As states have reopened businesses and life in the U.S. is starting to regain a sense of normalcy, a leading health expert is warning "we are still in a pandemic" and confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. topped 2 million on Wednesday.
Many people remain vulnerable to the disease, and the pandemic will continue as long as there's a readily transmissible virus and a population with little or no immunity to it, said Dr. Jay Butler, head of the COVID-19 response at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The news comes as the U.S. is now officially in a recession, bringing an end to a historic 128 months of economic growth.
- MAPS: Confirmed cases in the U.S. and worldwide; confirmed deaths in the U.S. and globally
- Reopening America: See what states across the U.S. have already reopened.
- The coronavirus has destroyed the job market in every state. See the per-state jobless numbers and how they’ve changed.
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COVID-19 crisis triggered most severe recession in nearly a century, report says
The virus crisis has triggered the most severe recession in nearly a century, and is causing enormous damage to people’s health, jobs and well-being, an international economic report warned Wednesday.
The latest analysis of global economic data by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reveals two equally probable scenarios – one in which a second wave of infections, with renewed lockdowns, hits before the end of 2020, and one in which another major outbreak is avoided.
In the best-case scenario, if there is no second wave of infections, the agency forecast a global drop in economic output of 6 percent this year.
If the coronavirus re-emerges later in the year, however, the global economy could shrink 7.6 percent, before climbing back 2.8 percent in 2021, the OECD said.
Germany extends corona travel warning for non-European states
Germany will extend its travel warning for non-European countries until the end of August but lift border controls to all its neighbours by mid-June, ministers said on Wednesday.
As the coronavirus crisis in many European countries eases somewhat, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Germany does not yet have systems with the rest of the world to assess and coordinate travel without entailing potentially incalculable risks.
“We cannot and will not risk Germans being stranded all over the world again this summer or holidaymakers returning to Germany with the virus undetected,” said Maas in a statement.
Aware that many holidaymakers want to travel to destinations including Turkey, the United States, northern African and south-eastern Asia, Maas said the government would keep looking at the travel warning before September. Germany had already announced it would lift a blanket travel ban for EU members, Britain, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland from June 15.
U.S. consulate in Wuhan set to reopen later in June
The U.S. is set to reopen its consulate in Wuhan, China, later this month, according to a congressional notification letter obtained by NBC News.
The State Department informed Congress on Friday that conditions were now appropriate to resume operations in Wuhan "on or around" June 22, but the agency "stands ready to modify this schedule as conditions develop."
"At this critical juncture in U.S.-China relations, it is critical that our diplomatic posts in China are staffed," said the letter from Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs, Mary Elizabeth Taylor.
French gallery hands out hats that help keep social distance
Brazil restores detailed COVID-19 data after court ruling
Brazil on Tuesday restored detailed COVID-19 data to its official national website following controversy over the removal of cumulative totals and a ruling by a Supreme Court justice that the full set of information be reinstated.
The move came after days of mounting pressure from across the political spectrum and allegations the government was trying to mask the severity of the outbreak, now the world’s second-largest.
The official website reverted to showing cumulative totals of deaths and infections as well as breakdowns by state as it had done until last week. On Tuesday evening, the latest daily numbers were uploaded to the site, showing a cumulative total of 739,503 cases, and 1,272 new deaths, bringing the toll to 38,406 dead, the third highest after the United States and Britain.
Right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro has consistently sought to play down the severity of the coronavirus, dismissing it as a “little flu” and urging governors to reverse lockdown measures battering the country’s economy.
Russian chefs in naked lockdown protest after virus strips them of income
Families of Italian COVID-19 victims file complaints with prosecutor
A number of families of victims of the COVID-19 outbreak in the Italian region of Bergamo, one of the hardest hit during the epidemic, filed complaints with the local prosecutor Wednesday, the committee coordinating the efforts told NBC News.
The complaints concern issues including the lack of information provided around infection risk in the early stages of the pandemic, the lack of PPE available in healthcare facilities and the lack of medicine for managing COVID-19 symptoms at home.
Luca Fusco, the committee's president, as well as relatives of some of the victims and their lawyers, delivered the first 50 complaints to Bergamo's prosecutor Wednesday morning. Lawyers acting for the victims are examining nearly 200 complaints, so more submissions could follow.
"We have a duty to give our fathers, our mothers and our families the justice they deserve," Fusco said.
It's official: The U.S. entered a recession in February
The U.S. is officially in a recession, bringing an end to a historic 128 months of economic growth, after the coronavirus pandemic swept the country and shut down the economy.
For more than a decade, the American economy seemed to contradict the adage "What goes up, must come down." That ended in February, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, or NBER, the agency that identifies periods of economic growth and contraction.
The economic expansion would have turned 11 years old this month — a span unmatched in the postwar economy.
AMC Theaters plans July reopening
AMC Theaters, the largest theater chain in the nation, said Tuesday it planned to reopen all its locations in July.
The 1,000-venue company, which already reopened several screens in Norway, Germany, Spain and Portugal, is planning to reopen its U.S. and U.K. theaters in time to show "Tenet," scheduled to be released July 17.
In a statement, the chain said it would limit capacity, block off seating, require personal protective equipment and institute cleaning protocols.
Initially, venues would be run at 50 percent capacity, he said previously.
Fauci: HIV is "really simple" compared to COVID-19
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and long-time HIV researcher, said Tuesday that COVID-19 appears to be more complicated than HIV.
"I thought HIV was a complicated disease," Fauci said during a presentation at the BIO International Convention, which included members of biotechnology companies. "It’s really simple compared to what’s going on with COVID-19."
Fauci was referring to the range of illness COVID-19 can cause, in which some people can be infected but never develop any symptoms, some can have fevers, cough and debilitating fatigue for weeks, and still others wind up fighting for their lives on a ventilator.
"When is it going to end?" Fauci asked, adding that scientists are at the very beginning of understanding how COVID-19 works.
"What are the long-term negative effects of infection? We don’t have enough experience because we’ve only been involved for four months," he said. "We don’t know the extent of full recovery or partial recovery. So, there’s a lot we need to learn."