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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

While you might be tired of all of the doom and gloom that's been written about the economy over the past two weeks amid the coronavirus outbreak, there's an even more depressing fact to consider: there is nothing bright and hopeful to say right now.

The state of play: Congress' failure Sunday night to pass a major stimulus program illustrates once again how dysfunctional our government has become and how at risk the world is for catastrophe.

Threat level: Lawmakers weren't able to get the trillion-dollar proposal passed despite St. Louis Fed president James Bullard warning that U.S. unemployment could rise to 30% and GDP (overall, not growth) could decline by 50% in the second quarter.

  • "Millions of people are going to lose their jobs," Minneapolis Fed president Neel Kashkari said on "60 Minutes."

What's happening: Wall Street traders and money managers are scrambling for cash like nothing I have ever seen before, fire selling even safe assets like U.S. and German government bonds, and economists are throwing out and rewriting their economic projections on a near daily basis.

  • The National Association for Business Economics even scrapped its first quarter projection altogether, noting that "the effects of the pandemic are currently making a timely and accurate forecast impossible."

Between the lines: "The bigger concern here is that you have all these small- and medium-sized businesses which will be under extreme stress and forced to shut down, and we don’t have a benchmark for how to recapitalize them or to keep them in business," Matt Luzzetti, Chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank Securities, tells Axios.

Small business owners seem more scared than the stock traders.

  • I've spent the past week talking to restaurant and bar owners who are literally in tears because they are certain that the businesses they've spent their lives building are about to be torn apart.
  • As a result, we are in the midst of the worst wave of job losses in U.S. history — and a majority of Americans have no savings and nearly half were making just enough to survive before.

The big picture: Over the past few years, I have written about a lot of things that could go wrong:

What it means: I have feared for some time that all of those chickens were due home to roost, but thanks to coronavirus they could now all hit home at once.

The bottom line: From a Slack conversation I had with Axios Pro Rata editor Dan Primack on Wednesday:

  • Me: "You know this is gonna be way worse than everyone realizes, right? That's the thing I realized today. Way worse."
  • Dan: "oh yeah. worst of my lifetime. by a lot."

Go deeper

Trump can't quit mainstream media

Bob Woodward and Robert Costa are interviewed by Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press" in September. Photo: William B. Plowman/NBC via Getty Images

Bob Woodward and Robert Costa issued a rebuttal on Friday to a statement by former President Donald Trump that misrepresented their reporting — and once again showed the 45th president's thin skin about mainstream media.

Driving the news: "Former President Trump said ... our book, 'Peril,' implied that he was planning to go to war with China," the statement begins. "[W]e report that Chairman of Joint Chiefs Mark Milley 'believed that Trump did not want a war' before or after the 2020 election."

NY declares state of emergency amid concerns over Omicron COVID variant

Governor Kathy Hochul makes an announcement about a new plan transforming Penn Station on Nov. 3, 2021. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday declared a state of emergency amid rising COVID-19 cases and the newly-identified Omicron variant of the virus.

Driving the news: The declaration enables the state to acquire supplies to fight a potential surge in cases, increase hospital capacity and combat potential staff shortages, NBC's local affiliate reports.

4 hours ago - Health

First cases of COVID-19 Omicron variant discovered in U.K.

People wearing masks walk in London on Nov. 25. Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Two cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant were detected in the United Kingdom overnight, the U.K. Health Security Agency announced Saturday.

Why it matters: The discovery comes as the world scrambles to respond to concerns over the new variant, discovered in South Africa earlier this week.