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Pandemic threatens US with economic crisis, loss of role of world leader, expert says

Pavel Zakharov of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies stressed that what makes the struggle against the pandemic in the US still worse is that "far from those who wish to turn for medical assistance can afford this expensive service"

MOSCOW, April 9. /TASS/. The United States is faced with the risk of losing much of its strength as a result of the economic crisis the coronavirus pandemic has triggered and of saying good-bye to the role of the world’s leader, expert Pavel Zakharov, of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, has told TASS.

The way he sees it, the US authorities and the entire establishment have turned out unable to cope with the medical situation and the economic challenges.

"Against this background the role of the world hegemon may decline, while China, on the contrary, will look more advantageously as a more effective country," he said.

What makes the struggle against the pandemic in the United States still worse is that "far from all those who wish to turn for medical assistance can afford this expensive service."

"In the meantime, Washington has at its disposal enormous financial resources which might be used for struggle against the pandemic (a law passed at the end of March envisages record-high federal budget spending - more than $2 trillion - TASS) under various programs for supporting the population and businesses," Zakharov said. "It is far greater than the amount spent during the previous world financial crisis."

"All measures being taken in the United States will entail major growth of the national debt and, possibly, dire consequences for the financial system. As a result of anti-crisis programs the national debt may soar to $27 trillion - 120% of the GDP," Zakharov said. "This economic slump may turn out far stronger, with unemployment sinking to lows observed back during the Great Depression."

According to the latest statistics, over 1,500,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 88,000 deaths have been reported. The United States accounts for nearly one-third of those infected around the world. The Johns Hopkins University, which keeps track of information available from the federal and local authorities, a total of 432,000 have been infected across the country. The United States’ coronavirus-related death rate is now the world’s second after Spain - 14,817.

Experts say the coronavirus pandemic and the restrictive measures being taken in this context will push up unemployment in the United States and leading European countries. The world economy’s aggregate loss will exceed $5 trillion.