INDIANAPOLIS — There were several developments in the coronavirus pandemic you may have missed overnight.
Here’s a look:
Unemployment benefits requirement reinstated. Starting Tuesday, Hoosiers receiving unemployment benefits will have to prove they are actively looking for work. The requirement is being reinstated after being dropped during the pandemic.
People getting unemployment aid must fill out job applications, go to job fairs or attend online workshops. They will then have to present evidence of those activities to the Department of Workforce Development for renewed benefits.
While Governor Holcomb says Indiana is ready to get back to work, some though don’t think it’s that simple.
Kyle Anderson, an economist at IU’s Kelley School of Business, says finding long-term employment takes time.
“We want them to find good jobs that are a good fit for them for the long term — not just find something that [the thinking process is] ‘hey, I need to go back to work today, right away, I’ll just take whatever.’”
Australian ban on travel. An Australian court on Tuesday rejected a challenge to the federal government’s draconian power to prevent most citizens from leaving the country so that they don’t bring COVID-19 home.
Australia is alone among developed democracies in preventing its citizens and permanent residents from leaving the country except in “exceptional circumstances” where they can demonstrate a “compelling reason.”
Most Australians have been stranded in their island nation since March 2020 under a government emergency order made under the powerful Biosecurity Act.
Libertarian group LibertyWorks argued before the full bench of the Federal Court in early May that Health Minister Greg Hunt did not have the power to legally enforce the travel ban that has prevented thousands of Australians from attending weddings and funerals, caring for dying relatives and meeting newborn babies.
Swimming safety. With temperatures rising and summer on the horizon, many are eager to break out their swimsuits and hit the pool.
But is it safe?
According to Dr. Richard Kennedy, an infectious disease expert at Mayo Clinic, “The devil’s in the details.”
Kennedy says it’s possible to swim at a pool without contracting COVID-19, but there are some things you should be conscious of: How many people are around you? How closely are you interacting with them?
There are a few things that are “working in your favor,” according to Kennedy. For one, pools are typically outside, which limits the spread of COVID-19. It will also, presumably, be hot when you’re swimming, which also limits the transmission of coronavirus.
A son’s guilt. Though Brian Walter knows he tried to protect his parents from the coronavirus, doubts torment him.
Did he grab a wrong bottle of orange juice, one covered with infectious droplets? Did he get too close to his dad? What if he had worked a different shift — would things have been different?
Did he bring about his father’s death?
The New York City Transit employee was deemed an essential worker needed to keep the city running last year when it became the epicenter of the pandemic. He shared a meal for St. Patrick’s Day with his parents, then decided that he should stay away for their safety. They kept a sanitizing station outside their shared home where he would leave groceries that his mom would disinfect.
Still, they got sick. And he can’t escape the gnawing feeling that he exposed his father to the virus.
“I constantly feel guilty that I was the one going out every day,” he said. “I mean, I’m the only person leaving the house all the time. So you know, it almost seems logical that I was the one that brought it in.”