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New photos of New York City's disaster hospital in the Javits Center reveal rows of make-shift hospital rooms


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With more than 23,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in New York City, new photos reveal rows of make-shift hospital rooms inside the disaster hospital being set up in the Javits Center. And they show just how dire the situation is becoming.

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Last weekend, in an effort to combat the growing number of coronavirus cases in the city, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the New York National Guard, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and Javits employees would be building a 1,000-bed facility in the center.

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The center, which is typically used to host large events and conferences, has been filled with long white curtains, medical equipment, and hospital beds. Soon, it will be a critical component in the city's ongoing fight against the pandemic.

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Cuomo announced on Twitter that the center will fully open on Monday, March 30. As Business Insider reported, the building is broken up into four 250-bed sections, each about 40,000 square feet in size. There will be 320 Federal Emergency Management Agency workers assigned to each section.

SEE ALSO: Google pledges $340 million in Google Ads credits to small businesses as part of $800 million pandemic relief package

DON'T MISS: 10 business leaders who have cut their salaries to $0 to help struggling workers as the coronavirus wreaks havoc on their industries

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How networks treat the Democratic debates like reality TV

12 air traffic control centers have been temporarily closed after workers tested positive for coronavirus, highlighting a vulnerability in air travel


Air Traffic Control Tower

  • Numerous Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controllers have tested positive for COVID-19, leading to the temporary closure of facilities for cleaning.
  • Eleven sites across the country, including at major airports in New York, Chicago, and Las Vegas, have been temporarily closed for cleaning, affected flight operations.
  • Some facilities have been closed for multiple days leaving inbound and departing aircraft left to their own devices for taxi, take-off, and landing. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Federal Aviation Administration released a map indicating that numerous air traffic control facilities operated by the body across the US have had personnel test positive for COVID-19 or believed to have the illness, contributing to airport closures and flight delays while cleaning efforts commence.

Chicago's Midway Airport was the first to effectively close after an air traffic controller assigned to the airport's air traffic control tower tested positive for the virus.

Other major airports affected by the spread of the novel coronavirus include John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport in New York and Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport. Most incidents have been restricted to the east of the Mississippi River with New York being the most affected region. 

Facilities with COVID-19-positive technicians have had to shut down for cleanings, closing down vital airspace and restricting access to major airports for extended periods. Aircraft continuing to operate to some airports without backup facilities during the closures have had to communicate directly with each other for separation.

Here's the full list of the FAA air traffic control sites affected by COVID-19.

SEE ALSO: Delta, United, and other airlines are sending their largest planes to the desert for storage as they drastically reduce operations due to coronavirus

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Chicago's Midway International Airport

The air traffic control tower at Chicago's Midway International Airport on Tuesday became the first FAA facility to be closed due to a technician testing positive for COVID-19. The temporary closure effectively ceased air traffic at the airport while the facility could be cleaned. 

Inbound flights were either held at their origins or diverted to airports as far as Milwaukee and St. Louis. The airport is a base for Southwest Airlines and is Chicago's second-largest passenger airport following nearby O'Hare International Airport.

Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport

The control tower at Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport closed on Wednesday after a controller tested positive for COVID-19. The facility remains closed as cleaning efforts continue and with no temporary facility in place, aircraft have been left to their own devices for taxi, take-off, and landing clearances as the airspace has reverted to uncontrolled status. 

Departures and arrivals at the airport have been reduced to account for the reduced air traffic control services available. 

Las Vegas TRACON

The Las Vegas Terminal Radar Approach Control Facility temporarily closed on Wednesday after an air traffic controller tested positive for COVID-19. Controllers at the facility handle air traffic into Las Vegas area airports including McCarran International, North Las Vegas Airport, and Henderson Executive Airport. 

New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport

The air traffic control tower at JFK Airport was temporarily closed as a technician had tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. Air traffic controllers at New York's primary gateway and one of 13 US government-approved entry airports for US citizens entering the country from Europe or who had been to mainland China were forced to relocate to a temporary facility. 

Flight delays were limited to the early morning as controllers moved from the airport's iconic control tower to an undisclosed backup facility somewhere on airport property. 

Indianapolis ARTCC

The Indianapolis Air Route Traffic Control Center on the grounds of Indianapolis International Airport was closed overnight following a positive test for COVID-19 was reported from an air traffic controller assigned to the facility. The FAA temporarily closed the facility for cleaning, affecting the entirety of Indianapolis Center's airspace which includes parts of Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Illinois, and Kentucky.

Wilmington Airport

An air traffic controller working in the control tower at Wilmington New Castle Airport tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday. The airport serves Delaware's largest city and is primarily used for private and general aviation having lost most of its commercial service.

Frontier Airlines is planning to return to the airport in May with seasonal service to Orlando. 

LaGuardia Airport

The control tower at New York's LaGuardia Airport, the busiest non-international airport in the tri-state area, was closed overnight on Saturday after an air traffic controller tested positive for COVID-19.

The impact on the airport's operation was minimal as restrictions limit the number of flights that can utilize LaGuardia overnight, with mainly early morning flights affected. 

New York ARTCC

The New York Air Route Traffic Control Center on the grounds of Long Island's MacArthur Airport was temporarily closed after a controller tested positive for COVID-19.

The affected airspace restricted flights into New York area airports, with aircraft having to take longer routes in order to avoid closed sectors, as well as Oceanic airspace which stretches from New York past Bermuda and services flights heading to the Caribbean, Europe, South America, and Africa. 

Farmingdale Republic Airport

An air traffic controller who tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday prompted the shutdown of Farmingdale Republic Airport's control tower on Sunday for a two-week period.

The Long Island airport, primarily catering to general aviation and business jet traffic will remain open under uncontrolled conditions leaving aircraft to communicate directly with each other when on the ground and in the proximity of the airport in the air. 

Leesburg Executive Airport

A technician at a Washington, DC area airport was believed to have COVID-19 on Saturday, the closest reported case at an airport to the nation's capital and one of the most restricted airspace areas in the world. The FAA later confirmed that there were no actual cases at the airport. 

Located just upriver from the capital, Leesburg Executive acts as one of the few private and general aviation-only airports serving Washington. 

General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport

An air traffic controller assigned to the air traffic control tower at Peoria International Airport in Illinois tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. 

The Central Illinois airport sees service from four airlines including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and Allegiant Air, as well as private and general aviation and aircraft.

John Wayne Orange County Airport

The air traffic control tower at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California was closed Friday for cleaning following the reporting of a presumptive positive case for COVID-19, according to the FAA.

The airport, which sees a mix of airline and general aviation traffic, remains open with no major delays but the airport remains uncontrolled meaning aircraft have to directly communicate with each other when taxiing, arriving, or departing. 

Filing for unemployment? Here's how to get started.

  • Millions of Americans are filing for unemployment because of coronavirus-related layoffs.
  • You can apply for unemployment benefits if you've been laid off, furloughed, your hours have been reduced to zero, or if you're a part-time employee.
  • Here's a simple guide to filing for unemployment benefits.
  • View more episodes of Business Insider Today on Facebook.

Millions of Americans are losing their jobs as the coronavirus pandemic continues to force mass layoffs.

Last week alone, nearly 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits— a number many officials expect to rise in the coming weeks.

Follow this guide to find out if you're eligible for unemployment and how to file.

Find out if you're eligible

For an overview on whether you're eligible to apply for unemployment, visit the Department of Labor's website, which lists all the requirements. You can apply for benefits if you have been laid off, furloughed, your hours have been reduced to zero, or even if you're a part-time employee.

Fill out the unemployment assistance application

Unemployment claims are processed at the state level. You can find your state's specific unemployment website listed here.

The application can be filled out in person, over the phone or online. You may need to create an online account and provide some basic information like your driver's license, social security number, and details on your previous job.

Before the coronavirus, laid off workers had to wait for a week before applying for unemployment. But that requirement has been waived, so now you can apply right away. 

How long does it take to get a payment and how much is it?

After you submit your application it typically takes two to three weeks to get your first payment. Most states pay benefits for 26 weeks, or about six months. The amount of money you get in that unemployment check varies from state to state. So for example, the maximum Massachusetts pays is $795 a week- the highest of any state. Mississippi workers on the other hand receive the lowest unemployment checks at 235 dollars a week.

SEE ALSO: 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment — and an economist predicts it could be far worse than the Great Recession

DON'T MISS: Closing every school in America because of the coronavirus would cost the US economy $51 billion a month

Join the conversation about this story »

Here's everything we know about how San Francisco has battled the coronavirus pandemic as its number of confirmed infections hits 279 and the city prepares for a surge in cases


san francisco shelter in place cable car

  • The coronavirus disease has transformed life in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as elsewhere in the world.
  • San Francisco declared a state of emergency in February, was one of many Bay Area cities to enter a three-week shelter-in-place order on March 17, and now the city is gearing up for an expected surge in cases.
  • There are now 279 confirmed cases of the virus in the city. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

San Francisco now has 279 confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease, known as COVID-19, as the respiratory illness continues to spread across the country and the world.

The World Health Organization officially declared the virus a pandemic as it has infected more than 94,000 in the US, surpassing China as the world's largest outbreak.

The state of California has 4,588 confirmed cases as its cities, including San Francisco, prepare for a surge in cases of the infectious disease.

Here's how San Francisco has addressed the coronavirus pandemic and is gearing up to continue fighting the virus.

SEE ALSO: The wealthiest of Silicon Valley have become super doomsday preppers by buying remote New Zealand properties, getting eye surgeries, and stockpiling ammo and food

San Francisco was one of the first US cities to declare a state of emergency on February 25.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed declared a state of emergency in the city, saying that "the global picture is changing rapidly, and we need to step up preparedness." 

"We see the virus spreading in new parts of the world every day, and we are taking the necessary steps to protect San Franciscans from harm," she said. 

The mayor's state of emergency allows the city to expedite and prioritize emergency planning by redirecting employees and resources in the case of an outbreak in San Francisco, Business Insider's Avery Hartmans and Katie Canales reported



San Francisco is geographically one of the closest cities in the US to China, and the high amount of travel between the city and China was a factor in the decision.

About 150 passengers that were aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship were brought from Japan to the Travis Air Force base in Fairfield, California, about 55 miles outside of the Bay Area on February 16. They were quarantined at the base for 14 days and released on March 2.

Another coronavirus-stricken cruise ship, the Grand Princess, docked in Oakland across the bay from San Francisco on Monday with 2,422 passengers on board, 942 of which are California residents. Twenty-one people on the ship have tested positive for the virus. Sick passengers were taken to local hospitals and the rest were under quarantine for 14 days at US military bases, with some at Travis Air Force Base. 

Two-thirds of passengers who were quarantined there declined to be tested for the coronavirus so that they could go home sooner. Some of them have been released in the past few days, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

For San Franciscans, as well as others across the globe, "social distancing" became the norm in a bid to help contain the disease as much as possible.

Source: Business Insider

The venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz began taking precautions as the disease started to spread, seemingly asking visitors to its San Francisco offices not to shake hands.

The technology researcher Tim Hwang posted on Twitter a photo taken outside the firm's offices showing a sign that said: "Due to the Corona Virus, No Handshakes Please. Thank You." 

The firm did not respond to Business Insider's request for comment, but Marc Andreessen posted a PSA on Twitter about the risks of handshaking as the virus spreads. 


Major tech conferences in San Francisco and elsewhere were canceled in an effort to avoid large gatherings amid the viral outbreak.

Facebook was planning to host its Global Marketing Summit in San Francisco on March 9-12 but canceled the event because of the coronavirus.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we canceled our Global Marketing Summit due to evolving public health risks related to coronavirus," Anthony Harrison, a Facebook spokesman, said. 

Many more have followed suit. Google Cloud Next, Okta's Oktane, and IBM's Think were all scheduled to take place at San Francisco's Moscone Center. They have since been canceled or turned into digital events, with live-streamed content planned.

Verizon, AT&T, and IBM pulled out of the RSA Conference, one of the biggest cybersecurity conferences. The companies were among 14 event sponsors to leave the event because of the coronavirus.

Source: Business Insider

The economic impact of the cancellations is likely to be big.

The Facebook event typically brings in about 5,000 guests, and San Francisco estimated that visitors to the city for conferences each spend about $567 per day.

A Recode report placed the economic loss of all canceled tech events worldwide at $1 billion, much of which is felt in San Francisco as many conferences are held in the city.


Remote work culture also started taking hold in San Francisco in February as companies began mandating that employees work from home amid the outbreak.

The CDC issued new guidelines in late February advising businesses to rely more heavily on remote work options, a feat that Google, Twitter, Apple, and others are following.

It's an adjustment for many tech workers who have long relied upon in-office perks, like free lunches.

Tech companies have restricted travel for employees. Tech giants like Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Salesforce, and Google, which have a heavy presence in San Francisco, have restricted employee travel as the virus spreads around the world. 


On March 5, the first two confirmed cases were found in San Francisco.

Neither patient had traveled to a location with a known coronavirus outbreak or come into contact with someone who had tested positive, meaning they likely contracted the virus through community transmission. 

The city started implementing measures to prevent mass gatherings following the news of the first two confirmed cases.

City leaders banned non-essential events held in city-owned facilities for two weeks starting on March 7.

A "non-essential group event" was defined as a gathering of 50 people for social, cultural, or entertainment events "where people are not separated by physical space of at least four feet," or about arm's length, according to NBC Bay Area.

The facilities implicated by the order include City Hall, the San Francisco Public Library, the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, and Moscone Center, a venue in the city's SOMA district where many tech conferences are usually held. The city's St. Patrick's Day Parade was canceled as were symphony events and ballet performances.

