The COVID-19 crisis is one of the worst health emergencies the world has witnessed for a century, and its economic impact could be just as steep. While it took several quarters for unemployment to peak in other crises, the economic shock of the COVID-19 crisis has been larger than that of any previous crisis—and it materialized within weeks. Five weeks into the crisis, the weekly number of jobs lost in the United States continues to exceed any pre-COVID-19 record. In some sectors, demand came practically to a halt in a matter of days as a result of lockdown measures. Governments’ economic responses to the crisis is unprecedented, too: $10 trillion announced just in the first two months, which is three times more than the response to the 2008–09 financial crisis. Western European countries alone have allocated close to $4 trillion, an amount almost 30 times larger than today’s value of the Marshall Plan. The magnitude of government responses has put delivery into uncharted territory. Governments have included all shapes and forms in their stimulus packages: guarantees, loans, value transfers to companies and individuals, deferrals, and equity investments—as if advice from all modern schools of economic thought has been applied at the same time.
The Beatles: Help, 1965
mckinsey.com, Ziyad Cassim, Borko Handjiski, Jörg Schubert, and Yassir Zouaoui, 05.06.2020