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Jobless claims, states’ reopening plans, NFL’s 2020 schedule: 5 things to know Thursday

Jobless claims, states’ reopening plans, NFL’s 2020 schedule: 5 things to know Thursday

Editors, USA TODAY
Published 4:06 a.m. ET May 7, 2020 | Updated 6:31 a.m. ET May 7, 2020

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Jobless claims estimated to reach 33 million during pandemic

Roughly 3.1 to 3.3 million Americans filed initial applications for unemployment insurance last week, economists estimate, down from the roughly 3.8 million people who filed claims the week before and the all-time high of 6.86 million applications filed in late March. But if the latest weekly total, which the Labor Department reports on Thursday, matches estimates, it will mean 33 million Americans have applied for unemployment in just seven weeks, a number that exceeds all the jobs created since the Great Recession by more than 12 million. Thursday’s tally is a prelude to Friday’s April jobs report, which is expected to be grim confirmation of the devastating toll the coronavirus pandemic has taken on the U.S. economy  

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Here’s why there’s a backlog of claims for unemployment and why it’s only getting worse.

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More US states to take steps toward normalcy

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, several states will take major steps toward reopening Thursday. Construction and real estate operations will resume in Michigan. But as the state’s plan to restart the economy unfolds, the Republican leaders in the House and Senate filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, alleging her state of emergency extension was unlawful. A Whitmer spokeswoman called the suit a “partisan game that won’t distract the governor.” Some shopping malls will open again in Hawaii, but there are exceptions and patrons must wear cloth masks, Gov. David Ige announced Tuesday. The Aloha State still has a stay-at-home directive and a mandatory quarantine for incoming travelers through May 31. Montana will permit schools to resume “in-classroom teaching” at the discretion of local school boards. Willow Creek School will open its doors to several of its 56 students and 18 staff members for the semester’s last few weeks.

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Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, announces a lawsuit Wednesday against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, over her use of emergency powers.

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NFL’s 2020 season schedule is set for release

The coronavirus pandemic has largely put the sports world on hold, but the NFL will give fans some hope as it unveils its 2020 schedule Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on NFL Network. Thus far, the league has not announced any major changes to its schedule as a result of the pandemic and Opening day is Sept. 10, with the season set to conclude with Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7, 2021. But questions will remain about the season, including if the league can even start on time and whether fans will be in attendance. The NFL has instituted a league-wide policy that fans who bought tickets directly from teams can receive a refund for any game that is canceled.

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SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ Mackenzie Salmon breaks down some of the most intriguing backup quarterbacks in the NFL and the storylines that could unfold around them.

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Microsoft to unveil video games on its upcoming Xbox Series X console

Microsoft will unveil some of the games coming to its new Xbox Series X video game console, via an online First Look at Xbox Series X Gameplay event Thursday at 11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT. The game maker and software giant has already revealed the much-anticipated console will launch with a new chapter in the “Halo” series, called “Halo Infinite.” In a recent online post, Microsoft’s Xbox head Phil Spencer described the Xbox Series X as “our fastest, most powerful console ever that will set a new bar for performance, feel, speed and compatibility when it releases this holiday.” Spencer added the gaming system will have “a library of games from our 15 Xbox Game Studios and thousands of development partners around the world.” Microsoft will compete against Sony and its own new PlayStation 5 console this holiday season. The launching of two new game systems during a global pandemic could prove interesting – and a welcome diversion for many. 

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Microsoft unveiled the Xbox Series X, the next version of its popular Xbox console, will launch during the 2020 holiday season.

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Gaze at the ‘Flower Moon,’ the last of three supermoons

The “Flower Moon,” the third and final in a series of supermoons that began in March, will reach its peak at 6:45 a.m. ET Thursday and then continue to appear full Friday night. A supermoon occurs when a full moon is especially close to Earth, making it look up to 14% bigger and 30% brighter than a full moon at its farthest point away. According to “The Old Farmer’s Almanac,” May’s supermoon was named the “Flower Moon” by several Native American tribes because of the large number of flowers that bloom during the month. April’s “pink” supermoon and March’s super “worm moon” appeared larger from earth than the ‘Flower Moon’ will.

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Don’t miss this week’s supermoon. It’s the last supermoon of the year, when the moon can appear 15% brighter and 7% larger than the average full moon.

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