Then on March 11, San Francisco banned all large private and public gatherings exceeding 100 people.

"This is necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19, and builds on our previous public health recommendations," Mayor Breed wrote on Twitter.

The ban included events such as Golden State Warriors games.


Steps have also been taken to protect San Francisco's most vulnerable residents that comprise its homeless population.




The city announced on March 9 that it was spending $5 million to hire cleaning crews to regularly sanitize homeless shelters, supportive housing buildings, and SROs daily.

The money will also be used to keep shelters, including Navigation Centers, open 24/7. 

Meal offerings will also be made more available at shelters and SROs to encourage occupants to stay indoors. The funding will allow the city to keep up with the daily cleaning and the around-the-clock shelter hours for a few months, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The city also will use RVs stationed throughout the city to house members of its homeless population who are infected with the coronavirus for self-quarantine.

According to KTVU, the office of Mayor London Breed announced the plan Tuesday. It will apply to people who've tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, who have been exposed to it but don't need hospitalization and who aren't able to self-isolate in shared spaces like homeless shelters, SROs, or on the street.

The RVs will be staged in the city's Presidio neighborhood and can be placed throughout the city "as needed." The city is also asking hotels if there are any vacant rooms for it to use as part of this plan, according to KTVU.


Those living on the streets are more at risk of contracting infectious diseases such as the coronavirus, in San Francisco and in other US cities.

 A 2019 count placed the number of homeless individuals in the city at 8,011. 

Many don't have the luxury of taking the recommended precautions to avoid contracting COVID-19, like handwashing and keeping a distance from sick people, as Business Insider's Holly Secon reported. 

To further promote good hygiene practices for residents, city leaders placed 20 handwashing stations around the city in early March.

The best way to fight the spread of the coronavirus disease, as health officials have repeatedly said, is to wash your hands.

Per recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, take a generous amount of soap, and scrub thoroughly while reciting the "Happy Birthday" song or another 20-second tune.

The stations include soap dispensers and two basins with foot pumps that turn the water on.

When Business Insider stopped by, a man was using the station to first wash a piece of clothing and then to wash his hands.

The accessibility to soap and water is a much-needed feat for those living on the streets in the city.

On March 13, Mayor London Breed announced a moratorium on residential evictions "related to financial impacts caused by COVID-19."

Financial impacts include "a substantial loss of household income due to business closure, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, layoffs, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses," according to the Mayor's office.


By Monday, March 16, there were 37 confirmed cases of the disease in San Francisco, up from two just 11 days before.

That was the day that city leaders across the San Francisco Bay Area announced a shelter-in-place order would go into effect on Tuesday, March 17 throughout the region.


The directive was to expire on April 7, though Mayor London Breed has since told Business Insider's Troy Wolverton that the deadline could be extended.

The directive is not a full lockdown, so people are not prohibited from leaving their homes without government permission. Instead, they're directed to stay inside and avoid contact with others as much as possible for three weeks. 

As the Chronicle noted, the affected population totals more than 6.7 million people. The order is mandatory, and failure to comply will be considered a misdemeanor crime, according to the city, though officials are relying on resident compliance instead of stringent law enforcement of the order.



Residents are allowed to leave their homes for essential needs.

That includes obtaining medicine, food, and supplies for household members — including pets — seeing a doctor, and caring for a relative who lives in a separate household.

Everyone must work from home or stop working, except for those providing essential services, like healthcare workers, law-enforcement officials, and firefighters and emergency responders, according to the order.

Nonessential travel on foot or via scooters, bicycles, cars, and public transportation is also banned — though public transit will remain open for essential travel. Walking, running, taking a pet out to go to the bathroom, and hiking are still allowed, as long as people keep six feet between themselves and others.

All nonessential events of any size are prohibited. The city is telling residents that trips to the nail salon and dinner parties or house visits are also not allowed.




Bars, nightclubs, entertainment venues, gyms, and fitness studios are closed.

San Francisco's restaurant and bar scenes are already being slammed by the shelter-at-home order, with layoffs ensuing and sales plummeting. Mayor London Breed has introduced a number of ways to keep small businesses from going under, like ushering in a moratorium on commercial evictions. But business owners in the city don't think that will be enough.

"I would say about 50 percent of bars and restaurants are facing existential destruction," San Francisco bar owner Ben Bleimans told Eater SF.

The state of California is temporarily relaxing rules for bars, restaurants, and liquor stores to sell alcohol for pickup or delivery in an attempt to boost sales. Businesses can sell pre-packaged alcohol as long as it has a lid or a cap.

Restaurants will be allowed to stay open, as long as they provide only takeout food.

City and county government services — like fire and police stations — grocery stores, hospitals, banks, pharmacies, hardware stores, daycare centers, and veterinary offices will stay open, with some restrictions. Laundry services will also stay open.

San Francisco's 113 public schools are closed.

The closures affect the estimated 57,000 students of the city's public school system. Ninety Bay Area Catholic schools had already closed on March 10 after one student tested positive for the virus.

Many San Franciscans who are also parents are now juggling adjusting to working from their homes and enforcing digital learning for their kids.

People who are homeless are exempt from the order but are encouraged to seek shelter until officials can find ways to house them.

The city is considering using unoccupied schools and churches to temporarily house those who are homeless and have tested positive for the disease.

Hotels in the city are also being looked at as potential makeshift shelters. Trent Rhorer, head of the San Francisco Human Services Agency, told the Chronicle that he has secured 500 hotel rooms so far as a means to get people off the streets. Those who have tested positive for the virus and need to be quarantined would have first priority.

There are an estimated 8,500 hotel rooms in San Francisco that could potentially fulfill that purpose. The city's hotel industry has been slammed by the lack of business amid the shelter-in-place order and the coronavirus pandemic.

But new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention not to move people off the streets unless they would be able to social distance when in the makeshift shelters. That means that the potential makeshift shelters being created in hotels, schools, and other facilities in San Francisco are viable options to get people who have tested positive off the streets as long as there is enough space for social distancing in them.

On March 16, the same day that the regionwide shelter-in-place order was announced, a homeless man in Santa Clara County to the south of San Francisco was reported to have died from the disease, according to Vice.

There's a multi-million-dollar statewide effort underway led by Gov. Gavin Newsom to house those living on the street across the Bay Area and the state of California.

San Francisco's public transit has seen ridership plummet since the order went into effect.

There are more than 20 transit operators in the Bay Area, all of which have taken a hit as its usual riders have stopped coming into the office. Public transit has remained open during the shelter-in-place order for those providing essential services, like grocery workers.

Riders of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system began raising their concerns about cleanliness on public transit in February. Residents told local outlet KRON4 that they and their families were fearful of riding on the trains and contracting the virus from the crowds of people riding on them. 


BART, the Bay Area's largest transit operator, has seen ridership drop and is losing an estimated $57 million a month in sales taxes, fares, advertising revenue, and parking fees.

The transit agency is mulling over an emergency plan that could involve reducing service or shutting trains down.

As The San Francisco Chronicle reported, that would only be a last resort for the transit system in the event that several operators fell ill or California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered transit agencies to cease operations.

"We are an essential service," agency spokesperson Jim Allison told the Chronicle. "We know that many people can't work from home and that they have no other choice than to use public transportation."

San Francisco's public transit system, Muni, has also seen plunging ridership — the agency has reported an estimated loss of $1 million a week.

According to a Thursday blog posted by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees Muni, the agency is shuttering its train and light rail services and replacing them with buses.

The region's operators are expected to receive $1.3 billion from the federal stimulus bill — the bill reportedly includes a total of $25 million for public transportation, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

The SFMTA has taken other precautions amid the outbreak, like replacing the city's beloved cable cars with buses to provide operators with a closed cab. The open-air vehicles didn't have any such partition protecting operators from riders. Operators can also use their discretion and skip bus stops if they deem their vehicles too full of passengers to leave room for social distancing.

San Francisco's iconic Golden Gate Bridge is also suffering as commuters that typically cross its span stay home.

The governing body that oversees the bridge is losing $300,000 a day in toll revenue.

Drive-thru coronavirus test sites have been set up in San Francisco to increase testing capacity.

The four existing sites are designed to keep patients with respiratory symptoms away from medical facilities where they could potentially pass the virus on to others. Patients with doctor's orders can drive up and provide samples swabbed from the throat or nose onsite, according to a San Francisco Chronicle report.

The mayor's office announced Friday that there will be three more drive-thru sites added next week to the city's Chinatown, Outer Sunset, and South Beach neighborhoods. They will be open to members of the public who have doctor's notes. Priority testing is also being given to healthcare workers, first responders, and vulnerable at-risk residents in the city.

San Francisco has also hired 82 nurses to help boost hospital staff in the city as more confirmed cases crop up.


San Francisco is gearing up for a surge in coronavirus cases in the upcoming days, as are other parts of the country.

Colfax, the city's public health director, said the number of people infected with the virus will escalate in the next one to two weeks.

"I am sad to have to say the worst is yet to come," Colfax said in a press conference Monday. "Every community where the virus has taken hold has seen a surge in coronavirus patients who need to be hospitalized. We expect that to happen in San Francisco in a week or two or perhaps less."

The first death of the virus in San Francisco was reported on Tuesday. There are now three reported deaths, with 279 confirmed cases.

The mayor has requested more hospital beds and ventilators to accommodate the expected surge in patients, and the state of California has provided 1 million masks for healthcare workers and first responders in San Francisco.

"We are still in a situation that requires a significant ramp-up," the mayor said in Monday's press conference. "It requires the need for our state and our federal partners to step up more than they ever have before, and to move faster."

Dramatic photos show the pope delivering an 'extraordinary' prayer of hope to a hauntingly empty St. Peter's Square during Italy's coronavirus lockdown


Pope skitch

  • Pope Francis on Friday night delivered a message of hope to the world amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • He did so in a hauntingly empty St. Peter's Square in the Vatican, as Italy is completely locked down to stop the virus spreading.
  • "Like the disciples in the Gospel we were caught off guard by an unexpected, turbulent storm," the pope said, referencing the Gospel of St. Mark.
  • The pictures of the address are stunning, and you can see a selection below.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

With Italy on total lockdown amid its devastating coronavirus outbreak, worshippers in the country and around the world are unable to attend churches, or even leave their homes.

On Friday evening, Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church, took the extraordinary step of delivering an address in front of an empty St. Peter's Square in the Vatican, leading a prayer of hope for Christians around the world battling to stop the virus and save lives.

The Urbi et Orbi service delivered by Pope Francis to the world is usually only given at Easter and Christmas, the holiest days in Catholicism.

Pope Francis, however, took the extraordinary step of giving the prayers amid the worst pandemic in a century.

In the rapidly fading evening light, the pope, dressed in the papacy's signature white vestments, was stunningly set against the darkening stone of the monumental St. Peter's Basilica.

The scene made for a dramatic set of images, captured by Reuters photographers Yara Nardi and Gugliemo Mangiapane.

See a handful of the best pictures below:

The prayer, known officially as the "Urbi et Orbi" — meaning "From the city [of Rome] to the world — is usually delivered only twice a year, at Easter and Christmas.

Pope Francis, however, decided to deliver the address as a message of hope to Catholics around the world battling the coronavirus outbreak. The service was titled: "An Extraordinary Prayer in the Time of Pandemic."

During the address, Pope Francis read from a passage in the gospel of Matthew when Jesus and his disciples were struck by a sudden storm while sailing on the Sea of Galilee. In the gospel, Jesus implores: "Peace! Be still!" The storm subsides and the disciples are saved from death.

"Like the disciples in the Gospel we were caught off guard by an unexpected, turbulent storm," Pope Francis said while standing under an awning in empty St. Peter's Square in the Vatican.

"We have realized that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other," he said.

You can read the full text of Pope Francis' address here.

The picture below illustrates the scale of the empty square, with the pope himself visible only as a small white dot in the center of the image.

With all of Italy, including Rome, on lockdown, and church services currently banned, the pope took the extraordinary step of giving an address without any physical audience.

In more normal times, such an address would likely have been attended by many thousands. The picture below shows Pope Francis delivering the Urbi et Orbi prayers on Easter 2019.

Although nobody but the pope and a single assistant was physically present at the service, millions watched on TV around the world. The image below shows the McClenahan family in Washington state watching the address.

Soon after the coronavirus outbreak spread to Europe, it was briefly feared that the pope himself had the disease after being seen coughing and blowing his nose during important services. It is, however, not believed that he has, or has had, the disease.

Source: TIME

My husband and I started couples counseling just before the coronavirus outbreak — here's why therapy is now more necessary than ever if you're quarantined with your partner


Melissa Petro and husband

  • Melissa Petro is a freelance writer based in New York with her husband and two small children. 
  • She recently started couples counseling with her husband in February, just before the coronavirus panic began to spread in the US.
  • Although they were hesitant at first to switch to virtual meetings, the weekly sessions soon began inspiring huge improvements in how Petro and her husband were communicating every day.
  • If you find yourself stuck inside or working from home with your partner and are starting to get on each other's nerves, Petro recommends looking into couples therapy — it can be more impactful now than ever.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

My husband and I started couples counseling at the end of February, when coronavirus had yet to be widely detected in the US. Becoming parents had tested our relationship, and recent challenges in particular — including the arrival of our second baby this past December — had made existing tensions worse. We wanted to communicate better, to treat one another more lovingly and bicker less often, particularly in front of our two year old son, who — much to my heartbreak — had begun acting out when the two of us would start fighting.

