Coronavirus recession now expected to be deeper and longer

The medical threat from COVID-19 is far more serious than many originally suggested. Within that scientific reality, experts agree that the best hope for the least and shortest damage is a painful but increasingly tight adherence to the strategy of social distancing.

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April 1, 2020 - 5:46 PM

The famed Rodeo Drive in the heart of Beverly Hills, Calif., is quiet and empty, with many of the world's biggest fashion brands clearing out their stores in response to the coronavirus. Photo by Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON — As projections of the coronavirus death toll soar, forecasts for the ensuing economic carnage have also quickly turned much darker — both for the depth and duration of the damage.

Where only days ago, economists were following President Donald Trump’s lead in saying the U.S. economy would be back on track relatively quickly, a growing number now say the downturn will likely exceed the Great Recession of 2008-09.

U.S. economic output, which has grown without interruption for a record 10.5 years, could fall as much as 9% in 2020 — more than three times the sharpest drop during the Great Recession, according to some predictions. At the height of the Great Depression in 1932, the economy shrank a record 12.9%.

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