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[VOA] VOA 2020-05-09

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The US government has unveiled dreadful job numbers, the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It is a snapshot of how the coronavirus pandemic has upended the American economy. With a loss of 20.5 million jobs in April, the highest on record, US unemployment rate now stands at 14.7%, lower than predicted but still breathtaking.

Nearly all the job growth, since the end of Great Depression 11 years' growth, has disappeared, adding to the situation people who lost work April and didn't look for new jobs in light of their bleak prospects are not included in the jobless count. President Trump says he built the world's strongest economy and that we can do it again. His chances for reelection may hinge on how much voters take that pledge at face value.

The job numbers, notwithstanding. US stocks exchanges are higher today, with S&P 500 up around 1.4%. Asian markets closed with strong gains.

This the 75th anniversary of the end of WWⅡ in Europe, V-E day. But celebrations are muted by the global war against virus. President Trump marked the occasion with a trip to the WWⅡ Memorial in Washington, where he and the First Lady took part in a wreath laying ceremony.

The pandemic numbers are startling daily reminders of what the world is going through. Nearly 3.9 million cases worldwide and 270 thousand death, the count has been kept by Johns Hopkins University. The largest covid19 affected is here in the United Sates, with more than 1.25 million cases and the numbers of lives lost approaching 76 thousand.

CNN is reporting that a staff member of vice president Pence's office has test positive for the coronavirus. The source reports as Pence's morning flight to the state of Iowa was delayed a hour out of concern that some on the plane might have come in contact with the infected individual. The news comes just a day after what was learned that president Trump may have been exposed to the coronavirus since one of his personal valets has tested positive.

Dozens of America states are in the process of reopening their economies, most of them by bypassing the existing White House guidelines for when and how to do it. ____ among the benchmarks largely going on amid a downward trend of virus cases of positive tested results over a two week period.At least one state, Texas, is not even mandating the use of face masks in businesses that are reopening.

Universities of Washington researchers have doubled their projections of the coronavirus deaths in the US to more than 134 thousand through early August. A key reason is the lifting of a state's stay-at-home orders, which is expected to result in a continuing spread of the infections across the country. It is a easing being encouraged by US president Trump who insists state shutdowns can not go on.

Meanwhile, his administration has refused to accept a draft of an advisory from CDC, which outlines a step-by-step plan for local government officials on how to safely restart their economies. The White House is known to object that the plan is too specific and that it gives too little flexibility to states   ____ to act on their own.

Jobless in the Eurozone is expected to reach 10 percent in the coming month. The European Commission reports that overall the continental economy will be down about 7.5 percent this year. In France, about half of the private sector workforce is on leave under a government finance program. In Germany, 3 million workers are getting government payments equalled about 60 percent of their normal monthly salaries. Italy and Spain are on track to see 9 percent drop in economic activity this year.

Despite a harsh war of words over the origins of the coronavirus, China says it agree with the United States to create favorable conditions for the Phase I trade deal singed in January. China's vice-premier LH reportedly spoke by phone today with America's Trade Representative RL and Treasure Secretary SM.

UN Secretary General AG is appealing to governments and to the world's billionaires to contribute $6.7 billion to fight covid19 in poor countries. "Failure to wage that battle," says G, "could cause a hunger pandemic,famine, riots and conflict."  The UN leader also says that anti-foreigner sentiment is on the rise, with some countries refusing medical aid for migrants and refugees. G is calling for a end of what he terms "a tsunami of hate, xenophobia, scapegoating and fear-mongering."

A Trump administration official says a policy of stricter border enforcement imposed in response to the covid19 outbreak may have to stay in place even as pandemic conditions ease.
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