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26 Apr 2021
3 min read

US Economy Picks Up as Global Covid-19 Cases Hit a Record

US Economy Picks Up as Global Covid-19 Cases Hit a Record

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Key Takeaways

  • US economic growth remains strong, GDP figures expected on Thursday
  • Global cases reach a seven-day record, breaking over 5.5 million

The US economy is showing signs of improvement during the first quarter of 2021 as the world economy is gradually reopening and business and social restrictions are being relaxed. A slew of economic data coming from the US has suggested that the US economy is bound to bounce back into growth, aligning with the rosy projections by the Federal Reserve and the International Monetary Fund. Both the Fed and the IMF forecast the US economy to grow by over 6.4% this year.

Economic activity in the US reported an upswing as soon as some of the restrictions were lifted in April. This week, US GDP data is expected to show strong growth for the first quarter. Among a full slate of economic data this week, on Thursday, the first official reading of the US GDP for the first quarter will likely be lifted by increased consumer spending, boosted by government aid, including stimulus checks. Strong hiring and accelerating vaccination campaigns are also expected to contribute to economic growth.

In other parts of the world, however, new coronavirus variants and easing of restrictions have brought a new wave of infections. Cases in some places around the globe have the virus surging, including India and Brazil. Chaos in India has defined the past couple of weeks as the country reported over 1 million cases in three days. Last week, on Thursday, India reported the single-day record for confirmed cases globally, over 314,000. The jump in daily cases threatens to overwhelm the country’s healthcare system while Prime Minister Narendra Modi shuns a nationwide lockdown. Estimates show that less than 10% of the population in India has been vaccinated and less than 2% has been fully vaccinated. According to health experts, the contagious variants in India could spread around the globe. Uncoordinated efforts of various countries could derail the global recovery from the virus and could potentially extend the pandemic itself.

Vaccination Efforts Continue Around the Globe

Global coronavirus cases in the past week reached their highest levels. In a week, 5.6 million cases were reported last week, more than double the rate in mid-February. The figures are also higher than the December peak. Turkey is another country that has seen its cases climb. The confirmed weekly infections in Turkey have risen eight times since February.

Across Europe, governments are torn between reopening their economies and keeping the new cases down by remaining under lockdowns. Most European countries are considering gradually open up but infections in EU members such as Germany, Italy, and France continue to rise. The European Union has given at least one shot of a coronavirus vaccine to 21% of Europeans. On the bright side, after supply hiccups, the pace of vaccination in Europe is accelerating as vaccine producers can produce extra quantities.

In the US, cases have mostly plateaued in recent months due to the strong vaccine efforts by health authorities. More than half of the US population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, contributing to lowering the daily cases from over 200,000 in January to between 50,000 and 70,000 cases a day for the past month and a half.

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