May 17, 2020 - Economy

Fed chair warns U.S. economy may not "fully recover" until there's a vaccine

Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell said in an excerpt from CBS' "60 Minutes" on Sunday that the U.S. economy may not experience a full recovery until a coronavirus vaccine is available.

The big picture: Earlier Sunday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar predicted the U.S. will be able to return to some degree of normalcy thanks to "traditional public health tools" and that "everything does not depend on a vaccine."

  • Powell stressed that "for the economy to fully recover, people will have to be fully confident" — and that may not happen without a vaccine.
  • However, Powell added that he's optimistic that the economy will "recover steadily" in the second half of the year, assuming there isn't a second wave of the coronavirus.

President Trump has claimed that the U.S. could have a vaccine by the end of the year, a far more ambitious timeline than most public health experts project.

  • Rick Bright, the former director of a key vaccine agency, testified last week that even a 12- to 18-month timeline is "aggressive" and that the U.S. does not have a plan to distribute a vaccine for the coronavirus in a "fair and equitable manner" when one becomes available.

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