scepticism was warranted because there had been talk of global pandemics in the past that had not lived up to their horror-show billing.

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In the Earth Review: Grassroots Horror  

Ben Wheatley gets back to basics with this horror movie conceived during the pandemic.

Urmila on safety amid uncertain times   5%

As one after one celeb is testing positive for the COVID-19, Bollywood is once again back to square one as it continues to fight for its survival amid the second year of the pandemic. Talking about it, actor turned politician, Urmila Matondkar recently opened up about the importance of safety amid uncertain times. During the interview with an entertainment website, she was spotted urging everyone with folded hands to take care of themselves and stay at home.

For One Glorious Summer, Americans Will Vacation Like the French   2%

Here’s a cool trick for blowing any American’s mind. Tell us that in France, so many boulangeries shut down for vacation every summer that it can be tough to snag a baguette. Bakers aren’t the only ones who get time off. In August, up to half of the country’s salaried employees have been known to take at least a full week off from work. Half!

Americans are good at lots of different things, but going on vacation is not one of them. Every year in parts of Europe, summer turns into a mini-sabbatical. In Norway, during the tradition of fellesferie, the nation simply shuts down for a few weeks of July fun. In Italy, so many people take the last two weeks of August off that Rome’s transit system runs on a reduced “festivi” schedule. Meanwhile, guess which industrialized country is the only one that doesn’t guarantee time off to its workers? Guess which country left 768 million vacation days on the table in 2018? Guess which country … arghhhhhhhh.

The pandemic has not been great for America’s vacation malaise. When there are few new places to go and few new things to do, what’s the point of asking for time off? Yes, many Americans who have made it through without losing their jobs have taken a break to discover nature or their apartment balconies, but largely, we do not seem to be PTO-ing our way through this god-awful year. In February, time-off requests on the HR platform Zenefits were down 26 percent from the year before, a spokesperson told me, in line with what the company has seen since July.

But something weird is about to happen. This summer, the stars seem to be aligning for vaxxed-up Americans to go PTO wild. After a year in which everyone was cooped up indoors, domestic-travel bookings are going bonkers as people put in their day-off requests and get pumped for some sort of normalcy. It might have taken a global pandemic, but Americans for once seem poised to summer like the Europeans do—that is, if our bosses will let us.

[Read: Workism is a making Americans miserable]

The roots of what may bloom this summer have been growing all throughout the pandemic. “The pent-up demand is a fire hose that is trying to burst through,” Glenn Fogel, the CEO of, told me when I asked about his expectations for post-pandemic travel. On the flight-finding site Kayak, which owns, searches for summer travel have been rising as much as 27 percent every week since early March, a spokesperson told me, even as business flyers remain grounded at home and many international destinations remain out-of-bounds for Americans. We can still fly to Mexico, and on, reservations for trips there are up 230 percent from 2019, according to the company.

The same vacation boom—sorry, I mean the vacci-cation boom—has struck lodging. “Some hotels, airlines, and travel agencies are telling me that they are seeing double-digit growth on a day-over-day basis,” Henry Harteveldt, a travel-industry analyst, told me. January broke the record for most new short-term rental bookings, according to AirDNA, an independent analytics firm that tracks Airbnb and its competitor Vrbo. February broke it again. Jamie Lane, AirDNA’s vice president of research, told me that demand for Airbnbs has been so strong that he expects some areas in the United States to be totally booked up for the summer by April or May. Travel trends might continue to creep up, now that the CDC has okayed travel for the vaccinated. (Because the pandemic is very much not over, the CDC still recommends that the unvaccinated avoid all nonessential travel.)

All that vacation is possible only because people, intentionally or not, have been hoarding time off for the past year. Generally, Americans don’t have that many days off to begin with—just 10 on average for new workers, compared with a minimum of 20 days in the European Union—and many businesses make those days “use it or lose it,” meaning they expire at the end of the year. But when the pandemic hit, a third of companies made a fateful decision: letting their workers carry more days over than usual. By sitting on so much time off, workers have functionally jerry-rigged their own version of all those late-summer weeks that many Europeans automatically get off. “We’re in for a summer surge of PTO,” Howard Metzger, the president of MBL Benefits Consulting, told me. “People want out.”

