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

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The coronavirus pandemic will bring about the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, the IMF predicted Tuesday in its latest World Economic Outlook — and that is its optimistic outlook.

The state of play: The Fund admitted in a rare show of doomsaying that damage could be far worse than its projections and that while there's some chance they could be positively surprised, "downside risks prevail."

Why it matters: The organization's baseline expectation is for a recession "far worse" than the 2008 financial crisis, with global GDP contracting by 3% this year. That's a drastic downgrade from its forecast of 6.3% growth in January, and 30 times worse than the economic decline in 2008.

  • "This is a truly global crisis, as no country is spared," IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath said during a media briefing.

The big picture: Global GDP is expected to face a cumulative loss of about $9 trillion — larger than the economies of Japan and Germany combined. That is what happens in the IMF's rosy scenario in which the coronavirus is contained quickly and the world swiftly resumes economic activity.

  • "The pandemic may not recede in second half of this year, leading to longer containment periods, worsening financial conditions and further breakdowns in global supply chains," Gopinath warned.
  • "In such cases, global growth will fall even further, by an additional 3% in 2020, and if the health crisis rolls over into 2021 it can reduce the level of global GDP by an additional 8% compared to the baseline."

Where it stands: The IMF is recommending coordinated fiscal stimulus, a moratorium on debt payment and debt restructurings, and additional financing and grants for the world's poorest countries.

  • Tobias Adrian, head of the IMF's monetary and capital markets department, says the Fund already has received a record number of requests for lending and funding from developing economies, with more than half of the IMF's membership having now requested assistance.

What to watch: Finance ministers and central bank leaders from the G7 nations met again Tuesday and again announced no new coordinated measures to bolster the global economy at large.

  • That so-far-missing effort is exactly what the IMF says will be necessary to contain the economic crisis to its baseline projections.

Go deeper: Coronavirus could force the world into an unprecedented depression

Go deeper

38 mins ago - Technology

New skill for Olympic athletes: cybersecurity

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

When Olympic athletes from all over the world land in Beijing for the 2022 Olympic Games, they'll be loaded up with burner phones and will likely leave their own devices behind.

Why it matters: Athletes are headed to the Beijing Olympics with mixed guidance from their home countries about whether their personal information will be safe online and their devices will be secure.

Omicron is finally burning out

Expand chart
Data: N.Y. Times; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

New COVID infections are declining in the U.S. — a sign that the Omicron wave has likely peaked.

Yes, but: Deaths are rising, and the U.S. still has a lot of COVID — a reminder that even this milder variant is still a very real threat to unvaccinated Americans.

Activist Republicans oppose helping Ukraine

Ground personnel unload weapons, including Javelin anti-tank missiles, and other military hardware delivered on a National Airlines plane by U.S. military at Boryspil Airport near Kyiv on Jan. 25, 2022. (Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Republicans running in high-profile primary races aren't racing to defend Ukraine against a possible Russian invasion. They're settling on a different line of attack: Blame Biden, not Putin.

Why this matters: GOP operatives working in 2022 primary races tell Axios they worry they'll alienate their base if they push to commit American resources or troops to help Ukraine fight Russia.