April 6, 2020

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern shared a special message with the children of her country on Monday, explaining to them why the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy might not be able to stop by their houses during the coronavirus pandemic.

New Zealand has been on a national lockdown since March 25, with only essential workers able to leave their homes. On Monday, Ardern said the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny are both considered essential, adding, "as you can imagine, at this time they're going to be potentially quite busy at home with their family as well and their own bunnies. I say to the children of New Zealand, if the Easter Bunny doesn't make it to your household, we have to understand that it's a bit difficult at the moment for the bunny to perhaps get everywhere."

Ardern also suggested that kids and their parents get creative and draw eggs to put up in their windows, so people walking by can go on an egg hunt. Catherine Garcia

8:42 p.m.

Discount retailer Tuesday Morning has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and plans on closing 230 of its 687 stores by the end of summer.

CEO Steve Becker said in a statement on Wednesday that before the coronavirus pandemic, the company was gaining momentum, but "the prolonged and unexpected closures of our stores in response to COVID-19 has had severe consequences on our business. The complete halt of store operations for two months put the company in a financial position that can be effectively addressed only through a reorganization in Chapter 11."

As part of its restructuring plans, Tuesday Morning is looking to close stores that are underperforming or in a saturated market. The company temporarily shuttered its stores on March 26 because of the pandemic, and said more than 80 percent of all locations have since reopened. During its last fiscal year, Tuesday Morning generated about $1 billion in sales, CBS News reports. In recent weeks, J.C. Penney, J.Crew, and Neiman Marcus have also filed for Chapter 11. Catherine Garcia

7:48 p.m.

Some of the biggest hotel-casinos on the Las Vegas Strip will reopen on June 4, with individual safety measures in place at each property.

On Tuesday, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) gave the green light, saying the gaming industry can start up again next week as part of Phase 2 of the state's reopening. "We continue to see a consistent and sustainable downward trajectory of percentage of positive COVID-19 cases and a decrease in the trend of COVID-19 hospitalizations," he said.

The state's hotels and casinos have been closed since March 18, and not all will reopen on June 4. Caesars Entertainment said it will resume operations at Caesars Palace and the Flamingo, and based on demand, will later reopen Harrah's and the gaming floor at The LINQ. MGM Resorts will also start slow, with just the Bellagio, MGM Grand, The Signature at MGM Grand, and New York-New York reopening. Amenities at all locations will be limited.

Derek Stevens, owner of The D Las Vegas and Golden Gate in downtown Las Vegas, is tempting U.S. tourists by offering 1,700 free flights to the city. "As we begin to reopen our doors across the city, we are proud to help reinvigorate travel to Las Vegas while supporting airlines in America impacted by the COVID-19 crisis," he said. In 2019, more than 42 million people visited Las Vegas from all around the world. Catherine Garcia

6:48 p.m.

Boeing announced on Wednesday it is immediately cutting more than 12,000 U.S. jobs, and several thousand more will be eliminated over the next few months.

This week, the company will lay off 6,770 employees. Boeing said an additional 5,520 workers accepted buyout offers, and will leave within the next few weeks. Globally, the company has about 160,000 employees, and most of the layoffs are expected to be in the Seattle area, where workers focus on commercial airplanes, The Associated Press reports.

Air travel is down tremendously because of the coronavirus, and Boeing CEO David Calhoun wrote in a memo to employees on Wednesday that because of this, there will be "a deep cut in the number of commercial jets and services our customers will need in the next few years, which in turn means fewer jobs on our lines and in our offices." Catherine Garcia

6:04 p.m.

The much-heralded joint launch between NASA and Elon Musk's SpaceX was postponed on Wednesday due to light rain in Florida. It was a disappointing anticlimax for the first manned space launch from American soil since 2011 — all systems were "go" just an hour before astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley were scheduled for 4:33 p.m. liftoff — but there was a silver lining to the clouds above Cape Canaveral: the world got to see, for the first time, NASA and SpaceX's alarmingly cheesy spacesuits, which looked something like man-sized Mentos dispensers topped off with garden galoshes.

