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Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch says some staffers will continue remote work

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  • Fox Corporation CEO Lachlan Murdoch told employees on Thursday that the company anticipates that non-production staffers who are working remotely “will continue to do so for the remainder of the calendar year,” according to The Washington Post’s Jeremy Barr.
  • Murdoch’s memo comes as popular hosts on Fox News continue pushing for states to reopen schools and businesses, even as new coronavirus cases spike across the country.
  • As of Thursday evening, nearly 4.9 million Americans had been infected with coronavirus and almost 160,000 had died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Lachlan Murdoch, the CEO of Fox Corporation, told employees on Thursday that the company anticipates that non-production staffers who are working remotely “will continue to do so for the remainder of the calendar year,” according to The Washington Post’s Jeremy Barr.

Murdoch’s memo to employees comes as multiple popular hosts on Fox News, which is Fox Corp’s flagship news organization, continue pushing for states to reopen schools as new coronavirus cases spike across the country.

“Success leaves clues and the Netherlands, Australia, and those countries have opened … Germany [has] opened,” “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade said on July 8. “So there’s no reason for America not to be open.”

“Kids should learn that early that life’s full of hurdles, you’ve got to find a way to overcome,” he added, and later downplayed the threat of coronavirus, saying it’s “not Ebola.”

“Mostly kids 99.9% of kids will not be affected by it at all,” he continued, contradicting public health officials who caution that there isn’t enough research on how children react to COVID-19. “This is a risk that has to be taken.”

Opinion commentator Laura Ingraham said on July 14 that other media figures are “lying to you when they say it’s too dangerous to reopen schools.”

“There is increasing evidence that we can do this safely,” primetime host Sean Hannity said later that day.

As of Thursday, nine out of the ten largest school districts in the country have decided not to reopen for the coming school year and will instead conduct classes virtually. Earlier this week, a Mississippi school district that decided to reopen announced that over 100 students were forced to quarantine after six students and a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

Earlier in the year, top Fox News hosts were also pushing for businesses to reopen in May, despite Fox News telling its employees at the time that they should work from home for at least another month.

Primetime host Tucker Carlson told viewers the government had “outsourced the decision to public health officials” and that “the public health establishment failed us badly” in recommending stay-at-home and similar orders.

Ingraham targeted Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, on her April 23 program.

“If we wait for Dr. Fauci’s seal of approval to reopen America, we may not have an America to reopen,” she said.

And on May 11, Kilmeade pushed for the economy to reopen, even as some of his colleagues urged for a more cautious approach.

The president and his media backers have taken a somewhat more cautious approach in recent weeks amid an uptick in new cases and as Trump’s poll numbers continue to slide. Trump has been seen wearing a mask in public several times over the last month, and pundits and commentators noted that the president has adopted a more serious tone as he seeks to revamp his faltering reelection campaign.

When asked Thursday morning on Geraldo Rivera’s radio show whether a vaccine could be ready before the election, Trump replied, “I think in some cases, yes, possible before, but right around that time.” But the president’s timeline contradicted predictions from Fauci and other public-health experts.

“From everything we’ve seen now — in the animal data, as well as the human data — we feel cautiously optimistic that we will have a vaccine by the end of this year and as we go into 2021,” Fauci testified to Congress last week.

As of Thursday evening, nearly 4.9 million Americans had been infected with coronavirus and almost 160,000 had died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. And for the 20th week in a row, more than one million Americans filed for new unemployment benefits, indicating the devastating impact the COVID-19 outbreak continues to have on the US economy.

Meanwhile, the State Department lifted its global “Do Not Travel” advisory and said it will revert back to issuing travel recommendations on a country-by-country basis.

But states across the country continue reporting record numbers of new infections and deaths. Indiana on Thursday reported more than 1,050 new cases, a record high for the state. Tennessee and North Carolina both reported a record number of deaths, at 43 and 40, respectively. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, one of the Republican governors to take the virus’ threat seriously early on, tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday morning, though he tested negative later in the day.

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