Widespread coronavirus outbreak could drive US economy into recession, former Fed chief says

Alia Paavola -

 A widespread outbreak of the coronavirus could push the U.S. economy into a recession,  former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen warned Wednesday, according to Bloomberg.

Coronavirus, dubbed COVID-19, had infected more than 82,500 people and killed more than 2,800 worldwide as of 8 a.m. Feb. 27. It's also closed down businesses in China and deterred travel and other economic activities.

"It's just conceivable that it could throw the United States into a recession," Ms. Yellen said at a Brookings Institution event in Michigan, according to Bloomberg. 

Ms. Yellen, who served as the Federal Reserve chair from 2014 to 2018, said the risk of recession would depend on the severity of the virus' spread in the country because the U.S.  has a robust economy.

"If it doesn't hit in a substantial way in the United States, that's less likely," Ms. Yellen said at the event, according to Bloomberg. "We had a pretty solid outlook before this happened — and there is some risk, but basically I think the U.S. outlook looks pretty good."

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