Sen. Elizabeth Warren released a new plan on Monday to combat the fast-spreading coronavirus, which has infected at least 85 people in the US and led to two deaths.
The Massachussetts senator called for a $400 billion stimulus package to shore up the economy and for Americans to receive free testing and medical treatment for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus.
These are actions Warren is urging lawmakers to take right now.
“I’ve been worried that our economy is heading towards another crash- and coronavirus is already a serious economic threat,” Warren said on Twitter. “I’ve got a plan to address the economic impact, and I’m calling on Congress to act immediately.”
Warren also wants to implement an emergency paid-leave program to ensure that workers can still make ends meet if they are infected or show symptoms of the coronavirus. The US doesn’t offer guaranteed paid leave protections for sick employees – leaving people in lower-wage jobs who can’t afford to miss work at greater risk from the virus.
Experts are projecting that the coronavirus will shave at least 0.2 percentage points from gross domestic product growth this year. Goldman Sachs recently revised its growth forecasts from GDP down to 0.9% in the first quarter and o% in the second quarter. Warren’s proposal seeks to restrain those losses.
Among the goals of the emergency spending as laid out by her presidential campaign are:
- Low or no-interest loans to companies hit by disruptions in global supply chains.
- Unemployment insurance or direct payment to individuals and families relative to their lost wages.
- Aid to state or local governments to maintain essential government services.
- Support to domestic manufacturers and “jump starting” ability to produce pharmaceutical products.
- Investment into green infrastructure.
The coronavirus has infected over 89,000 people worldwide and killed 3,000, with most of those cases and deaths occurring in China.
Concerns over lost corporate profits and reduced economic growth caused the stock market to shed $6 trillion in wealth last week, the biggest one-week amount since the 2008 financial crisis.