I agree with the sentiment but I'm not convinced those are the two choices we face (lockdown that decimates the economy versus companies getting back to normal while the virus burns through). It is so tough to filter through the various options in the "fog of war" of a situation like this, but I do think there's more than two potential outcomes or options.
The outcome I'm worried about is that we attempt to return to normal, cases greatly accelerate, and then we end up with the same or worse economic damage as millions of people get sick and are forced to be hospitalized or stay home anyway.
My thought process for several weeks now is that we can take our economic harm in the short-term by having more restrictive measures now, or we can face a longer period of economic uncertainty and damage if we try to return to normal and our healthcare system becomes completely overwhelmed. Car accidents, cancer, heart disease, stroke, etc don't stop simply because the system is flooded with Coronavirus patients. I believe we'd sharply increase our mortality rate for other preexisting health issues and trauma cases.
That said, I also agree that people are going to become less and less likely to follow government restrictions and requests as they begin to run out of money and need to pay bills, eat, and keep a roof over their head. The stimulus package Congress has been debating simply isn't robust enough nor does it have enough direct cash transfers to paycheck hungry workers (and even those without full-time employment) to substitute for a gridlocked economy frozen by quarantines and restrictions.
It goes against my usual fiscal beliefs, but I think we need to be looking at several trillion in cash payments and aid over the next 60-90 days. That's in addition to the bailouts, loans, grants, and other assistance businesses are going to need. We need to shutdown or restrict all but essential services and jobs and have the government step up and reimburse the public for their lost pay. Half measures won't cut it as people won't comply if their finances are dried up, nor will half measures stop the virus. And letting it burn through is just postponing the economic fallout and making it have more permanent repercussions.
I truly believe the only path forward is for the government to cover about 60-70% of GDP and payroll over the next 2-3 months. We'll just have to raise taxes once things return to the normal. The economic output lost will be lost forever, but no matter which path we choose that's going to happen no matter what. I think Americans will rebel from a let it burn through plan once deaths accumulate and the healthcare system is obliterated. Likewise, I think they'll rebel if we try to stick with halfway measures that don't flatten the curve enough while pushing people into economic doom.
At the end of the day, whatever path is chosen, you have to have a high probability of compliance by the American people to make a given plan work. And I just don't think the other two possibilities will see Americans comply for the time needed. People are scared. Wait until they become desperate and it will be too late. Congress needs to act and it needs to be an aid and economic rescue package that not even the craziest model has ever even conceived of.
In retrospect, every single major financial or economic crisis has always found the biggest hindrance to recovery and a return to normal is that NOT ENOUGH was done early on. Aid packages and government payment transfers were not enough, or were too conservative, or not targeted at a broad enough swath of the economy. I've never seen a retrospective that slammed the government for doing too much too quickly. Only for doing too little too late.
Maybe I'm wrong. I hope I am. It seems like the Trump admin is trending toward a mix of half-measures and economic pain while trying to get people back to work and have the virus burn out. The UK tried going down that path and had to reverse themselves quickly. We may very well end up doing the same.
I sure would like it if whatever we did worked out a million times better than even the most optimistic scenarios currently look like. I don't envy the decision-makers one bit. No matter what decision they make there will be substantial tradeoffs. I don't know that a "good" option exists. Just less bad ones.
I think we’re going to see this more and more (businesses mainly) as people grow wary of everything being shut down.
That is what is making this so problematic. We draw it out so people don’t overwhelm the medical system as the virus spreads to those with no immunity. But I don’t think we can fully go back to normal until everyone builds an immunity either via vaccine or infection. I guess peace meal peeling back of restrictions until everything is back to normal. In an ideal scenario, this is a months long process but I’m not sure we, as a society, can handle this long, drawn out process.and we're going to prolong the recovery in the process.
My question is how long is long enough? Assuming people who contract the virus build an immunity to COVID-19 are safe, what about the rest? We likely won't have a vaccine readily available until at least this time next year from things I have read, so once we have flattened the curve what is to stop it from spiking again once things return to normal?
Birmingham City Council was unanimous in its vote to approve Mayor Randall Woodfin's proposed shelter in place ordinance to help slow the spread of coronavirus. The ordinance goes into effect immediately and continue until midnight on April 3.
That will be fun to enforceBirmingham issues a shelter in place order
Birmingham City Council was unanimous in its vote to approve Mayor Randall Woodfin's proposed shelter in place ordinance to help slow the spread of coronavirus.www.wvtm13.com
Updates are saying the person passed away at a Chattanooga hospital. Death may end up counted as a Tennessee death but was at least employed by Jackson County, Al.Jackson County has reported its first COVID 19 death. This would be the first death related to the virus in Alabama.