The British economy shrank by an “unprecedented” 20.4% in April, the first full month of the coronavirus lockdown.
The new figures mark the largest monthly contraction since records began in 1997 and massively outstrips the then-record 5.8% drop in March gross domestic product (GDP) reported last month.
It means that GDP fell by 10.4% in the three months to April and sets the U.K. on course for one of its worst quarters in history.
May’s GDP figures are also likely to be awful, before things start to ease again in June as the economy slowly reopens. Large parts of the British economy were placed on ice on March 23 when Prime Minister Boris Johnson told people they must stay inside and only leave the house when absolutely necessary.
The official U.K. death toll is 41,279, second only to the United States.
— Chris York
New positive cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all on the rise in Arizona after the state eased major shelter-in-place orders in mid-May, allowing gyms, spas, movie theaters, restaurants and bars to reopen without releasing strict guidelines on how people should maintain their safety.
NPR’s analysis found that the state is averaging more than 1,000 new cases per day.
“We weren’t ready to reopen,” Dr. Matthew Heinz, an internist at Tucson Medical Center, told ABC News on Thursday. “We hadn’t met the criteria set down by the WHO or the CDC to even begin to look at reopening the state, but political leadership pushed us in that direction.”
Arizona is one of 14 states where cases are rising.
The U.S. has reported more than 2 million confirmed coronavirus cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data Thursday.
The grim milestone comes as states continue to reopen, despite rising infection rates. More than 112,000 people have died in the U.S.
President Trump, who has long downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic, has used the opportunity of widespread protests against racism and police brutality as an opportunity to argue for holding rallies again. On Wednesday, his campaign said the first rally since early March would be held in Tulsa on June 19, with plans to visit Florida, North Carolina, Arizona and Texas.
— Liza Hearon
The Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals were officially canceled on Wednesday. Organizers had initially re-scheduled the events from April to October when the coronavirus began spreading around the U.S.
Dr. Cameron Kaiser, a public health officer in Riverside County, California, said the popular festivals wouldn’t be able to take place until 2021 at the earliest amid concerns cases of COVID-19 could rebound in the fall.
“Given the projected circumstances and potential, I would not be comfortable moving forward,” Kaiser said, per The Associated Press.
The 2020 Coachella festival, which takes place over two weekends and attracts up to 125,000 fans with its sister event, Stagecoach, was set to feature Rage Against the Machine, Travis Scott and Frank Ocean, among others.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said music festivals and live sports will be the last in line to reopen under the state’s coronavirus guidelines. They will not be able to resume until there is an effective treatment for the disease.
— Nick Visser
Disney plans to reopen its Southern California theme parks ― Disneyland and Disney California Adventure ― on July 17, more than four months after they closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The reopening, which is pending government approval, will come with some new rules until further notice: a lower park capacity, reservations to enter, no parades and no character meet-and-greets.
The proposed reopening day falls on the 65th anniversary of the day Disneyland first opened its doors in 1955.
― Lydia O’Connor
COVID-19 hospitalizations have been on the rise in at least nine states — including Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, California, Oregon, Arkansas, Mississippi, Utah and Arizona — since Memorial Day weekend, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
The data suggests that the rise in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in these states is occurring for reasons beyond an increase in testing, according to the Post.
Texas, one of the first states to ease its stay-at-home order, has reportedly seen a 36% increase in new cases since Memorial Day on May 25. As of Tuesday, the state has recorded two consecutive days of record-breaking coronavirus hospitalizations, the Post reported.
Health experts have warned that mass gatherings, such as the anti-lockdown protests that began in mid-April and the anti-racism protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd on Memorial Day, could lead to new outbreaks of the virus. They’ve encouraged attendees to wear masks and socially distance as much as possible during these demonstrations.
The United States has recorded the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world with nearly 2 million as of Wednesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. More than 112,000 coronavirus-linked deaths have been reported nationwide.
— Hayley Miller