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Coronavirus Hit on U.S. Economy May Linger Until 2029; Indian Cases Keep Surging -- Update

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06/02/2020 | 07:49am EDT

By WSJ Staff

--A survey of nursing homes in the U.S. found some 26,000 coronavirus deaths, a figure that likely falls short of the full toll.

--The U.S. economy could take almost a decade to fully recover from the pandemic and related shutdowns, a U.S. budget agency reported.

--India reported a near-record rise in new cases, with 8,171 in 24 hours, but the government continues to ease lockdown measures.


National: The first major federal effort to measure the deadly impact of the new coronavirus in nursing homes found about 26,000 deaths, a total that likely falls short of showing the full toll on some of the most vulnerable Americans. The survey of nursing homes, released Monday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, showed 25,923 resident deaths and 449 deaths among staff. But the CMS rule that mandated the data collection didn't require nursing homes to report deaths and cases that occurred before early May.

Infection Rates, Lives Lost: More than 1.81 million people have been infected in the U.S. and more than 105,000 have died of the Covid-19 disease caused by the virus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. More than 6.28 million people have been infected world-wide, and more than 375,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins data. Experts caution that official numbers likely understate the extent of the pandemic.

Economy: The U.S. economy could take the better part of a decade to fully recover from the coronavirus pandemic and related shutdowns. The Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan legislative agency, said the sharp contraction triggered by the coronavirus caused it to mark down its 2020-30 forecast for U.S. economic output by a cumulative $7.9 trillion, or 3% of gross domestic product, relative to its January projections. GDP isn't expected to catch up to the previously forecast level until the fourth quarter of 2029, the CBO said.

Some theme parks are starting to reopen this week while requiring masks, temperature checks and social distancing for guests. In the face of a still spreading pandemic, it remains uncertain whether enough people will venture out to the parks to stave off a financial shock for companies such as Six Flags Entertainment Corp., Comcast Corp.'s and SeaWorld Entertainment Inc.

Virus Testing: Companies in the U.S. are starting to roll out tests that can diagnose coronavirus infections at home, offering people who are seeking to return to work a potentially safer, more accessible option to check their health. Yet experts worry about the accuracy of the results generated by the at-home tests, costs that insurers often don't cover and other factors that could limit use.

Safety Gear: Health-care workers warned about the quality of respirator masks being decontaminated by a system made by Battelle Memorial Institute, a nonprofit research corporation that has built more than 50 mask-decontamination units after getting more than $400 million in federal government contracts. Battelle said its process, in which masks are exposed to vaporized hydrogen peroxide, allows for N95 respirator masks to be reused 20 times. But health-care workers have warned of worn seals, broken bands and stains on masks that have gone through the process.


India: Tuesday brought a near-record rise of 8,171 confirmed coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours -- the third consecutive day above 8,000. It now has 198,706 confirmed cases, according to data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and 5,598 dead.

But despite the steep rise in cases, the federal government has moved to ease lockdown restrictions by allowing shops, industries and some public transport to reopen. As part of its three-phase reopening plan, shopping malls, hotels, restaurants and places of worship are to resume operating from next week. Some flights and limited railway service have already resumed.

Iran: Lockdown restrictions on mosques, restaurants, gyms and shopping malls are falling away this week despite a surge in infections that has brought the daily number of new cases to the level of the first peak in late March and early April. On Tuesday the health ministry reported 3,117 new infections, raising the total caseload to 157,562. Iran has reported 7,942 deaths from Covid-19. Health officials warn that without proper adherence to social distancing and hygiene regulations, the coronavirus outbreak may again spin out control.

South Korea: The country reported 38 more cases, bringing its total to 11,541. Hundreds of new cases emerged last month from Seoul's nightclubs, but the latest cluster is tied to churches.

Some social-distancing measures in the Seoul metropolitan area were reinstituted last week to last through this week, including the closure of museums and parks. But South Korea has prioritized letting students return to school, and some 1.8 million are scheduled to do so Wednesday.

Japan: In Tokyo, 34 new cases were confirmed Tuesday, the local government said, the first time the daily figure has reached 30 or more since May 14. Gov. Yuriko Koike said she was weighing whether to issue an alert encouraging people to stay home, partly reversing the recent relaxation of voluntary restrictions.

About 40% of those who were recently identified as positive and whose infection source couldn't be traced had a connection to nightlife areas, Ms. Koike said. The Shinjuku area, known for bars, nightclubs and some brothel-like establishments, accounts for a significant portion, she said.

Since nationwide restrictions began easing in the latter part of May, fears of second waves have risen. The southern city of Kitakyushu has reported more than 100 infections over the past week, some unexplained and others linked to hospital outbreaks.

China: The city of Wuhan, where the virus first appeared late last year, has tested about 10 million citizens since May 14 and found 300 asymptomatic carriers, according to the Hubei provincial government. The city government has spent about 900 million yuan ($126 million) to test all its residents, the provincial government said in a news conference Tuesday. China reported five new cases Tuesday, all imported.

Australia and New Zealand: Australia reported eight new cases, taking the total to 7,204. More than 6,600 have recovered and 103 have died. New South Wales state, home to Sydney, said restrictions on gyms, yoga studios and indoor pools will be lifted next week, although class sizes will be capped at 10. Tattoo and massage parlors will also reopen from June 13, while children's sport competitions can restart July 1. New Zealand had no new cases for an 11th straight day.

Hong Kong: The city's government said Tuesday it would extend social-distancing measures that forbid more than eight people gathering until June 18, after a new cluster emerged related to a residential housing estate. Since Sunday, Hong Kong has recorded nine new locally transmitted infections, breaking a 15-day stretch of no such cases.


Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AMP LIMITED 0.28% 1.82 End-of-day quote.-4.96%
COMCAST CORPORATION -0.36% 40.2047 Delayed Quote.-10.32%
LINE CORPORATION -0.18% 5580 End-of-day quote.4.30%
RISE, INC. 3.03% 34 End-of-day quote.13.33%
SEAWORLD ENTERTAINMENT, INC. 0.10% 15.755 Delayed Quote.-50.33%
SIX FLAGS ENTERTAINMENT CORPORATION -1.16% 19.655 Delayed Quote.-55.95%
SOFTBANK GROUP CORP. 4.60% 6190 End-of-day quote.30.15%
UNITED STATES DOLLAR (B) / CHINESE YUAN IN HONG KONG (USD/CNH) 0.07% 7.01725 Delayed Quote.1.53%
WORLD CO., LTD. -1.00% 1580 End-of-day quote.-41.29%
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