Dow plunges nearly 7 percent on concerns of COVID-19 resurgence

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Image: Beaches reopen with restrictions to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease in MIami Beach
A worker sanitizes loungers as beaches are reopened with restrictions to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Miami Beach, Florida on June 10, 2020.Marco Bello / Reuters

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U.S. stocks dropped sharply on Thursday as investors weighed sobering economic forecasts and new data, along with indications that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from subsiding.

Several sectors including hospitality and leisure suffered steep declines. As more than 20 states report a climb in coronavirus cases, there are new worries that consumers will be reluctant to return to restaurants and take trips. Those worries were fueled in part by data showing an additional 1.5 million people filing for unemployment for the first time last week hursday by the Department of Labor.

Meanwhile, Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told TODAY that he expects the country to cross 200,000 deaths in September. "This pandemic is going to be with us until next spring or summer when we have a vaccine. This is not faded," he said.

Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus, plus a timeline of the most critical moments:

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This live coverage has now ended. Continue reading June 12 coronavirus news here.

Coronavirus closed restaurants. Their workers need a 'Right to Return' when they reopen.

I am one of the few surviving workers of Windows on the World, the famous restaurant that sat atop the North Tower of the World Trade Center. I worked there as a cook for three years until Sept. 11, 2001 — the fateful day that forever changed my life and the nation. Every single day since then, I think of my 76 brothers and sisters who perished. I am fortunate to be alive, but I am forever scarred by the horrors of losing friends and co-workers and the devastation of abruptly being robbed of the job that fed my family.

That’s why I understand how difficult it is for millions of restaurant workers who have lost their livelihood because of the coronavirus. For me, hope began to grow from the despair of 9/11 when I got a new job, and with it the assurance that my family and I would be all right, thanks to the connections of my fellow workers in the restaurant industry. Yet the same could not be said for many of my Windows on the World colleagues who struggled to find work in the restaurant industry for months, often with little help from our old employer.

Restaurant workers across the country who lost their jobs through no fault of their own are now struggling to make ends meet and have no assurance that they will be able to find work as states ease social distancing restrictions. These workers deserve to get their jobs back if and when their restaurants reopen. That is why I call on restaurant owners and operators to adopt a “Right to Return” policy: Restaurants should guarantee their former employees will be the first to be rehired if their jobs once again become available.

Read the full story here.

Alarming rise in virus cases as states roll back lockdowns

States are rolling back lockdowns, but the coronavirus isn't done with the U.S.

Cases are rising in nearly half the states, according to an Associated Press analysis, a worrying trend that could intensify as people return to work and venture out during the summer.

Read more. 

Nashville delays next reopening phase, citing uptick in new coronavirus cases

Nashville is delaying its next reopening phase as the city saw a slight increase in new COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks, Mayor John Cooper said during a media briefing Thursday.

“As of today, the majority of our public health metrics are satisfactory. But our 14-day new case average remains slightly elevated, prompting us to stay in Phase Two of our Roadmap for Reopening Nashville," Cooper said.

Tennessee's capital city will focus on offering more testing, contact tracing and education efforts, specifically in southeast Nashville, where "nearly 50 percent" of all new cases were detected in the past month, said Dr. Alex Jahangir, chair of the Metro Coronavirus Task Force.

More than 6,600 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Nashville and Davidson County, including 56 new cases in the past 24 hours.

More than 2,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations in Texas, but a decrease from record total

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Texas decreased Thursday after setting a record on three consecutive days.

On Thursday morning, 2,008 patients with COVID-19 were hospitalized in the state, down from 2,153 on Wednesday.

Even with the decline, Thursday’s hospitalizations represents a 32 percent increase from May 25, when 1,511 were hospitalized with the coronavirus.

Texas is one of at least nine states facing a recent spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Coronavirus means an uncertain future for businesses and cities that depend on yearly black events

For two decades, South Florida entrepreneur Keith Jones has made a living entertaining vacationers on land and sea, through his Grown & Sexy cruises and concerts in the sun.

These days, the only land Jones sees is the patch outside his home or the asphalt between home and Home Depot. Like backers of some of the most popular events on this year’s social calendar, Jones has seen his efforts to host hundreds thwarted by the coronavirus pandemic and its attendant mandates for lockdowns and social distancing.

“Everything's just thrown up in the air,” said Jones, known as “Super Lover KJ” to his former Florida radio fans. “It's just a crazy period right now. It's totally devastated my business. I mean, I'm making no money. I mean, not a dime.”

A check of some of the most popular draws with African Americans found nearly every organizer scrambling to regroup.

Read the full story here.

New unemployment claims rise by 1.5 million as stocks drop sharply on new coronavirus case concerns

More than 1.5 million people filed for unemployment for the first time last week, according to data released Thursday by the Department of Labor.

The jobless claims add to a devastating run of economic data that has shown the number of Americans continuing to apply for unemployment benefits jump to 20 million in the last four months, as coronavirus shutdowns have pushed businesses to furlough or lay off workers.

But the pace of jobless claims continues to decline, with Thursday's data adding to the trend. The claims came slightly below economists' expectations of 1.6 million first-time jobless claims and is a third of the peak of claims from early April.

Read the full story here.

Coronavirus deaths could reach 200,000 by early fall, Harvard doctor warns

With more states easing restrictions after the coronavirus lockdown, the U.S. recently surpassed 2 million cases of COVID-19, prompting public health experts to worry about a second wave of the virus.

Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told TODAY on Thursday that he fears the worst is far from over -- especially when considering the rise in hospitalizations in at least nine states.

"That's coming from just more people getting sick and needing hospital care," he said. "We've been so behind in our testing approach for months that we were missing most of the cases out there ... As testing's gotten better, we've identified more cases. Testing is a part of the story but certainly doesn't explain the whole thing."

Because the current total of U.S. coronavirus deaths is around 113,000, that means "sometime in September, we're going to cross 200,000, and we still won't be done," Jha said. "This pandemic is going to be with us until next spring or summer when we have a vaccine. This is not faded."

Read the full story here.

After COVID-19 destroyed her lungs, young Chicago woman receives double transplant

Surgeons in Chicago have given a new set of lungs to a young woman with severe lung damage from the coronavirus.

Only a few other COVID-19 survivors, in China and Europe, have received lung transplants.

Read more.