The US real gross domestic product (GDP) narrowed 4.8% in the first quarter of 2020, according to an advance estimate statement on Wednesday.

In the fourth quarter of the previous year, real GDP rose 2.1%, the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis said.

It noted: “The decline in first quarter GDP was, in part, due to the response to the spread of COVID-19, as governments issued ‘stay-at-home’ orders in March.”

After the country’s measures to stem the spread of the virus, schools and enterprises were closed, consumer spendings canceled or limited, and this situation changed the demand sharply, the bureau said.

“The decrease in real GDP in the first quarter reflected negative contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), nonresidential fixed investment, exports, and private inventory investment that were partly offset by positive contributions from residential fixed investment, federal government spending, and state and local government spending,” it stressed.

The US economy faced contractions in 2008 and 2009, following the financial crisis.

After originating in Wuhan, China last December, COVID-19 has spread to at least 185 countries and regions across the world. Europe and the US are currently the worst-hit.

The pandemic has killed more than 217,900 people worldwide, with the total number of infections exceeding 3.13 million, while at least 938,000 have recovered from the disease, according to figures compiled by the US-based Johns Hopkins University.

In the US, the virus infected over 1 million people and caused more than 58,300 deaths, so far.

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