Americans Worry About Economy Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

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Dennis, a teacher residing 40 minutes from the nation’s capital, has seen his stock portfolio plummet by 200,000 U.S. dollars in just a matter of weeks.

“I might have to put off retirement for a couple of years, until I can make it up,” he told Xinhua, speaking of his retirement investments.

As the novel coronavirus spreads, it has wreaked havoc on U.S. markets, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping from over 29,000 points to Monday’s 22,679.

The U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday that over 6 million individuals filed for unemployment benefits — double the amount of the previous week. Economists expect the economy — which just a month ago was the strongest in 50 years — to fall into recession.

While the White House has signed a 2 trillion U.S. dollar stimulus bill, the virus may well spring up in different pockets here and there, and Washington can not simply keep passing a stimulus bill every time there is a breakout and an area goes under lockdown, some observers said.

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The virus is spreading fast nationwide, with more than 360,000 COVID-19 cases confirmed as of Monday, including more than 10,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Rose, a Northern Virginia resident who is now working from home, noted that while she understands that elderly and unhealthy individuals are disproportionately impacted, she frets over the virus’ rapid spread.

That could, of course, make people think twice before going back to restaurants and coffee shops even when they re-open.

Others, however, view things differently. Some say they are not worried about getting sick as long as they maintain the government’s recommended social distancing of six feet from others and wash their hands frequently.

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They noted that the main outbreak is in New York City. That city has a population density far greater than most other areas in the United States — a nation with endless, spacious suburbs and wide open spaces — and is thus more conducive to the spread of illness. About half of all coronavirus deaths in the United States are registered in New York and neighboring New Jersey.

Still, it remains unknown whether the United States will see outbreaks in other parts of the country until there is a vaccine, which is at least a year away.

Anita, a chiropractor who has gone from working full time to part time, also worries about the effect of the virus on her industry, with clients postponing their appointments in a bid to self-isolate.

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However, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted Monday that there is “light at the end of the tunnel,” as the virus nears its peak, and some in the area believe the economy will make a comeback once the spread of the virus begins to decline.

Dennis, whose investment portfolio lost value, believes this is a great time to buy stocks at a discount. Once the virus blows over and the fear has died down, the economy will see a surging comeback, he said.

“People are already fed up with staying at home,” he said, adding that he foresees a surge of people visiting restaurants and bars once they re-open.

Xinhua

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