The Wider World

Economy drops at a 32.9% rate

THE EFFECTS of the coronavirus have rattled the U.S. economy at an historic rate, according to a new report out Thursday (Shutterstock).

The U.S. economy plunged by an historic 32.9 percent annual rate for the second quarter of 2020, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis in a report released Thursday.

That decline is the worst since the Commerce Department started measuring the gross domestic product in 1947. The effects of the coronavirus are being blamed for the downturn. “We expect it will take years for that damage to be fully recovered,” said economist Andrew Hunter.

Last week, 1.4 million more Americans filed new employment claims. It was the 19th consecutive week that over 1 million people had applied for jobless benefits. The Dow Jones and S&P 500 stock indexes each fell on Thursday.

Election postponed? No way, say Republicans

President Donald Trump’s suggestion that the 2020 presidential election be delayed because of potential fraud was rejected by leaders of his own party on Thursday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy both turned thumbs down on the idea. The date of the election – the first Tuesday in November – was established by Congress in 1845 and can only be changed by Congress.

Further, the inauguration date is established in the Constitution as Jan. 20.  Because many of the states are using mail-in balloting, some results may be delayed past election night. The president has suggested that he may not accept the results of the voting if he feels it was “rigged” against him.

Also in the news: Cain dead at 74; NASA launches rover

  • Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, who ran unsuccessfully for his party’s nomination in 2012, is dead at the age of 74 early Thursday morning. He was also was CEO of the Godfather pizza chain. Cain likely died of COVID-19 after two weeks of being ill with the virus, which he may have contracted at a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
  • NASA’s latest mechanical explorer bound for the Red Planet lifted off Thursday morning from Cape Canaveral. Mars Perseverance was aboard an Atlas V rocket on its way to a mission to bring home geological specimens. It’s “humanity’s first round trip to another planet,” said NASA mission chief Thomas Zurbuchen. The cargo will come back to Earth in 2031.
  • A vaccine that has proven to be effective in protecting monkeys from the coronaviruswas announced by Johnson & Johnson on Thursday. The potential vaccine is still in clinical trials, according to the company. The firm added that it hopes to manufacture 1 billion doses of the drug in 2021 if it proves as effective on humans.
  • Real Clear Politics average of recent presidential preference polls shows Democrat Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump 49.9 percent to 41.6 percent. That’s an 8.3 edge for Biden, reflecting a slight narrowing of the race. FiveThirtyEight.com shows similar results, with Biden leading 50 percent to 41.7 percent.

The 2019-2020 NBA season gets restarted

The coronavirus-interrupted NBA season rebooted on Thursday night with the two L.A.-area teams facing off in a “seeding game.”

Results of pro sports for Thursday night, updated as needed.

  • Lakers 103, Clippers 101. (Final). Anthony Davis scored 34 points to lead the Lakers to a close, come-from-behind win over their city rivals. LeBron James had 16 points as the Lakers improved to 50-14. Kyle Kuzma scored 16 off the bench for the winners. The Clippers were led by Paul George with 30 points and Kawhi Leonard with 28.  James’ tip-in with 12.8 seconds to play was the game-winner. The Clips are now 44-21.
  • Mariners 8, Angels 5. A three-run rally in the bottom of the ninth wasn’t enough as the Halos (2-5) fell to the M’s in Anaheim. Jose Marmolejos gave Seattle a 3-0 lead in the first with a home run off Angel starter Dylan Bundy (1-1). Max Stassi got the OC team within one with a two-run home run in the fifth. The visitors added five runs in the ninth, and Shohei Ohtani made the score respectable with a three-run blast in the bottom of the inning. The Angels, now in last place in the AL West, will start a new series on Friday, hosting the Houston Astros (3-3).
  • Dodgers 6, Diamondbacks 3. Two first inning home runs gave the Dodgers a lead they would never relinquish, They ended up with round-trippers from Max Muncy, A.J. Pollock and Corey Seager. Ross Stripling improved his record to 2-0 by working 5.1 innings and yielding four hits and three runs. He struck out two and walked two. The Dodgers are now 5-2 and in second place in the NL West. They face the D-backs again on Friday.

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