CLOSE Check out USA TODAY’s Facebook Live Q&A series about the coronavirus. Topics include what to do if you feel sick and what protections do workers have. USA TODAYWhen historians mark the start of this nation’s coronavirus nightmare, they will cite Jan. 21, 2020, the date a Washington state man in his 30s who had visited Wuhan, China, was confirmed as the United States’ first COVID-19 case.Since then, this global crisis has mushroomed into a national defining moment with as yet untallied cultural and economic repercussions. No one questions whether we will be talking about this for generations. If there is debate, it is over the proper historical comparison. Is this like the 2008 financial crisis, 9/11, World War II? Or perhaps, as some economists predict and news that 3.3 million people applied for unemployment last week suggests, will this be remembered as a period of deep loss and poverty, something like the grim 1930s when unemployment hit 25%?“This will be very economically disruptive, and an analogy to the Great Depression is the closest to what we may face,” says Stanford University economics professor Matthew Jackson. “These huge events can have profound changes on the views and beliefs people have.”That we are in for difficult months and perhaps years ahead seems commonly accepted,


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