Washington, Aug 2 (PTI) Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday expressed hope that the US economy, which has taken a hard hit due to the coronavirus pandemic, will bounce back, albeit a bit slow, in the third quarter this year.

The US has so far reported 4,635,279 coronavirus cases and 154,598 fatalities due to the disease.

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Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the US economy saw its largest contraction in modern history, wiping out the past five years of economic growth.

The US economy shrank at a 32.9% annual rate between April and June as the country grappled with lockdowns and spending cutbacks during the pandemic. It was the deepest decline since the government began keeping records in 1947 and three times more severe than the prior record of 10% set in 1958. "This virus has devastated our economy and it's no fault of individuals. This virus came from China. They should have been more forthright early on," Mnuchin told ABC News in an interview.

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The Trump administration blames China for not warning the world of the coronavirus pandemic earlier and hiding the extent of its outbreak. Beijing has rejected the allegations.

“I've said before, the second quarter was going to be horrible. We've never had a scenario in the history of time where we shut down the entire US economy. It's like turning off the water faucets,” he said.

“So, of course, GDP is going to be down. As we open up the water faucets, and many parts of the economy can safely operate, certain parts of the economy can't, and we've got to deal with that. I think you're going to see a very big bounce back off of a very low number this quarter assuming we continue on the right policies,” Mnuchin said.

The Treasury Secretary noted the scientific improvements that scientists are making on the vaccine.

"I think when we have a vaccine and life gets back to normal, you're going to see a great economy again next year," he said.

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