U.S. weekly jobless claims 5,245,000 last week

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/04/16/u-s-weekly-jobless-claims-52.html


Concerned? Yes.

Surprised? No.

What does one expect to happen when a large percent of the populace is told to stay home? I can work remotely and my wife works at a garden center (which slides under the “agricultural goods” exemption to stay open) so we’re relatively okay.

But the kids. Jesus. No school, no camps, no friends outside of skype/zoom/text and two parents who work so we’re not exactly home-schoolers. I sometimes worry about long-term mental health issues being caused regardless of how many on-line classes the teachers are sending out.

As a note: the teachers are doing and amazing job of trying to keep the kids engaged.


Don’t worry everyone! We are each getting a one-time-only check for $1,200! The government has our backs! Provided we qualify! And they made it tax free, so that’s awesome, right? And before you know it, they will have us all back to work getting the machine going again, whether it’s safe or not!

Disclaimer: The government has our backs if we are a corporation or already wealthy. If we are average people, the government doesn’t give the shittiest of a shit about us. Until we all – especially the Trump faithful – come to that realization and riot.


I’m tired of all the “winning.”


As of yesterday, if the worldometer numbers are correct, Germany has 1608 cases and 45 deaths per million population.

There are thirty two states in the USA with lower infection numbers and twenty seven with lower deaths numbers.

There are twenty six states better on both. They’re all over the country. Coastal, inland, rural, urban, red, blue. If Germany can start reopening, so can they.

Can you tell us what the infection rates are in those thirty-two states?


Not going to copy and paste all the numbers. Here’s the link.


Seems to me we have about 6-8 states which are basket cases, a dozen or so which are on par with Germany or slightly worse, and all the rest slightly better or significantly so.

They can is something different than they should.

I strongly suggest you don’t compare the situation.

Germany can perform about 500 k PCR tests a week, and increasing. And even here, researchers do not know the true infection rate.

Germany has strict contact restictions (federalistic organised, by the Bundesländer).

Germany also hast one of the highest rates of ICU per capita worldwide. Same is true for with ICU with ECMO.

These are just a few reasons.
There are plenty more why you should not look at one country on the other side of the world and directly suggest to adopt policy measures.


Please do understand that the statistical difference between confirmed cases in the US and confirmed cases in Germany is very likely highly significant. [Edit for clarity]


Fair enough, but if you want to shut down the entire USA for significantly longer than Germany, I don’t expect to hear you complaining about weekly jobless claims, mmmmkay?

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I was being a bit oblique, so my apologies. My point was that I would hesitate to compare reported US infection rates with those of other countries given our less than stellar testing regimen as well as our capacity to deal with new infections.

And not for nothing, but those rural states are probably the least equipped to deal with a serious outbreak, so I tend to take all the crowing from their governors about how they’re raring to get back to business as usual with a grain of salt.


I suspect the low numbers are due to the fact that people have been saying home. If people go out now, it’s likely to spread. :woman_shrugging:


That’s assuming Germany’s doing the right thing here, which I guess we’ll find out in a few weeks. But I’m pretty sure you’re looking at the wrong numbers: it’s not the cumulative cases or deaths you need to be concerned about, but where you are on the curve. In Germany the growth rate seems to be in decline. These states with currently lower infection rates may not have peaked yet, and the whole point of the “lockdowns” is to squish that peak down, so obviously easing them before the peak arrives is not the way to go.


I suppose I should disclose that I have skin in the game here.

My wife works in a hospital in one of those thirty states. The hospital she works at closed down all non-emergent surgeries four weeks ago, in anticipation of the B-I-G S-U-R-G-E of covid cases.

“Non emergent surgeries” does not mean breast reductions and tummy tucks. It means things like hip replacements, changing expired batteries in pacemakers and carpal tunnel surgery for my neighbor who can barely manage to tie his shoes due to the pain.

Due to these preparations for the B-I-G S-U-R-G-E of covid cases, over 150 beds are now vacant and 40% of the employees are either furloughed or taking days off without pay. The administrators have all taken 20% pay cuts, so it’s not just the little people.

So far, the B-I-G S-U-R-G-E of covid cases started on March 22 with one case, peaked at twelve cases a week ago, and is now down to eight (8) patients in beds.

