Covid-19 leaves 6.6m more Americans jobless; kills more than 14,800


CHINA, APRIL 9: An estimated 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, according to new data released by authorities Thursday, taking the number of people rendered jobless by the coronavirus outbreak to nearly 17 million, which has made some economists compare the crisis to the Great Depression of 1929.
Around 6.6 million hd filed for benefits last week and 3.3 million the week before, when the social-distancing measures began to be enforced across the country, closing all but essential services. Many establishments shut down and others downsized to survive the cascading drop in business.
Janet Yellen, the former chair of the US federal reserve, has said the unemployment rate in the US is already at 12-13%, which is the worse it’s been since the Great Depression of 1929, according to the Washington Post, which cited another economist saying this is “the Great Depression II”. The Great Depression was the worst economic downturn in US history and lasted for years, into the 1930s, with unemployment shooting up to 25% at its peak.
The coronavirus had killed more than 14,800 people in the United States till Thursday morning, when the new unemployment numbers were announced, and left 432,000 reported cases of confirmed infections, almost a fourth of the global total of 1.5 million. New York state remained the worst hit with more than 6,200 deaths; 4,571 in New York City alone.The adjoining state of New Jersey was next with 1,500 fatalities; followed by Michigan with nearly 960; Louisiana with 650; and California with more than 500. Hundreds of fatalities have been reported from many other states. African Americans have accounted for a disproportionately higher rare of death than other racial demographics. But US public health officials have said despite these growing numbers of infections and fatalities, there is evidence that social-distancing and all other mitigation efforts are working, which has caused a lowering of the projection of deaths. To 60,415 by August, from more than 80,000 at the start, according to the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation
“We’ve carefully looked at Italy and Spain,” Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House task force on the coronavirus, told reporters at the daily briefing Wednesday, referring to the two European nations that have had the highest fatalities so far with 17,699 and 15,328 respectively. “ And we are doing much better, in many cases, than several other countries. And we’re trying to understand that”
But Birx and Anthony Fauci, the leading epidemiologist and a member of the White House task force, have stressed the need to keep the mitigation efforts in place, arguing now is not the time to ease them.
President Trump is going with their advice, but has been keen to reopen up the country and put it back in business precisely because of the kind of unemployment numbers that are being reported and has repeatedly sought to be more optimistic; he has taken to saying he can see the light at the end of the tunnel these days.
“We’re hopefully heading toward a final stretch -- the light at the end of the tunnel, as I was saying,” the president said at the daily briefing. “As we continue to wage all-out medical war to defeat the virus, we’re also fighting an economic war to ensure we can quickly turn to full financial strength”.
The Trump administration has sought a relief package of $250 billion in addition to the record $2.2 trillion cleared March end. The additional amount is meant for small businesses (with 500 and less workers) that employ 48% of the US workforce., to enable them to stay in business and hold on to their employees.

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