Economy

Virus hits Trump's inner circle, unemployment rivals Great Depression: This week's recap and our best reads

Members of the Massachusetts Army National Guard distribute free milk, offered instead of dairy farmers throwing away excess milk due to lower demand amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., May 7, 2020.
Brian Snyder | Reuters

Here's a brief recap of the week. 

The unemployment rate rose to levels unseen since the Great Depression as the leisure and hospitality industries are hammered by stay-at-home orders and the closing of nonessential businesses.

The retail industry is also taking a beating. Neiman Marcus filed for bankruptcy protection days after J. Crew threw in the towel, and J.C. Penny is likely to follow suit in the week ahead. 

As the unemployment rolls swell and businesses go belly up, President Donald Trump is pushing for the U.S. economy to reopen, even while acknowledging that doing so would cause more deaths from the virus.

The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus outbreak has topped 77,000 and could reach 135,000 by August. 

Trump tried to announce the phaseout of the coronavirus task force but reversed course in the face of controversy, saying the body would continue its work "indefinitely" with a new focus on reopening the economy. 

As the president pushes to ease lockdown measures in much of the country, word emerged that the virus struck within his inner circle. Trump's personal valet tested positive for the virus, as did Vice President Pence's press secretary.

Meanwhile, House Democrats are pushing to vote on another coronavirus relief bill in the coming week, with a price tag approaching $2 trillion. Republicans, however, are saying talks likely won't resume until later this month.

The Democrats want more aid for cash-strapped state and local governments, but Trump has said giving money to hard-hit states like California and New York would be unfair to Republicans. 

Those are the headlines. Here are CNBC's best deep dives from the week.

Why the stock market is up even with historic job losses

While some say this is further indication that the stock market has become decoupled from reality, others say there are clear reasons why stocks have rebounded, and can continue to move higher.

How South Korea and Hong Kong relaxed restrictions without a resurgence in coronavirus cases

Hong Kong and South Korea have largely succeeded in reopening society and so far preventing a second outbreak by rolling out a trio of measures. This toolbox of proven policies help drive down the spread of the coronavirus.

As coronavirus kills another Amazon worker, the company's response is adding to employees' fears

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What it's like inside an Amazon warehouse during the Covid-19 pandemic

The worker's death comes as Amazon warehouse employees have raised concerns that the company isn't doing enough to protect them from catching the coronavirus while they're on the job.

The meat supply chain is broken. Here's why shortages are likely to last during the coronavirus pandemic

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Watch CNBC's full interview with Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen on food supply amid coronavirus pandemic

In meatpacking plants from South Dakota to Tennessee, workers have gotten sick from the coronavirus as they work side-by-side cutting, boning and trimming meat. The spread has shuttered plants, slowed production and created a ripple effect across the supply chain.

Two New England men are first to be charged with scamming small business loan program

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How scammers are targeting your stimulus checks

Rhode Island U.S. Attorney Aaron Weisman, whose office lodged the charges, said in a statement, "Tens of millions of Americans have lost their jobs and have had their lives thrown into chaos because of the coronavirus pandemic."

"It is unconscionable that anyone would attempt to steal from a program intended to help hard-working Americans continue to be paid so they can feed their families and pay some of their bills," Weisman said.

US hospitals are losing millions of dollars per day in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic — and recovery may take years

Conservative estimates indicate that U.S. hospitals are losing more than a billion dollars per day by complying with the guidance from policymakers and the leading medical associations to preserve resources for Covid-19 patients.