At the start of this year, things seemed to be looking up for the global economy. True, growth had slowed a bit in 2019—from 2.9 percent to 2.3 percent in the United States, and from 3.6 percent to 2.9 percent globally. Still, there had been no recession, and as recently as January, the International Monetary Fund projected a global growth rebound in 2020. The new coronavirus, COVID-19, has changed all of that.
Early predictions about COVID-19’s economic impact were reassuring. Similar epidemics—such as the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), another China-born coronavirus—did little damage globally. At the country level, GDP growth took a hit, but quickly bounced back, as consumers released pent-up demand and firms rushed to fill back orders and restock inventories.
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