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At least one-quarter of garment workers in Bangladesh — the world's second-largest clothing manufacturer, after China — have been fired or furloughed because of declining global orders amid the coronavirus crisis, according to the Penn State Center for Global Workers' Rights.

In recent days, top U.S. government officials have moved to assure Americans that they won't lack for food, despite the coronavirus.

As he toured a Walmart distribution center, Vice President Pence announced that "America's food supply is strong." The Food and Drug Administration's deputy commissioner for food, Frank Yiannas (a former Walmart executive) told reporters during a teleconference that "there are no widespread or nationwide shortages of food, despite local reports of outages."

"There is no need to hoard," Yiannas said.

A key maker of N95 respirator masks, 3M, is arguing against a Trump administration request to keep U.S.-made masks in the domestic market, saying the policy could backfire by triggering retaliation. Trump signed a Defense Production Act order Thursday specifically aimed at requiring 3M to prioritize orders from the U.S. government.

The president and others have criticized 3M, with some officials saying it allows or even encourages profiteering during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In normal times, when you choose your health insurance plan — usually during a fall "open enrollment period" — you try to guess at what the next year and your health will be like. You look at your budget and compare monthly premium costs and deductibles.

Coal mining companies owned by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and his family have agreed to pay the government more than $5 million in delinquent mine safety fines, the Justice Department says.

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Until the crisis, June Freeman was doing a vital job. She provided home health care in San Diego. Six days a week, she visited a man with dementia.

JUNE FREEMAN: So I walk him in the park, feed him, doing puzzle with him.

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Are enough Americans following national guidelines to reduce the spread of the coronavirus?

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Well, Deborah Birx, a key member of the White House pandemic task force, says no.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Starting today, small businesses can apply for the nearly $350 billion in loans available through the economic rescue plan from Congress.

The loan program, known as the Paycheck Protection Program, is intended to support businesses so they can ride out the tough economic times and, most importantly, assist with either keeping current workers or rehire those who were laid off.

Updated at 11:22 a.m. ET

Dennis Johnson fell victim last week to a new form of harassment known as "Zoombombing," in which intruders hijack video calls and post hate speech and offensive images such as pornography. It's a phenomenon so alarming that the FBI has issued a warning about using Zoom.

Like many people these days, Johnson is doing a lot of things over the Internet that he would normally do in person. Last week, he defended his doctoral dissertation in a Zoom videoconference.

Updated at 10:09 a.m. ET

For the first time in nearly a decade, the U.S. suffered a net loss of jobs as the coronavirus began to take hold in the country. But a monthly snapshot from the Labor Department shows only the first pinpricks of what will soon be a gaping wound.

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Amazon Prime Video will be hosting some of the movies that never got screen time at this year's canceled SXSW Film Festival. Amazon and SXSW announced today that the online film festival will be free to all audiences for 10 days — but you will need an Amazon account.

It was never meant to get this big, this fast. Zoom — the video-conferencing service which has become the go-to way for millions of self-distancing users to get in touch with friends, family, teachers, co-workers and more — has gone public with exactly how large it has grown since the coronavirus pandemic, and what it plans to do about its growing pains.

Updated at 5:36 p.m. ET

Hank Paulson says the world and America are "facing a health and economic crisis unlike anything in our modern history."

Paulson knows a thing or two about a financial crisis. In 2008, as Treasury secretary, he helped steer the United States out of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

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More than 6.6 million - that is the number of new people who claimed unemployment benefits just last week according to the Department of Labor. A staggering leap - double last week's number and that one broke records, too.

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Airlines are slashing service, canceling hundreds of flights a day as the number of people traveling on planes plummets. And the numbers from just the past month are stark. The TSA screened only 146,000 people at airport security checkpoints across the country on March 31, down 93.5% from the almost 2.3 million screened on March 1.

Arriving at Reagan National Airport in Washington on Tuesday for a flight to Newark, N.J., Greg Weinman expected to see at least a few other people. Instead, "It's empty. It was eerily quiet. There was nobody in the security line," he says.

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Updated at 10:38 a.m. ET

The number of new people claiming unemployment benefits totaled a staggering 6.648 million last week — doubling the record set a week earlier, the Labor Department said Thursday.

In the prior week, ending March 21, a revised 3.307 million initial claims were filed.

In just two weeks, nearly all of the jobs gained in the last five years have been lost.

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We're hearing this week from some of the millions of Americans who are struggling financially. Social distancing has eliminated the jobs of some domestic workers, including Heather Clough (ph) of Whitman, Mass.

Not all Americans can stay home during the pandemic.

Millions of essential workers are showing up for their jobs at warehouses, food processing plants, delivery trucks and grocery checkout lines. Work that is often low-paid, and comes with few protections, is now suddenly much more dangerous.

America has a new appreciation for these workers. Bill Osborn, a dairy clerk at a Giant in La Plata, Md., says he never used to be thanked for his job. Ever.

But now that has changed.

This new world of social distancing has hit the restaurant industry particularly hard — and some of the biggest names in that world are scrambling for solutions.

To test for the coronavirus, you need a swab.

But only two companies in the world manufacture the specialized instrument used to collect a sample from noses.

The limited supply has led to a shortage in the U.S. and a scramble by those two manufacturers to produce more.

One of those companies, Puritan Medical Products, based in Guilford, Maine has ramped up its production to more than 1 million swabs per week, according to Timothy Templet, the company's vice president of sales.

Mobile carrier T-Mobile announced today that it's officially completed a merger with Sprint. The deal, which was announced in 2018, means that the previously third and fourth largest wireless companies in the United States have now become the third — rivaling AT&T and Verizon. The new company, just called T-Mobile, is hoping to use its new pool of resources to expand its 5G capabilities, aiming to provide faster internet speeds to 99% of the population within the next six years.

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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Just like many people, small-business owners often send a lot of money out of the door on the first of the month - for rent, for insurance, for payroll. As NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben reports, today was a lot more stressful than usual.

By the middle of March, the problem was undeniable: America didn't have enough ventilators for the coronavirus pandemic.

Over the next two weeks, U.S. manufacturers worked frantically to boost output in an effort that has been compared to the mobilization of industry during World War II. Medical companies paired up with automakers to increase their production to previously unthinkable levels.

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