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

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Expand chart
Data: OECD; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Here's how serious coronavirus is: With the exception of the global financial crisis, the last time that the world saw a quarter of negative GDP growth was in 1982.

Flashback: Back then, China accounted for only about 1% of global GDP. Today, that number is 15%.

By the numbers: Thanks in large part to a massive slowdown in China, the OECD sees global GDP shrinking at a 0.5% pace this quarter.

  • The forecast then shows a healthy bump back up to a 3.7% growth rate in the second quarter and an even higher 5.5% rate in the third, as the world starts to recover from the coronavirus shock.

Yes, but: All of these forecasts have much higher error bars than usual. There's a very good chance that the OECD's forecast will turn out to have been far too optimistic or pessimistic. We just have no idea which one it will be.

Go deeper

57 mins ago - Health

The danger of a fourth wave

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Note: Anomalous Arkansas case data from Feb. 28 was not included in the calculated change; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The U.S. may be on the verge of another surge in coronavirus cases, despite weeks of good news.

The big picture: Nationwide, progress against the virus has stalled. And some states are ditching their most important public safety measures even as their outbreaks are getting worse.

Sidewalk robots get legal rights as "pedestrians"

"We’ve got about 1,000 of them running around out there," Ryan Tuohy of Starship tells Axios. Photo courtesy of Starship Technologies.

As small robots proliferate on sidewalks and city streets, so does legislation that grants them generous access rights and even classifies them, in the case of Pennsylvania, as "pedestrians."

Why it matters: Fears of a dystopian urban world where people dodge heavy, fast-moving droids are colliding with the aims of robot developers large and small — including Amazon and FedEx — to deploy delivery fleets.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

The biggest obstacle to a wealth tax

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Taxing the rich is an idea that's back. An "ultra-millionaire tax" introduced by Elizabeth Warren and other left-wing Democrats this week would raise more than $3 trillion over 10 years, they say, while making the tax system as a whole more fair.

Why it matters: New taxes would be a necessary part of any Democratic plan to redistribute wealth and reduce inequality. But President Biden has more urgent priorities — and Warren's wealth tax in particular faces constitutional obstacles that make it a hard sell.