In fact, so many people might soon request PTO that some offices could just go full Europe and close for a week, John Dooney, an HR adviser at the Society for Human Resource Management, told me. Other offices might need to engage in a bit of black-belt scheduling jiu-jitsu to make room for the rush of Zoomed-out employees aching for hikes in Shenandoah and tasting menus in San Francisco. American cities are not about to shut down, European-style, to let employees do their thing for weeks on end, but a summer of a million shorter, weeklong trips and four-day holidays still might feel different. If you’re stuck working in an office, you might send an email blast only to be met with an avalanche of “OOO” auto-replies. Your boss might wrangle you back to the cubicle life only to realize in horror that the rest of the office is still empty, because so many people have gone on vacation. Across the U.S., vacation bliss maybe, just maybe, will settle in for a few months—a shared sense of relief in merely having to worry about awkward tan lines again.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The coming PTO crunch will almost certainly be tempered by managers seeking to stop it from happening. Even bosses in more flexible jobs might not want to deal with the logistical headache of keeping the office running with a hollowed-out staff, summer be damned. And the allure of normalcy won’t entirely rid Americans of one of the reasons we don’t take time off in the first place: fear. “The fear of asking for time off from your boss, the fear that taking time off will impact you economically—that is all very palpable,” says Jamie McCallum, a Middlebury College sociologist and the author of Worked Over: How Round-the-Clock-Work Is Killing the American Dream. If your boss wants you back at your desk rather than in Delray Beach, not even your primal urge for a little post-pandemic junket will get in the way.

PTO has always been unequal—and as with everything else in this pandemic, the working class is about to have it a whole lot worse. Low-wage workers have disproportionately gotten sick with COVID-19 and have disproportionately lost their jobs. Now they are disproportionately in a position where they won’t be able to take advantage of the summer vacci-cation boom, whenever it finally hits. Less than 40 percent of low-wage workers in the private sector get any paid time off, and although they work fewer hours than C-suite suits, they work more total weeks, complicating the possibility of taking an extended break.

At the same time, some sectors are about to get welcomely busier than before the pandemic. All the activities that the professional class is aching to do again will need workers to make them happen—a rush that can’t come soon enough for some line cooks and hostesses. “You’re going to have a situation where some people are going to say, Thank God I can go on vacation, and others will say, Thank God I can go back to work,” McCallum told me.

[Read: Only your boss can cure your burnout]

For the chunk of Americans who will get a work rumspringa, big questions are waiting for them on the other side of vacation nirvana, about whether they want to return to the norms of yore. If workers can take PTO this summer, why not again in the fall? And next summer? And whenever else they please? The pandemic has already made all sorts of impossible things possible. Maybe actual, sustained time off from work will be next. It’s not the craziest idea ever: A year in which a third of Americans lost someone to the coronavirus, and everyone was hit with deprivation, might be the thing that brings about a mass reckoning over how work has consumed our lives.

Or, uh, maybe not. A more disturbing possibility is that the pandemic has made Americans even more addicted to our jobs. Now that WFH-ers have emulsified work and leisure into one, a remote-friendly future might fully sever the link between travel and time off. Of all the summer spikes playing out on Priceline, the biggest is a 165 percent bump in bundled flight-and hotel-bookings compared with summer 2019, a trend that the company’s CEO, Brett Keller, says is likely driven by workers hunting for the best deals on extended stays during which they can vacation and work. Many Americans can now log on from anywhere, but they still can’t escape logging on.

“There is no separation anymore,” Howard Metzger told me. When we spoke, he reminisced about the summer trips he would take as a kid in the ’80s, during which his parents would totally unplug from work. Metzger took my call from Copper Mountain, a ski resort in Colorado. He was supposed to be on vacation.

Ford government should focus on source of the pandemic, not flail about with pointless restrictions   -5%

‘The Ford government should completely rethink how it fights the third COVID wave. It should focus on where the pandemic is raging and stop flailing about with pointless new restrictions.’

Federal government, Air Canada reach deal on relief package that includes customer refunds  

The federal government has reached an agreement with Air Canada that will provide the pandemic-battered airline with financial support — while committing the airline to refunding customers who saw their flights cancelled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

How COVID-19 created a buyer's market for office space   -30%

A number of growing companies are searching for new offices even as the pandemic has forced closures and downsizing elsewhere.

Museums host nearly 9 million visitors in 2020 despite pandemic   11%

Home to scores of unique cultural and historical assets, Turkey has numerous museums, with some operating virtually due to the ongoing pandemic

'We're in trouble': Advocates urge Ottawa to help close the access-to-justice gap   20%

Justice advocates want the federal government to use the federal budget to invest new resources in the legal system — which is experiencing a rise in self-representation, adding to the court backlog created by the pandemic.

