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APRIL 03, 2020



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"We got a situation" – Mike "The Situation," who's been tapped by New Jersey for a coronavirus PSA. Remember: GTL...but at home.


The Story

A record number of Americans filed for unemployment benefits...again.

How many?

Over 6.6 million last week. That's about double the record number of unemployment claims from the previous week. It means that nearly 10 million people – roughly 6% of America's workforce – are jobless, in large part due to the coronavirus pandemic. But the real number could be higher.

What do you mean?

The jump in claims has overwhelmed state unemployment websites and their phone lines, making it difficult for applicants to get through. For reference: this time last year, the weekly total of unemployment claims was just 211,000. With nearly 90% of the US population under stay-at-home orders, a lot of businesses have shut their doors. And those that haven't may be struggling to get by – meaning more people could be laid off or furloughed.

I'm scared to ask but...

Are we in a recession? Not officially. Reminder: a recession can happen when the economy sees a major, months-long drop in things like GDP and job opportunities. We skimm'd recessions for you here. Some economists say there could be as many as 20 million jobs lost in the coming weeks – more than double those lost during the 2007-2009 Great Recession. And while the US isn't technically in a recession, it may already feel like it for many. The IMF says the global economy is already there.

I thought help was on the way.

It is. The $2.2 trillion stimulus package signed into law last week is meant to help. It's increasing unemployment benefits by $600 per week (up to four months) for those who qualify. And it's made more people eligible (think: Uber drivers, freelancers). As for the $1,200 stimulus checks to most Americans, the IRS says it's sending them out in the next three weeks – reportedly as early as April 9. If you need more info on how to file for unemployment, we explain it here.

Thanks. Anything else?

Yes, there's another grim record. Yesterday, the number of known COVID-19 infections worldwide topped 1 million. More than 53,000 people have died. With the virus's continued spread throughout Europe, North America, and now Africa, officials are warning of darker days ahead.


The world is going through a lot right now. In the US, the financial impact is historic – and reportedly affects nearly half of working Americans in one way or another. While relief is on its way, it may not be enough for the millions of people who need help, or may need it soon.

Psst...Here's what high unemployment could mean for your income and investments – even if you haven't filed.


Blood donation during a pandemic is more crucial than ever. In recent weeks, the American Red Cross has seen a decrease in tens of thousands of blood donations amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Yesterday, the FDA said it eased restrictions for gay and bisexual men who want to donate blood. Under the new rule, they should not have sexual contact with other men for three months before donating – instead of the one-year waiting period that was in place before. The FDA had also recommended that women who have had sex with gay or bisexual men wait a year before donating, but that number was reduced to three months as well.

The FDA said the change to its guidelines regarding blood donations "can be modified without compromising the safety of the blood supply." And that the changes are expected to remain after the pandemic ends. LGBTQ+ advocates had called the 12-month waiting period – set up in 2015 to replace a decades-long lifetime ban – discriminatory and "antiquated." Some have applauded the update and called it a victory against discrimination. But plan to continue their efforts to lift the waiting period entirely.

The American Red Cross is still accepting blood donations during the pandemic. You can schedule a donation time here.

Skimm More: We spoke to the president of the American Red Cross about the importance of donating blood during the coronavirus pandemic.


What's saying 'the cheese curds will have to wait'…

The DNC. Yesterday, it postponed its presidential nomination convention about a month, from July 13 to August 17 – a week before the Republican Party's convention. There's no guarantee the coronavirus outbreak will be over by then – but with the change, Democrats can ensure they can use a similar policy as Republicans on whether a convention is safe for thousands of people. Oh, and if you're thinking this may affect the date of the November election, think again: That would require a change to federal law.

What's saying 'lettuce do better'...

Instacart. Yesterday, the grocery delivery service said it's providing free health and safety kits (think: face masks, hand sanitizer, and a thermometer) to its employees. The update came days after workers went on strike – requesting better protections amid the coronavirus pandemic, including PPE and hazard pay. Instacart employees called the changes "a step in the right direction, but still a far cry from adequate."

Amazon. Yesterday, the online marketplace said it will soon start checking employees' temperatures and provide face masks for its US and European staff. This comes after employees in Staten Island decided to strike over Amazon's response to the virus after at least one employee tested positive for COVID-19. The organizer of that strike was fired. Now, in response to the promise of protections, employees are apparently saying 'we'll believe it when we see it.'

...Oh and speaking of Amazon, it's apparently a gamer now.

What'll have you singing "Country roads, take me home"...

This two-hour special.

Skimm More: Our app curates events like these so you never miss out. Download to start your free trial and sync our cal to yours.

Why you may be seeing people sliding on TikTok…

And giving a shoutout to April.


"The Glass Hotel" by Emily St. John Mandel

The author of one of our favorite dystopian novels, "Station Eleven," is back. Her latest follows a Ponzi scheme gone wrong and a bartender who gets caught up in it. It jumps from gorgeous luxury hotel, to federal prison, underground club, and beyond. A good pick for anyone struggling to focus right now. You won't be able to look away.


The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting us all in different ways. No matter your situation, sometimes you just need to press pause. Enter: our picks to help you take a break…

1. Wine. This guide helps you figure out the best place to order vino online. So you can stock up for your next virtual happy hour. Cheers to the weekend.

2. A throwback comedy special. Featuring a very pregnant Ali Wong. We couldn't stop laughing then, still can't stop laughing now.

3. Cards Against Humanity. Downloadable, printable, and very very playable. Because there's no time like the present to get controversial with your roommates.

PS: Sign up to get more of our favorite distractions to your inbox.


For when your morning routine looks a little different these days…

Do it right with this company. They make daily supplements (think: destress, sleep, rebalance) that are vegan and gluten-free. With no artificial preservatives. So you can feel good about, well, feeling good. Check it out.*

*PS: This is a sponsored post.


In times like these, community matters more than ever. Send a shoutout in the link below to the people you're missing while social distancing. Or let us know how you (or someone you know) is making an impact by helping others.

Pull out the resume for…Lindsay D (TX). She told us that the North Texas Foodbank recently stopped taking public volunteers, and is instead opening up paid shifts for those who've lost their jobs due to COVID-19. Find out more here.

Sing "Amazing Grace" with...Chelsea T (CT). She works at Grace Farms Foundation – a nonprofit that's procured and partnered with orgs to deliver hundreds of thousands of masks to hospitals, first responders, and COVID-19 clinics in Connecticut. The org also started a relief fund for Connecticut's shortage of PPE. Learn more and donate here.

(Some) Birthdays...Kasey McBride (PA), Ivana Pino (NY), Kirsten Desjardins (MA), Carol Ditkowich (NY), Hunter Grosvenor (VT), Allison Paisner (NJ), Alaina Samra (NJ), Brian Brister (NY), Claire Thone (MN), Katherine Reckman (CO), Madison Perry (TX), Erica Jackey (NY), Danielle Scalise (DC), Nichole Santoro (IL), Natalie Waltz (CA)

*Paging all members of theSkimm. Reach out here for a chance to be featured.