Arran and I were three sessions in and things were going well when the public health crisis escalated. As New Yorkers, we were encouraged to practice social distancing and began sheltering in place. We pulled our son out of daycare, and my husband began to work remotely. Thankfully, we've relocated to a spacious house upstate, rather than our 600-foot apartment. Even so, it's been an emotional rollercoaster. Like most Americans, we're stressed about money. We take turns feeling anxious and fearful. We're sometimes at odds when it comes to parenting our rambunctious toddler. Even though we all love to spend time together, we definitely get on one another's nerves. 

While the midst of a deadly pandemic may feel like the wrong time to be working on your #couplesgoals, experts are clear in their advice that now is not the time to stop taking actions that address your mental health — and when it comes to interventions like couples or family therapy, it might even be a great time to start.

SEE ALSO: I live in New York City and have coronavirus symptoms, including the loss of smell. But I'm still working — and I'm afraid I'll be furloughed soon.

Why couples therapy?

Whose turn is it to walk the dogs? You spent how much on what? When's the last time we had sex? Even when the end of the world feels imminent, experts say it's not unusual for couples to find themselves embroiled in the same old petty fights.

"Under stress, any difficulties get bigger," says licensed marriage and family therapist Bina Breitner.

Breitner — who is based in Tucson, Arizona, and currently under quarantine in Rome, Italy — has been working with couples and families in person as well as remotely for over 22 years. Efforts to deal with COVID-19, she says, have changed our schedules and disrupted our typical daily rhythms. As the crisis wears on, she warns, it's bound to get worse.

"People will to lose money and feel anxiety," Breitner warns. "They'll get cabin fever. They'll have many fewer interactions out in the world, and with other people." All this — compounded by fear of illness, loss of loved ones, death, and panic — puts pressure on individuals, Breitner says, which in turn taxes our relationships.  

"It's going to be tough," says Brietner.

Talking with a neutral party can help

"Couples therapy draws out each individual's feelings and needs — in the presence of the partner — so each person becomes educated about themselves, about their partner, and about the way they dance together emotionally."

Couples therapy offers its participants a greater awareness and concern for oneself and one's partner, Breitner explains. You develop an awareness of your patterns of interaction.

"You see how things work," Breitner says, "and realize you have choices."

Couples therapists work differently, and there are different modalities. These days, whatever the style, it's being done remotely. 

Because of our schedules compounded by childcare issues, my husband and I had set ourselves up for telecommunicating even before the coronavirus hit. I worried sessions over the internet would feel impersonal and, well, remote. Instead, it feels as if we're inviting our therapist into our home. Without childcare, she gets a chance to see our parenting in action.

It allows you to work through tough emotions

Our therapist, Rachel, is leading us through a popular approach called the Gottman method. Developed by American psychological researcher and clinician John Gottman, the Gottman method uses couples therapy techniques to increase affection, closeness, and respect. The program starts with a thorough assessment that my husband and I both completed separately. Rachel tailors each session to our specific needs based on the assessment's findings. We're also given homework in-between sessions.  

Our first session, Rachel let us know that our assessment determined that while Arran and I share a good deal of affection and respect for one another — and that our relationship had a lot of other positive attributes — as a couple, we had trouble managing conflict. 

That session, we practiced taking turns as the speaker and listener, and using "When you... I feel..." statements. Having done years of therapy, and given the fact that I write frequently about parenting and mental health, the whole situation — including this particular technique — wasn't entirely unfamiliar. Even so, it felt good to articulate myself to my partner in so unapologetically earnest a manner. And the whole situation was new for my husband. He fumbled a bit when it was his turn to talk and afterwards, he commented that he felt like he'd done it incorrectly. Instead of criticizing him like I might've done reflectively in the past, I reassured him. "If we did it perfectly, we wouldn't need to be there," I said, and thought: See, it's already working.

In this challenging time, counseling may matter more than ever

There's a stigma to being in marriage counseling — as if seeking professional help is akin to admitting you're on the brink of divorce. On the contrary, I'm a firm believer that everyone can benefit from relationship counseling, whether or not your marriage — or the whole world — is in crisis.

In between sessions, Arran and I make a real effort to practice what we're being taught, even when it's awkward and although it feels somewhat embarrassing. When tension starts bubbling up, one of us will grumble to the other, "Do you want to do that thing Rachel suggested?" 

The techniques are surprisingly effective at diffusing conflict and inspiring empathy. I walk away from each session — even the difficult ones — with a feeling of "we're in this together." 

Couples therapy gives us something to do, and something to look forward to. It's a little social interaction with a relative stranger once a week, something completely novel in the time of the coronavirus. 

A Michelin-starred chef on lockdown in Italy is streaming his family's nightly dinners on Instagram

  • Italian Michelin-starred chef Massimo Bottura has started streaming his family dinners on Instagram while his country is on lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The series, called "Kitchen Quarantine," shows Bottura and his family cooking dinner with common household ingredients.
  • Bottura is one of countless chefs worldwide whose restaurants have closed amid the coronavirus outbreak.
  • View more episodes of Business Insider Today on Facebook.

The coronavirus pandemic has shuttered restaurants left and right — and the top-ranked restaurant in the world was no exception.

But amid weeks of self-isolation in Modena, Italy, the Michelin-starred chef Massimo Bottura has found a new way to delight his fans: by streaming his family meals on Instagram.

Bottura, whose restaurant Osteria Francescana was ranked No. 1 in the world in 2018, recently began posting live Instagram videos in which he and his family cook dinner together using common household ingredients.

He calls it "Kitchen Quarantine," and it goes live every night at 8 local time.

Italy is one of the hardest-hit countries by the virus, and its 60 million residents have been on lockdown since March 8.

"It's surreal," Bottura said in an interview with "Business Insider Today." "I just opened the window and I don't see anyone. I didn't hear any noise.

"We never experienced this kind of time. So we have to do as much as we can in this time, and share in your isolated way, share with the world some positive attitude."

Massimo Bottura Kitchen Quarantine 1.JPG

With limited trips to the grocery store, Bottura uses ingredients at hand to make green vegetable curry, tortellini in cream sauce, guacamole, risotto with asparagus and peas, pasta with tomato sauce, eggplant parmigiana, and Japanese beef ramen soup.

"Tonight, we're going to do a show in which I'm going to open the refrigerator," Bottura told "Business Insider Today." "I really see a lot of stuff that is left over, like four pieces of bread, half a can of honey. It's like, the most simple thing to clean the refrigerator."

Each episode begins with a friendly reminder to "wash your hands," and includes guest appearances from Lara Gilmore, his wife and fellow restaurant proprietor, their son, Charlie Bottura, and their daughter, Alexa Bottura, who films the episodes.

"Charlie loves to be part of it," Alexa Bottura said of her brother. "He's a diva, so he really loves to be in the main shot."

It's an informal cooking class, unlike Bottura's MasterClass lesson series.

Massimo Bottura Kitchen Quarantine 2 EDIT

"This is not a MasterClass," he said. "This is more to share with people from all over the world, this idea of social gesture, this idea of bringing some joy in the families that are following us."

Instead, it's a peek into Bottura's life as he cooks a family meal, interacts with his family, and answers cooking questions from fans.

Bottura closed all his restaurants around the world, including top-rated Osteria Francescana and Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura, which opened its doors in Los Angeles in early February.

Bottura kept all his staff of more than 100 on the payroll despite the worldwide economic slowdown.

"There is a big discussion all around the world on the hospitality industry," Bottura said. "We decided to keep all our staff, because we are sure that it's going to be a big comeback."

SEE ALSO: How a coronavirus safety-themed dance took the world by storm, according to the TikTok star who created it

DON'T MISS: Can the US actually implement a nationwide lockdown?

Join the conversation about this story »

The 11 books every millennial should read to get out of debt, learn how to invest, and save more money


book reading millennial

Forty-five books currently sit on my office desk, and they all share a key piece of advice: how to get rich.

As a writer who has been covering millennial wealth and money for nearly two years, it's been easy to accumulate this collection of personal finance books, many of which are specifically geared toward today's youth. And what's not on my desk, I've likely come across during my reporting research.

Let's be real: Personal finance can be a dry a topic. But a lot of the books I've come across happen to be real gems for millennials looking to get their finances in shape.

Whether you're fighting to pay off student-loan debt, climb your way out of the fallout of the recession, or just don't know what a 401k is, these books will help you kickstart your goals. Written in simple, relatable, and fun styles, they'll help improve your financial literacy, even if you consider yourself non-financially savvy.

SEE ALSO: 11 books to read this year if you want to take charge of your finances, learn how to budget, and build your net worth

DON'T MISS: 11 new books to help you build wealth and get more done

"The Financial Diet: A Total Beginner's Guide to Getting Good with Money" by Chelsea Fagan

Fagan, founder of the popular personal-finance blog The Financial Diet, brings her wisdom to print with a crash course on all things finance, from budgeting to managing credit. The book summary bills it as "the personal finance book for people who don't care about personal finance."

"Millennial Money Makeover" by Conor Richardson

Richardson, a certified public accountant (CPA), will help you find your financial footing in six steps, from paying off student-loan debt to budgeting.

Geared toward 20- and 30-somethings, the book touches on millennial-specific money issues like making the most of robo-advisers, saving for your first house, and approaching a new type of retirement.

"Refinery29 Money Diaries: Everything You've Ever Wanted To Know About Your Finances ... And Everyone Else's" by Lindsey Stanberry

If anything will inspire you to track your finances, it's this. A spin off from Refinery29's hit series Money Diaries, this book chronicles weekly spending accounts from women across the country alongside advice on how to get rich and enjoy life.

Bonus: There are money challenges throughout the book to help you save $500.

"Broke Millennial Takes on Investing: A Beginner's Guide to Leveling Up Your Money" by Erin Lowry

Lowry is the founder of the personal finance website Broke Millennial. This book is the follow-up to her first, "Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together." Millennials are more risk-averse than other generations, but Lowry makes investing seem less scary by breaking down the basics, whether it's advice on managing stocks or explaining confusing investing terms.

"I Will Teach You to Be Rich" by Ramit Sethi

Sethi's book, which was updated in 2019, isn't specifically geared toward millennials, but it's one all members of the generation should read if they want to build wealth. In it, he details a six-week modern-day financial plan that will help you lay the foundation for getting rich and more. That includes paying off debt, paying for a wedding, and negotiating a raise.

Not only does he offer strategies and tips, but he backs them up with psychological insights.

"You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth" by Jen Sincero

Sincero's book is more of a financial confidence-booster than a step-by-step guide to building wealth. Her personal essays are meant to shift your mindset around money by helping you figure out how you want to maximize your income and by taking a look at the attitudes of successful people.

"The Millennial Money Fix: What You Need to Know About Budgeting, Debt, and Finding Financial Freedom" by Douglas and Heather Boneparth

The Boneparths blend history, personal experience, and pop culture references to lay a financial groundwork for younger generations. While they offer advice for a variety of money situations, they provide solutions for two concerns specifically facing millennials: the evolving job market and the higher education bubble.

The best part is that the book reads conversationally, which makes tackling personal finance seem less daunting.

"You're So Money: Live Rich, Even When You're Not" by Farnoosh Torabi

This book is all about living your best life — within your means. In it, Torabi shows you when it's worth splurging on something, the best ways to grow your money, and how to have it all. It's a realistic look at how to prioritize expenses based on what you want the most.

"100 Side Hustles: Unexpected Ideas for Making Extra Money Without Quitting Your Day Job" by Chris Guillebeau

One of the best ways to increase your income is by maximizing your income channels — like taking on a side hustle. True to the book's name, Guillebeau features 100 stories of everyday people who transformed their side gig into a money maker. These case studies are sure to inspire you.

"Money Honey: A Simple 7-Step Guide for Getting Your Financial $hit Together" by Rachel Richards

Richards, a former financial advisor, retired at age 27 and now makes $10,000 per month in passive income — so it's safe to say she knows her stuff. Look no further than her book if you want to clean up your financial act. From consolidating student loans to cutting your expenses in half, she helps you manage your money in a simple, fun way. 

"Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties" by Beth Kobliner

This New York Times bestseller has been around for 20 years, but it consistently undergoes revisions to cater to the latest cohort of young Americans. In the most recent version, Kobliner teaches millennials how make the most of the murky financial waters the economy put them in, from handling taxes to navigating apartment rentals.

'Blindsided' with no backup plan and rents closing in: Laid-off NYC restaurant workers describe how their lives have changed as their industry collapses around them


nyc restaurant closed empty coronavirus

The layoffs started almost immediately.

With the coronavirus spreading through the New York City area, Mayor Bill de Blasio mandated that all of the city's restaurants be shut down for dining service effective March 17.

On March 18, Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group, which operates 18 restaurants in the city including Gramercy Tavern, the Modern, and Manhatta, laid off 80% of its workforce— about 2,000 employees. The next day, Gerber Group, which operates eight bars and restaurants in the city, including the Lower East Side's Mr. Purple and and the Sunken Lounge in JFK's TWA Hotel, laid off the majority of its staff, about 400 people. Countless other restaurants followed suit. 

"We were all blindsided by it," Peter Barry, a 25-year-old cook who was recently laid off from Rezdora, an upscale Italian restaurant in Manhattan's Flatiron District, told Business Insider. 

peter barry

Barry said he's been in the industry for more than 10 years and it's all he knows. His first job was working alongside a chef two days a week in the country club his family belonged to.

"It's not like I was in medicine before or insurance or accounting," he said. "I can't fall back on anything."

As the coronavirus pandemic ravages the US economy, Barry, along with many of the approximately 167,000 others who were previously employed by New York City's restaurant industry, is facing an uncertain future.

