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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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GDP data: OECD, BoA Global Research; Coronavirus data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Economists have removed their rose-colored glasses in recent weeks and are beginning to price in scenarios for the world that are as bad or much worse than the global financial crisis.

The state of play: "If you think about the situation going into the financial crisis, I would say all things being equal there was clearly a better ability to react economically … in Europe and in Japan and also in the U.S.," Thomas Holzheu, Americas chief economist at reinsurance giant Swiss Re, tells Axios.

  • "Since we see that the global economy is not in a very resilient situation in terms of the ability to organize and muster a very strong policy response, we expect that the recovery will not happen very quickly."

The big picture: The U.S., the world's biggest economy, is likely to have a recession this year and the No. 2 economy, China, has already undergone a significant slowdown.

  • That alone would have been enough to weigh on global growth, but because major economies like Italy, Germany, the U.K., France and Japan also are facing major outbreaks of their own, there is growing fear of the entire world's GDP growth turning negative for multiple quarters this year.
  • As of Monday night, 15 countries had at least 1,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and 12 of those were among the world's 25 largest economies.

Worse, many of the countries expected to be hardest hit by the outbreak are in some of the weakest economic positions, especially those in the eurozone.

  • EU regulations have handicapped the ability of local politicians to easily increase spending and the European Central Bank already is employing unprecedented levels of stimulus.
  • Many countries were struggling with low growth even before the virus — Swiss Re did not include a single eurozone G7 country in its list of top 10 most resilient economies.

The big picture: A major struggle for policymakers is that much of the outbreak's economic impact is not yet measurable. That makes preparing for and assessing the potential for damage a new challenge.

  • "This is a true external shock that happens very quickly and very strongly and is totally synchronized," Holzheu says. "We know that there are impacts happening right now and we don’t necessarily see it in a lot of the metrics yet. But still we need to make assumptions about possible implications."

Go deeper: One way to fight a coronavirus recession: $1,000 for every American

Go deeper

Cuomo asks New York AG and chief judge to choose "independent" investigator into sexual harassment claims

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo at a press conference on Feb. 24. Photo: Seth Wenig/pool/AFP via Getty Images

A special counselor to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a statement on Sunday asking the state's attorney general and chief judge to jointly pick an "independent and qualified lawyer in private practice without political affiliation" to investigate claims of sexual harassment against the governor.

The state of play: The statement is an about-face from Cuomo, who had previously selected a former judge close to a top aide to lead the investigation, the New York Times reported, a move that was widely criticized.

Republican Sen. Sasse slams Nebraska GOP for "weird worship" of Trump after state party rebuke

Sen. Ben Sasse, (R-Neb.) Photo: Andrew Harnik - Pool/Getty Images

The Nebraska Republican Party on Saturday formally "rebuked" Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) for his vote to impeach former President Trump earlier this year, though it stopped short of a formal censure, CNN reports.

Why it matters: Sasse is the latest among a slate of Republicans who have faced some sort of punishment from their state party apparatus after voting to impeach the former president. The senator responded statement Saturday, per the Omaha World-Herald, saying "most Nebraskans don't think politics should be about the weird worship of one dude."

Cuomo barraged by fellow Dems after second harassment accusation

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faced a barrage of criticism from fellow Democrats after The New York Times reported that the second former aide in four days had accused him of sexual harassment.

Why it matters: Cuomo had faced a revolt from legislators for his handling of nursing-home deaths from COVID. Now, the scandal is acutely personal, with obviously grave political risk.

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