June 2020 News – What Happened in June 2020?
The first week of June 2020 saw coronavirus restrictions ease as racial protests escalated and some jobs returned.
Businesses are reopening, but many states still require travelers to self-quarantine upon arrival. The Florida Keys will reopen to tourists Monday, more than two months after the island chain closed to visitors. Forida, with 56,163 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 2,451 deaths, reopened beaches, hotels and gyms last week.
Having just reopened after coronavirus lockdown, businesses across the US were shut down or looted in several major US cities as rioters hijacked what had been peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. Protests
The US economy added 2.5 million jobs in May, after 20.7 million positions vanished in April. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 13.3 percent from 14.7 percent a month earlier. This was well below the 20% rate expected. However, the Chairman of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank says to expect 2020 to end with an 8% unemployment rate.
However, reopening has led to a second wave of coronavirus hospitalization in 14 states since Memorial Day.
Congo Faces Ebola, Measles and Covid-19
A new outbreak of Ebola virus is occurring in Democratic Republic of Congo, just as a long, difficult and complex Ebola outbreak in the eastern part of the country is being contained. The country is also battling COVID-19 and the world’s largest measles outbreak.
Covid-19 Deaths vs Flu Deaths
Deaths in the US from the coronavirus topped 107,000 on June 4, meaning the total has passed the number of deaths from the flu season of 1967 (roughly 100,000) and is approaching the number of people who died from the flu outbreak in 1957 — an estimated 116,000, according to the CDC. If the number of fatalities passes roughly 116,000, the only pandemic to cause more American deaths would be the Spanish Flu of 1918 when an estimated 675,000 people died, according to the CDC.
George Floyd Protests Turn Violent Across the US
One week after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police custody, demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism continued across the United States. Many cities imposed curfews, and President Trump again warned he would order active duty military forces to restore order if state and local governments, in his judgement, failed to do so.
Rioters clashed with police in New York City, and the Los Angeles County sheriff said people still out on the streets were “acting like terrorists.” Dozens of cities imposed a curfew. Protesters in Canada and Europe held their own demonstrations in support of George Floyd and against US police brutality.
Cops across America have been caught on camera violently attacking and threatening peaceful protesters who have taken to the streets demanding justice for George Floyd and calling for an end to police brutality and racism. Shocking footage has been circulated on social media, serving only to fuel the protests.
President Trump was evacuated to a White House bunker when fires were lit nearby. More protests are planned for Washington DC, where the Mayor had the words “BLACK LIVES MATTER” painted on a busy street in huge yellow letters spanning two blocks. Washington has been the site of more than a week’s worth of protests in response to the death of George Floyd. St. John’s Church, the site of President Trump’s roundly criticized photo opp during a peaceful protest, sits along the expanse of road that now bears the BLM message.
George Floyd was a black Minneapolis man who died in police custody after a white cop kneeled on his neck for more than 8 minutes. Protesters carried signs with his last words captured on video: “I can’t breath.” The officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck was arrested and charged with murder and manslaughter.
The social unrest over police brutality comes in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 100,000 Americans and led to the worst unemployment since the Great Depression. The unemployment rate hit 14.7% in April, a post-WWII record, and is likely to rise above 20%. The black community has been hit disproportionately hard by Covid-19. Nearly 23% of all deaths from the pandemic are African American even though black people make up about 13% of the U.S. population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Defund the Police Movement
In Seattle, a group of peaceful protesters have cornered off several city blocks and established the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, or CHAZ, as a police-free haven where artists paint murals, speakers discuss topics of racial equity, snacks are handed out for free and virtually no police are in sight. CHAZ is an experiment of a society without police amid calls around the country to “defund” departments.
In response, Democrats in both houses of Congress proposed legislation to overhaul policing in the US. The Justice in Policing Act proposal would prohibit police from using chokeholds, create a national registry to track police misconduct, lower legal standards to pursue criminal and civil penalties for police misconduct, and ban certain no-knock warrants.
US Astronauts Launch to ISS on First Private Rocket
This got a lot of headlines, mostly about NASA astronauts “catching an Uber” to the ISS on a reusable rocket built by a private company on contract.
Conservative Supreme Court Judge Gives LGBTQ Job Protection Under Civil Rights Act
The landmark ruling will extend protections to millions of workers nationwide and is a defeat for the Trump administration, which argued that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that bars discrimination based on sex did not extend to claims of gender identity and sexual orientation. The majority opinion was written by conservative Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch, who says he only interprets laws based on their text. Wow, big change.