Americans increased their retail purchases by 1.2% in July, with solid gains in appliances and clothing, restoring sales to their level before the viral pandemic erupted in March.
Sales at retail stores and restaurants have now risen for three straight months, after enormous plunges in March and April, when the pandemic suddenly shuttered businesses and paralyzed the economy.
Still, much of that spending has been fueled by government relief spending that had put more money in people's pockets but has since expired. With Americans' overall income likely shrinking, economists expect a potential drop in spending and a weakening of economic growth.
Here's an update on all developments. Scroll or swipe further for in-depth coverage.
- President Donald Trump is attacking Joe Biden for calling on governors to mandate that all Americans wear masks for the next three months, accusing the Democratic presidential candidate of politicizing an issue Trump himself has used for political gain in recent months.
- Biden is poised to unveil his vision for the modern Democratic Party in the first presidential nominating convention of the coronavirus era, an all-virtual affair that will test the former vice president's ability to overcome unprecedented logistical challenges in an urgent mission to energize a winning coalition.
- Fans wore masks and players drank from their own water bottles instead of sharing Thursday night at Herriman High School in Utah at what was said to be the first high school football game in the United States since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
- New Zealand's government extended a lockdown of its largest city Auckland for another 12 days as it tries to stamp out its first domestic coronavirus outbreak in more than three months.
- British travelers in France were scrambling to return home Friday to avoid having to self-isolate for 14 days following the U.K. government's decision to reimpose quarantine restrictions on France amid a recent pick-up in coronavirus infections.
- As the restarted NBA reaches the end of the regular season, the questions go far beyond simple basketball matters. The coronavirus pandemic forces teams eliminated from the playoffs to wonder whether they will be safe, and when — or where — they might be back together again.
- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un lifted a lockdown in a major city near the border with South Korea where thousands had been quarantined for weeks over coronavirus worries, state media said.
For more summaries and full reports, please select from the articles below. Scroll further for a roundup of key virus questions.
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