Concerns are growing today that the country may be in a deep recession and that a recovery may not happen quickly if people don't get back to work soon.
The government today is expected to announce another new record number of unemployment claims. COVID-19 related business shutdowns are the cause, and overall, experts say 50-million American jobs are vulnerable to layoffs.
"There's no doubt, in my mind, that we've entered into a recession – an economic contraction – and that we will probably touchback on the highs of unemployment of 10 percent that we saw during the great financial crisis and recession," said Bankrate economic analyst Mark Hamrick.
The heavy volume of people filing unemployment claims is overwhelming online government servers. Weslynne Therasse, a laid-off nurse practitioner in New York, found her online experience frustrating.
"It took probably two hours for me to actually be able to fill and submit the claim because the website is very slow. It kept on freezing and crashing," she said.
One solution? People in Hialeah, Florida are submitting claims at a pop-up government drive-through.
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Meanwhile, in New York, officials announced another record coronavirus death toll Wednesday with 779 deaths in one day.
But there's good news: the infection rate is slowing as some hospitals release more patients than they are admitting.
As the curve starts flattening in New York, other potential metropolitan hotspots are popping up: Washington DC, Philadelphia, and Baltimore.
Particularly hard hit are African Americans. The disease is taking a larger toll in the black community where some underlying medical conditions that make the disease so deadly are more prevalent. An Associated Press analysis shows 42% of victims whose demographic data were shared were black, while blacks make up roughly 21 percent of the population in those areas.
"Health disparities in the minority communities, but particularly the African American community, puts them at risk apart from coronavirus issues, puts them at risk for diseases much more so than the general population," Coronavirus Task Force member Dr. Anthony Fauci explained.
In the meantime, a new model predicts fewer US deaths from the virus by August. Once expected to number as many as 240,000, the death toll number is now down significantly, predicted to reach 60,000.
"You re-do your models depending upon your data and our data is telling us that mitigation is working," Dr. Fauci insisted.
So, when will America start getting back to a pre-COVID-19 normal? Some experts say not until a vaccine is readily available.
In this week's episode of the CBN News Channel program The Global Lane, former FDA Associate Commissioner Peter Pitts said a vaccine may come sooner than expected.
"My information tells me that we will see a vaccine between 10 and 12 months and that's because a variety of companies all around the world, but largely in the US, are devoting tremendous resources to getting the job done quickly," Pitts explained.
In one small sign of a return to normalcy, the Trump administration has approved new guidelines allowing essential workers exposed to the virus to go back to work—if they aren't showing any symptoms.
On Wednesday, President Trump held a conference call with 10,000 faith leaders. He shared some words of encouragement.
"While we may be physically apart we can use this time to pray and reflect and to focus on our personal relationship with God," he said.
In the meantime, coronavirus relief checks will begin hitting some American bank accounts just after Easter. This comes as Congress negotiates additional funding to provide more paycheck protection loans to small businesses and the president is expected to announce a second task force aimed at getting the economy back on track.