While COVID-19 isn’t nearly as fatal as many of us feared, one potential fatality may well be the United States economy. With businesses closed and many people unable to work or even look for work as they’re covered under “shelter in place” orders, the financial engine of the country has pretty much ground to a halt.
It’s bad enough that now much of the debate is about when to fire that engine back up.
US President Donald Trump has pressed his case for a reopening of the nation’s economy within a few weeks despite the World Health Organisation warning the US could become the epicentre of the pandemic.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has warned that being too hasty to ease the limits on travel, socialising and working together would cost lives.
“If you ask the American people to choose between public health and the economy, then it’s no contest,” he said on Tuesday.
“No American is going to say accelerate the economy at the cost of human life,” he said at a convention centre in Manhattan that is being converted into a 1000-bed temporary hospital.
New York is the worst hit by the outbreak, which has infected more than 50,000 people in the US and killed at least 660.
I don’t think anyone is saying to ignore places where the outbreak is bad and just tell everyone to go back to work. The problem is, there are people who have recovered and no longer at risk for infection that can’t work. There are places with little to no outbreak taking place that can’t work.
Now, I’m not going to get into who is right on this one. That’s not what we’re here about.
What I will say, though, is that regardless of when people get back to work and when businesses go back to being open, we’re still going to feel this one for a little while.
Even under the best-case scenario, some folks are going to be desperate. Desperate people do desperate things.
In other words, they turn to crime.
That means the rest of us owe it to our families to be very prepared for these desperate people. That means arming ourselves and keeping our skills sharp. That’s easier said than done during this day and age, but there are ways to train even while not being able to leave your house. Google is your friend on this.
It also means when things start to return to normal, you need to have a weapon on your person at all any time you legally can. You should be prepared for problems anywhere. Desperate people may do desperate things, but these aren’t your typical career criminal. They’re not likely to follow the normal patterns, so one should be wary.
And that’s if the economy fires back up relatively quickly. If it doesn’t, then things could get even worse as people break quarantine in an effort to try and find food or other essentials for their families.
While COVID-19 isn’t the Black Death, it may be enough to change far too many things about our day to day life.