The fear that the coronavirus could be worse than the disease is finally breaking through.
As Economic Toll Mounts, Nation Ponders Trade-Offs
Cost of confronting pandemic is millions of jobs, trillions in wealth lost to save potentially millions of lives
The nation’s costly fight against the coronavirus pandemic is stirring debate inside the Trump administration and beyond about how much economic loss the country can bear to save an unknowable number of lives infected by the disease.
Millions of jobs were lost within days and millions more are projected to vanish as whole industries grind to a halt, streets empty and people hunker down at home to limit the spread of disease. Trillions of dollars are projected to be lost in economic output; trillions have been wiped out in stock market value; and trillions in government debt will be accumulated in the months ahead to help support households and businesses struggling to pay bills.
In an earlier post, I examined reports that question whether cost of the coronavirus cure is worse than the the disease because the fatality rate is a complete unknown.
Here I present reports of the dollar and human costs of virtually shutting down the American economy. You’ll see that no estimate is cut in stone; they range a great deal, reflexing the unprecedented nature of the crisis.
- COVID-19 likely to cost economy $1 trillion during 2020, says United Nations trade agency “There’s a degree of anxiety now that’s well beyond the health scares which are very serious and concerning.”
- Coronavirus-Triggered Downturn Could Cost Five Million U.S. Jobs. “Economic output seen shrinking by as much as $1.5 trillion with recession all but certain.”
- Coronavirus cost to business and workers: “It has all gone to hell. Personal stories from the New York Times about how businesses and workers are being devastated by public policies.
Coronavirus-Triggered Downturn Could Cost Five Million U.S. Jobs. Economic output seen shrinking by as much as $1.5 trillion with recession all but certain.
Baron’s: The Middle Class Faces Its Greatest Threat Since the 1930s (Subscription required.) “America is facing its next Great Depression…Not only is our health-care system ill-prepared for what is coming, but our debt is too high, our infrastructure crumbling, our safety net fragile, and our middle class poorly positioned to weather the storm.”
- Oxford Economics says virus already having ‘chilling effect’ as China factory closures spread. “Oxford Economics warned that the spread of the virus to regions outside Asia would knock 1.3% off global growth this year, the equivalent of $1.1 trillion in lost income.
- How much damage will coronavirus wreak on the global economy? “Economists have struggled to come up with estimates of the economic damage, but their projections, such as they are, are becoming grimmer.” Here’s one worst case projection: Gregory Daco, chief US economist at Oxford Economics, believes the US is already in recession and will experience a 12 per cent contraction in output in the second quarter before bouncing back to end the year flat. Such an outcome could lead to about one million job losses, he said.
- 37 million jobs could be lost in the coronavirus crisis and these workers will be the hardest hit, chart shows. “U.S. Private Sector Job Quality Index estimates that some 37 million domestic jobs are vulnerable to layoffs.”
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