Mar 17, 2020 - Politics & Policy

The coronavirus economic pain in the U.S. has begun

A theater worker dismantles the sign at Bow Tie Cinemas in Reston, Virginia. Photo: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Brace yourselves for one of the toughest weeks in recent American history.

Why it matters: This is all the tougher because the hardships are intentional results of attempting to prevent a much greater calamity.

  • Service workers across the country are out of work after restaurants and bars closed up over the last few days.
  • 45% of all hotel jobs have been or will be eliminated in the next few weeks, according to the American Hotel and Lodging Association.
  • "Much worse" than 9/11 for the travel industry: United Airlines says that this crisis is a greater threat to its existence than the aftermath of Sept. 11.
  • The shelter-in-place orders are coming to the East Coast. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio told residents to get ready to experience what's already happening on the West Coast.
  • Add to that the chance of tens of thousands of oil industry job losses, with the Saudis and Russians escalating their price war.

The big picture: It's going to keep getting worse for a while, even if the government and private citizens do everything right.

  • When we get testing up to speed, America's case count will soar.
  • As we get social distancing to work properly, big chunks of America's economy will shut down.
  • If/when we flatten the curve, getting things back to normal will be a start-stop process, denying people the stability that's so important to everyday life.

The bottom line: This will hit harder with local operations than big national firms.

  • In Washington D.C. on Tuesday, beloved Compass Coffee laid off 150 of its 189 workers.

Go deeper

America's unfinished business

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The fury over George Floyd's killing is erupting as the U.S. faces a looming wave of business bankruptcies, likely home evictions and a virus pandemic that will all disproportionately hit African Americans.

Why it matters: What these seemingly disparate issues share in common is that they emanate from systemic abuses that calls to action and promised reforms have yet to meaningfully address.

Updated 55 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 5,945,737— Total deaths: 365,368 — Total recoveries — 2,515,675Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 1,747,087 — Total deaths: 102,836 — Total recoveries: 406,446 — Total tested: 16,099,515Map.
  3. Supreme Court: Chief Justice Roberts sides with liberals in denying challenge to California's pandemic worship rules.
  4. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March.
  5. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  6. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.

Deaths without consequences

Community organizations and activists demand police accountability at a rally in Grand Central Terminal to commemorate the 5-year anniversary of Mike Brown's death by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. Photo: Erik McGregor/Getty Images

Seven years after the launch of the Black Lives Matter movement, it's still rare for police officers to be charged in the deaths of African Americans — and even more rare for an officer to go to jail.

The big picture: The Minneapolis police officer who was captured on video kneeling on George Floyd's neck has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter — which is already a step beyond the consequences other police officers have faced. But it's no guarantee that he will face jail time.