As Britain Climbs Out of an Economic Pit, Tough Questions Loom  <font color="#6f6f6f">The New York Times</font>

LONDON — To understand why Britain has spiraled into the deepest recession of its modern history, go for a stroll in central London, no longer a ghost town but still a shadow of its once-bustling self.

Shuttered storefronts pock the shopping promenade on Oxford Street. Theaters in the West End are dark, office towers deserted. Below ground, the tube is a grim parade of signs warning passengers to wear face masks and keep their distance. With traffic at barely a quarter of last year’s levels, that is not hard.

Only restaurants, buoyed by a government stimulus program that subsidizes diners’ meals, are showing signs of life. But like the government’s widely praised furlough program that guaranteed 80 percent of the salaries of millions of workers, the “Eat Out to Help Out” promotion will soon wind down, and the government faces tough choices about whether to extend the support.

Unquestionably, Britain has been laid low by the coronavirus, easily the hardest hit of any European nation, both in public health and in the economy.

Latest Updates: The Coronavirus Outbreak

Updated

  • Even as the picture improves in California, the state becomes the first to report 600,000 virus cases.
  • Australia and New Zealand confront border failures amid new outbreaks.
  • Five communities in South Texas have escalating rates of new cases.