Will COVID Rebound in the U.S. this Summer?
I hate to raise this possibility, but with a growing outbreak of COVID-19 in Europe, we should consider the possibility that another wave might hit the U.S. this summer. Over the course of the virus, waves of illness start in Europe and then move to the U.S. We also see cases rise during the summer when high temperatures keep people indoors. While the waves are worse in the winter months, a wave of cases peaked in late July of 2020 and again in late August of 2021.
After some “experts” suggested that the recent wave of the omicron virus might spell the end of COVID-19 in the United States, there is no way to be sure.
My sense is that most Americans are fed up with restrictions related to the pandemic. While some companies might have people return to working from home, I think there will be increased resistance to mask mandates and other restrictions. We’ve already seen some companies allow unvaccinated people to return to work. Will they be laid off again?
I’m not suggesting anyone panic, but consider how this might affect your job, your kids’ school, and the supply chain and prepare accordingly.
More Supply Chain Disruptions
Maersk, the largest container shipping company in the world, told customers to expect supply chain problems because of China’s new lockdowns. While China allowed manufacturing in the Shenzhen area to restart after being down for six days, Maersk predicted the shutdowns will cause output delays.
If the virus sees a resurgence in the U.S., expect even more supply chain delays and disruptions.
That “Aha” Moment of Inflation
The Wall Street Journal wrote about people having that “aha” moment when they get that inflation impacted their daily lives for the first time. That moment it went from being a concept to hitting their pocketbook. I guess that is what happened to me earlier this week when I saw the price of something at Walmart had increased 26 percent since my visit in February.
The article also talks about how people are changing their shopping habits to keep their bills manageable. However, it includes little or no thought to how this might affect the economy or lead us into a recession.
“Catastrophic” Food Shortages
We’ve moved from food shortages to a food crisis, and this article warns that there will be catastrophic shortages. The UN has warned of a “hunger hurricane.”
Consider this my regular reminder to stock up while there is still something to stock.
China Plans to Invade Taiwan
Newsweek is reporting that leaked Russian intelligence documents show China was tentatively planning to invade Taiwan as early as this fall. Note, this is a leak, and a leak from a third party intelligence agency. It is not concrete evidence that such a plan existed or was going to be acted upon. It could be a distraction or some ploy to divert attention from Russia’s Ukraine invasion.
If you think the Ukrainian invasion is bad for the world, a Chinese invasion would have far worse consequences and would result in outright war between the U.S. and China, with the UK, Australia with Japan and India potentially joining our side. The consequences to global trade and the economy would make the food shortages we’re going to see because of the Ukraine invasion seem like child’s play.