AS COVID-19 HAS SPREAD FROM China to Seattle, with outbreaks in more than 150 countries and territories in between, the coronavirus pandemic is now not only a public health crisis, but an economic one as well. Even if you never get sick, your wallet will undoubtedly suffer.

In fact, it is already likely feeling some pain. The only questions are: to what degree and how much worse it will get?.

People saving for retirement and other long-term goals, for instance, have seen the value of stocks in their 401(k)s and IRAs drop by nearly 30 percent on average in a matter of weeks. Anyone who works for an airline, hotel, restaurant, sports arena or movie theater (especially if they’re shift workers) or who runs a local small business has probably already taken a serious income hit, as consumers stop consuming and public life is sharply curtailed at the urging of government officials and medical experts. Meanwhile, the list of conferences and events postponed or cancelled and business plans reined in or shelved grows daily.

Despite the Federal Reserve’s efforts to pump money into the economy to keep it afloat and the $1 trillion stimulus package being planned in Washington, recession seems inevitable, say economists from Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and others. Early indicators are already starting to trickle in: Retail sales fell the most in a year in February and jobless claims were expected to surge in March, even before the full force of coronavirus

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