“The lesson of the Chinese experience is: It’s going to be slow going”

With China’s months-long outbreak apparently contained, most factories and businesses there have reopened. But fears of a fresh wave of infections led the government last week to reimpose travel restrictions in Wuhan, where the pandemic began, and order the closure of several hundred movie theaters that had just reopened for the first time since January.

The halting Chinese recovery offers sobering lessons for U.S. policymakers about what is shaping up to be a more protracted economic convalescence than the White House wants, according to business executives and economists.

“A V-shaped recovery seems to be really difficult to envision,” said James Green, senior adviser at McLarty Associates and a former U.S. diplomat in Beijing. “The lesson of the Chinese experience is: It’s going to be slow going.”…

China’s two steps forward, one step back performance shows no recovery can gain steam before the pandemic is brought under control and measures to prevent a future outbreak — including widespread public health monitoring — are implemented. Even if those conditions are met, the collapse of many businesses and enduring changes in consumer behavior are likely to reshape the economy, altering investment, spending and saving patterns.