Global Covid-19 cases near 4 million as job losses wreck US

Lockdowns forced by the coronavirus pandemic pushed up unemployment in America to a record 14.7% in April, while globally the number of Covid-19 infections inched closer towards 4 million.

The economic distress in America deepened with an unprecedented 20.5 million people in the country being left jobless last month, according to new data released on Friday.

It’s the worst crisis in the US since the end of World War II. The news has come on a day when the world quietly observed VE Day to mark the surrender of Nazi forces in Europe on May 8, 1945.

The previous record of job losses in the US, at 10.4%, was recorded way back in 1948.

An estimated 33.5 million people in the US have already filed for unemployments benefits over the past six weeks since lockdowns came into effect in mid-March, according to weekly data released on Thursday.

“Today’s report reflects the massive impact that measures to contain the coronavirus have had on the American workforce,” Eugene Scalia, the US labour secretary, said in a statement.

US President Donald Trump tried to strike a positive note, saying the economy will bounce back. “Those jobs will all be back and they’ll be back very soon,” he told Fox News.

An aide to US vice-president Mike Pence has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a CNBC report. The development came a day after it emerged that Trump’s personal valet had tested positive for Covid-19.

The respiratory disease has claimed over 271,000 lives worldwide, with the US being the worst-hit nation, recording over 77,000 deaths.

Fatalities in the country went up by 2,231 in the last 24 hours and the number of confirmed cases increased by 28,420.

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