Photo Credit: U.S. Air National Guard photo by Major Patrick Cordova
New York National Guards add lamps to the Patient Care Units (PCU) at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, April 2, 2020.

On Monday morning, Israel saw 11 new cases of the coronavirus, with the overall number of patients standing at 16,617. There are 3,403 patients still under observation, with 4 dead as of Monday morning, and 272 dead altogether. 76 patients recovered Monday, bringing the overall number of recoveries to 12,942. Israel has a rate of 31 dead per one million.

Things are not nearly as promising over in the United States, where the number of dead from the coronavirus reached 90,978 on Sunday, with 1,090,297 active cases and 346,389 recoveries. The US rate of deaths per one million is 275.

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New York State has suffered 28,325 deaths, with 6,383 dead in Brooklyn; 5,931 in Queens; 4,252 in the Bronx; 2,741 in Manhattan; and 930 dead on Staten Island. On Long Island, Nassau county has 2,044 dead; Suffolk 1,748. Westchester county has suffered 1,289 deaths from the coronavirus. New Jersey experienced 10,366 deaths: 1,057 in Hudson county; 1,455 in Bergen; 1,535 in Essex; and 838 in Passaic.

On Sunday, May 17, CBS 60 Minutes’ Scott Pelley interviewed Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who said the current economic slump in the US “could stretch through the end of next year.”

Here are parts of the transcript of the interview, courtesy of CBS.

SCOTT PELLEY, CBS NEWS / 60 MINUTES: There’s only one question that anyone wants an answer to, and that is: when does the economy recover?

JEROME POWELL, CHAIRMAN OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE: It’s a good question. And very difficult to answer because it really does depend, to a large degree, on what happens with the coronavirus. The sooner we get the virus under control, the sooner businesses can reopen. And more important than that, the sooner people will become confident that they can resume certain kinds of activity. Going out, going to restaurants, traveling, flying on planes, those sorts of things. So that’s really going to tell us when the economy can recover.

PELLEY: Many states are beginning to reopen their economies. Do you consider the virus under control?

POWELL: Well, I think we’re going to see what happens with that. People will need to take certain measures to protect themselves. Wash their hands, wear masks in certain situations and things like that. And I do think that over the next couple of months, you’re going to be seeing the beginnings of the recovery, as people, as businesses reopen and people go back to work.

The big thing we have to avoid during that period is a second wave of the virus. But if we do, then the economy can continue to recover. We’ll see GDP move back up after the very low numbers of this quarter. We’ll see unemployment come down. But I think though it’ll be a while before we really feel, well recovered.

PELLEY: Well, that is the question that everyone wants an answer to: “What is a while?” Can there be a recovery without a reasonably effective vaccine?

POWELL: Well, I think you’ll see, again assuming there’s not a second wave of the coronavirus, I think you’ll see the economy recover steadily through the second half of this year. I do think that people will be careful about resuming their typical spending behavior. So certain parts of the economy will recover much more slowly.

Travel, entertainment, things that we do that involve being around lots of other people.
So for the economy to fully recover, people will have to be fully confident. And that may have to await the arrival of a vaccine. But in any case, the economy can continue to, can start getting better fairly soon.

[…]

PELLEY: Some of the best economic analysts in the world report to you. And I wonder what they’re telling you the height of unemployment will be.

POWELL: Again, nobody knows. I would say this though. It seems as a reasonable base case that there will be more layoffs probably this month and next month. And as we sit here, 20 million people have lost their jobs in a period of really two months. And it’s heartbreaking because where we were just two months ago was we had the lowest unemployment in 50 years, the lowest African-American unemployment ever since we began measuring it.

We had low- and moderate-income communities telling us that this was the best labor market, that you can finally see the benefits of what a tight labor market actually means. More opportunity. And it looked like we would continue to see that going forward for some time and further and further benefits.

Instead, we have this situation where 20 million people have lost their jobs. And my sense is that it’s likely that we’ll have a couple more months of net job losses. Then, assuming that the economy does begin to reopen and we do that successfully, you’ll see people going back to work.

The good news is that the 20 million people who’ve been laid off overwhelming report themselves as having been laid off temporarily. They’re considered temporarily unemployed. And that’s because they expect to go back to their old job.

So if those businesses can reopen and if we can do it in a way that doesn’t create further problems with the virus, then people can go back to work. So I would say the peak unemployment might be in the next couple of months. And then you might see it coming down over the second half of the year.

PELLEY: And your people are projecting what, 20%? 25%?

POWELL: I think there’re a range of perspectives. But those numbers sound about right for what the peak may be.

PELLEY: 25% is the estimated height of unemployment during the Great Depression. Do you think history will look back on this time and call this the Second Great Depression?

POWELL: No, I don’t. I don’t think that’s a likely outcome at all. There’re some very fundamental differences. The first is that the cause here– we had a very healthy economy two months ago. And this is an outside event, it is a natural disaster, in effect. And that’s one big difference. In the ’20s when the Depression, well, when the crash happened and all that, the financial system really failed. Here, our financial system is strong has been able to withstand this. And we spent ten years strengthening it after the last crisis. So that’s a big difference. In addition, the last thing I’ll say is that the government response in the ’30s, the central banks were trying to raise interest rates to keep us on the gold standard all around the world. Exactly the opposite of what needed to be done.

In this case, you have governments around the world and central banks around the world responding with great force and very quickly. And staying at it. So I think all of those things point to what will be — it’s going to be a very sharp downturn. It should be a much shorter downturn than you would associate with the 1930s.

Read the full transcript here.

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