The Pandemic Could Be A Long-Term Affair

Everyone is asking themselves each day, what’s it going to be like after the pandemic, and when will it finally subside? In the meantime, the politicians are bickering with each other about every aspect of the virus crisis including members of the same party.

I still believe the public is not receiving the information it is entitled to, which will enable average Americans to make personal choices about taking risk. Is it because we can’t be trusted with sensitive data, such as how many people are actually dying? One would think that this is the most important metric. If the death rate decreases to a nominal number (not to minimize the importance of any deaths), the nation should begin to return to normalcy, the definition of which remains to be determined.

Given that older people and those with serious medical conditions are the most vulnerable (to die), the behavior of all Americans should be built around a plan to protect this group. The operative metric for vulnerable people is the number of new cases of coronavirus. The danger is not about new cases per se, rather, it’s preventing vulnerable people from exposure to the bug.

As an aside, large and small companies should advise vulnerable employees, the aged and those with other medical issues, to work from home and avoid unnecessary contact until new cases diminish. It is not necessary for the entire workforce to work remotely without end.

The really big issues facing political and business leaders are return to school, return to the office and attending crowed venues, including religious ceremonies, weddings, restaurants, bars, movies, and gyms. For most people, visitation with family members is also a critical issue. It’s going to be different to stop Americans from seeing their loved ones for much longer.

The estimated arrival of a vaccine is now front and center. Because of the impending election, the timing and approval of a prevention therapy has become greatly politicized. When this happens to any issue the information flow becomes unreliable and distorted.

Trump would love to have a vaccine before the election. I hope the president does not push the vaccine upon us before it is determined to be safe. Correspondingly, I hope the Trump’s opponents don’t do anything to unnecessarily slow down the process for political gain.

I keep returning to the issue of normalcy in this blog. Realistically, people will not go to work willingly until they are sure it’s safe, and transportation to and from the office is reliable and sanitary.

Similarly, children going back to school are another bugaboo. Even though healthy children don’t die from the virus, many parents will balk at knowingly sending their loved ones into a diseased environment.

Unfortunately for restaurants, diners are not going to take unnecessary risks for a meal. Many smaller bistros are going to be forced out of business because of reticence on the part of their customers, and a distance requirement that will negatively affect the number of meals that can be served.

And then there are transportation issues, beaches, parks, museums, etc. that will be problematic for a long time. We are all in for a tough ride in the short to medium term. Risk aversion will be paramount to most Americans.

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