Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said in a 60 Minutes interview Sunday (May 17th) that the U.S. economy may begin to recover from its coronavirus-induced recession in the second half of the year if there isn't another wave of the virus. But his optimism was tempered when it came to how long it would take, saying a recovery could last through the end of next year, and that a vaccine would likely be necessary for Americans to feel safe to return to their normal economic activity. He noted that the economy was healthy before the pandemic forced widespread business shutdowns and historically high unemployment, and said it should therefore rebound, quote, "substantially" once the virus is contained. Powell also repeated that he believes Congress and the Fed must be ready to provide more financial support to prevent permanent damage to the economy from large number of small business bankruptcies or long-term unemployment.
Meanwhile, as U.S. fatalities from the coronavirus passed 89,500 as of last night, according to Johns Hopkins University's count, many states continued to reopen, while worries continued about possible spikes in cases as they do. Texas, which was one of the earliest states to allow stores and restaurants to reopen, had its highest single-day increase in cases on Saturday, 1,801 of them. However, Texas officials said more testing was a big reason why, meaning testing was finding more cases, not necessarily that there were more of them. In California, Butte County said that a person who attended a Mother's Day church event with more than 180 other people tested positive the day after the service. Officials are trying to get everyone who was there tested and have notified all of them to self-quarantine. The religious event took place despite it not being allowed under Governor Gavin Newsom's stay-at-home order.
Another eight sailors on the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier have again tested positive for the coronavirus after having gone through at least two weeks of isolation and testing negative twice in a row before being allowed to return to the ship, bringing the total number to 13 sailors. The cases are raising questions about if a second infection or a relapse is possible, as well as about the accuracy of the testing. Infections with the virus could possibly be at such a low level that it's not detected by the test.