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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 25-Mar-2020
25-Mar-20 World View -- Trump calls for ending coronavirus lockdowns by Easter, April 12

Web Log - March, 2020

25-Mar-20 World View -- Trump calls for ending coronavirus lockdowns by Easter, April 12

Pandemic and shutdown surrounded by political controversies

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Trump calls for ending coronavirus lockdowns by Easter, April 12


The 'Coronavirus Curve' showing how far each country is into the pandemic (ZeroHedge)
The 'Coronavirus Curve' showing how far each country is into the pandemic (ZeroHedge)

President Donald Trump and his advisors are saying: "The cure canít be allowed to be worse than the disease." This statement concisely describes the conflict between the twin goals of slowing the pandemic and preventing collapse of the economy.

The "disease," of course, is the Wuhan Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. According to the World Health Organization, the number of cases worldwide surpassed 400,000 on Tuesday, with 18,227 deaths (4.5%). In the United States, there have been almost 50,000 cases. As I wrote in my previous article, the path of Covid-19 is almost identical to the path of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, and millions of Americans will die from the virus during the next two years. ( "22-Mar-20 World View -- Today's Wuhan Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic vs 1918 Spanish Flu")

The "cure" for the disease has been to shut down the entire economy. Factories are closed, restaurants are closed, businesses large and small are closed. People are told to stay in the homes, and not go to work. This is crippling the economy, sending the economy spiraling into a recession, and causing a major selloff in the stock market. The same is true in countries around the world.

The graph at the beginning of this article shows the "Corona Curve," and the position of different countries on that curve. That chart shows that China and South Korea are the farthest along, with a leveling off of the number of new cases, with Italy and Iran in the middle of the time of fastest growth of new cases.

The United States is shown just about to enter the rapid growth period in the next couple of months. This has been widely predicted anyway, as the amount of testing increases, and reveals new infections. The World Health Organzation on Tuesday said that the United States is becoming the new epicenter of the pandemic.

What the chart doesn't show is that different states are at different positions on the curve. New York City, San Francisco and Seattle are well into the "late accumulation" phase, while many parts of the Midwest are still in early development. In New York state there are 21,000 cases on Tuesday, and the number is doubling every three days. New York will soon be totally overwhelmed by Covid-19 cases.

So Donald Trump says that he'd like to end all the lockdowns by Easter, April 12. Few people believe that's possible.

Pandemic and shutdown surrounded by political controversies

The United States, like many countries, is facing a stark choice: death from the virus, or death from economic collapse.

Last week, Trump issued a set of guidelines calling for a national shutdown for 15 days, after which the situation would be reevaluated. The 15 days ends on March 31. He's said that, if possible, he'd like to announce an end to the lockdowns:

"America will again and soon be open for business. We are not going to let it turn into a long-lasting financial problem."

Speaking generally, the medical community would prefer to continue the shutdown. This is adding to a number of political issues and controversies.

Putting the country back to work on April 12

Putting the country back to work is not an on-off switch. When Trump announces new guidelines next week, he'll probably announce a gradual lifting of the national shutdown:

I gave an example of this in a previous article: If a restaurant or bar wants to stay open, then the owner will separate the tables and place screens between them to create compartments, and then sanitize each compartment after the people leave. Many restaurants are already staying open by providing curbside service or at-home deliveries, but the use of screens could permit them to reopen completely.

This may seen like a fairly obscure example, but imagine if restaurants were permitted to open again, provided that the restaurant were made safe by the use of such screens. And now, imagine any other kind of business, and think about how a similar change could be made to allow the business to continue operating. This would result in new regulations that would replace the requirement to shut down. And as I've said before, we can imagine a different world, a new world, but a world that's as busy and bustling as the old world was until recently.

So it's possible that within three or four months, most businesses will be open again, but restricted by new regulations to make them safe. Such regulations might "flatten the curve" enough so that the number of coronavirus deaths can be reduced until a vaccine becomes available, sometime in 2021.

Sources:

Related Articles:

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the Generational Dynamics World View News thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (25-Mar-2020) Permanent Link
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