Many in US won't return to gym or dining out: poll

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WASHINGTON — Much of the country remains unlikely to venture out to bars, restaurants, theaters or gyms anytime soon, despite state and local officials across the country increasingly allowing businesses to reopen, according to a new survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

That hesitancy in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak could muffle any recovery from what has been the sharpest and swiftest economic downturn in U.S. history. Just 42% of those who went to concerts, movies, theaters or sporting events at least monthly before the outbreak say they’d do so in the next few weeks if they could. Only about half of those who regularly went to restaurants, exercised at the gym or traveled would feel comfortable doing so again.

Lynn Tanner, center, and her husband Ryan, bottom right, are served lunch at Busy Bee Cafe Thursday, May 21, 2020, in Ventura, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

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About a quarter of Americans say someone in their household has lost a job amid that downturn, and about half have lost household income, including layoffs, pay cuts, cut hours or unpaid time off. The majority of those whose household suffered a layoff still believe they will return to their previous employer, but the share expecting their job will not return has risen slightly over the past month, to 30% from 20%.

Amber Van Den Berge, a teacher in Indiana, held off on immediately returning to her second job as a fitness instructor. She would need to pass a test for COVID-19, get her temperature checked each morning and lead class while wearing a protective mask.

“Wear a mask to teach a fitness class? I’m not ready for that,” said Van Den Berge, 39.

The speed and strength of any economic rebound could be thwarted because many fear the risk of new infections. Consumers make up roughly 70% of U.S. economic activity, so anything less than a total recovery in spending would force many companies to permanently close and deepen the financial pain for 39 million people who have lost jobs in roughly the past two months.

Forty-nine percent of Americans approve of how President Donald Trump is handling the economy, the poll shows. That has slipped over the last two months, from 56% in March. Still, the issue remains a relative positive for Trump, whose overall approval rating stands at 41%.

President Donald Trump speaks at Ford’s Rawsonville Components Plant Thursday in Ypsilanti, Mich. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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Trump has at times downplayed the threat of the coronavirus and the benefits of testing and has criticized the leadership of Democratic governors. Meanwhile, many Democratic lawmakers have insisted on the importance of containing the disease and sustaining the economy with federal aid.

Greg Yost, a Republican from Rockaway, New Jersey, says he wishes the president would defer more to medical experts, rather than speak off the cuff. But he added that he thinks Trump believes he must defend himself against personal attacks.

“He’s between a rock and a hard place,” Yost said.

But ShyJuan Clemons, 45, of Merrillville, Indiana, says Trump has made the fallout from the pandemic worse by initially denying its dangers and failing to display much empathy for those hurt by the coronavirus.

“Even my cat knows that he’s terrible,” said Clemons, referring to his 14-year-old Siamese mix, Shinji.

Clemons works with special needs people and worries about his hours if Indiana — starved of tax revenues because of the disease — cuts its budget.

But it also shows how an atmosphere of political polarization may be feeding both an eagerness by some to return and a reluctance by others to resume their previous lifestyles.

Among those who did so at least monthly before the outbreak, Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to say they’d go to restaurants (69% to 37%), movies, concerts or theaters (68% to 28%), travel (65% to 38%) and go to a gym or fitness studio (61% to 44%).

After being closed for several weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak, Chandler Fashion Center Mall welcomes back patrons with many social distancing guideline signs Sunday in Chandler, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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Sixty-nine percent of those who regularly shopped in person for nonessential items before the outbreak, including majorities among both parties, say they’d be likely to wander malls and stores again. But Republicans are more likely to say so than Democrats, 82% to 61%.

Yost expressed no qualms about going out because he believes the economic damage from shelter-in-place orders will be worse than the deaths from the disease.

“What’s going to happen with depression, homelessness — a lot of other problems are going to arise because we shut down the economy?” said Yost, a vice president of operations at an insurance agency. “I would go to a restaurant and feel comfortable with my kids and not even have masks on.”

Still, there's an exception to the partisan divide, with 76% of Republicans and 69% of Democrats who get haircuts on at least a monthly basis saying they’d do that in the next few weeks if they could.

The poll finds an overwhelming majority of Americans, 70%, describe the economy as poor, but their outlook for the future is highly partisan. Sixty-two percent of Republicans expect improvement in the coming year, while 56% of Democrats say it will worsen.

At the same time, two-thirds of Americans say their personal finances are good, which has remained steady since before the outbreak began.

