While I am in isolation for the most part, I’ve ventured out to the more high-traffic areas around town here in Virginia over the past month, like the two closest grocery stores, both of which are in shopping centers with fast food joints, eat-in restaurants and various businesses and liquor stores. I’m somewhat shocked by how busy these shopping centers are. While they aren’t AS high-traffic as they were pre-corona, there are definitely more people out and about than you would think, especially given that our governor issued a shelter-at-home order a week ago. I get that people are concerned about supporting local businesses, plus there are groceries to be bought and prescriptions to be filled and nuggets to eat. Still, at the same time experts and politicians are telling us that the new few weeks are going to be rough, they’re also making plans to restart the economy eventually:
[From The NY Times]
How long can we keep this up? It is still very early in the U.S. effort to snuff a lethal pandemic by shutting down much of the economy. But there is a growing question — from workers, the White House, corporate boardrooms and small businesses on the brink — that hangs over what is essentially a war effort against a virus that has already killed more than 9,000 Americans. There is no good answer yet, in part because we don’t even have the data needed to formulate one.
Essentially, economists say, there won’t be a fully functioning economy again until people are confident that they can go about their business without a high risk of catching the virus.
“Our ability to reopen the economy ultimately depends on our ability to better understand the spread and risk of the virus,” said Betsey Stevenson, a University of Michigan economist who worked on the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama. “It’s also quite likely that we will need to figure out how to reopen the economy with the virus remaining a threat.”
Public health experts are beginning to make predictions about when coronavirus infection rates will peak. Economists are calculating when the cost of continuing to shutter restaurants, shopping malls and other businesses — a move that has already pushed some 10 million Americans into unemployment, with millions more on the way — will outweigh the savings from further efforts to slow the virus once the infection curve has flattened out.
Government officials are setting competing targets. President Trump has pushed his expected date of reopening the economy to the end of April. “We have to get back to work,” he said in a briefing on Saturday. “We have to open our country again. We don’t want to be doing this for months and months and months. We’re going to open our country again. This country wasn’t meant for this.”
Some governors have set much more conservative targets, like Ralph Northam of Virginia, who canceled the remainder of the school year and imposed a shelter-at-home order through June 10. Other states, like Florida, only recently agreed to shut activity down but have set more aggressive targets — April 30, in the case of the Sunshine State — to restart it.
Many of us are nearing our one-month anniversary of Conscious Isolation (sorry to Goop) and yes, it does feel like there is some itchiness. The data issue is a giant question around all of this, because the data is WRONG. There are hundreds of thousands of people in America who have the virus or had the virus and didn’t get officially tested or officially treated. The science and data is now and was always bad. So what now? I don’t think we should let Trump determine when the economy “reopens.” I think it will have to be the governors, right? And DeSantis is dreaming if he thinks Florida is going to be open for business by the end of this month.
Also, I’m 100% positive that Trump just did his inane press conference yesterday evening because the Queen’s speech was so well-received.
Trump: “Right now, things are looking really good.”
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) April 6, 2020
Trump on wearing face coverings: “I would wear one if I thought it was important.”
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) April 6, 2020
LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 6, 2020
Photos courtesy of WENN.