Coronavirus is Changing our World

Walking alone in a park. Photo by Gautam Krishnan on Unsplash.
A woman practices social distancing in Central Park. Photo by Gautam Krishnan on Unsplash.

There are a number of articles online this morning about how little we know about the coronavirus, including how many patients are asymptomatic, and why the diseases lingers and lasts for weeks or months in others.

But while there may be open medical question the impact on the economy is very clearly illustrated in dropping employment numbers and sinking industrial output and consumer spending, as we reported yesterday.  Even as COVID-19 cases slow, there’s no quick economic recovery waiting in the wings.  This is in part because of slow or no reopening, but it is also in part because people are scared to get back to life as it used to be, and often for good reason. The world has changed, and that can be scary.

Right now, it’s the governors who are frozen with indecision, afraid to change, but there are many actions the could be taking with a high degree of safety, especially if we practice social distancing and good hygiene with frequent had washing and surface disinfection.  For example:

  • Allow doctors to reopen their offices and hospitals to restart elective surgery.
  • Open beaches, parks, and mountains, but keep the visitor centers and other spots where people congregate closed.
  • Let kids play outside and visit friends.
  • Allow all businesses to do curb-side pickup or drive through services.
  • Allow more family and small group gatherings.

Watching the World Change Around us

Many of us are sitting at home, watching through a flat-screen window as the world changes around us.  Will colleges reopen in the fall? Can we expect NFL games to be played?  Will the restaurant industry collapse or recover?  Stick by your screen and you’ll find out eventually.

Many of us have changed the way we grocery shop, with some people going only once every couple weeks and others using delivery or curb-side pickup.  We’ve changed the way we eat and cook more at home.  We’ve been forced to change how and where we work.  For most, how we interact socially and how we entertain ourselves has changed.  Online shopping is surging as retail stores close.  For parents, child care and education has changed, which impacts our ability to work.  Travel has changed and if and how we vacation will change.

You can look at change two ways: You can resist it, fight for the status quo and the good ol’ days, or you can accept it, adapt and move forward. 

In general, the key to success, and some would say the key to happiness, is accepting and adapting to change.  Just because you’ve never home schooled doesn’t mean you can’t, and maybe it will turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to your kids.  You might miss shopping in the grocery store and picking out your own produce, but you might find that ordering online saves you time and money and allows you to better stick to your budget. And maybe an RV trip instead of a plane ride will bring the family closer together.

There are battles worth fighting, but paddling against the stream is much tougher than going with the flow.  Pick your battles.  When you decide to stand your ground, make sure you’ve got a good reason and a solid foundation, and “Because that’s the way I’ve always done it” is usually not a good enough reason.

Today’s Coronavirus Report

Reported cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. grew by 26,200 in the past 24 hours, up 1.8 percent to 1,450,900.  1,636 deaths were attributed to the coronavirus yesterday, bringing the total in the U.S. to 87,436.

New York State has relaxed its restrictions In five regions of the state, where there are far fewer cases than downstate, allowing some activities to resume.  This will mean some manufacturing, construction and other jobs will restart.  Only 127 deaths due to COVID-19 were reported in the state yesterday, the lowest number since March 27.

Globally, cases were up 96,000 to 4.57 million, an increase of 2 percent.  Global deaths climbed to 308,317. 

Russia continues to see cases climb, while Brazil will likely pass Italy and Spain in the next several days.  India has passed China and become the country with the most reported cases in Asia, although as we mentioned yesterday, China’s numbers are believed to be dramatically under reported.

To put these figures into perspective, you can look back at yesterday’s report or numbers from a week ago.

Coronavirus is Changing our World