As the Covid-19 outbreak across the US becomes more widespread, and the latest figures are now 308 confirmed cases and 17 deaths as of Friday night. Florida reported a death, making it the first on the East Coast, as millions of Americans are rushing to brick and mortar stores, panic buying food, water, hand sanitizer, and masks.
As we've seen in China and other hard-hit countries, there's an easily identifiable blueprint of how the virus forces local economies to grind to a halt. It first starts with limited public gatherings, employees are forced to work at home, businesses close, then the transportation system shutters.
The first signs of economic paralysis developed on the East Coast last week, when major US banks started "virus contingency plan" for closing domestic offices should the virus worsen.
By Friday evening, Amtrak published a statement that said it will suspend the Acela Nonstop service between Washington DC and New York because of reduced demand for travel amid the virus outbreak, reported The Washington Post.
Starting next Tuesday, the Acela Nonstop service (Trains 2401, 2402, 2403) will be suspended through May 26.
"We are closely monitoring the coronavirus and are taking action based on guidance from public health experts," Amtrak said.
Amtrak cited reduced demand for train service as confirmed cases and deaths have been rising across the country.
"We understand you may have concerns, and as a valued customer, we will waive change fees on all existing or new reservations made before April 30, 2020," Amtrak said. "We will continue to monitor the coronavirus situation closely and adjust this policy as necessary."
To sum up, Amtrak suspending some major lines to major banks preparing for the worse in the last week suggests economic paralysis could be developing in the "greatest economy ever" as the virus crisis continues to worsen. This could only mean one thing: a recession is nearing.