The virtual shutdown of the U.S. economy is barely a week old, yet the debate over
when to restart is already in full swing — even as coronavirus cases surge.
The coronavirus pandemic has infected nearly 400,000 people worldwide.
With over a dozen U.S. states ordering citizens to remain indoors and shutting down establishments
deemed non-essential, economists think the world’s largest economy has already been thrust into a deep recession.
The nearly $2 trillion stimulus package being hammered out in Washington is meant to help stave off
the mounting economic carnage, but millions of jobs are still expected to be lost in the coming weeks.
The damage — both economic and political — has stoked a widening debate over when the U.S. can return
to a semblance of normalcy.
With his re-election chances likely to be defined by a recovery from the crisis,
President Donald Trump on Tuesday called for the economy to be restarted by April 12.
“You’re basically turning off the country…that’s never been done before,” Trump told a Fox News town hall.
“Its been very painful for our country. It’s been very destabilizing for our country…
but we have to go back to work,” the president added.
Yet public health experts and Wall Street economists are pushing back against the suggestion
that the U.S. economy can restart in a matter of weeks, warning about the risks posed
if infections continue to surge. There are now nearly 50,000 domestic COVID-19 cases,
with New York considered an epicenter of new infections.