Coronavirus pandemic, January jobs report, Amanda Gorman: 5 things to know Friday

Yankee Stadium to open up mass COVID-19 vaccination site

Yankee Stadium will open as a COVID-19 mass vaccination site starting Friday to serve residents of the Bronx in an effort to bolster equity in New York’s vaccine distribution, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a joint statement earlier this week. 15,000 appointments will be available at the site during its first week, which will coincide with outreach efforts to Bronx residents about vaccine safety and scheduling appointments. The Bronx has the highest number of hospitalizations and deaths per 100,000 people of the five boroughs, according to the city’s data, and its population is predominately Black and Latino. As of Thursday, more than 55.9 million vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S. and about 33.9 million have been administered, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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How’s the economy doing? January jobs report could tell

Economists and Wall Street will be paying close attention Friday when the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports its jobs numbers for January. Data provider FactSet said it expects the report to show a modest hiring gain of perhaps 100,000, with unemployment remaining at a high 6.7% amid the COVID-19 pandemic. On Thursday, the government reported that 779,000 Americans sought unemployment benefits last week — a declining but still significant number. Friday’s report has the potential to affect talks between Congress and the White House over President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion economic rescue program.

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Thousands of American Airlines employees could be furloughed

Notices of possible furloughs are going out Friday to some employees at American Airlines, two days after the company warned that its business would be impacted by a slower-than-anticipated rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. The airline, which employs about 133,700 people in the U.S., warned employees Wednesday of possible furloughs after government payroll aid expires April 1. Notices will go out on Friday to employees in areas where it is required by law. The company said the notices do not equate to automatic furlough, and that it will offer a voluntary early-out program and a leave-of-absence program.

NBA will penalize players who don’t comply with new COVID protocols

The NBA will require players, coaches and staff members to wear KN95, KF94 or FFP2 face masks during games beginning on Friday, according to a league memo sent to all 30 teams in hopes to strengthen the league’s health and safety protocols related to the coronavirus pandemic. The NBA has postponed 23 games this season because of issues related to positive COVID-19 tests and subsequent contact tracing. All teams are required to have at least eight healthy players to participate in a game. And as for the new face mask requirement, the memo stated it “will impose penalties on any player or team staff member who fails to comply with these rules.”

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Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman on cover of TIME

Amanda Gorman, the 22-year-old who made history in January as the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, will appear on the cover of Time magazine. Hitting newsstands on Friday will be her interview with former first lady Michelle Obama, who said she felt “proud” and “profoundly moved” watching the young poet read her work at President Joe Biden’s inauguration. Gorman wears a crown headband and a yellow dress on the cover of the edition. And the Harvard graduate and National Youth Poet Laureate has plenty more up her sleeve: books slated to hit stores later this year, talk show appearances, and future political aspirations.

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