New bleak evidence from Europe and the US shows mounting devastation wrought on jobs and economies.
More than a million patients have so far recovered from the Covid-19 coronavirus. Total cases, meanwhile, are at 3.3 million, while deaths because of the infection stand at nearly 230,000.
In the US alone, total infections have crossed 1.05 million, with recoveries at nearly 150,000, and 61,000 deaths.
As a result of the pandemic, more than 3.8 million laid-off workers applied for unemployment benefits last week as the US economy slid further into a crisis that is becoming the most devastating since the 1930s.
The world’s economic pain was on full display on Thursday with new bleak evidence from Europe and the US of the mounting devastation wrought on jobs and economies by coronavirus lockdown measures.
In Europe, where over 132,000 people with the virus have died so far, fears about new infection spikes were tempering hopes that economies now on government-funded life support will regain their vigor as workers return to factories, shops and offices.
New unemployment figures on Thursday covering the 19 European countries that use the shared euro currency underscored how massive job-protection programs are temporarily keeping millions of Europeans on payrolls, sparing them the record-setting flood of layoffs that is battering tens of millions of Americans.
The European economy shrank a record 3.8% in the first quarter as lockdowns turned cities into ghost towns and plunged nations into recession. The drop was the biggest since eurozone statistics began in 1995 and compares to a 4.8% contraction in the United States.
France’s economy shrank an eye-popping 5.8%, the biggest quarterly drop since 1949. In Spain, the contraction was 5.2% in the same period. In Croatia, the prime minister warned the economy could shrink 9% this year as the pandemic keeps tourists away from its Mediterranean beaches and historic sites and he wants European borders reopened. Germany is projecting that its economy, the eurozone’s biggest, will shrink 6.3% this year.
No continent is being spared. The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a 37% surge in coronavirus cases in the past week – to more than 36,000 confirmed infections and over 1,500 deaths.
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