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U.S. can't shut down economy again amid concerns over 2nd COVID-19 wave: treasury secretary

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 10:43, June 13, 2020

WASHINGTON, June 11 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday that the United States cannot shut down the economy again amid rising concerns over a potential second wave of COVID-19.

"We can't shut down the economy, again. I think we've learned that if you shut down the economy, you're going to create more damage, and not just economic damage, but there are other areas," Mnuchin said in an interview with CNBC.

"And we've talked about this. Medical problems and everything else that get put on hold," he said.

Mnuchin said he is prepared to return to Congress to request additional fiscal aid to help the economy and workers weather the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We're prepared to go back to Congress for more money to support the American workers," said Mnuchin. "So, we're going to get everybody back to work."

More than 44 million initial jobless claims have been filed over the past 12 weeks as the COVID-19-induced recession sent ripples through the U.S. labor market, according to the Labor Department.

While White House officials have expressed optimism that the economy will rebound in the second half of the year, economists and public health experts have warned that a hasty reopening of the economy could trigger a second wave of COVID-19 infections, which could reverse the economic recovery.

Over 80 percent of panelists view a second wave of COVID-19 as the greatest downside risk for the U.S. economy through 2020, according to a survey released by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) on Monday.

"The NABE panel remains decidedly pessimistic about the second quarter of the year, as 80 percent of participants view risks to the outlook tilted to the downside," said NABE Outlook Survey Chair Eugenio Aleman.

The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States has surpassed the 2 million mark with more than 113,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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