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CRS Provides Information for Policymakers on COVID-19 Issues

In separate publications, the Congressional Research Service ("CRS") provided information and analysis on COVID-19-related legal challenges, impacts on the U.S. economy, and China's actions since the outbreak.

The publications focus on:

  • Legal Issues. CRS provided a list of resources to address anticipated short- and long-term legal issues "related to the scope of state and federal authorities." CRS highlighted resources concerning (i) quarantine measures and travel restrictions, (ii) distribution of medical supplies and health care coverage, (iii) vaccine development, (iv) postponement of national elections, (v) criminal actions due to price gouging, and (vi) economic assistance for individuals and businesses.

  • U.S. Economic Effects. Based on currently available data, CRS found that the GDP fell in the first quarter of 2020 at an annualized rate of 4.8 percent. CRS noted, however, that only one month in the quarter was significantly affected by the pandemic. For the month of March, CRS found that "inflation-adjusted personal consumption spending fell by an annualized rate of 7.3%, with declines exceeding 20% for motor vehicles, clothing, recreation services, transportation services, and food services." The CRS anticipated that the second quarter would be worse, but cited Congressional Budget Office projections for a strong rebound should the economy reopen ("V-shaped recovery").

  • China's Involvement. CRS provided a timeline based on public information on China's handling of COVID-19. The report also identified issues raised by the timeline, "including the timeliness of China’s information sharing with the World Health Organization (WHO), gaps in early information China shared with the world, and episodes in which Chinese authorities sought to discipline those who publicly shared information about aspects of the epidemic."

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