New York City has become the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the US, with more than 25,000 cases reported so far. Mayor de Blasio's restaurant mandate left thousands of restaurant workers — from chefs and sommeliers to servers and dishwashers — unemployed virtually overnight. A record 3.3 million people filed for unemployment benefits for the week ending March 21, far outstripping the record of almost 700,000 newly filed claims set in 1982.

While fast food workers have been deemed essential workers during the pandemic, the statistics in the restaurant industry are grim. The National Restaurant Association estimates that between five and seven million people working in the restaurant industry could lose their jobs by June because of the coronavirus outbreak. Some restaurants, like Carbone, with its famous $69 veal Parmesan, have pivoted to delivery so effectively that crowds of delivery workers have been photographed lined up outside its doors. Many other establishments, however, found that takeout and delivery models wouldn't be economically feasible and closed their doors completely. 

Business Insider spoke to six high-end restaurant employees in New York City, including cooks, a server, and a manager, all of whom had lost their jobs or been put on unpaid leave in the past 10 days. Despite the ubiquitous layoffs, the restaurant workers who spoke to Business Insider didn't have any animosity toward their employers for laying them off. They — and their friends, many of whom also work in the industry — were simply wondering how they would afford to live. 

Meager savings and looming rent payments

A month ago, Barry says, if he had found himself short on cash, he could have called up a dozen friends to see if they needed a shift covered. "But now, everyone is out of work," he said.

Rachel Green, a 24-year-old pastry cook who was laid off last week from Manhatta, a Union Square Hospitality Group fine dining restaurant on the 60th floor of a Financial District skyscraper, said everyone she knows in the city works in the restaurant industry.

"My last friend that had a job just got laid off as well," Green told Business Insider.

Rachel Green

A common — and arguably the biggest — concern among every person Business Insider spoke to was how they were going to pay their rent.

A junior chef who was recently laid off from Per Se, a three-starred Michelin restaurant in Midtown Manhattan, and who didn't want her name published because of the restaurant's strict privacy policy, told Business Insider she was hoping her landlord might offer a rent freeze. Otherwise, she says, she won't be able to pay it.

Building up a significant financial safety net isn't feasible for many restaurant employees in the city, where the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment as of January 2020 is $2,351 per month.

The minimum wage in New York City is $15, which can be broken down to a $10 cash wage plus a $5 tip credit for food service workers. The hourly workers Business Insider spoke to made said they made between $12 and $17.50 an hour, not including tips. The highest-earning employee was a restaurant manager who made $60,000 before she was furloughed on March 17.

"The thing I'm most concerned about is paying rent because it's New York — we're all paying astronomical prices for our housing," Alex Lynch, a captain at the NoMad who was furloughed and has applied for unemployment benefits, told Business Insider. "And I just moved in October to a new apartment that was a little bit out of my budget, but I had just gotten promoted … so that's my biggest concern."

Lynch, who was making $12 per hour plus tips, said she pays $1,500 in rent for her apartment in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Her tips, which averaged between $18 and $30 per hour, could more than triple her hourly pay.

alex lynch

Green, the Manhatta pastry cook, said tips usually accounted for about a fifth of her paycheck. She works between 39 and 47 hours weekly and takes home between $580 and $700 per week after taxes.

"And that's considered good money for this industry," Green said, adding that before she was at Manhatta, she spent three years at Jean-Georges and never made more than $17 an hour. She's moving into a new apartment at the end of March, which already drained her savings. Now, her rent will be around $950 per month — almost 40% of her average takehome pay.

"A lot of what I had left in the bank account was spent on April rent," Green said. "So it's going to be a really tight time between now and getting my unemployment check."

Unemployment benefits could be a lifeline — whenever they eventually arrive

The restaurant workers who spoke to Business Insider said that filing for unemployment benefits has been one of their biggest obstacles.

The new $2 trillion stimulus bill signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 27 will allow laid-off and furloughed workers to claim an extra $600 per week in unemployment benefits for up to four months.

But the New York unemployment website, overwhelmed by the number of applicants seeking financial relief, has been crashing in recent days. Several restaurant workers said they had to apply multiple times over several days before were able to submit an application. And even then, they were left uncertain about whether their application had been approved and, if so, when they would receive a check and how much it would amount to.

"That whole process is so confusing and convoluted," Grace Phillips, a manager who was furloughed last week from the Clocktower, a Michelin-starred restaurant in the New York Edition Hotel near Madison Square Park, told Business Insider.

Phillips said she has been able to keep her health benefits while put on furlough, but she seems to be the exception rather than the rule. Restaurant workers are less likely to have health benefits and paid sick leave than other professions.

"Benefits as a whole are pretty scarce in the restaurant industry," Barry said. "I'd say out of all of my friends that cook, maybe 15% have benefits, and some of them it's only the transit benefits, like the pre-tax Metrocard. PTO is not really a thing for us. We work through our sick days ... No one calls out if they have a runny nose, because we don't have the insurance for it."

After two new bills, one federal and one New York State bill, passed earlier this month, companies in New York must now allow two weeks of coronavirus-related sick leave, as Eater reported.

Barry said he's taking advantage of being on his parents' health insurance plan until he turns 26. A trip to San Francisco in January was his first vacation in three years.

'Stress baking' and staring out the window

As they wait for the unemployment checks to arrive, New York City's restaurant workers find themselves adjusting to a new normal.

"Everyone's going crazy because we're people who are used to like literally running around on adrenaline for 10 to 12 hours a day and we're sitting on the floor like staring out the window, you know," Green said.

"We're all stress baking at home right now or drinking the bottle of wine we've been saving for like the last two years," Barry said. "... We're trying to keep our heads up, but I think as a collective, it's sad. It's a little bleak."

The new stimulus bill, which will boost unemployment benefits and offer loans to restaurants so they can keep paying their employees, has created some much-needed hope in the community.

"But there's still a lot of people [who] haven't been able to get through on unemployment," Phillips said. "That whole process is so confusing and convoluted. ... I think when everybody starts getting those paychecks, then we can actually be a little bit at ease."

Do you work in the restaurant industry and have a story to share? Email the reporter at kwarren@businessinsider.com.

SEE ALSO: The House just passed the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill. Here's what it means for the more than one million restaurants in the US.

DON'T MISS: The new stimulus package would allow people to claim an extra $600 in unemployment benefits a week. Here's what you need to know if you're applying.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Traditional Japanese swords can take over 18 months to create — here's what makes them so special

Before-and-after photos show Berlin's famous landmarks looking deserted in the coronavirus pandemic


berlin before-and-after_coronavirus

Germany's capital Berlin, which has a population of 3.6 million and sees about 13.5 million visitors a year, has been left looking eerily empty amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Even though the country is not under complete lockdown, gatherings of more than two people are banned, and schools, restaurants, shops, and museums were ordered to close starting March 16. These restrictions won't be lifted until at least April 20.

Germany has more than 63,400 confirmed infections, but it had just 541 deaths as of Monday. The remarkably low death rate — compared with other countries' — is due largely to mass testing in the country.

Before-and-after photos, some taken only days apart, show how the pandemic has cleared out one of Europe's busiest cities.

SEE ALSO: Germany has a remarkably low coronavirus death rate — thanks largely to mass testing but also culture, luck, and an impressive healthcare system

READ MORE: Before-and-after photos show how fear of the coronavirus has emptied out Europe's biggest tourist attractions

BEFORE: Germany's capital city was still running normally a few weeks ago, before nationwide coronavirus restrictions were put in place. The busy Alexanderplatz U-Bahn station was packed with commuters on March 11.

AFTER: But on March 25, it was close to deserted as most people self-isolated at home.

BEFORE: Above the U-Bahn station, people were still walking through Alexanderplatz, the largest public square in Berlin.

AFTER: Fourteen days later, the same spot looked eerily empty.

BEFORE: Potsdamer Platz is Berlin's largest traffic intersection. This picture from 2019 shows a busy rush-hour scene with bikers and pedestrians.

AFTER: The crossing is now hardly recognizable as the busy traffic has disappeared.

BEFORE: People can be seen waiting at a bus stop on the Kurfürstendamm, Berlin's best-known shopping street, several days before nonessential shops were ordered to close.

The busy shopping street is often referred to as Berlin's version of the Champs-Élysées in Paris.

Source: Visit Berlin

AFTER: Hardly anyone is waiting at that bus stop now.



BEFORE: Berlin's most famous landmark, the Brandenburg Gate, is usually a very popular meeting point for locals and tourists alike.

AFTER: The site, which has been used for many national events including political rallies and large concerts, is now deserted.

BEFORE: This photo, taken in spring 2018, shows people enjoying drinks and food near the Brandenburg Gate.

AFTER: But even as warmer weather approaches, restaurants are shut and only a handful of people can be seen seen roaming around the area.

BEFORE: Another major tourist attraction and historical site, the East Side Gallery —seen here in November 2017 — is usually packed with tourists.

It normally sees crowds of people looking at the graffiti on sections of the Berlin Wall.

AFTER: The gallery is now empty.

BEFORE: Checkpoint Charlie, the best-known former crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin, attracts about 850,000 visitors a year.

Source: Berlin Museum

AFTER: Nobody is going there now. Germany's restaurants, hotels, and other businesses are now seriously concerned. The government has pledged a massive emergency fund to save hard-hit businesses.

The government expects to run up an extra 156 billion euros, or $169 billion, in debt from the fund, Deutsche Welle reported.

Companies that were in a good position by the end of 2019 are now able to apply for as much as 1 billion euros in emergency aid, the Financial Times reported.

How to make your own quality alcohol in the comfort of your home — plus a list of cocktail recipes to try


brooklyn brew shop sparking wine kit

  • If you're self-isolating at home due to the coronavirus, you probably have extra time on your hands and are slowly running out of closets to clean.
  • If you want to test out a new activity with a tasty result, try making your own alcohol at home — from home-brewed beer and sparkling wine to DIY classic cocktails or made-up ones, there are plenty of options.
  • But don't try to make your own hard liquor, as it is a highly flammable process that could lead to explosions.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

If you find yourself with extra time on your hands during self-isolation at home, you may be tempted to make your own alcohol.

Although many liquor stores luckily fall under the "essential services" category and are still open, it's still a great time to get started on your home-brewing skills and whip up some DIY drinks from the comfort of your own home.

It's important to note that you should not try making your own hard liquor at home, even if you think you'd master it after your late-night Google searches. Hard liquor and high-proof alcohol are extremely flammable, and the process could lead to a deadly explosion.

"Distilleries have all sorts of equipment that are explosion proof," said Joseph Magliocco, president of whiskey-maker Michter's Distillery.

So if you're looking for something with a little stronger kick, look into delivery — or playing around with what you have. A lot of open stores are offering delivery, online ordering, and curbside pick up. Some services, like Drizly, are specifically geared toward bringing drinks to your door, assuming you're of age. Obviously, there are rules and regulations restricting the sale of alcohol online — especially across state lines — but it's not an impossible buy.

But beer lovers are in luck. Erica Shea and Stephen Valand are the owners and cofounders of Brooklyn Brew Shop, a New York-based company that they began to make "to make beer and brewing feel more like baking and cooking." They designed kits scaled down to produce just one gallon of beer, allowing customers to save on space and brew time.

They say that while you may be unable to share them with your friends just yet, if you start your own home-brew kits now, in a month or so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. 

That's right: Home-brewing beer or wine can take about four weeks, sometimes longer, so it does require patience. But if you're impatient, you can also create your own cocktails at home using whatever you have in your liquor cabinet — and share your work of art over a virtual happy hour.

"There are so many great recipes online, you can get very creative with whiskeys and spirits, Zoom to drink together — there's a lot of things you can do to stay connected," Magliocco said.

Home-brewing has grown in popularity in recent years, and there are plenty of options for at-home kits that make things like brewing your own batch of beer relatively simple. Brooklyn Brew Shop also offers sparkling white wine and sparkling rose‎ kits for those more inclined toward a refreshing bubbly beverage.

So whether you're looking for an activity to pass the time or a quick fix, here's what these experts recommended for getting a little boozy.

SEE ALSO: 15 bourbons that should be on your radar, according to 3 bourbon experts

NOW READ: I was furloughed: 6 people who worked at restaurants, as substitute teachers, or tour guides share how they're getting by with no income

Brewing beer at home takes following 4 main steps

Valand walked Business Insider through the home-brew process, which consists of a three-hour brew day, two weeks of fermentation, and two weeks in the bottle before your beer is ready to drink.

"'Brew day' has four main steps. First, you make the 'mash' by taking the grain mix and steeping in hot water for about an hour. This basically looks like making oatmeal, and will make your kitchen smell great," Valand said. "Next, you take the mash and strain in through a strainer into a bowl, pouring hot water over the grains (like making pour-over coffee). This is called 'the sparge.' Now, it's time for 'the boil,' where you boil the sparge liquid for about an hour. Here's where you can play around with flavors, adding different hops and spices. Think of it like adding ingredients to a soup stock. Lastly, cool down the liquid to room temperature, or about 70 degrees, by filling a sink with ice water and lowering in the pot. After this, it's time for the fermenter." 

Ferment the 'wort' for two weeks

Next, pour the wort (unfermented beer liquid) in the glass fermenter and add the yeast, and leave it to ferment for two weeks.

Here, Valand added, you have the option to add more hops if you want to. "This is called dry hopping, it's only going to add aroma but not ... bitterness — like a New England IPA, which is double dry hopped and very cloudy in appearance," he said.

Then, bottle it for another two weeks

After fermentation, siphon out your beer into bottles and leave the bottles for two weeks. Then, your beer is ready to be enjoyed!

