Software engineer Raymond Berger begins his work day at 5 a.m., before the sun comes up over Hawaii.

Rising early is necessary because the company he works for is in New York City, five hours ahead of Maui, where he is renting a home with a backyard that’s near the beach.

“It’s a little hard with the time zone difference,” he said. “But generally I have a much better quality of life.”

The pandemic is giving many workers the freedom to do their jobs from anywhere. Now that Hawaii’s economy is reeling from dramatically fewer tourists, a group of state officials and community leaders wants more people like Berger to help provide an alternative to relying on short-term visitors.

Coinciding with the approach of winter in other parts of the U.S., “Movers & Shakas”—a reference to the Hawaii term for the “hang loose” hand gesture—launches Sunday as a campaign … Read more

Congress is bracing for President-elect Joe Biden to move beyond the Trump administration’s state-by-state approach to the COVID-19 crisis and build out a national strategy to fight the pandemic and distribute the eventual vaccine.

The incoming administration’s approach reflects Democrats’ belief that a more comprehensive plan, some of it outlined in the House’s $2 trillion coronavirus aid bill, is needed to get the pandemic under control. Republicans have resisted big spending but agree additional funding is needed. With the nation on edge but a vaccine in sight, the complicated logistics of vaccinating hundreds of millions of Americans raise the stakes on the major undertaking.

“We have an incredible challenge on our hands,” said Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state, which is approaching the anniversary of its first reported case of the virus last January.

A vaccine can only go so far, Murray warned, without a distribution plan. “A vaccine can … Read more

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The major retailers wanted sparse crowds on Black Friday in this COVID-19 era. They certainly got them.

On Friday morning, only a few dozen people were lined up outside the Macy’s flagship in Manhattan before it opened, compared to 15,000 or so in recent years. A nearby Aéropostale and Victoria’s Secret were devoid of any customers at all at 7 a.m. And at the sprawling Newport Centre in Jersey City, N.J., across the Hudson River, it was a ghost town: not a single customer inside its Sears store, and only a smattering of shoppers at its J.C. Penney or Kohl’s.

Even at the nearby Target, Best Buy and Home Depot, which were busy in comparison, the crowds were modest compared to previous years. Best Buy, … Read more

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Though he may never publicly admit it, Donald Trump effectively conceded the 2020 presidential election on Monday, when his federal government’s General Services Administration finally signed off on the transition to President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming regime.

With a constitutional crisis, for now, averted, there is much speculation on what the future will hold for Trump. Whatever follows his remarkable, unprecedented four-year term in the White House, it’s hard to envisage him settling into a quiet post-presidency—perhaps one spent designing his presidential library and keeping quiet on his successor’s job performance.

What’s clear is that he leaves Washington much as he arrived: a divisive, polarizing figure who, despite losing a national election by millions of votes, retains a fiercely devoted following among segments of the American electorate. A new Read more

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is now widely expected to revise its recommendations for COVID-related quarantine. The twist is that it’s actually good news from the public’s perspective, with the possibility that recommendations could come down to anywhere between seven and 10 days for a self-imposed quarantine rather than two full weeks.

Currently, requirements are fairly stringent, with the CDC recommending a 14-day quarantine for anyone exposed to a person with coronavirus even the exposed individual tests negative themselves. That may be prudent but it’s also a logistical mess. It isn’t exactly easy or enforceable to keep people confined by themselves during the holiday season.

So why would the CDC change its cautious stance right now, especially given the surge in the COVID pandemic and upcoming holiday weekend? Officials such as CDC director Robert Redfield and one of the agency’s COVID-19 response leaders, Henry Walke, along with other public … Read more