Health Concerns vs. Economic Disaster

The battle between supporters of these two strategies will have a profound effect on the outcome of the presidential election.

How long can the pandemic last without permanently destroying America? It’s time to ask the tough questions as our leaders decide when and how to restart the economy.

It’s not difficult to forecast what will happen to the US economically if Americans don’t go back to work in the near future. It might be the worst of all contingencies, a full-fledged depression.  More and more people will be unemployed and eventually be unable to care for their families. Liberals don’t appreciate that the US’s ability to print more money and give it to those in need is reaching the breaking point. The viability of the American dollar could be at stake.

Aside from out of control unemployment, our leaders may have to deal with many other possible implications of keeping people at home. How long will Americans continue to abide by orders to stay inside and distance from others? Already young people are defying warnings from governors and mayors. Orthodox Jews ignored an order from Mayor de Blasio in New York City to not conduct a large celebration of a deceased rabbi’s life. Scores of celebrants interfaced in close quarters and took a chance they would spread the virus.

And how long will parents be able to restrain their children? Schools will be ending soon, so no longer will the kids be required to sit through online classes. Cabin fever is setting in. Humans are social animals. It will be impossible for officials to keep control and virtually incarcerate citizens for much longer.

Literally, the existence of retailers, restaurants and sporting teams is in the hands of the federal and local governments throughout the country.

By forbidding individuals to shop at retailers, officials are dooming a whole industry, which in turn effects many workers, including the sales chain and distribution companies that service the stores.

Restaurants are feeling the pain. Given that many are small businesses with limited resources, it will not take an extended period of closure to put these people out of business permanently. It has already happened for many mom and pop eateries that feed many Americans.

Sporting events are really important to the people who buy tickets, the cities that house them and those that watch events on TV. And what about the companies and workers that televise sporting events? Millions, which will soon turn into billions, have been lost.

What is the alternative? Officials could open the economy and tell everyone to return to normalcy. The big question is: will Americans send their children to schools, go to restaurants and attend sporting events if the authorities say it is OK do so? And if they respond positively, how will the virus react?

The final issue is the real kicker. Can this pandemic become more virulent than it already is? Will it become more aggressive and kill substantially more people, if isolation and distancing ceases? Is there another outbreak on the horizon, if America gives up its safeguards? Can the virus actually threaten the existence of mankind?

Frankly, the last question probably far-fetched. The disease is a killer, but most people survive it. The data has been slow to come to Americans, but it indicates that mostly older people with pre-existing health issues are the virus’ target. The US has had about 60,000 deaths to date, among 340 million citizens. It seems unlikely that coronavirus is an existential threat to the human race. But, left unchecked a lot more people will die prematurely.

So, our leaders must decide whether to give us an all clear sign, to save our economy. If they do so, and the virus fades away, the decision makers will be heroes. If the opposite occurs, and body bag start piling up, the decision makers will be scorned.

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