Politics: Jobless claims, coronavirus mask orders, NASA unveils new sun photos: 5 things to know Thursday

Some Americans refuse to mask up. Rules, fines and free masks will change that, experts say.

  Some Americans refuse to mask up. Rules, fines and free masks will change that, experts say. Experts spoke in support of rules and fines, likening refusal to wear a mask with traffic violations that put other drivers at risk.There is a “sizable minority” of Americans who are skeptical, Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told USA TODAY – evidenced in part by numerous viral videos showing shoppers flouting mask rules.

a person in a blue shirt: Completed face masks are packaged for shipping at the Tom Bihn factory in Seattle in March. Tom Bihn is a travel bag company that shifted production to face masks because of the COVID-19 outbreak. © Joe Nicholson Completed face masks are packaged for shipping at the Tom Bihn factory in Seattle in March. Tom Bihn is a travel bag company that shifted production to face masks because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Will COVID-19 cases drive layoffs higher?

With COVID-19 spiking in many parts of the U.S., economists will be watching closely on Thursday when the Labor Department releases its latest jobless claims figures. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg estimate that 1.25 million Americans filed initial applications for unemployment benefits – a rough measure of layoffs – for the week ending July 11. That would mark a drop from 1.3 million the prior week and the 15th straight weekly decline after first-time claims peaked at 6.9 million at the end of March. But the forecast is threatened by a spike in coronavirus cases, particularly in the South and West. Decisions by more than 20 states to pause or reverse their reopening could drive the numbers higher.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler intends on staying in WNBA, co-owning Atlanta Dream: 'They can't push me out'

  Sen. Kelly Loeffler intends on staying in WNBA, co-owning Atlanta Dream: 'They can't push me out' Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Georgia, told ESPN she does not intend to sell her stake in the Atlanta Dream despite the WNBA's embrace of Black Lives Matter."They can't push me out for my views," Loeffler told ESPN. "I intend to own the team. I am not going.

  • Many Americans might not get another stimulus check. Here's where things stand on another COVID-19 bill
  • As talk builds for second stimulus, questions remain about first payout

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Amid poor poll numbers, Trump campaign announces major shakeup

President Donald Trump's reelection campaign will have a new look Thursday amid a series of problems and numerous polls showing Trump trailing the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.  On Wednesday, Trump announced that Bill Stepien, a former White House political director, would become his campaign manager. Stepien replaces Brad Parscale, who will still serve as a senior adviser. The shakeup comes as the Trump campaign has sought a reset amid a coronavirus pandemic that wreaked havoc on a once booming U.S. economy — a key argument to the president's reelection strategy — and a national reckoning over race in the wake of George Floyd's death.

NFL, NFLPA reach agreement on 2021 salary cap

  NFL, NFLPA reach agreement on 2021 salary cap The NFL and NFLPA have agreed to some compromises regarding finances. Next year’s salary cap will be no lower than $175M, Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com report. Rather than borrowing money from projected future revenues through 2030 — as the players initially sought — this agreement will take projected funds through 2024 to help guard against a salary cap free fall this season could cause, Mark Maske of the Washington Post tweets. Read more here.

  • Biden leads Trump by 15 points, his widest margin this year, poll says
  • Polls show Trump is losing to Joe Biden. They said the same thing 4 years ago against Hillary Clinton

What states require face masks in public? Alabama joins growing list

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued an order requiring the use of face masks in public "when interacting within 6 feet" of people from separate households beginning Thursday. The order specifies masks must be worn in indoor spaces open to the public, a vehicle operated by a transportation service or an outdoor space where 10 or more people are gathered. As coronavirus cases rise in at least 45 states, many governors are instituting or renewing orders requiring people to wear face coverings in public. Several states – such as Florida, Georgia and Mississippi – do not have mask mandates but recommend that people wear face masks.

Brett Kulak, Jayce Hawryluk confirm positive COVID-19 tests

  Brett Kulak, Jayce Hawryluk confirm positive COVID-19 tests Habs defenseman Brett Kulak and Senators center Jayce Hawryluk both confirmed positive COVID-19 years on Friday. Following practice today, Kulak confirmed to reporters, including Sportsnet’s Eric Engels (Twitter links) that he was dealing with symptoms for a little more than a week after initially testing negative just prior to the start of camp.  Two positive tests quickly followed and he was only recently cleared to rejoin the team.

  • The state most resistant to masks? Arizona, according to a new study.
  • Face mask mandate: Walmart and Sam's Club to require masks nationwide starting July 20 as COVID-19 cases rise

About that Twitter hack...

We may find out more Thursday about the hacking of Twitter accounts belonging to prominent world figures in what was the largest breach in the social media company's history. Bogus messages soliciting bitcoin appeared on the Twitter accounts of former President Barack Obama, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Amazon CEO and  founder Jeff Bezos and many others Wednesday in what Twitter believes was a "coordinated social engineering attack by people who successfully targeted some of our employees." By providing a public address, millions of users who have access to cryptocurrency trading platforms can send as much Bitcoin — in this case, BTC — as they want. In total, the accounts tweeted out to nearly 100 million followers. And some users apparently fell for it: more than 230 transactions were recorded in Bitcoin's public ledger as of 5 p.m. ET Wednesday.

NFL, NFLPA agree on training camp setup, opt-out system

  NFL, NFLPA agree on training camp setup, opt-out system Days before full teams are scheduled to report to training camp, the NFL and NFLPA have reached agreements on other fronts as well. Here is the latest on the solutions the sides reached after months of negotiations:Training camps will still begin July 28, but the acclimation period players sought will take place. No full-padded practices will occur until August 17, Lindsay Jones of The Athletic tweets. Eight days of strength and conditioning will first take place before four days of helmets-and-shells work commences, Jones adds. Days 1-6 of camp will consist of COVID-19 testing and virtual meetings, per SI.

  • Bezos, Musk, Gates, Obama and others target of cryptocurrency hack on Twitter
  • 'Worried for my family': Chrissy Teigen blocks 1M Twitter accounts

NASA to unveil closest-ever photos of the sun

Scientists from NASA and the European Space Agency on Thursday will release the first data captured by the joint Solar Orbiter mission on its 65 million-mile journey to the sun. After launching in February from Florida's Cape Canaveral, the orbiter in June made its first close pass of the sun, turning on all 10 of its instruments for the first time. The data include the closest-ever pictures taken of the sun, according to NASA. "We're going to see the sun like never before," said Florida Tech associate professor of physics and space sciences, Jean Carlos Perez. Scientists will also discuss new measurements of particles and magnetic fields flowing from the sun.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jobless claims, coronavirus mask orders, NASA unveils new sun photos: 5 things to know Thursday

WNBA brings its stars (well, most of them) to bubble for unique 2020 season .
There will be no homecourt advantage. The stands will be empty of fans. But the WNBA has some intriguing story lines for its 24th season.Though the gyms are without fans, the storylines for this season are deserving. USA TODAY Sports looks at what the league's 24th season, beginning Saturday, entails.

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