An unprecedented number of people in the U.S. have filed for unemployment, but this isn’t a normal recession, says William Dickens, University Distinguished Professor of economics and social policy.
In a typical recession, Dickens says, the government wants to stimulate the economy so that people go back to their normal routines, both making and spending money. But if stores open and people return to work now, epidemiologists are warning that the United States could see a catastrophic number of deaths as the virus spreads rapidly and hospitals are overwhelmed.
Instead, the country has made the conscious decision to shut down. The question is, what will the economy look like when we finally get the virus under control, either through physical distancing, testing, and isolation methods or a vaccine? Will there be an economy to go back to?