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Many families have been able to survive the downturn because of aid such as direct payments to taxpayers and expanded unemployment benefits that will expire in July.

Mitchell Durst, 74, has watched the job losses from the sidelines as a retired mathematician in Keyser, West Virginia.

He was already cautious about going out because of a compromised immune system from cancer treatments. The disease stopped his weekly poker game. He lived through the polio crisis, dealt with gas rationing during the 1970s and worked in Nigeria during the Ebola scare.

He calculates the United States will need to be patient about an economic comeback.

“Until we have a vaccine, particularly for those folks at risk, it’s going to be awhile,” Durst said. “If we get something in two years, if we’re so fortunate to be able to do that, I think that would be fantastic.”

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The AP-NORC poll of 1,056 adults was conducted May 14-18 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.

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Will Isolation Stories return for series 2 on BBC? – The Sun

ITV'S Isolation Stories has been a hit with viewers who have taken to social media to express their love of show.

The bitesize episodes – which are 15 minutes long each – have left fans hungry for more.

Will Isolation Stories return for series 2?

Currently this hasn't been confirmed or denied.

Social distancing measures have changed the way TV shows can now be filmed.

If there is a second series it could pick up where the characters left off, meaning there would be the same cast, or it could start with fresh stories.

The unique series has been left open ended.

What happened in Isolation Stories?

Isolation Stories was created during lockdown – it was cast, directed and film remotely.

Tonight (May 7) ITV will be airing Isolation Stories: Behind The Scenes to show how they did it.

Episode 1

The first episode kicked off with Sheridan Smith playing Mel, a heavily pregnant woman having to go it alone as the father of the child is married.

After filming videos where she honestly speaks about not wanting her baby, she accidentally sends one to a stranger who calls her back.

The call lifts her spirits and makes her feel less alone.

By the end she's calmer and feeling more positive about the world.

Episode 2

This episode focuses on Ron who is ill with coronavirus and is confused about his whereabouts and situation.

He lives with his son and feels trapped.

Old family wounds are opened as they're forced to spend all day together.

As the episode progresses, the son Russell becomes increasingly frantic.

Episode 3

Last night's episode saw Mike who is a paranoid, self-conscious hypochondriac.

As his worst fears come true and he panics about catching the virus from the air.

It's up to his psychiatrist to calm him down, but as the episode progresses the tables start to turn.

Episode 4

The final episode will air tonight. A grandad stops off outside his grandkids' window every day but his son-in-law, still hurting after being left by his wife, does not welcome these daily visits.

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House cancels return to Washington over doctor’s coronavirus concerns

WASHINGTON — Members of the House have been told to stay home after they were scheduled to return to Washington on May 4, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday.

In a call with reporters, Hoyer said the session was canceled after Democratic leaders consulted the House physician over concerns lawmakers would be exposing themselves to the coronavirus.

Hoyer said the physician told him that returning would present a risk to members and was “one he would not recommend taking.”

Many members of the House and Senate are above 60 and in the most high-risk group and several lawmakers have tested positive to the virus since the pandemic broke out in March.

Both chambers of Congress were supposed to return after an extended break to vote on a fourth wave of emergency COVID-19 funding — the decision potentially slowing down more aid.

Lawmakers briefly returned from their districts last week to vote on an interim $484 billion relief bill for small businesses — most of them taking the unprecedented step of wearing masks and scarves in the chamber.

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Miss England will return to work as a doctor amid coronavirus outbreak

The beauty queen who was crowned “Miss England” last year will soon be back to work as a doctor as the coronavirus outbreak spreads in the UK, a report said Monday.

Bhasha Mukherjee returned to England from a charity trip to India last week and will return to her hospital in the eastern town of Boston after she self isolates, CNN reported.

Mukherjee, who trained as a doctor before being crowned Miss England in 2019, got in touch with the administration of her old workplace, the Pilgrim Hospital, and asked if she could come back to work.

“I wanted to come back home. I wanted to come and go straight to work,” Mukherjee, who landed in England last Wednesday, told CNN.

“It was incredible the way the whole world was celebrating all key workers, and I wanted to be one of those, and I knew I could help,” she added.

Mukherjee, who was raised in England after emigrating from India with her family when she was 9, added that she studied medicine for times like this.

“I felt a sense of this is what I’d got this degree for and what better time to be part of this particular sector than now,” she told CNN.

“There’s no better time for me to be Miss England and helping England at a time of need,” she said.

The UK has nearly 50,000 cases of coronavirus and about 5,000 people have died from the contagion.

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