"It may take even just a few more months than we like for the economy to recover," Powell said at an event hosted by the Peterson Institute of International Economics. "I have every reason to think we can get back there and the economy should substantially recover once the virus is under control, but the recovery may come more slowly than we would like and that may mean it's necessary for us to do more."
The consumer-driven US economy shrank 4.8 percent in the first three months of 2020 as it was hit by a shuttering of so-called "non-essential" businesses from March in most of the 50 US states in efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The Federal Reserve dropped US interest rates to between zero and 0.25 percent in March and has since launched a battery of other COVID-19 fiscal responses, including open-ended bond-buying and lending to heavily-indebted companies but with ability to repay under its Main Street Lending program.
Powell said the central bank was trying to return to a sustainable fiscal path "where you've got the economy growing faster than the debt and overhead" so that the ratio of debt could be reduced to the size of the economy.