It may be that our leaders are starting to wake up to the peril posed by the coronavirus given Monday’s announcements calling for the widespread curtailment of most everyday activities. The public health toll has shot up, and extreme measures are necessary to contain the spread, and gird for the looming inundation of infected patients headed for our hospitals.

On Tuesday, the White House announced its support for a large economic stimulus package. That’s certainly needed, but let’s keep the focus where it should be: to head off the epidemic of necessary job loss and business closings before it becomes an economic contagion.

Elected officials have asked businesses and workers to shut down and cease what they do out of justifiable public health concerns. The first order of business for economic stimulus is to make whole those whose jobs ended because public safety demanded that.

James Parott is Director of Economic and Fiscal Polices at the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School. This article was originally published by Daily News and reprinted by Urban Matters.

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