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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Starbucks has lost $3B in revenue so far in coronavirus pandemic
Starbucks lost as much as $3.2 billion in revenue because of the coronavirus pandemic, the coffee giant said Wednesday.
The company forecast that same-store sales could fall by as much as 20 percent in the U.S. and China, its two biggest markets. It will also halve the number of new store openings set for this year, with only 300, down from its prior estimate of 600.
“With each passing week, we are seeing clear evidence of business recovery, with sequential improvements in comparable store sales performance,” CEO Kevin Johnson and CFO Pat Grismer wrote in a letter to stakeholders. “The Starbucks brand is resilient, customer affinity is strong and we believe the most difficult period is now behind us.”
U.S. same-store sales fell 43 percent in May as the company reopened locations with modified hours and operations. About 95 percent of U.S. locations are now open, with the majority of closed locations centered in the New York City area.
The company also plans to shutter up to 400 company-owned cafes over the next 18 months as part of its plan to accelerate changes to U.S. stores. As more customers order through Starbucks’ app, the Seattle-based company had planned to modify its cafes over the next three to five years, but the pandemic moved up that timeline.
Miami Beach set to reopen beaches after 12-week closure
Public beaches will reopen in Miami Beach, Florida, on Wednesday after a 12-week closure due to the coronavirus outbreak.
However, beachgoers will have to get used to new COVID-19 safety measures while sunbathing or playing in the waves.
The city said facial coverings are required to use bathrooms, purchase concessions or when social distancing cannot be ensured, except for members of the same household.
It said social distancing will be enforced and groups of 10 or more are still prohibited. No organized activities, sports or group picnics are allowed either.
The city said more than a hundred "social distancing ambassadors" will be deployed on the beaches every day for the next few weeks to ensure everyone is sticking to the rules.
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.