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David Lazarus: You can thank the coronavirus for plunge in robocalls

Business / Business News /

Like most of us, Elaine Regus and her husband have adapted to being home most of the day, except for the occasional walk around the neighborhood.

The San Dimas, Calif., resident told me that in the past, they'd typically find several messages from robocallers awaiting them any time they returned home.

"These days, nothing," said Regus, 68. "We...Read more

6.64 million: Unemployment claims surge as states await federal guidance

Business / Business News /

WASHINGTON -- More than 6.64 million workers filed initial claims for unemployment insurance in the week ending March 28, exceeding the 3.3 million who filed claims a week earlier, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The record-setting filings in the most recent two weeks as the COVID-19 pandemic forces the shutdown of many businesses may ...Read more

Quibi was already a gamble. Will the coronavirus crisis help or hurt the streaming service?

Business / Business News /

As the coronavirus outbreak spread last month, producers Jonah Bekhor and Jonas Bell Pasht worried their Quibi show, "The Nod with Brittany & Eric," was doomed. The duo had taken over a loft in Manhattan's Flatiron District to film the black culture show, hosted by podcasters Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings, with episodes planned to air daily on ...Read more

Column: Coronavirus may be a new factor when California's housing debate reignites

Business / Business News /

People fleeing cities in an attempt to outrun the coronavirus have caused consternation in rural hinterlands and warm-weather refuges.

But the COVID-19 crisis has triggered a longer-term discussion about the health risks in densely packed cities and whether the crisis will lead to living quarters being more spread out in the future.

In the ...Read more

'Our vacation was stolen': VRBO guests fume over refunds on trips dashed by coronavirus

Business / Business News /

CHICAGO -- When Erin Haughton planned her family's spring break getaway to Mexico earlier this year, she booked a place to stay with VRBO, a popular vacation home rental site she'd used in the past.

The Frankfort, Ill., woman is supposed to be on that trip in Playa del Carmen right now, enjoying a sunny week with her husband and three kids.

...Read more

What's essential? Confusion clouds workers, employers

Business / Business News /

Are construction workers essential? It depends.

The standards for what constitutes essential work under COVID-19 pandemic rules vary state to state, city to city, and, in some cases, hour to hour. Some orders change because of industry pressure; some change as the pandemic worsens; and some governors clarify earlier orders when confusion ensues...Read more

Dodgers TV blackout is over; Spectrum deal puts SportsNet LA on DirecTV, AT&T TV

Business / Business News /

LOS ANGELES -- If there's a baseball season in 2020, many more Los Angeles Dodgers fans across the region will finally be able to watch their team from home.

Spectrum announced Wednesday it reached an agreement to carry SportsNet LA, the Dodgers' television home, on AT&T video platforms, including DirecTV, AT&T TV, U-Verse TV and AT&T Now in ...Read more

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes wants trial preparations exempted from safety orders

Business / Business News /

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes wants the judge overseeing her criminal fraud case to order her legal team's trial preparations essential and exempt from coronavirus safety restrictions so lawyers and their agents can perform tasks that they say may provoke hostility.

"While we are hesitant to encourage any person to ...Read more

Tension, fear grip US health workers with critical protective gear running low

Business / Business News /

Health-care workers and others essential to the Covid-19 fight say they're increasingly frustrated that they're being sent into a deadly battle without the protective gear they need for themselves and their patients.

Tensions are particularly high in New York, where the number of coronavirus deaths have passed 1,000. Seven members of District ...Read more

Health care standard bearer tells hospitals to let staff bring own face masks, use as desired

Business / Business News /

The U.S. body that sets standards for and accredits 22,000 health care organizations recommended Tuesday that employers not only allow health care workers to bring face masks from home but also allow them to choose when to wear them.

Leaders of The Joint Commission stated: "We are receiving reports from across the country that some hospitals ...Read more

Did Quibi steal mobile technology? A rival wants a court to halt its launch

Business / Business News /

The legal fight over Quibi's mobile technology escalated on Wednesday as media and technology company Eko said it would request an injunction to block Hollywood's newest streaming service from launching on Monday.

Eko, a New York-based company, says that Quibi's app has a feature that uses technology stolen from Eko. The Quibi feature, called "...Read more

Call centers become front line of banks' COVID-19 battle as first workers test positive

Business / Business News /

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- With millions of Americans unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, bank call centers are swarmed with thousands of requests to delay mortgage payments, get fee waivers and help people sort out the biggest economic dislocation in recent memory.

On top of that, their branches are generally thought of, by both the ...Read more

'Hero bonus:' Kroger gives temporary raise to hourly employees due to coronavirus

Business / Business News /

Kroger gave temporary raises to its hourly grocery, supply chain, manufacturing, pharmacy and call center employees, the company announced Tuesday night.

The raise was $2 an hour to each employee's current rate of pay for hours worked March 29 through April 18, according to a news release. The extra pay was in addition to the appreciation bonus...Read more

Coronavirus help: Comcast pledges $500 million to workers; executives forgo salaries

Business / Business News /

Comcast Corp. pledged $500 million to help employees struggling through the coronavirus health crisis, and its five top leaders will donate their salaries to COVID-19 relief efforts.

"We hope in some small way we can make this time easier on our employees, our local communities and our customers," Comcast Chairman and Chief Executive Brian ...Read more

Column: The bad science behind Trump's chloroquine claims

Business / Business News /

Jennifer Herrera is down to her last 15 days of a drug she needs to control her inflammatory arthritis. Her pharmacy is out of stock and has no idea when its next shipment will come in.

Her misfortune is that she's dependent on a version of chloroquine, a drug touted by President Trump and others as a treatment for COVID-19, the disease caused ...Read more

How to talk to your landlord about rent if coronavirus closures have affected your paycheck

Business / Business News /

For many out-of-work Americans, the first of the month looms larger now than it did just four short weeks ago.

Even if your landlord has announced rent cuts or is helping you cover the rent due, you may be wondering just what to do on the first of the month.

You're not alone. Two weeks ago, a record 3.28 million Americans filed unemployment ...Read more

Coronavirus vaccine race gets unlikely partner: big tobacco

Business / Business News /

Cigarette makers may seem like an unlikely source of life-saving vaccines, yet Philip Morris International Inc. and British American Tobacco Plc are trying to devise a defense against the coronavirus from the humble tobacco leaf.

BAT said Wednesday that it's in pre-clinical testing of a plant-based vaccine via a U.S. biotech subsidiary Kentucky...Read more

'It's catastrophic.' Coronavirus forces Florida farmers to scrap food they can't sell

Business / Business News /

MIAMI -- A tractor with a 35-foot blade mowed down one million pounds of green beans ready to be picked at R.C. Hatton's Pahokee, Fla., fields.

Those crops should have been going to South Florida's restaurants, cruise ships, school cafeterias, airlines and even theme parks.

Instead, they are going into the ground.

"And I've got another one ...Read more

Hospitals burn through cash while congress weighs next stimulus

Business / Business News /

U.S. hospitals are burning through cash so quickly on the front lines of the nation's fight against the coronavirus pandemic that the more than $100 billion they're set to get from the federal emergency stimulus package might not be enough.

The $2.2 trillion package lets hospitals get an advance on expected Medicare reimbursements and helps ...Read more

How to prevent trolls from Zoom bombing your online meeting

Business / Business News /

As students at the University of Tennessee were participating in a virtual "Milkshake Monday," an anonymous person jumped into the Zoom gathering and began berating everyone with racist rants.

"Zoom bombing has unfortunately become an issue at institutions across the country, and this is at least the second instance at UT Knoxville since we've ...Read more