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Trump to push for reopening US as 20 million seek unemployment benefits

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
People who lost their jobs wait in line to apply for unemployment benefits following the coronavirus outbreak at in Fort Smith, Arkansas, on April 6, 2020. (Reuters photo)

A record more than 20 million Americans have sought unemployment benefits amid shuttered stores and restaurants over the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, according to a report.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump on Thursday was pushing to reopen the economy after a monthlong shutdown, despite concerns from health experts, governors and business leaders that lifting the lockdown could worsen the situation.

The coronavirus has killed about 31,000 and infected 640,000 people across the US.

On Wednesday, a record number of 2,371 people died, the heaviest daily toll of any country.

The country recorded its first COVID-19 fatality on February 29, and it took 38 days to reach 10,000 deaths and just nine more days to go from 10,000 fatalities to 30,000. The previous high single-day death toll was 2,364 on Tuesday, Reuters said.

But Trump suggested the US has passed the peak on the coronavirus cases and that he will announce the first plans for lifting virus lockdowns.

Trump was planning to ask the states to lift stay-at-home and other restrictions that were imposed last month to halt the spread of the very contagious disease.

The pandemic has crushed America’s economy to levels not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s as over 20 million people have sought unemployment benefits, including another 5.2 million who filed for aid in the past week, pushing the US unemployment rate to 8.2%.

A Washington-based watchdog group said on Monday that a steep economic downturn and massive coronavirus rescue spending will nearly quadruple the fiscal 2020 US budget deficit to a record $3.8 trillion.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) also projected that the fiscal 2021 deficit would reach $2.1 trillion in 2021, and average $1.3 trillion through 2025 as the economy recovers from damage caused by the shutdowns.

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