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COVID-19 Updates: July 30

July 30, 2020
Jobless Claims Climb Again; GDP Plummets; AI Advancing Worker Safety

On July 30, the United States achieved another grim milestone in deaths due to COVID-19. According to the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, the United States has now recorded more than 150,000 deaths. The figure is one of the highest in the world, due in part to the United States’ sizeable population. To date, the U.S. has seen 150,765 deaths, 1,389,425 total recoveries, and 4,431,399 known cases in total, representing more than a quarter of all confirmed cases worldwide.

The COVID-19 recession, once hoped to be a temporary if deep blip, has made an unprecedented impact on industrial production. New figures released on the U.S. GDP show domestic production in the April-June quarter fell 32.9% at an annualized rate.

The sustained impact of the pandemic has some manufacturers accounting for disruptions to last beyond even the end of the year: Boeing Co., in addition to earlier plans to trim its workforce by 10%, said it wouldn’t be counting on airline travel to resume pre-2019 levels for another three years.

Aviation Giants Still Staggering

Boeing Co. released its earnings report for the second quarter of 2020 on July 29, revealing a sustained negative impact from the outbreak. The company reported quarterly revenue of $11.8 billion, down $5.1 billion from the first quarter of the year.

In a separate announcement, CEO Dave Calhoun said that further cuts to commercial airliner production, in addition to a 10% company-wide cut currently being implemented, would be necessary to stabilize the company’s long-term outlook. He also announced the end of production for the Chicago-based airliner’s iconic 747, one of Boeing’s mainstay jets for decades. The last 747 will roll off production lines in 2022, Calhoun said, although support for the plane will continue for the foreseen future. Read the full story here.

In similar aviation news, Raytheon announced it would cut 8,000 jobs from its own commercial airline business. CEO Greg Hays said that the viral impact has been “a lot worse” than originally predicted, according to Bloomberg News. The company reported sales of $14.1 billion in the second quarter, with an operating cash flow of $210 million. Read the full story here.

US Preorders Pfizer Vaccine for $1.95 Billion

The United States has ordered 100 million doses of Pfizer, Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate in hopes it will prove an effective bulwark against the virus. The order for $1.95 billion of the drug came out of Operation Warp Speed, the government’s initiative to buy up and stockpile vaccine candidates in order to quickly deploy them once they’re cleared for emergency use. Read the full story here.

CEO Survey Shows Marked Pessimism for Speedy Recovery

According to a new survey published by the Manufacturers' Alliance, 8 out of 10 surveyed CEOs do not believe the economy will be able to recover in full by next summer. Other major shifts in CEO outlook were related to China's ascendancy, changes made to their supply chains, and annualized investments in smart factories. Read the full story here.

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