Covid-19 cases surge could hinder economic recovery: Fed chief

US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has warned that a record surge in new Covid-19 cases across the country could hinder the recent economic recovery.

“We do see the economy continuing on a solid path of recovery, but the main risk we see to that is the further spread of disease here in the US,” Xinhua news agency quoted Powell as saying during a virtual event held by the European Central Bank on Thursday.

“With the virus now spreading, the next few months could be challenging,” Powell said, adding the Fed and Congress may need to do more to strengthen the recovery.

While the recent development of the vaccine is “good and welcome news for the medium term”, there are significant uncertainties about “timing production, distribution, and efficacy for different groups”, Powell noted.

“It’s just too soon to assess with any confidence the implications of the news for the path of the economy, especially in the near term,” he said.

Powell’s comments came after the country witnessed another grim milestone on Wednesday as key Covid-19 metrics including the daily case count, seven-day average daily increase and hospitalizations all set new world records.

According to data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US on Thursday registered 143,408 new Covid-19, a record daily increase since the onset of the pandemic in the country.

The new figure took the overall caseload to 10,535,828.

A total of 1,479 deaths from the coronavirus were recorded nationwide on Wednesday, bringing the seven-day average death increase to 1,134, the highest since early August.

The death toll currently stands at 242,654.

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