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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's proposal to get business around the country back open by Easter Sunday, April 12, will do more harm to the economy if the coronavirus outbreak has not been contained, economists say.

Why it matters: Such a plan would sow uncertainty in markets and among customers and business owners and make the recession longer and harsher.

Threat level: "We are still significantly behind the curve in containing coronavirus and reopening the economy for political expediency in the middle of a pandemic, to which no has has an immunity, is absolutely mindless," Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist at the Economic Outlook Group, tells Axios.

  • "It will only delay a full economic recovery."

On the other side: A smattering of business owners and asset managers backed Trump's plan to push forward with lifting the lockdowns sooner than later.

  • David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue and WestJet, told Bloomberg that the suffering from a major economic downturn would outweigh the damage from the disease.

The big picture: "THIS IS A FALSE CHOICE!!!!!!" MacroPolicy Perspectives president Julia Coronado says in an email.

  • "If we go back to work and the disease continues to spread not only will people die and the 20% of our economy dedicated to health care be overwhelmed, but people won't have the confidence to resume normal activity."
  • "They won't go on airplanes or travel or hold conferences or events because they won't be able to trust the public health response has been adequate to protect them."

The latest: The World Health Organization said Tuesday the U.S. risks becoming the epicenter of the global COVID-19 outbreak with more than 55,000 confirmed cases and over 800 deaths so far, according to Johns Hopkins University.

  • Declarations from the president may not even have any impact, as governors and mayors have led the effort to quarantine much of the country.
  • More than 160 million people in 17 states are being told to shelter in place, accounting for nearly half the U.S. population.

The bottom line: "Trump is deluding himself if he thinks that he can step behind a podium and reopen the economy," Michael R. Strain, director of economic policy studies at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, wrote in an op-ed for Bloomberg.

  • "A warning to the president: Trying and failing to reopen the economy before economic activity is organically ready to resume could have dire economic consequences."

Go deeper: Lindsey Graham: "There is no functioning economy unless we control" the coronavirus

Go deeper

House passes government funding, debt ceiling bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The House passed a bill on Tuesday to fund the government through early December, along with a measure to raise the debt ceiling through December 2022.

Why it matters: The stopgap measure, which needs to be passed to avoid a government shutdown when funding expires on Sept. 30, faces a difficult journey in the Senate where at least ten Republicans would need to vote in favor.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The Democrats' debt dilemma

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democrats find themselves in a political and potentially catastrophic economic quagmire as Republicans stand firm on denying them any help in raising the federal debt ceiling.

Why it matters: The Democrats are technically right — the debt comes, in part, from past spending by President Trump and his predecessors, not only President Biden's new big-ticket programs. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is saddling them with the public relations challenge of making that distinction during next year's crucial midterms.

Pelosi's endgame

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appears at a news conference on Tuesday. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) began her infrastructure endgame Tuesday, pressuring centrists to ultimately support as much social spending as possible while pleading with progressives to pass the roads-and-bridges package preceding it.

Why it matters: Neither group can achieve what it wants without the other, their ultimatums be damned. The leaders of both acknowledged the speaker's unique gift for pulling off a deal after separate conversations with Democratic leaders.