WASHINGTON – The US is now beginning to feel the full effects of the pandemic, along with the economic stress of the lock down measures that were taken to prevent it from spreading.
"This is going to get worse before it gets better," says Dr. Anthony Fauci with the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
Jobless claims are already far worse than some expected. Nearly 10 million Americans filed for unemployment in just two weeks and those numbers may be low because states are overwhelmed with all of the new claims, so there may actually be many more people out of work.
"Everything is now marked pending so I know everybody probably is experiencing the exact same frustrations," says Todd Sayland, an unemployed worker trying to break through Florida's unemployment backlog.
And this is likely just the tip of the iceberg. Economists, Wall Street firms, and some Fed leaders expect unemployment to reach anywhere from 10 to 30 percent, along with a potentially severe recession.
However, help is on the way. As part of the $2.2 trillion dollar stimulus bill, starting today small businesses – which employ nearly half of the nation's workforce – can take advantage of the "Paycheck Protection Act," which accounts for nearly $350 billion in loans.
"You get the money. You'll get it the same day. You use this to pay your workers, please bring your workers back to work if you've let them go. You have eight weeks, plus overhead," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters at the White House Thursday.
Secretary Mnuchin urges employers who've let their employees go to get a loan and hire them back.
"These loans are up to 100-percent forgivable as long as employers keep paying their workers," explained President Trump.
Lawmakers are now pushing for another $2 trillion relief bill, this time possibly focusing on an infrastructure package designed to put people back to work while upgrading the nation's road, broadband, and water systems.
However, with the ink barely dry on the last $2 trillion deal, reaching an agreement on another one so soon will be tough because of the sharp differences between Democrats and Republicans.