If brewing isn't your thing, try making a new cocktail

If you're not a beer fan, try devising a new cocktail. Use different liquors and fix-ins to take a twist on the classic mixtures. Everyone's palates are different, and you might find something totally new you might like.

Classic cocktails that you could take your own twist on

"Rye, which was really out of fashion 20 years ago, makes excellent cocktails," Magliocco said. "It's spicier than bourbon that can make some beautiful drinks, and if you have time, you can experiment a bit: Make a Manhattan with bourbon and rye to see what you like better."

DIY refreshers

And if you're looking to help out the alcohol industry, there are a variety of ways to support bartenders from home, including donating to organizations like the US Bartenders' Guild, which Michter's and other distillers have supported.

"It's an unprecedented, horrible situation," Magliocco said. "Obviously with bars and restaurants virtually shut down, it's devastating to our industry and for the people who worked in them, as so many have been laid off now."

Elective surgeries are being postponed during the coronavirus outbreak. But my gender-affirming surgery isn't optional — it's life-saving.


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  • I'm a reporter for Business Insider who is male and nonbinary. I'm worried that my upcoming gender-affirming surgery will be canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Last week, Governor Cuomo called on health systems to stop performing elective procedures in New York state because hospitals are overwhelmed with patients.
  • My gender-affirming surgery is considered "elective." However, if my surgery is postponed, it will have a severe impact on my mental and physical health. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

I took the subway two weeks ago to one of the few transgender healthcare centers in New York City to retrieve my last psychological letter for gender-affirming surgery.

Yet, when I arrived at the center in Manhattan, the psychiatrist wasn't there. I was told she was adhering to the state's mandates and began social distancing. 

Outside the office, it was a ghost town.

The streets that are normally filled with halal trucks and people selling knockoff purses were nearly empty. And then there was me: a guy who left his house and essentially risked coming in contact with coronavirus for no reason.

This was one of the last letters I need for Medicaid to begin approving my gender-affirming procedure — more simply known as bottom surgery. Without these letters, my health insurance will not deem the surgery "medically necessary." And as a result, I will not be able to afford it. 

This comes just a week after the US Surgeon General requested that health systems consider pausing elective surgeries. Last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered that medical centers pause elective surgeries. What's more, a staff member at the health center warned me that because of the outbreak my surgery could be postponed.

I am not alone: Transgender and nonbinary people face many barriers when it comes to finding access to gender-affirming healthcare. In 2015, the US Transgender Survey found that one-third of trans and nonbinary people face discrimination at the doctor's office. Their findings also show that 33% of trans people postponed medical care because of the cost. 

On the other hand, research shows gender confirmation surgeries improve the overall mental health and wellbeing of trans and nonbinary people.

For many people, when they hear "elective surgery" they assume cosmetic surgeries. I've waited nearly a year for SRS and now the growing coronavirus pandemic is threatening to take it away.

Trans and nonbinary people face barriers in healthcare

I am scheduled to have bottom surgery or metoidioplasty in July 2020, but because of the delay in elective procedures, it's likely that my pre-op appointment and surgery will be rescheduled. Before then I've had to go through a number of psychological evaluations to be deemed "sane" for the procedure.

According to national trans health guidelines from WPATH (The World Professional Association of Transgender Health), trans and nonbinary patients who want bottom surgery must have gender dysphoria, have their mental illnesses under control, receive hormone replacement therapy for a year, and live consistently as their gender (whether male, female, or nonbinary). Also, you need letters from a doctor, psychiatrist, and counselor that prove this procedure is medically necessary.

Not only do we face strict requirements for treatment, but this system is backlogged with patients. Last September, I called Mount Sinai's Transgender Health Clinic, was put on a waitlist, and then scheduled for my first appointment in November.

At the appointment, I didn't make the weight requirement. All transgender and nonbinary patients are required to have a BMI of 33. At the time, my BMI was closer to 34. Business Insider has previously reported that BMI is an outdated system that doesn't measure body fat. According to health experts, physicians can yield a more accurate result of your health by measuring your waist circumference

Yet, the facility did not allow me to schedule surgery until I lost the weight. I lost 10 pounds through a crash diet. Hours before I graduated from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism, I weighed in at Mount Sinai's Transgender Health Clinic. Then, I had my first consultation with the doctor in January.

I also faced bias from mental health counselors who could write a letter. The first therapist I went to for a letter for bottom surgery told me she didn't feel comfortable advocating for me to get surgery. So, I had to look elsewhere. And my former psychiatrist who is covered under Medicaid calls me "Mrs." at every appointment, despite knowing I am male. Therefore, receiving a letter from him was not an option. Now, social distancing has delayed me even further. To this day, I have not received a letter. 

The surgery isn't elective — it's lifesaving

Screen Shot 2020 03 30 at 10.43.16 AM

In August of 2018, a doctor officially diagnosed me with gender dysphoria, the debilitating distress I feel because of a disconnect between my brain and how the world perceives my body. Since then, I've received treatment through hormone replacement therapy or injecting my stomach every week with testosterone. This has relieved a lot of my symptoms, such as depression and anxiety. 

Much of my dysphoria comes from not feeling socially included in male spaces. On a day-to-day basis, this means finding another bathroom at work because there are no open stalls. At a former internship and graduate school, this meant people intentionally calling me by my dead pronouns and grouping me in with "women" or "ladies." 

It's only recently that I've started to be read as male in public (for example, grocery store cashiers calling me sir, people on the street calling me brother and guy). While this is a relief, it's also scary. I avoid public gyms because I fear the potential violence and stigma I'll face in the men's locker. Receiving this surgery as soon as possible will allow me to avoid potential violence and live my life safely. 

Now, I am waiting for a call from my surgeon's office on whether or not my surgery and pre-op appointment will be rescheduled or canceled. Bottom surgery is one of the final steps I'm taking in my gender transition. Most of my legal documents are male. My mail is addressed to "Mr. Tatyana Bellamy-Walker" and I have an "M" on my driver's license, social security records, and birth certificate.

And although transgender people are banned from the US military, I managed to be registered into the US Selective Service System, a military draft system for all males under the age of 26.

Yet, somehow, the pandemic is becoming my latest obstacle to participating in public life. 

SEE ALSO: My husband and I started couples counseling just before the coronavirus outbreak — here's why therapy is now more necessary than ever if you're quarantined with your partner

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Taylor Swift is the world's highest-paid celebrity. Here's how she makes and spends her $360 million.

David Geffen is being blasted for an Instagram post about self-isolating on his $590 million superyacht in the Caribbean. Here's how Hollywood's richest man spends his $7.7 billion fortune.


David Geffen

Billionaire music and movie producer David Geffen is under fire for a "tone-deaf" Instagram post about isolating on his $590 million yacht in the Caribbean during the coronavirus pandemic, The Guardian reported.

On Saturday, Geffen posted photos showing his superyacht in the Grenadines with the caption, "Sunset last night. Isolated in the Grenadines avoiding the virus. I hope everybody is staying safe." He faced almost immediate backlash on Twitter, where people called his post "shameful" and out of touch. He appears to have since deactivated his Instagram.

Geffen is the richest man in Hollywood, with an estimated $7.7 billion fortune, according to Forbes. He founded music label Geffen Records and cofounded movie studio DreamWorks SKG with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

The 77-year-old billionaire is known for cruising the seas on his 453-foot megayacht, Rising Sun, on which he's hosted celebrity guests including Barack and Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Bruce Springsteen, and Tom Hanks.

Geffen owns a massive portfolio of real estate in New York and California, including a $54 million Manhattan penthouse and a $47.5 million Beverly Hills mansion built by one of the founders of Warner Bros. The billionaire reportedly has an art collection worth $2 billion.

Here's a look at the Hollywood mogul's life, career, and spending habits.

SEE ALSO: Steven Spielberg is one of the wealthiest filmmakers in the world. Take a look at what the billionaire's life is really like, from his 27-year marriage to his $184 million yacht

DON'T MISS: Jeff Bezos partied on billionaire David Geffen's $590 million superyacht in the Balearics — here's a look at the yacht, which has hosted everyone from Oprah Winfrey to Barack Obama

Movie and music producer David Geffen is worth an estimated $7.7 billion, making him the richest man in Hollywood, according to Forbes.

The Brooklyn-born billionaire dropped out of college to join the entertainment industry, starting his career in the mailroom at William Morris Agency in Manhattan, where he worked his way up to being a talent manager, according to Bloomberg.

In 1971, he founded music label Asylum Records, where he signed artists like Jackson Browne.

After about a year, Geffen sold the label to Warner Communications for $7 million and proceeded to serve as the head of the merged Elektra/Asylum Records.

In the 1970s, Geffen had a high-profile relationship with singer Cher.

Although Geffen later came out as gay, Cher said of the relationship in a 2012 interview: "At that point in his life, I was the right person for him."

In the 1980s, Geffen ran his music label, Geffen Records.

High-profile artists signed to the label included John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Elton John, Donna Summer, Guns N' Roses, Aerosmith, Don Henley, Cher, and Peter Gabriel.

Geffen later sold the label to MCA for $550 million worth of stock.

A few months after that deal, Geffen made $700 million when MCA was bought by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd (which later became Panasonic), according to Bloomberg.

With the movie arm of his business, Geffen Pictures, Geffen produced films including "Risky Business," "Beetlejuice," and "Interview with a Vampire."

He also owned a Broadway theater company that produced shows such as "Cats" and "Dreamgirls."

In 1994, Geffen cofounded movie studio DreamWorks SKG with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

He left DreamWorks in 2008.

The 77-year-old billionaire owns millions of dollars worth of real estate in California. His primary home is reported to be the sprawling Jack Warner Estate in Beverly Hills.

According to Variety, Geffen has lived at the Beverly Hills estate since 1990, when he bought it for $47.5 million.

The mansion is named for Jack Warner, the cofounder of Warner Bros, who built it in 1937.

The nine-acre property includes a 13,600-square-foot Georgian-style mansion, two guesthouses, a tennis court, swimming pool, nine-hole golf course, terraces and gardens, and a motor court with its own service garage and gas pump.

Geffen owns at least two other homes in Beverly Hills. In the spring of 2019, Geffen picked up a $4.65 million Beverly Hills house next door to one he already owned.

Geffen's new  3,267-square-foot home comes with four bedrooms and a swimming pool.

And the billionaire continues to pick up Beverly Hills properties. Just last month, Geffen paid $30 million — for an empty, one-acre lot.

The lot sits in the Trousdale Estates neighborhood of Beverly Hills known as "Billionaires' Row."

It's across the street from an extravagant mansion called "Opus" that was once listed for $100 million. The price has been cut to just under $60 million.

Until a couple of years ago, the billionaire also owned a beach house on Carbon Beach in Malibu, nicknamed "Billionaire's Beach" for the ultra-wealthy residents who have called it home.

Geffen's former property includes a main house, two guest homes, a pool and spa, gym, and a theater, as Business Insider's Tanza Loudenback previously reported.

He sold the beach house in an off-market deal for a reported $85 million in 2017.

Geffen has quite the real-estate footprint in New York as well. He's the owner of two condos, including a 12,000-square-foot triplex penthouse, in the Park Cinq, a luxury Fifth Avenue building near Central Park in Manhattan.

Geffen is the owner of the Park Cinq's 12,000-square-foot triplex penthouse, which he bought for $54 million from socialite Denise Rich in 2012.

A couple of years later, he paid $2.3 million for another unit in the building, a one-bedroom on a middle floor.

And until recently, he had owned a third apartment in the building, a two-bedroom unit that he bought for $14.17 million in 2010. That one he sold in May 2018 to a Russian-American oil billionaire for $24.5 million.

In the Hamptons, the ritzy vacation destination for New York's elite, Geffen owns a $70 million waterfront mansion.

He bought the property in April 2016.

About two months later, news broke that Geffen had sold another 5.5-acre Hamptons property that he'd bought in 2014 for about $50 million.

He sold it for $67.3 million.

The estate, which sits on coveted Georgica Pond, includes a seven-bedroom main house, an outdoor swimming pool, and a three-bedroom guesthouse.

Geffen is known for cruising the seas and hosting celebrity guests on his 453-foot superyacht, Rising Sun.

Geffen bought the yacht for $590 million from Oracle CEO Larry Ellison in 2010, according to Forbes. His guests have included Barack and Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Bruce Springsteen, and Tom Hanks.

Last summer, Geffen was pictured partying on his yacht with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Bezos' girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez, former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, and model Karlie Kloss and her husband, Josh Kushner, in the Balearic Islands in Spain.

He also cruised in Mallorca with stars including Chris Rock, Orlando Bloom, and Katy Perry.

In March 2020 amid the coronavirus outbreak, the billionaire faced criticism for a "tone-deaf" Instagram post in which he shared photos of Rising Sun in the Grenadines with the caption, "Sunset last night. Isolated in the Grenadines avoiding the virus. I hope everybody is staying safe."

Geffen reportedly had the yacht refitted over a six-month period.

The yacht, which can accommodate 18 guests and a staff of 55 people, comes with a double-height cinema and a basketball court.

But Rising Sun isn't the only superyacht Geffen has owned. In 2011, less than a year after buying Rising Sun, Geffen snapped up Pelorus, a 377-foot superyacht that he bought for $300 million from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.

The superyacht has two helicopter pads, a swimming pool with an artificial current, and a spa pool.

But Geffen didn't keep Pelorus for long. Later that year, he sold it to the Royal Family of Abu Dhabi for 214 million euros, or about $284 million at the time.


Geffen has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to educational institutions, museums, and gay-rights causes.

He established the David Geffen Foundation in 1986, which has focused its efforts on five main areas: populations affected by HIV/AIDS; civil liberties; the arts; issues of concern to the Jewish community; and health care.

