April 2020

In April, we began to come to terms with the lethality of the coronavirus pandemic. Cases and deaths skyrocketed. The choice was clear. To contain the spread of the virus, it was necessary to shut down economic activity. Instantaneously synchronous severe recessions engulfed all global economies. Unemployment in the United States jumped from a multi-decade low to a near Great Depression high in a matter of weeks. There is neither a vaccine nor an effective drug therapy. Development of effective treatments will take many months. Thus, reopening the economy requires robust testing, contact tracing and quarantining. And even those responses will take weeks to prepare. Reopening the economy too soon will result in a resurgence in infections, as has occurred in Japan, Taiwan and Singapore. Recovery will be slow and painful.

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