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COVID-19 Updates: July 17

July 17, 2020
Infection Rates Continue Climbing; Motor Production Jumped in June; Jobless Claims Stall at More than a Million

The resurgence of both COVID-19 infections and deaths in the United States has not abated.

According to the latest data available from the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, there are 3,578,593 total active cases of COVID-19 in the United States. Compared to figures recorded one week ago, that’s an increase of almost half a million new infections. In the United States, 138,543 people—5,252 more people than last week—have died of the virus. More than a million people have recovered so far.

Rates of new infections still differ wildly from state to state, but almost all states are seeing higher levels of infections than ever before. Based on data available from July 16, Arizona, Delaware, South Dakota, and Maine are reporting a falling 3-day moving average of new cases. Other states and territories, including Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, currently report flat or rising moving averages. Arizona’s 3-day moving average falling trend is interesting in particular, as rates still remain at thousands more new infections per day more than rates recorded in April and May.

Falling Jobless Rates Stall at Over a Million

The rate of people applying for unemployment benefits made headlines back in March when it briefly spiked to more than 6.6 million people during the week of March 28, shattering to pieces the previous weekly record of 695,000 set during the Savings and Loan crisis. It has steadily fallen since then: roughly 5 million claims came in April, then 4 million in May, and so on. More recent reports reveal a troubling change to that trend, as the falling rate of new unemployment benefit applications looks as though it is settling into a flatter curve at just over a million claims per week. Read the full story here.

Motor Parts Production Leapt in June

According to the latest Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization report from the Federal Reserve, manufacturing marked notable steps towards recovery in June as industrial production rose 5.4% and capacity utilization rose 4.6% to 66.9%. Production of motor vehicles and parts drove the trend: industrial production of vehicle manufacturing rose by 105%, the most it’s ever risen since World War II. Despite the mammoth gains across the industry, production, capacity utilization, and output all remain below pre-pandemic levels recorded in February. Read the full story here.

3M, MIT Partner on New Virus Test

3M Co. and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced July 14 they would collaborate on a new, paper-based testing strip for COVID-19 that could be a game changer for quickly and effectively detecting the virus. Such a test would be helpful in terms of scalability and ease of use: paper-based tests can be mass-manufactured and do not have to be sent to a lab for results, similar to a pregnancy test. Read the full story here.

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