Unemployment claims increased for the second straight week on Thursday as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Herman Cain, a 2012 Republican presidential candidate, died following a battle with COVID-19 after attending President Trump's Oklahoma rally, and the president suggested delaying the 2020 presidential election until it's safe to vote in person.

Unemployment claims were up 12,000 last week from the previous week to more than 1.43 million, the Labor Department reported. The jump in claims was attributed to a surge in coronavirus cases as Bankrate.com chief financial analyst Greg McBride said in an email to International Business Times: “The virus spread and economic rollbacks in the weeks since do not bode well for the labor market in the weeks and months ahead.

“The looming expiration of federal unemployment benefits without a clear-cut replacement threatens a chunk of consumer spending power that has sustained households and made its way back into the economy,” he added, referring to the supplemental $600 a week those who were laid off because of the pandemic are receiving. That bonus has now expired.

A Republican proposal would reduce the supplemental benefit to $200 a week and cap unemployment benefits to 70% of pre-coronavirus earnings per individual.

Cain was hospitalized for nearly a month with COVID-19. News of his death was confirmed on his website by colleague Dan Calabrese on Thursday.

The notice from Calabrese read in part: “ Cain was hospitalized for COVID-19 on July 1, only days after testing positive for the virus. A noted supporter of President Trump, Cain attended Trump's Tulsa rally only two weeks before his diagnosis. The rally had been criticized for gathering so many people at once without enforcing the use of face masks.

“In the days following the diagnosis, Can was reported to be “awake and alert” and “making progress. On July 10, his official Twitter account said he was improving steadily. Having beaten Stage IV colon cancer in 2006, Cain would have been considered high-risk for coronavirus.”

Cain, who received his master’s degree in computer science from Purdue University in 1971, was the CEO of Godfather’s Pizza until 1996. He also served as chairman of the board for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and as CEO of the National Restaurant Association.

In 2011, Cain entered the ring as a Republican presidental candidate, leaving the race in December 2011 after being accused of having an affair with a woman named Ginger White, an accusation he denied.

Also, on Thursday, Trump said the Nov. 3 election should be delayed until danger from the coronavirus pandemic has passed and “people can properly, securely and safely vote.” The reason for the delay, Trump said in a series of tweets  widespread mail-in balloting would produce a fraudulent result.

“With universal mail-in voting [not absentee voting, which is good], 2020 will be the most inaccurate & fraudulent election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the election until people can properly, securely and safely vote?” Trump said in one tweet.

Congress would have to agree to change the date of the election, which was set bt law in 1845. It is unlikely Democrats would agree to the election delay.

In other coronavirus news:

  • Tyson Foods becomes one of the first companies to issue expansive COVID-19 monitoring as it looks to prevent the spread of coronavirus among its workers after at least 8,500 were infected with the virus. The company said because of the testing, now less than 1% of its 120,000 workers have the virus.
  • The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy has banned the sale and dispensing of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19, starting on Thursday. The ban comes after President Trump retweeted a video that promoted the malaria drug as a cure. Hydroxychloroquine has been shown in studies to be ineffective at treating the virus and may have cardiac side effects.
  • Amid the ban on hydroxychloroquine in Ohio, Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, announced he is taking the drug to treat coronavirus. The congressman tested positive for the virus earlier this week, claiming later that it was caused by wearing a face mask. Gohmert has been accused of not wearing a face mask at Capital Hill and failing to social distance.
  • Canada has issued stricter rules for entering the country to travel to Alaska. The Canada Border Services Agency issued the order, which goes into effect on July 31 at 12:01 a.m. PDT. The new rules require travelers to obey a series of safety guidelines when traveling as well as only being able to enter the country through five designated ports of entry.
  • Hackers connected the Chinese government have been accused of trying to steal vaccine research data from Moderna, Reuters said. The breach, which occurred in January, targeted the biotech firm’s computer network. The cyberattack follows the indictment of two Chinese nationals last week by the Justice Department.
  • A Florida sheriff’s office issued more than 260 citations in two weeks for parties and “roving car clubs” as part of an effort to reduce violence as well as the spread of the coronavirus, The Washington Post reported. The citations were linked to 13 gatherings and were primarily traffic-related, Broward County Sherriff’s Office spokeswoman Gerdy St. Louis told the Post. There were also 25 arrests for offenses such as grand theft and driving under the influence, the news outlet said.
  • The first lady of Brazil, Michelle Bolsonaro tested positive for the coronavirus just days after her husband, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, recovered from the virus, officials said. President Bolsonaro tested positive on July 7. The president's office said in a statement the first lady “is in good health and will follow all established protocols,” Reuters reported.
  • McDonald’s has partnered with the Mayo Clinic to gain expertise on infection prevention and control as it looks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in its 38,000 restaurants across the world. McDonald’s has already implemented more than 50 process changes throughout the company to keep workers and customers safe.
  • The National Basketball Association will start its first games on Thursday night at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The NBA teams have been living in a “bubble” environment to prevent the spread of the virus. Comprehensive guidelines have been put in place to keep players healthy with consequences for failing to follow them.
  • The U.S. has reported more than 4.46 million positive cases of the coronavirus and COVID-19 deaths had topped 151,400 COVID-19 as of late Thursday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins University. On Wednesday, the country had more than 1,400 COVID-19 deaths nationwide, which accounts for one fatality nearly every minute of the day. The total was the highest in more than two months, The Washington Post reported. Also coming in with record death numbers were Florida, Mississippi and Arizona. Globally, there are more than 17.1 million positive cases of the coronavirus, with deaths topping 668,000.

a maskless Florida man fights his way into a Walmart store despite mandatory mask policy in the Sunshine State Representative image of a man wearing a face mask. Photo: Orna Wachman - Pixabay