State Surpasses 500 Deaths From COVID-19; Governor Calls Unemployment Filings Resulting From Pandemic 'Staggering'

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Staggering. That's how Gov. Charlie Baker is describing the latest jobless numbers, which showed 140,000 more Massachusetts workers filed for unemployment benefits this week. Coupled with new claims the past two weeks, it's the largest number of job losses the state has faced since the 2008 recession: 470,000.

And there's still another well of out-of-work residents who can't yet file: self-employed people and gig workers. Normally those workers are not eligible for unemployment benefits, but the federal CARES act, passed last month, provides them some relief.

Baker says the Department of Unemployment Assistance is working with a vendor to build a platform to disperse those benefits, and it should begin processing claims by the end of this month.

Also on Thursday, the state Department of Public Health announced 70 more coronavirus-related deaths. Those who died include a woman in her 30s from Suffolk County who had not been hospitalized for her illness. In all, 503 state residents have died from the illness.

WBUR's Steve Brown spoke with WBUR's All Things Considered host Lisa Mullins about the day's developments related to the coronavirus.

This segment aired on April 9, 2020.

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Steve Brown Senior Reporter/Anchor
Steve Brown is a veteran broadcast journalist who serves as WBUR's senior State House reporter.


Headshot of Lisa Mullins

Lisa Mullins Host, All Things Considered
Lisa Mullins is the voice of WBUR’s All Things Considered. She anchors the program, conducts interviews and reports from the field.



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