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The toll taken by the coronavirus is growing across US

The coronavirus is posing a growing threat to the U.S. economy as the outbreak shifts from a short-term headache for travel and manufacturing companies into a broader crisis that’s prompting many Americans to hunker down and limit their day-to-day activities.

That’s extending the pandemic’s reach into nearly every corner of commerce as many consumers avoid large gatherings of people in places such as movie theaters, malls, restaurants and sporting events.

“It’s starting to affect people’s behavior all over,” says economist Jesse Edgerton of JPMorgan Chase.

Some leading economists are now forecasting a recession this year, though the nation could still dodge that outcome if the outbreak begins abating in the U.S. by summer, as some health officials predict, and growth swiftly rebounds.

But the body blows to the economy are mounting.

The NBA’s announcement Wednesday night that it was suspending all games until further notice may have marked a watershed. While the revenue generated by the league registers barely a blip in the overall economy, “It will convince most everyone that the virus is a serious threat to the nation’s health and economy, weighing on the collective psyche of investors, businesses and most importantly, the American consumer,” says Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics.

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