Secondly, even if the virus disappeared tomorrow the U.S. would very likely still be in serious economic trouble. As I have written before, America has been suffering from a shortfall of demand for the past 12 years, with the economy hovering barely above stall speed. It has now stalled completely, and while some people are getting money from super-unemployment and other rescue measures, millions of others have been financially ruined. The expanded unemployment benefits are set to expire in July, and Republicans have thus far sworn not to extend them.

Orthodox economics generally predicts rapid recoveries from recessions, but the snails-pace recovery after the 2008 crash shows this to be false. Lousy economic conditions can persist for a long time, and that is almost certainly the case today. It will take a great deal more stimulus on top of what has already passed to get to anywhere close to full employment and production — which is nowhere in sight.