New York extends stay at home orders amid battle over when to reopen US

New York State on Thursday extended its stay at home policy until May 15, as the staggering economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic grew more apparent, underscoring the White House’s growing urgency to restart the world’s largest economy.

Data that showed a further deterioration in unemployment — and a collapse in the housing market — were the latest milestones showing how badly the COVID-19 crisis has undermined the U.S. economy.

Over 22 million people have been thrown out of their jobs since states and localities adopted tough social distancing orders that closed businesses and kept residents indoors. Efforts to backstop small businesses have also faltered, as the nearly $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program ran out of funds Thursday — less than 2 weeks after the money was appropriated.

All of this comes as the global case count of the coronavirus continues its inevitable climb above 2 million around the world — with the U.S. representing over 25% of the worldwide total. Globally, deaths have surpassed 139,000, topping 27,000 in the U.S.

Despite the ongoing growth in cases — and still sluggish testing — President Donald Trump is set to reveal a guideline Thursday for reopening the economy, especially targeting states with fewer than 1,000 cases, he said Wednesday. Trump’s eagerness to get the economy back on track has sparked tensions between the White House, coastal state governors and other officials calling for a slower approach.

Although coronavirus cases in hard-hit New York and New Jersey keep climbing, the Empire State is faring better than New Jersey. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday the state needs to figure out how to continue its strong testing strategy, but with aid from the federal government.

“The federal government is not eager to get involved in testing,” Cuomo said, as he extended the lockdown to May 15, a day after mandating all residents wear cloth masks to ride public transportation and in areas where social distancing isn’t possible.

Cuomo pointed out that the state does not have the ability to compete with the federal government and private sector — which has been approaching labs independently— for tests that rely on a supply chain that goes back to China.

But even labs and testing companies have faced the shortages, a global problem that has resulted in global reports of underreporting of cases.

Led by New York, the world’s largest economy now has over 600,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.

Markets traded mixed Thursday, as the new unemployment numbers were revealed — coming in lower than expected, but adding to a record in the past month. Over the last month, at least 13% of employed workers were forced into unemployment, according to data from Indeed Hiring Labs.

“Such a figure would mean the share of the working age population has dropped by 7.7% in 4 weeks. That’s a fall 1.7 times the size of the one during the Great Recession and its aftermath,” said Nick Bunker, Indeed’s director of economic research.

“Whether these workers will be recalled to their former jobs or get hired at new ones is a matter of when the public feels safe returning to a semblance of normalcy. Only then can businesses start to ramp up hiring and the number of jobless workers can start to fall,” he added.

Strong market performers included Abbott Laboratories (ABT), which has been in the forefront of the coronavirus response with its high throughput and rapid COVID-19 tests.

The company said it did not see the revenue benefit in the first quarter of its testing products, but expects to see a boost in the second quarter. Despite a strong quarter, the company pulled its 2020 guidance due to uncertainty over the outbreak.

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