We are still waiting for the B-I-G S-U-R-G-E of covid cases, but our state has less than 1,200 total tested positive, and less than twenty five of those are hospitalized. (and we are above the national average in percent of population tested)

So yes, I can’t judge this as objectively as Dr. Fauci, the reporters on Fox and MSNBC, and everyone else who is still collecting a full paycheck. I admit it!

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You definitely have some company in that sentiment.


If Ingraham is wrong, then we should view the increase in jobless claims as a sign that the USA is doing the right thing.

What an odd false dichotomy to set up. The increase in jobless claims is terrible, but it is a symptom of doing the right thing. A person losing their hair and being sick from chemotherapy is horrible, but that doesn’t mean feeling horrible about the symptoms means the treatment is wrong (much less unnecessary).

And this notion that it’s an either/or in crashing the economy or slowing the pandemic is interesting to me at this point, even as a lot of very smart folks explained why that wasn’t the case weeks ago.

ETA: I wish I was less confrontational in these responses to you–I disagree with what you’re saying, but you’re also bearing a cost from this and I think we should all be more generous to each other in considering what we’re saying. Best of luck to you & yours, and stay safe.


I think no-one is complaining here.

We are just horrorstruck.

BTW and FTR, another difference: Germany has nearly universal public health care.
Also, Germany got social security.

Both actually help re:lockdowns and re:lifting lockdowns.

Also, Germany is very much in discussion what and when opens, and State-level, regional and local authorities do impose measures which might be stricter than elsewhere.

Also, re-opening e.g. schools will be done slowly, and discussions how to do that are very much underway.

Thank you for disclosing your stakes, by the way. I still don’t agree with your assessment, but it makes your anger palpable and changes perception of your comments.
Your pain is felt.

But so is the very real and danger of a big surge, IF the measures do not work.


People are actually dying as we speak, right now. Just because your local community has lucked out (so far) and not had as many cases as expected, doesn’t mean others are not suffering, or that your local community can’t be hit later.

You’re not the only one. If you’re angry about people getting full paychecks, maybe focus on the current horrible mismanagement at the top and the decades of cutting of the social safety net, instead of advocating for policies that will kill people.

She’s wrong. Full stop. That’s not even a question. She’s always fucking wrong. She’s a partisan hack.


How many of those states are doing effective testing? How accurate are those numbers? Are they even able to anticipate the directions it’s spreading at this point, or are they guessing at best?

You can go into a building filled from floor to rafters with carbon monoxide to work because you think it’s safe since you don’t see or smell anything wrong. It’ll still kill you no matter what you think.

Proper testing is vitally important. Lacking that, sheltering at home is the best we can do. Up the rate and accuracy of testing, and then we can try to get back to something approaching normal. But that’s not the plan. The plan is to force people to go back to work, and force things back to “normal.”

As for people who are getting a full paycheck through all of this, I recognize your anger. I work from home now, but I’ve lost 25% of my pay currently, and may not have a job much longer. My wife works at a restaurant, has lost hours, and still has to interact with the public at curbside every day putting her at risk.

Instead of being upset with the people who haven’t lost hours, pay, or their jobs, we are upset at the people who have structured our system to make it necessary for us to be worried about money in the first place.

That shit is by design, as is evidenced by how many times in our nation’s history we’ve encountered financial crisis after crisis and have never learned from them. Rather, have never learned how to stop it from crushing the poor and middle class. The wealthy have learned, but it helps to be the ones with the hands on the wheel.

I’m watching this right now, and can’t think of anywhere else to post it at the moment, so I’ll drop it here.


To paraphrase some health official I heard speaking recently (I forget who and where), a successful mitigation effort should seem like it was all for nothing in the end. Because that’s the whole point, to avoid the catastrophe. It’s a good thing that that big surge never materialized, and hopefully it won’t, and if it doesn’t it will be because people took steps to avoid it. To state the obvious, these “basket case” states all started out with a handful of cases, and if you’re not paying attention and don’t do anything to stop it, a handful quickly turns into a lot, turns into a shitton, turns into a basket case.

I can appreciate that this is cold comfort to people who are suffering real hardship from things being closed down. If it’s any consolation, I think places that got ahead of the crisis and kept things contained (like your state, perhaps) will probably be able to get back to normal much faster than places that had to scramble to control a large outbreak, so long as they wait until things are actually contained before they try to do so.