While many on Twitter hailed the gear as looking "soo cool" and "so f—ing dope," the correct reaction came from one commenter who said the suits "make [the astronauts] look like stunt extras in a low budget space movie." Whether or not Behnken and Hurley find themselves menaced by rubbery Venus ghouls in some misbegotten Roger Corman epic, the suits might lead to an even graver danger: not being able to extract their heads from the two-sizes-too small helmets that Musk looks to have grabbed from his local Spirit Halloween.

If the spacemen are fortunate enough to somehow wrench the helmets from their skulls, NASA and SpaceX will give it another go on either Saturday or Sunday — probably not enough time to raid NASA's old closets for some real spacesuits. Jacob Lambert

5:51 p.m.

The United States has officially reached a heartbreaking milestone in the coronavirus pandemic.

As of Wednesday, more than 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in the U.S., according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

Experts expected the U.S. would hit the milestone this week, and in anticipation of the number, The New York Times recently published an unforgettable front page filled with the names of victims of the pandemic, representing just a small portion of the "incalculable loss." The U.S. passed 50,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths on April 24.

In March, the White House had warned that the U.S. might be facing between 100,000 and 200,000 coronavirus deaths even if Americans did everything "almost perfectly," as Dr. Deborah Birx said, although President Trump in April suggested the death toll could be between 50,000 and 60,000. Later, Trump said "we're going to lose" up to 100,000 people total. Reported cases and hospitalizations are still on the upswing in many states.

Every U.S. state has now begun the process of reopening their economies, even as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country stands at over 1.6 million. Experts have cautioned there may be a second wave of cases in the fall, although Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Wednesday that this is "not inevitable." Fauci previously told Congress that the United States' coronavirus death toll is likely higher than has been reported. Brendan Morrow

5:42 p.m.

Jerry Falwell Jr. is conceding to Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's (D) coronavirus-fighting demands with a mask that's almost certain to backfire.

Northam's recent order mandating everyone in the state wear a mask when they're in public has seemingly made Falwell pretty mad about preserving public health. So on Wednesday, the Liberty University president and influential conservative figure, revealed he'd ordered a mask printed with the blackface photo found on Northam's college yearbook page — something anyone who sees Falwell wearing the mask will likely not know.

It's been more than a year since it was revealed Northam's 1984 yearbook page featured a photo of a person in blackface standing beside a person in KKK robes. While Northam said he had worn blackface before, he maintained that he wasn't either of the men in the photo, and a three-month investigation couldn't prove it was or wasn't him. That photo is on Falwell's new mask, though without any context or explanation, those unfamiliar with Northam's scandal will likely just think Falwell is wearing a racist photo.

The News & Advance, a Virginia paper, asked Northam if he had anything to say to Falwell, and spokesperson responded that "the office of the governor will not dignify that tweet with a response." Kathryn Krawczyk

4:21 p.m.

As the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic continues, Paul Krugman says he's feeling "more positive than I expected to be" about the recovery.

The economist and New York Times writer spoke in an interview with Bloomberg about the state of the U.S. economy amid the coronavirus pandemic, cautioning that the crisis should not be looked at as "a garden-variety recession" instead of a "shutdown enforced by social distancing."

Asked how long the economic fallout might last, Krugman explained that looking at past recessions, "until now we've had two kinds: 1979-82-type slumps basically caused by tight money and the 2007-09 type caused by private-sector overreach. The first kind was followed by V-shaped 'morning in America' recoveries; the second by sluggish recoveries that took a long time to restore full employment."

Krugman argues that the current crisis is "more like 1979-82 than 2007-09," not being caused "by imbalances that will take years to correct," which suggests a "fast recovery" once the coronavirus is contained. He offers a few caveats, though, nothing that it's unclear how long the pandemic will last and that states reopening too soon could "extend the period of economic weakness."

Almost 40 million Americans have filed initial unemployment claims since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and economists from Goldman Sachs in a report earlier this month forecasted that the unemployment rate will reach 25 percent with the pre-virus rate not returning for years. Krugman tells Bloomberg, though, that all in all, he doesn't "see the case for a multiyear depression."

This interview with Krugman comes after Jason Furman, former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, predicted to Politico a "partial rebound" with "the best jobs and growth numbers ever" in the months before the November election. Read the full interview at Bloomberg. Brendan Morrow

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