After he donated $300 million to the University of California, Los Angeles, the university named its medical school after him.

It's now the David Geffen School of Medicine.

In 2017, Geffen pledged $150 million to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

It was the largest single cash gift from a single person in the museum's history, and the museum subsequently named its new building the David Geffen Galleries.

"It seemed as though, if I didn't do it, it wasn't going to get done — they've been attempting this for years and they couldn't raise the money," Geffen told The New York Times in an interview at the time. "I love art, I love L.A., and I could do it, so I did."

Geffen, who came out as gay at an AIDS charity event in the 1990s, has also donated to AIDS and gay-rights causes.

He's made contributions to organizations including Gay Men's Health Crisis, God's Love We Deliver, and the Elton John AIDS Foundation, according to The New York Times.


Geffen has an art collection worth more $2 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Bloomberg reports that Geffen has made "hundreds of millions of dollars" selling artwork by artists like Jackson Pollack, Jasper Johns, and David Hockney.

In 2006, Geffen sold two paintings by Jasper Johns and Willem de Kooning to hedge-fund billionaires Ken Griffin and Steve Cohen for a combined $143.5 million.

Ten years later, in 2016, Griffin bought another de Kooning painting and a Pollack painting from Geffen for $500 million total.

Geffen owned one of Hockney's famous pool scene paintings for about 12 years. He sold it to British billionaire Joe Lewis in 1995, who kept it for years before selling it at a Christie's auction for a record-breaking $90.3 million in 2018.

Billionaires from Bill Gates to George Soros are donating millions to help alleviate the coronavirus crisis — but it may not go where it's needed most


Bill Gates Melinda Gates

Billionaires are spending millions to fight the novel coronavirus.

However the gifts, which total $130.75 million thus far according to Business Insider's calculations, may not be doing much to help those already suffering from the growing global health crisis. Of the portion of the donations that are designated to help those on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak, some are going to organizations designated by the Chinese government to handle the crisis, Fortune's Eamon Barrett reported. However, medical workers throughout Wuhan are complaining on social media of not receiving any aid from these groups, according to Fortune.

Keep reading to learn more about the coronavirus-related donations made by billionaires, in the order they were announced.

SEE ALSO: The coronavirus has already cost the ultra-wealthy more than $100 billion. Here's why they're likely to feel more pain from the market drops than the average American.

DON'T MISS: Meet secretive Cirque du Soleil billionaire Guy Laliberté, a space tourist and former street performer who was arrested for growing cannabis on his private island

Alibaba founder Jack Ma pledged 100 million yuan ($14.5 million) to "support the development of a coronavirus vaccine" on January 30.

China's richest man announced the donation on Chinese Twitter-like platform Weibo, Business Insider reported. Two Chinese government research organizations will receive $5.8 million of the gift to work on creating a vaccine, according to Axios.

"We know that the battle between humanity and disease is a long journey," Ma's foundation said a post on its Weibo account. "This money will help various medical research efforts and help disease prevention."

Ma later donated an additional $2.15 million to the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Australia, to help fund the development of a vaccine, Fox Business reported.

Bill and Melinda Gates pledged to donate $100 million through their foundation on February 5 to treat what he's calling a "once-in-a-century pathogen."

The Gates' pledge will be used to support treatment efforts across the globe, build infrastructure to treat patients in Africa and Southern Asia, and fund the development of a vaccine, the couple's foundation said in a press release. They previously pledged to donate $10 million.

Bill Gates has long warned that the world is ill-equipped to manage a pandemic, Business Insider's Aria Bendix reported. The WHO has yet to conclusively say that the novel coronavirus has reached the level of a pandemic, but Gates disagrees. "I hope it's not that bad, but we should assume it will be until we know otherwise," Gates wrote in an op-ed for the New England Journal of Medicine February 28. 

Gates outlined his suggestions for containing the crisis in the essay, including sending highly trained healthcare workers to low- and middle-income countries in Africa and Southern Asia, establishing an international database on information on the outbreak, and funding vaccine manufacturing facilities.

Hong Kong's richest man, Li Ka-Shing, said he would donate HK$100 million ($13 million) to help medical workers in Wuhan on February 10.

Li's foundation is also working to source medical supplies for health care workers in Wuhan and Hong Kong, Bloomberg reported.

Li plans to make his donation to the Red Cross Society of China, a government-organized non-government organization (GONGO) with no connection to The American Red Cross, according to Bloomberg. Fortune reported that health care workers in Wuhan, including at one of the temporary hospitals built in eight days, reported not having received any help from The Wuhan Red Cross, a subsidiary of the Red Cross of China, despite an outpouring of donations to the group.

Fashion designer Giorgio Armani gave €1.25 million ($1.43 million) to help fight the outbreak in Italy on March 8.

The 85-year-old billionaire's gift will go to two hospitals and a research institute in Milan and another in Rome, Women's Wear Daily reported.

Italy has reported 366 deaths from the coronavirus, the highest number outside China, Business Insider reported. The Lombardy region in the north of the country has been placed on lockdown and public places such as schools, gyms, and museums across the country have been closed until April 3 in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus.

Armani built a $6.6 billion fortune from his eponymous fashion house, which also has accessories, cosmetics, real estate, restaurant, and hotel businesses, Forbes reported.

Former hedge fund manager George Soros pledged €1 million ($1.1 million) to his native Budapest on March 30.

The €1 million gift, which will be paid out through Soros' Open Society Foundation, will go to helping Budapest's municipal government provide for the Hungarian capital's elderly and homeless populations during what Soros called an "unprecedented emergency," according to a statement emailed to Business Insider.

"I was born in Budapest, in the middle of the Great Depression, barely a decade after the Spanish Flu left thousands of dead in Budapest," Soros said in a statement. "I lived through World War II, the Arrow Cross rule, and the siege in the city. I remember what it is like to live in extreme circumstances."

After leaving Budapest as a teenager, Soros built an $8.3 billion fortune running what was once the world's largest hedge fund, Business Insider reported.

Stores, restaurants, and companies across the US are putting staff on furlough as they shut down during the coronavirus outbreak — here's what it means for employees


Empty Restaurant - New Rochelle, NY

  • COVID-19 is having substantial effects on the US workforce — many people are working at home, businesses are having to shut down, and employers are resorting to layoffs and furloughs.
  • Macy's CEO, for example, announced today that the company was furloughing most of its staff.
  • An employee furlough is when staff members are required to take an unpaid leave of absence.
  • Employee furloughs help businesses cut costs and retain talent, but employees receive less or no income and may be tempted to find a new job.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

COVID-19 (commonly referred to as the coronavirus) is wreaking havoc on the world.

The most pressing concern, of course, is the impact on people's health — over 745,000 people have been infected and over 35,000 have died. And physicians in Hong Kong have discovered that those who recover from COVID-19 may have long-lasting lung damage.

But there are secondary effects, too.

More people than ever are working from home, including Ford's global workforce of more than 50,000 people, NASA's 17,000 employees, and Google's North American team, which is tens of thousands of people (though their 135,000 contractors are still going to the office because they lack remote access). 

Several US states and cities — such as Hoboken, NJ, and Washington state — have imposed curfews, and six counties in the San Francisco Bay Area are sheltering in place for three weeks, meaning people should do whatever they can to stay inside.

Though these decisions make sense, as they can (hopefully) help slow the spread and flatten the curve, they're having an incredibly detrimental impact on many businesses.

Because with these curfews comes the closing of bars and nightclubs. And in some states, like Maine, restaurants are no longer allowed to serve people (but they can do curbside takeout), and Governor Janet Mills has strongly encouraged other "non-essential public-facing businesses," like gyms, theaters, and hair salons, to temporarily close.

Even if all of these places were open, business would likely be slow, if not non-existent, as so many people are barely venturing outside, if at all. And the current state of the stock markets surely doesn't help either.

Compass Coffee, a coffee shop chain in Washington, DC, said they've seen their business plummet 90% in the past two weeks. As a result, they shut down all of their locations for the next few weeks and laid off 90% of their 200 employees.

They won't be alone in making tough decisions. Hundreds of thousands of businesses will have to make substantial adjustments in an effort to come out on the other side of all of this, an especially tough undertaking given we have no idea where the tunnel ends or what it'll look like once we emerge.

Layoffs like the one at Compass are steadily increasing across many different industries, but some companies are choosing to furlough their employees instead, such as Marriot and Macy's.

Which begs the question, what exactly is a furlough, and how does it work? 

What is an employee furlough?

To put it simply, an employee furlough is when employers require their staff to take unpaid leaves of absence. In other words, they won't work, they won't get paid, but they'll still technically be employed.

Adam Calli, founder and principal consultant at Arc Human Capital

"The employer does this to drastically cut costs in times of economic difficulty, [whether for] the economy overall, or specific to a particular industry, company, or location," explained Adam Calli, founder and principal consultant at Arc Human Capital, a human resources consulting firm. "For many organizations, labor costs (payroll tax and employee benefits) can be 70% of their operating cost! That's why this is where they look first to save money the fastest."

It's important to note that these are different from layoffs. Furloughs are meant to be temporary — employees are expected to return to work full time when the organization is ready — whereas layoffs are permanent.

Many people might associate furloughs with government shutdowns, like the 35-day one that started in late 2018 and extended through early 2019, but private companies can furlough employees, too. Like manufacturing giant Honeywell, which furloughed employees in response to the 2008 recession.

And some businesses, like landscaping and construction companies, practice regular furloughs during seasons when business is typically lower (it's hard to break ground in freezing temperatures). These, of course, are easier for employees to prepare for because they know they're coming up every year. 

How do employee furloughs work?

When facing tough financial times, leadership will identify which jobs they can temporarily eliminate and when the mandated unpaid time off should begin.

"Sometimes, it's for a set period and the staff will know when they're expected to return to [their normal work schedule]," Calli shared. "Sometimes, it's open-ended." In a case such as COVID-19, where there's still so much unknown, the latter is more likely.

J.R. Skrabanek, a partner at Thompson & Skrabanek, PLLC

The main purpose of furloughs is for businesses to be able to save money by reducing staff and labor costs. This means they could put employees off work "until further notice," or they could just cut back in certain ways. For example, they could require employees to take unpaid leave one day per week or one full week per month.

But, of course, it's not that simple, as employees are classified in different ways. One of the main ways is exempt vs. non-exempt. Exempt employees are salaried — they receive the same pay on a recurring schedule regardless of how many hours they worked. Non-exempt employees are paid hourly.

When it comes to furloughing, "non-exempt employees can simply have their hours reduced and continue to be paid for those reduced hours," explained J.R. Skrabanek, a partner at Thompson & Skrabanek, PLLC, which provides legal services for small businesses, startups, and freelancers.

Mikaela Kiner, founder and CEO of Reverb

For exempt employees, it's different. "The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employees to be paid their full salaries for any week in which any work is performed," Skrabanek explained. If a full week goes by and the furloughed worker hasn't done any work, then the employer doesn't have to pay them their salary for that week. But, even if they just do one or two hours of work, they must receive their full weekly paycheck.

According to Mikaela Kiner, founder and CEO of Reverb, a people operations consulting firm, each company also needs to take into account the following legal considerations:

  • Employees should be selected for furlough based on job responsibilities, without regard for race, gender, age, pregnancy, or other protected classes.
  • Employees with a written contract or unionized employees may have terms that prevent furloughs. "The employer and union must reach an agreement on the conditions of the furlough, and employers must be careful to ensure they meet all terms of the agreement," explained Steven Katz, attorney at Katz, Pryor, and DiCuccio, LLP.

Joey Price, CEO of Jumpstart:HR

  • Companies with a high volume of furloughs or layoffs may be subject to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act. "The WARN Act is a rule that applies to employers of 100+ and provides guidelines on how to inform and roll off employees in coordination with resources from the government," said Joey Price, CEO of Jumpstart:HR, an HR outsourcing and consulting company for small businesses.  This Act can be tricky, though, Katz added, as there are many exceptions. For example, it may not apply in a case such as coronavirus, since it was a circumstance that wasn't "reasonably anticipated 60 days before termination." 

The pros and cons of furloughs

There are "many advantages for the employer because the workforce can adjust to the needs of the business," said Kay Van Wey, a medical malpractice attorney at Van Wey, Presby, and Williams Trial Law Firm.

Kay Van Wey, a medical malpractice attorney at Van Wey, Presby, and Williams Trial Law Firm.

These pros for the business are quite obvious. They can save a ton of money by cutting down on labor costs and, hopefully, these measures will lead to them surviving the difficult economic times. And, when conditions improve, they can bring back the same staff without having to recruit, hire, and onboard an entirely new set of employees. 

But, one major downside for employers is "business interruption," Van Wey said. "If an employee in an office setting, for example, was furloughed, they left everything right where it was and it will take time for them to catch up and get back on track." Plus, other employees who weren't furloughed will probably have to take on their work, which can be overwhelming and slow things down.

While being temporarily terminated from a job is daunting, the main pro for employees is that, should the business survive, they'll have a job to return to.

And, "a general rule is that [this] does not affect employee benefits," Katz said. "All eligible employees are still entitled to benefits while on furlough." So, that's a big positive when you compare it to a layoff.

Steven Katz, attorney at Katz, Pryor, and DiCuccio, LLP

But, of course, there's a lot of uncertainty here. And, no matter which way you spin it, employees are missing out on pay, though it's possible they can seek alternative sources of income while they're furloughed.

"The terms of the furlough are specific to each employer," Skrabanek explained. "Unless the employee signs a furlough contract that explicitly forbids them from seeking additional work elsewhere, they are free to do so."

