U.S. stocks dropped sharply on Thursday as investors weighed sobering economic forecasts and new data, along with indications that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from subsiding.
Several sectors including hospitality and leisure suffered steep declines. As more than 20 states report a climb in coronavirus cases, there are new worries that consumers will be reluctant to return to restaurants and take trips. Those worries were fueled in part by data showing an additional 1.5 million people filing for unemployment for the first time last week hursday by the Department of Labor.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told TODAY that he expects the country to cross 200,000 deaths in September. "This pandemic is going to be with us until next spring or summer when we have a vaccine. This is not faded," he said.
- 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 deaths in Latin America top 70,000 as Sao Paulo eases lockdown
Latin America's coronavirus crisis reached a grim new milestone on Wednesday with total deaths exceeding 70,000, according to a Reuters count.
Brazil, with the largest economy in the region, remains Latin America's most affected country as total fatalities are just shy of 40,000, the world's third highest death toll after the United States and Britain. The country's most populous state, Sao Paulo, reported a record number of COVID-19 deaths for the second day running on Wednesday, even as its homonymous metropolis allowed shops to resume business and prepared to reopen its malls.
Governments across the globe acknowledge that the real number of infected people is significantly higher than the official counts.
Meanwhile, Mexico hit a daily record for confirmed infections, bringing its overall official count to 129,184 infections and 15,357 deaths. The World Health Organization has determined that Latin America is the new hotspot for the pandemic and the outbreak has also spread rapidly in Peru, Chile and Columbia.
South Korea's successful tracing campaign tested as coronavirus spreads amid eased social distancing
South Korea reported 45 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, the vast majority of which were recorded in metropolitan areas like the capital, Seoul.
The country has reported between 30 and 50 new cases per day since easing lockdown measures in late May, after a highly-praised trace and test campaign started at the beginning of the outbreak. The recent emergence of cases come from religious meetings, home-visit sales, nightclub-goers and ping-pong game rooms — particularly among people older than 60.
The government said on Thursday that they will respond to any quarantine violations with strict measures, although they expressed confidence in the number of available hospital beds. However, Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Jung Eun-kyeong said on Thursday that health workers are struggling to track transmissions that are spreading quickly due to less social distancing, according to the Associated Press.
Australia's most popular sport to restart, but the stadium will be empty
Australia’s most popular sport, Australian football, will resume play in an empty stadium on Thursday after the season was put on hold in mid-March amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The season will restart with a game between two of the league's most popular teams facing off in Melbourne.
Fans however, will be permitted at other games held in specific states where COVID-19 has been eradicated. A crowd of 2,000 is expected to attend a game in Adelaide, on Saturday night.
U.K. lockdown a week earlier could have halved COVID-19 death toll, scientist says
Britain's death toll from COVID-19 could have been halved if lockdown had been introduced a week earlier, a former member of the U.K. government's scientific advisory group said on Wednesday.
Britain has an official death toll from confirmed COVID-19 cases of over 40,000, rising to over 50,000 cases when deaths from suspected cases are included.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed the lockdown on March 23. Epidemiologist Neil Ferguson told lawmakers that Britain had taken the right measures but too late. "The epidemic was doubling every three to four days before lockdown interventions were introduced. So had we introduced lockdown measures a week earlier, we would have then reduced the final death toll by at least a half," said Ferguson, a professor at Imperial College in London.
Grocery prices spike as coronavirus puts pressure on supply chain
Hawaii extends quarantine for out-of-state travelers to July 31
Hawaii Gov. David Ige on Wednesday extended the state's 14-day quarantine for travelers arriving from out of state through the end of July.
"We continue to look for opportunities to invite guests from out of state," he said, but cautioned that some mainland states were seeing new increases in coronavirus cases.
Ige announced that the self-quarantine mandate would be lifted for interisland travel beginning Tuesday. "It really is an opportunity to reunite families," he said.
The state attorney general Wednesday announced that 48-year-old Patricia L. Pian of Honolulu was arrested and is accused of failing to self-quarantine when she returned from a trip to San Diego.
Multiple tourists have been arrested after failing to self-quarantine, but Pian is the first returning state resident to be accused of violating the emergency proclamation.
The iconic Iowa State Fair canceled
The Iowa State Fair, an annual slice of Americana summer since before the Civil War, was canceled Wednesday because of ongoing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, organizers announced.
"We are heartbroken we can’t be together this August," event officials in Des Moines said in a statement, promising to be back Aug. 12-22 in 2021. "We tirelessly analyzed all the unique traditions at the Iowa State Fair and believe it will be safer given the current COVID-19 situation. That will give us enough time to properly get ready for the Iowa State Fair you know and love."
The first Iowa State Fair was held in 1854 and has been skipped only a handful of times before - in 1898 to make room for the World's Fair in Omaha and in 1942-45 because of World War II.
Disney unveils plans to reopen California parks and resorts
Nearly three months after closing, Disney has set its sights on a phased reopening for its California parks and resorts starting early next month, the company announced Wednesday.
Downtown Disney District will begin reopening on July 9, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure will reopen by July 17 and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel plan to reopen on July 23. All of these dates are subject to state and local government approval.
Parades, nighttime spectaculars and character meet-and-greets will return at a later date, the company said.
Theme park capacity will be significantly limited to comply with government requirements as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread. Visitors will be required to make a reservation in advance for park entry.