Apps help theme parks boost their COVID safety and collect data on you   5%

Disneyland and other theme parks are reopening with pandemic safety protocols, many of which lean heavily on tech.

Coronavirus: Germany looks back on a year of loss  

Germany has commemorated those who lost their lives to COVID-19. It is the darkest chapter of the pandemic and DW has reported on it from the beginning. An overview.

The 2021 Juno Awards have been moved to June 6  

The Juno Awards have been moved 'in response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.'

Call to fast-track return of international students as states building industry takes $370m hit   -12%

Building industry leaders say knock-on effects from locking out foreign students because of the coronavirus pandemic is keeping 13,000 Victorians out of construction work.

3rd wave is not behind us, French govt warns, as country approaches sad milestone of 100,000 Covid deaths  

The French government has warned that there is still more to be done in tackling Covid-19 and overcoming the country’s third wave of infections, as the nation approaches the solemn milestone of 100,000 pandemic deaths.
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Coronavirus pandemic 'a long way from over', WHO's Tedros says   -2%

Confusion and complacency in addressing COVID-19 means the pandemic is a long way from over, but it can be brought under control in months with proven public health measures, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday.

Why Whitmer is not 'shutting down' Michigan despite the nation's worst COVID-19 surge  

Whitmer argues vaccinations and personal responsibility are key, something of an about-face from her words earlier in the pandemic.


Pope Francis Delivers Sunday Blessing in Person After a Month  

Throughout the pandemic, the pope has often delivered the weekly address, prayer and blessing from the apostolic library, with no public in attendance.

Calgary's South Asian restaurants hit by both COVID-19 restrictions and Ramadan losses   10%

The holy month of Ramadan is usually a busy one for restaurants, especially those that cater to Calgary’s large South Asian community. But not this year, thanks to the pandemic.

Covid in Scotland: 'Mistake' to discharge Covid patients says Sturgeon   20%

Nicola Sturgeon wants a four nations inquiry into the pandemic to start by the end of the year.

Editorial: Not everything Newsom does is a response to the recall   -10%

Was the announcement that California may fully reopen businesses on June 15 prompted by the expected recall election? Maybe. Who knows? But this cautious timeline, couched in conditions, is in keeping with the dwindling intensity of the pandemic and pace of vaccinations in the state.

Covid is ravaging American jails and prisons and inmates are rightly rising up | Akin Olla   -3%

For the many Americans imprisoned in dangerous, cramped conditions, the pandemic is not over – it remains murderous

On 4 April, inmates in a St Louis jail commenced an uprising. They smashed windows, chanted, lit fires and hung signs communicating their needs to the outside world. One sign held out of the windows simply read “HELP US”. It is the second uprising at the ironically named St Louis City Justice Center and the fourth major disturbance at the jail within the last year.

Many of the inmates are in pre-trial detention and have been sitting in jail since the beginning of the pandemic without trials or even a timeline for when they should expect trials. Protesters called for court dates and for humane treatment, and a corrections taskforce report from March concluded that those locked inside were feeling isolated from their families and frustrated over the lack of precautions being taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19 within the jail. They are not alone; another uprising took place this time last year at a prison in Kansas, and protests have been relatively commonplace across the country as people have worked to expose the hidden hyper-pandemic happening within our nation’s jails, prisons and immigrant detention centers. The United States needs to take this as an opportunity to empty out its criminally overcrowded jails, or continue to perpetuate yet another unforgivable mass atrocity that disproportionately affects immigrants, poor people and Black Americans.

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Michigan small businesses move online to survive the pandemic. 1 lured an unexpected fan.   -52%

Small business owners are investing in their online presence in the pandemic in order to sell their products virtually and expand their customer base.


German volunteers in Israel find themselves welcomed, and even loved by Holocaust survivors   20%

These German Christians came to Israel to help Holocaust survivors and chose to stay during the pandemic, forging new connections and engaging with living history

Forex transactions made transparently: Central Bank governor   -4%

The Turkish Central Bank has prioritized financial stability and protecting the national economy during the COVID-19 pandemic and conducted foreign exchange transactions transparently during this period, Governor Şahap Kavcıoğlu said on April 16.

The film Harold and Maude turns 50 this year but it feels timeless to fans like musician Danny Michel and poet Heidi Greco  

‘It’s so darn different, I can’t think of another film like it,’ says Greco, who has released ‘Glorious Birds: A Celebratory Homage to Harold and Maude’ — in part as a way to cope with the pandemic.