Price explained that employees should be upfront with their secondary employer about their furlough status and when their primary organization plans to resume operations (if they know). And, he and Skrabanek both emphasized that all employees should closely review any noncompete policies their employer has.

They also might be able to file for unemployment benefits, though this varies by state. It's also important to note that some states allow people to work part time and receive unemployment benefits simultaneously while others do not, so that's something to pay attention to as well.

Regardless, this uncertainty and the need for income may cause them to completely leave their current full-time job, which is an added downside for the employer. 

SEE ALSO: How 3 people who freelance while working a full-time job bring in thousands a month on the side

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Taylor Swift is the world's highest-paid celebrity. Here's how she makes and spends her $360 million.

17 pictures that show how being a bartender has changed in America — and the uncertain future they face


bartending 1953

  • Bartenders and others in the food industry are among the hardest hit by the novel coronavirus fallout. 
  • Governors of multiple states across the US have asked bars and restaurants to operate for take-out only, under reduced hours, or close altogether. 
  • Here's a look at how bartending has changed in the last 150 years, including during the Prohibition era and World War II, as well as a look at the sector's uncertain future. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

More than 100 years after the 18th Amendment banned the sale of alcohol in the US — paving a way for the country's Prohibition era — working at bars looks completely different.

What was once considered a seedy profession due to its association with alcohol, bartending now requires technical training, and depending on where you work, years of experience. The profession has grown tremendously over the past several years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 644,100 bartenders working in the US in 2018. That number is forecasted to grow faster than most jobs, rising 8% between 2018 and 2028.

Unfortunately, the job has been one of the hardest hit by mass layoffs in the wake of the novel coronavirus. As governors from New York to California call for the closing or reduced hours of non-essential businesses, many restaurants and bars have been asked to close their doors, or be open only to provide take-out services. It's hit the industry hard, with many iconic institutions shutting down, and countless others — along with their employees — facing an uncertain future. 

Here's a look at how being a bartender has changed in the last 150 years.

SEE ALSO: Here's how being a nurse has changed in the last 50 years

In the late 19th and early 20th century, bars went from being seedy spots hidden in alleyways to popular gathering spots. Bartenders began dressing up to work and following set recipes.

Source: Alcohol Professor

Jerry Thomas published the country’s first cocktail book, "The Bon Vivant’s Companion," in 1862.

Thomas worked in the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco, and nicknamed himself the "the Jupiter Olympus of the bar."

Source: The New York Times

Black bartenders, prohibited from going into white saloons, founded the exclusive “Colored Mixologists Club" in 1898.

Black bartending in white saloons remained uncommon. In 1893, a black waiter was promoted to bartender at the Atlas Hotel in Cincinnati. The decision caused fury among the bar's white clientele, who boycotted the hotel. Louis Deck, the black waiter, was eventually fired and the hotel shut down.

Source: Bitter Southerner

Women, meanwhile, barely worked as bartenders. A rudimentary census in 1895 found just 147 women working as bartenders, compared to nearly 56,000 men.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

In 1919, the Volstead Act prohibited alcohol across the country, which had a damning effect on cocktail culture. Most bartenders changed professions or moved to other countries.

Source: Food Republic

Job opportunities for bartenders became so scarce during Prohibition that thousands of bartenders fled to Cuba.

Americans inhabited many of the 7,000 Cuban bars, according to Difford's Guide. The amount of Americans emigrating to Cuba rose from 33,000 in 1914 to 90,000 in 1928. 

Many Cuban bartenders grew frustrated at the Americanization of Havana's night scene, and formed the Cantineros Club to reclaim their institutions. 

Source: Difford's Guide

Even after the appeal of the Volstead Act in 1933, the craft-cocktail movement languished.

Source: Smithsonian Magazine

After men headed overseas to fight in World War II, women picked up shifts. Women worked these shifts in part because they were the only jobs available to them at the time.

Source: Tales of the Cocktail

In the late '40s, however, women lost their jobs after men came back from the war. Some states passed laws barring women from the profession altogether.

 "Some of that is really just about men wanting to be able to take their jobs back, but some of it is anxiety over the breakdown of the family and women becoming too masculine and losing their values," Christine Sismondo in her book "America Walks Into a Bar: A Spirited History of Taverns and Saloons, Speakeasies and Grog Shops."

Source: Tales of the Cocktail

In the 1980s, bartenders, led by "King Cocktail" Dale Degroff, began a revolution to bring back American pubs.

Degroff began mixing "historically inspired" cocktails at the Rainbow Room in New York City, according to Smithsonian Magazine. The Rainbow Room's guests included Tony Bennett and Rosemary Clooney. 

The bartender says before the 80s, bartenders would use soda guns and packages of sour mix to make drinks. His work helped restore "proper, thoughtfully classic drinks" to American bars. 

Degroff has since won two James Beard awards and founded The Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans.

Source: Smithsonian Magazine, The New York Times, First We Feast

While California still had a law barring women from pouring alcohol in 1971, the mid-1970s saw an increase in the number of women behind the bar.

The Wall Street Journal suspects the change occurred after a Holiday Inn chain discovered bar revenues went up when women did the mixing.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Today, bartending usually requires some kind of training, and you must work your way up before you can be employed at prestigious bars.

Many bartenders teach themselves to mix drinks, or learn on the job. Aspiring bartenders have the option of going to bartending school to obtain a state-issued license, but few states require certification and drink standards vary from bar to bar.

The best way to become a bartender is through experience. Bartender Kenji Magrann-Wells previously told Business Insider that new bartenders must get experience before getting into large venues. Many bartenders start as waiters or bartending assistants before getting a gig themselves.

"Experience is key, especially when going for the giant mega-clubs where the atmosphere is tense and the payout is ridiculous," Magrann-Well said. "So take the jobs where you can get them."

Source: HowtoBecome.com, Business Insider

Bartenders across the country earn an average of $11.64 an hour, according to Indeed, but that doesn't include tips.

Source: PayScale, Business Insider 

Racial inequality also exists in the role. African-American and Hispanic bartenders are frequently pushed to lower-paying, less visible roles, according to nonprofit Tales of the Cocktail Foundation.

Sources: Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

While many women are in the industry today, gender discrimination still occurs in the form of sexualizing the role. Many female bartenders must wear makeup and risqué clothing, especially to earn more tips.

Source: Stuff Mom Never Told You

Several other misconceptions about the profession exist today. For instance, bartending is not a "dead-end job" — in fact, it can open doors in the hospitality industry and beyond.

Many bartenders go on to become a general manager or open their own restaurant after working for a number of years, Justine Lechner, bartender at New Amsterdam in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania told INSIDER.

"I make more money in less time than most college graduates, and [I have] needed years of training to become great at my work," Lechner said.


Because of the novel coronavirus outbreak of 2020, between 5 and 7 million restaurant workers, including bartenders, could lose their jobs in the next three months, according to The National Restaurant Association.

Because of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the US, governors from New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Ohio, California, and more, have called for bars and restaurants to either only be open for take-out, operate under reduced hours, or close altogether for the time being. Many in the industry face an uncertain future, and only time will tell when, or if, most of these jobs return. 

Billionaire David Geffen deleted his Instagram after being slammed for a post about how he's self-isolating on his $590 million superyacht


david geffen

Billionaires are self-isolating on superyachts, and they're not afraid to show it.

On Saturday, David Geffen shared on Instagram that he was "isolated in the Grenadines avoiding the virus," with photos of his $590 million super yacht, Rising Sun. Rising Sun has famously hosted celebrities from Oprah to Barack Obama to Jeff Bezos.

"Sunset last night," one photo was captioned. "I'm hoping everyone is saying safe."

But people on the internet didn't take kindly to the tone-deaf nature of Geffen's post. In fact, the backlash was so swift that Geffen has since deleted his Instagram altogether.

The response to Geffen's post is just the latest example of celebrities and ultra-wealthy people being criticized and called out for posting photos from their mansions and sharing "uplifting" singing videos as people around the world deal with issues like mass layoffs and loss of income during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Business Insider previously reported that billionaires were flocking to charter superyachts so they can escape the coronavirus pandemic. Yachts are generally assumed to be cleaner than standard cruise ships because of rigorous maintenance routines, but they can be pricey to charter. Some go for $120,000 a week plus crew costs, while others can set you back as much as $600,000 a week.

Meanwhile, cruise ships around the world are still being rejected from ports as passengers become sick, and commercial airline travel has fallen so steeply that the industry is looking for a bail out. Private plane use, however, is on the rise.

SEE ALSO: Jeff Bezos partied on billionaire David Geffen's $590 million superyacht in the Balearics — here's a look at the yacht, which has hosted everyone from Oprah Winfrey to Barack Obama

NOW READ: Billionaires are chartering superyachts for months at a time to ride out the coronavirus pandemic

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The coronavirus outbreak has already triggered mass layoffs and furloughs. From General Electric to Macy's, here are 14 major companies that have announced they are downsizing their workforces.


unemployment coronavirus

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) announced that it would temporarily lay off 10,000 employees — 90% of its staff — on March 15. SAS also halted the majority of its flights and is operating with limited service.

Source: Forbes

Norwegian Airlines announced the temporary layoff of 90% of its workforce on March 16, amounting to 7,300 employees. The airline also canceled 85% of its flights.

Source: Reuters

Marriott International, the world's largest hotel company, said it has started to furlough what could amount to tens of thousands of employees on March 17. Furloughs, as opposed to layoffs, occur when employees are required to take an unpaid leave of absence. Arne Sorenson, the president and CEO, announced that his own salary will be suspended for the rest of the year and senior executives' salaries will be reduced by 50%.

Source: Wall Street Journal, Business Insider,Business Insider

Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, which owns over 50 hotels in the US including the W in Los Angeles, laid off 50% of its 8,000 employees on March 17. CEO Jon Bortz also told the Los Angeles Times that the company may need to lay off an additional 2,000 employees by the end of the month.

Source: Los Angeles Times

Famous restauranteur Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group, which owns beloved NYC staples like Gramercy Tavern, laid off 2,000 employees, or 80% of its workforce, on March 18.

Source: Business Insider

New York's Metropolitan Opera is the largest performing arts organization in the US by budget. On March 19, the Met laid off all of its union employees for the duration of the coronavirus outbreak. The Met also announced the cancellation of all performances through the end of the 2019-2020 season, which was set to end May 9.

Source: NPR

Cirque du Soleil announced it is laying off 95% of its 4,679 person staff on March 19, a week after canceling all its upcoming performances. The circus producer kept 259 staffers to plan and sell tickets for future tours.

Source: Cirque du Soleil,Forbes

Air Canada announced it is set to lay off more than 5,100, or 50%, of its flight crew on March 19. Renee Smith-Valade, the airline's vice president, called the decision "difficult but necessary" in a statement.

Source: CBC

According to the Washington Post, at least 200 workers across President Trump's hotels in Washington DC, New York City, and Las Vegas were laid off as of March 20. Other Trump properties, like Palm Beach's Mar-a-Lago, have temporarily closed.

Source: Washington Post, Business Insider

GE announced that it will be reducing approximately 10% of its aviation unit's workforce, amounting to about 2,500 employees, on March 23. It also announced a three month furlough impacting 50% of its maintenance and repair employees. GE CEO Larry Culp will forgo his salary for the rest of the year, while GE Aviation CEO David Joyce will give up half of his salary.

Source: GE,Wall Street Journal

Sonder, a billion-dollar apartment-rental startup billed as a hospitality industry disruptor, laid off or furloughed 400 people — one third of its workforce — on March 24, according to The Information.

Source: The Information


ZipRecruiter laid off 443 employees and furloughed dozens more on March 27, days after CEO Ian Siegel said the billion-dollar online job-hub company was safe.

Source: Business Insider

Everlane, the clothing retailer focused on ethical sourcing, laid off over 200 employees and furloughed 68 others on March 27. CEO Michael Preysman will reduce his salary to zero.

Source: Vice

Macy's CEO Jeff Gennette informed his staff via email that the company would be furloughing most of its 125,000 employees on March 30. The company only plans to have work for "the minimum number of employees necessary to maintain basic business operations" across Macy's, Bloomingdale's, and Bluemercury, Gennette wrote. He will stop receiving his salary, along with the rest of the board of directors.

Source: Business Insider,CNN

25 brand new routes US airlines are adding in 2020, connecting cities that didn't have an air link


Aircrafts are parked on a runway at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, Sunday, March 15, 2020. Due to the Coronavirus Lufthansa had to cancel half of its flights. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some, it can cause more severe illness, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

  • Over 100 new air routes are scheduled to launch in 2020 as airlines grow domestic route networks in the US.
  • All major airlines are adding routes for the summer travel season as well as permanent year-long routes to new destinations. 
  • Ultra-low-cost carriers are among those growing the fastest with new routes for underserved cities across the country. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The US is expected to see over 100 new air routes form in 2020 as the nation's airlines continue expanding their domestic route networks.

With the summer travel season fast approaching, airlines are adding seasonal routes to popular getaway destinations such as the Massachusetts islands, Montana, and Florida, as well as year-round routes to destinations with consistent demand.

Though the spread of coronavirus and associated airline industry downturn may lead to airlines canceling some individual flights on these routes, the routes themselves remain intact. 

All the major carriers in the US are adding routes but the most growth is coming from the ultra-low-cost carriers and one in particular, Allegiant Air. The Las Vegas-based airline is filling in the gaps left by the major carrier through an expansion of bases in underserved markets like Knoxville, Tennessee; Memphis, Tennessee; Asheville, North Carolina.

