Coronavirus Updates: U.S. GDP Slump Shows Covid's Economic Toll; Florida, Texas Post Record Deaths

Coronavirus Updates: U.S. GDP Slump Shows Covid's Economic Toll; Florida, Texas Post Record Deaths

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The full scope of the pandemic’s toll on the U.S. economy was on display Thursday, when government officials reported that gross domestic product shrank the most on record in the second quarter and 17 million Americans claimed state unemployment benefits in mid-July.

While the GDP drop — an astounding 32.9% when annualized — was widely anticipated at this point, the jobless claims figure was not. The almost 900,000 increase in the number of people claiming continued benefits provides the latest evidence that the nascent recovery from the collapse is being undermined by the resurgence of the virus across much of the U.S.

That’s particularly visible in rising continued claims from California, the most populous state, that may reflect renewed shutdowns and job losses. These figures indicate that even though third-quarter GDP could very well show a sharp initial rebound and give the appearance of a strong recovery, the gains could be short-lived.

Florida reported a record 253 new Covid-19 deaths among residents Thursday, bringing the cumulative total to 6,586. It was the third straight day of record fatalities.

The state has 461,379 Covid-19 cases, up 2.2% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 2.5% in the previous seven days, according to the health department report, which includes data through Wednesday. The seven-day rolling new cases totaled 71,511, the lowest since July 12.

The new rate of people testing positive for the first time fell to 12% for Wednesday, from 12.3% on Tuesday.

Texas virus deaths set a new record for the second day in a row, rising by 322 to 6,274 Thursday. Texas confirmed 8,800 new virus cases, bringing its total to 412,107. About 35% of that, or 145,291, are considered “active” cases of people currently sick with Covid-19.

The state health department has been changing the way it reports virus data, relying on death certificates instead of local governments. As a result, the state revised total deaths downward by 225 for this week, though that still made 302 new cases on Wednesday a record.

The data revisions provided by the state are giving a clearer picture of the disproportionately deadly impact of Covid-19 on minorities in Texas. Hispanics are about 40% of the state population, but make up 48% of virus fatalities, according to an analysis by the Texas Tribune newspaper.

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