Talking Anushka Asthana’s Today in Focus podcast, Larry Elliott, the Guardian’s economics editor, says how the global shutdown brought about by the coronavirus pandemic has sent the world’s economy into a tailspin as workers and customers stay at home:

I’ve covered many recessions in my time as an economics journalist, but very rarely has the economy come to a shuddering halt in the way that it clearly has over the last week. Most recessions creep up on you quite slowly, and you don’t actually realize half the time that you’re in one until you’re well into it. This time, all the cliches about the economy hitting a wall or falling off a cliff are absolutely right. That’s exactly what’s happening. You could go out into the streets, and you can almost feel the Tumbleweed rolling through the streets. It’s just desperate, and I think that governments have realized that. This is just not a health emergency—it’s a full-scale economic emergency, and it’s no accident that both the chancellor and the prime minister are talking in terms of this being the wartime situation, and that’s really what it is. In Wartime, governments don’t bother about things like the budget deficit—they just focus on the overriding aim, which is to win the war. And winning the war this time is a two-pronged war—it’s fighting the virus and fighting the threat of a great depression.

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