American Airlines and JetBlue Airways are also seeing new routes added to connect the East Coast with the Rocky Mountain region through new flights to Bozeman and Kalispell in Montana from New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. Regional airlines including Silver Airways, JSX, and Contour Airlines are also seeing their networks expanded in various markets. 

Here are 25 of the newest routes scheduled to open in 2020. 

SEE ALSO: Delta, American, and other airlines are parking planes on closed runways at major airports as carriers struggle to store grounded airliners

DON'T MISS: 8 routes in the US airlines are severing in 2020, leaving no air link between the 2 cities

Between New York and Bozeman, Montana.

JetBlue Airways is opening a summer seasonal route between New York and Bozeman beginning on June 11. The once-daily flight will operate on JetBlue's Airbus A320 aircraft departing from New York in the evening and returning as an overnight flight arriving back in New York in the early morning. 

Source: JetBlue Airways

Between New York and Kalispell, Montana.

American Airlines is launching a route between New York and Kalispell, Montana for the summer season beginning June 6. Departing from New York's LaGuardia Airport, the service will operate only on Saturdays with one roundtrip flight on a Boeing 737-800 aircraft until Labor Day Weekend. 

Source: American Airlines

Between New York and Oklahoma City.

American Airlines through its regional brand American Eagle is launching new service between New York and Oklahoma City on June 4. The year-round service will operate once daily with the service originating in Oklahoma City in the early morning and returning from New York in the evening operated by Embraer E175 regional aircraft. 

Source: Routes Online

Between Newark and Ontario, California.

Frontier Airlines is continuing its expansion in Newark, New Jersey with new transcontinental service to Ontario, California starting June 4. The once-daily service will operate throughout the summer as is in Frontier's schedule until November 9 operated on Frontier's Airbus A320 family aircraft.

Source: Frontier Airlines

Between Boston and Bozeman, Montana.

JetBlue Airways is launching new service between Boston and Bozeman, Montana beginning June 13 for the summer season. The twice-weekly service operated by the airline's Airbus A320 is part of JetBlue's expansion in Montana and complemented new service from New York and existing service from Long Beach

Source: JetBlue Airways

Between Everett, Washington and Boise, Idaho

Alaska Airlines is adding Boise, Idaho to its route network from the newly opened Paine Field just north of Seattle. The year-round service operated by Alaska's regional subsidiary Horizon Air will operate once-daily using Embraer E175 aircraft beginning June 18.

Source: Boise Airport

Between Dallas and Portland, Maine.

American Airlines is also launching service between Dallas and Portland, Maine for the summer beginning June 3. The once-weekly Saturday-only service will be operated by American's Airbus A319 aircraft departing Dallas in the morning and returning the same day in the evening. 

Source: American Airlines

Between Dallas and Kalispell, Montana.

Frontier Airlines is re-opening a route between Long Island, New York, and Miami on May 10. The year-round route will offer daily service on Frontier's Airbus A320 aircraft as the airline expands in the New York area.

Source: Frontier Airlines

Between Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Orlando.

Allegiant Air is launching summer seasonal service between Albuquerque and Orlando on June 3 as part of a nationwide expansion. The twice-weekly service will operate on Sundays and Thursdays with flights operated by Airbus A319 aircraft departing Allegiant's hub at Orlando Sanford International Airport for Albuquerque in the evening and returning back the same evening as an overnight flight. 

Source: Allegiant Air

Between Charlotte and Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.

American Airlines is launching summer seasonal service between its hub in Charlotte and Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts beginning June 20. Scheduled to operate until Labor Day Weekend, the once-weekly flights will fly on Saturdays only on Embraer E175 regional aircraft under the American Eagle brand. 

Source: American Airlines

Between Denver and Santa Maria, California.

United Airlines through its regional brand United Express is launching new service between its hub in Denver and Santa Maria, California with once-daily service on Bombardier CRJ regional aircraft starting October 1. Located between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo on the Pacific coast, Santa Maria will see three new routes from United from Denver, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, making it the largest carrier at the airport once they begin. 

Source: Santa Maria Airport

Between Fort Lauderdale and Oakland, California.

Spirit Airlines is launching new transcontinental service between its Fort Lauderdale base and Oakland, California, reopening a route previously served by JetBlue Airways. The seasonal route will begin on April 3 with once-daily service until September 8 operated by Spirit's Airbus A320 family aircraft.

Source: Spirit Airlines

Between Los Angeles and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Allegiant Air is launching summer seasonal service between Los Angeles and Grand Rapids, Michigan beginning June 5. The twice-weekly service will connect the two cities on Mondays and Fridays using Allegiant's Airbus A320 aircraft until August 17.

Source: Allegiant Air

Between Houston and Spokane, Washington.

United Airlines is launching summer service between its Houston hub and Spokane, Washington starting June 3 until August 17. The once-daily service operated under United's regional brand United Express using Embraer E175 aircraft will depart Houston in the evening and return early the next morning as an overnight flight. 

Source: Routes Online

Between Memphis, Tennessee and West Palm Beach, Florida.

Allegiant Air is launching new summer seasonal service between Memphis, Tennessee and West Palm Beach, Florida beginning on June 25. Operated on Allegiant's Airbus A320 aircraft, the service will operate twice-weekly on Sundays and Thursday until October 11 as the airline grows its base in Memphis. 

Source: Allegiant Air

Between Miami and Ontario, California.

Frontier Airlines is launching new transcontinental service between Miami and Ontario, California on April 23 as the airline grows its presence at the Southern California airport. Daily service will be flown using Frontier's Airbus A320 aircraft and is scheduled to operate until November 9. 

Source: Frontier Airlines

Between Nashville, Tennessee and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Southwest Airlines is giving Nashville, Tennessee its first non-stop link to the Caribbean with new seasonal service to San Juan beginning June 10. The once-weekly service will operate solely on Saturdays with Southwest's Boeing 737 family aircraft until August 8.  

Source: Nashville International Airport

Between Washington and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

United Airlines through its United Express regional brand is launching service between Washington and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina on March 29. The year-round service will operate once-daily from Dulles International Airport on Embraer E175 aircraft.

Source: Routes Online

Between Seattle and Madison, Wisconsin.

Minneapolis-based Sun Country Airlines is launching new seasonal service between Madison, Wisconsin and Seattle on May 8 as the low-cost airline builds a base in the Wisconsin capital and college town. The twice-weekly service is scheduled to operate on Mondays and Fridays until October 26 using Sun Country's Boeing 737 aircraft.

Source: Madison Dane County Airport

Between Philadelphia and Bozeman, Montana.

American Airlines is launching seasonal service between Philadelphia and Bozeman, Montana for the summer beginning on June 6. The once-weekly service will operate on Saturdays only using Boeing 737-800 aircraft until September 5 and complement the airline's service from New York launching the same day.

Source: American Airlines

Between Philadelphia and Nantucket, Massachusetts.

American Airlines is launching seasonal service through its American Eagle regional brand between Philadelphia and Nantucket, Massachusetts as the airline expands its summer presence in the Massachusetts islands with service to Martha's Vineyard launching the same day. Operating from June 20 to September 5, the service will operate once weekly on Saturdays using Embraer E175 aircraft.

Source: American Airlines

Between Orlando and Charleston, South Carolina.

Silver Airways is launching one of its longest routes between Orlando and Charleston, South Carolina as the airline inches up the East Coast. The year-round route begins on May 21 with once-daily service onboard the airline's new ATR 72-600 turboprop aircraft.

Source: Silver Airways

Between Seattle and Monterey, California.

Alaska Airlines is launching a new year-round route between Seattle and Monterey, California under its regional brand operated by Horizon Air. The service begins on June 18 with once-daily service operated by the airline's Embraer E175 aircraft. 

Source: Alaska Airlines

Between Las Vegas and Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Allegiant Air is expanding its Las Vegas network with a summer seasonal route to Fort Wayne, Indiana beginning June 3. The twice-weekly service will be operated by Allegiant's Airbus A320 aircraft until August 17 with one flight per day.

Source: Allegiant Air

Between Minneapolis and Portland, Maine.

Sun Country Airlines is adding Portland, Maine to its route network from Minneapolis on June 18 with seasonal service until October 22. The route will connect Portland with West Coast cities through Minneapolis as the airline focuses on one-stop transcontinental flights during the summer. 

Source: Sun Country Airlines

Take a look inside an abandoned New York City quarantine island that once housed Typhoid Mary and almost no one is allowed to visit


North Brother Island Map Skitch v1

  • From the 1880s up until World War II, New York City's North Brother Island island served as a quarantine location for patients with infectious diseases, including the infamous Typhoid Mary.
  • North Brother Island sits next to Rikers Island prison complex and was abandoned in 1963 after a failed stint as a drug rehabilitation center.
  • It's illegal to visit North Brother Island without permission from the city due to hazardous ruins and its status as a bird sanctuary.
  • In 2017, Business Insider visited the island, learned about its sordid history, and photographed the dilapidated state of its buildings.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Less than a mile from Manhattan exists a little-known island that has been abandoned for over half a century and whose history is checkered with death, disease, and decay.

"North Brother Island is among New York City's most extraordinary and least known heritage and natural places," wrote the authors of a 2017 University of Pennsylvania study about the location.

The city owns the 22-acre plot of land in the East River, which sits between the South Bronx's industrial coast and a notorious prison: Rikers Island.

Almost no one is permitted on North Brother Island and its smaller companion, South Brother Island, except for birds. But even they don't seem to want to live among its crumbling, abandoned structures.

In 2017, producers for the Science Channel obtained the city's permission to visit North Brother Island — and the crew invited Business Insider to join.

Here's what we saw and learned while romping around one of New York's spookiest and most forgotten places.

From the 1880s through 1943, New York City used North Brother Island to quarantine people with highly contagious diseases — including the infamous "Typhoid Mary" Mallon, whose asymptomatic typhoid infection caused dozens of people she worked for to die of the disease. She was institutionalized here until her death in 1938.

The island's sordid history doesn't stop there. In June 1904, a steamship called the General Slocum burst into flames and sank in the East River. Only 321 people survived, and the bodies of 1,021 people washed ashore for days.

Source: New York Public Library

After an unsuccessful run as a drug rehabilitation center for teens in the 1950s, the island was ultimately abandoned in 1963.

Today, no one is permitted to visit the island without permission from the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, which manages the site as a bird sanctuary. One of their escorts also has to tag along.

The only way to get to North Brother Island is by boat. This small aluminum one was our ride.

Leaving from Barretto Point Park in the South Bronx is one of the quickest ways to get there.

The East River was crawling with police, probably because the Rikers Island prison complex is less than a mile away — and they are wary of anyone visiting North Brother Island.

Pulling up to the island, we navigated around rotten dock supports. The ferry dock and its rusted derrick looked ready to collapse at any moment.

You'll want to watch your step — the boat ramp is covered in slippery algae at low tide.

The island's buildings used to be powered by coal, which workers loaded onto this dock. Now it's sinking, covered in kelp, and totally submerged at high tide.

After we arrived on shore, we set our equipment inside this sturdy old transformer vault.

It was falling apart, like everything else on the island, but was one of the most stable structures with a functional roof — and rain clouds immediately began to threaten our day trip.

Streets and sidewalks are almost unrecognizable due to the overgrowth.

Invasive kudzu vines, which come from Asia, crawl and infiltrate many nooks and crannies of the island.

But there are signs of previous habitation everywhere, like this corroding trash can.

There are also signs of illegal visitation, including this graffiti on a wall ball court.

One of the first buildings we saw was a morgue, on the right. The fractured chimney of a coal-fired boiler room, on the left, is visible from miles away.

Parks and Recreation officials bar the island's few visitors from entering most buildings since they are in a dangerous state of disrepair.

Some structures, like this Physician's Home built in 1926, are on the verge of collapse.

At every turn, the decay is both eerie and beautiful.

Few animals seem to live here. A Parks and Recreation official said that mammals are practically nonexistent — no rats, chipmunks, mice, and the like.

You have to look where you're going, or you'll run into spider webs big enough to boggle the mind.

So many structures hide among the wild vines, trees, and fronds.

It feels like wandering around a post-apocalyptic playground at times.

Rather than take the ferry each day, some hospital workers opted to live in the Nurse's Home. Bath tubs have since fallen through the ceiling of the 40,000-square-foot Victorian-style mansion, which was built in 1905.

A few facilities on the island are almost unrecognizable. Ivy has completely choked out this double tennis court.

The Staff House is one of the oldest and most dilapidated structures. It was constructed in 1885.

Further down the main road is the Male Dormitory.

It was also built in 1885 and has trees growing through its roof.

The dormitory became a nursery school for veterans' families who lived on the island during the post-World World II housing crisis from 1946 through 1951.

From 1952 to 1963, the building was used as a drug rehabilitation center for troubled teens.

But patients didn't get the help they needed when returning home after three-to-five-month stays. The program was considered a failure.

The largest building on the island is one of the last to be completed: The Tuberculosis Pavilion.

It is a sprawling four-story, 83,000-square-foot building that was designed to house people sick with tuberculosis, but then World War II broke out.

The $1.2 million facility was finished in 1943 and never treated a tuberculosis patient; instead, it housed veterans.

Source: Business Insider

It is a large and looming building.

Like many structures, its interiors are visible through broken or missing windows.

The south end of the tubercular ward had a kitchen. Much of the equipment was left when the island was abandoned in 1963.

When inhabitants left following the dissolution of the drug rehabilitation program, New York City took custody of the island. To this day, the city has yet to figure out if and how it will let the public set foot there again, and a lack of management made it a looting grounds for vandals.

North Brother Island might never reopen to the public, though: It's ground-zero for rising sea levels and storm surges. According to extreme climate change projections, it may be entirely underwater by 2100.

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