A staggering 16.8 million Americans lost their jobs in just three weeks, a measure of how fast the coronavirus has brought world economies to their knees. In other developments, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was moved out of intensive care at the London hospital where he is being treated for the virus. A spike in deaths in Britain and New York and surges of reported new infections in Japan and in India’s congested cities made it clear the battle is far from over. That amounts to about 1 in 10 American workers — the biggest, fastest pileup of job losses since the world's largest economy began keeping records in 1948. Sharon Bridgeman, 57, of Kansas City, Missouri, was laid off from her job two weeks ago at a nonprofit that helps homeless people and is still waiting to be approved for unemployment benefits. In many European countries, where social safety nets tend to be stronger than in the U.S., government programs that subsidize workers' pay are keeping millions of people on payrolls, though typically with fewer hours and at lower wages. Amid widespread restrictions on public gatherings, major religious denominations are holding virtual services where members can watch on TV or online. The virus “doesn’t take a day off for Good Friday or Easter Sunday,” said Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei suggested mass gatherings may be barred through the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which runs from late April through most of May. A group of mariachis played songs outside a hospital in Mexico City to show support for medical workers battling the coronavirus pandemic.
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