Auston Lampky, Staff Writer
Since the COVID-19 virus began to grab the attention of the world in December, it has proliferated throughout the globe and forced people to confine themselves to their homes and practice social distancing in public. In America, the fears of many were realized when the first U.S. case was reported in Washington in January. Since then, many other countries around the globe have reported numerous cases of the virus.
According to Al Jazeera, as of April 17, 2.2 million cases have been reported worldwide. Of those infected, there have been reported recoveries of 500,000 and 151,000 deaths. Of the millions of cases counted, “at least 185 countries and territories” have been affected. To date, Yemen has been the country with the lowest number of citizens infected, having only one reported case, while the United States leads the world in new cases. The island of American Samoa, a territory of the United States, is the only place in the world with 0 cases to date.
Domestically, U.S. state and city governments have been doing all they can to limit and eventually stop the spread of COVID-19. Stay at home orders have become the new normal in many places across the U.S., and those who do venture out are often seen wearing gloves and face coverings.
The economic hardship caused by the virus has been devastating for many. According to a Yahoo Finance article published on April 16, the U.K. is preparing itself for the financial repercussions of the virus as a three-week lockdown extension will batter the country even further. The country’s unemployment has “already jumped, with many employers laying off staff and up to 11 million workers expected to be ‘furloughed’ on reduced pay as firms’ earnings dry up,” according to Yahoo Finance.
Oren Klachkin, Oxford Economics’ top correspondent, discussed the effects of the coronavirus on America’s economic health in the U.S. News’ article “Unemployment Rates Jump in Colorado, Nevada Amid Coronavirus…looking ahead, with most of the U.S. population under some form of lockdown, we will experience unprecedented job losses across the country. Nationally, we anticipate that 27 million jobs will be lost in April and May combined, with 24 million of those losses expected in April while the unemployment rate is forecast to surge to 14 percent.”
However, amidst the seemingly endless stream of bad news, one tiny sparkle of hope for those living in the U.S. did emerge. On April 16, Fox News reported that during a press conference, President Donald Trump announced a plan to gradually, and safely, reopen the American economy. The plan is organized into three phases- phase one mandates many of the same social distancing standards currently in effect nationwide, and will progress gradually to phase three- the “easing off” of control measures once the virus begins to disappear.
Each U.S. governor is individually responsible for deciding when this plan will commence in their respective state, given the variance of number and severity of cases between regions. So far, according to the U.S. News’ article “Unemployment Rates Jump in Colorado, Nevada Amid Coronavirus,” 22 states have already elected to implement the first phase of President Trump’s plan. This news will no doubt bring hope to many Americans that a return to some degree of normalcy is not too far in the future.