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as more & more bleak economic news filters across the screen each day, I'm more & more inclined to think that we haven't really come to grips with just how devastating & long-term the effects of this pandemic are going to be on the economy, and society in general. Is our talk about "when this is over" & " re-opening the economy" a little too...optimistic...?
I'm starting to fear so...Tell me I'm wrong, because unless they come up with a sure-fire vaccine, even if its still a year off...I'm starting to believe it could well be "the end of the world as we knew it"
 

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as more & more bleak economic news filters across the screen each day, I'm more & more inclined to think that we haven't really come to grips with just how devastating & long-term the effects of this pandemic are going to be on the economy, and society in general. Is our talk about "when this is over" & " re-opening the economy" a little too...optimistic...?
I'm starting to fear so...Tell me I'm wrong, because unless they come up with a sure-fire vaccine, even if its still a year off...I'm starting to believe it could well be "the end of the world as we knew it"
... nah, I think humans are resilient. It can get worst than this.
 

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as more & more bleak economic news filters across the screen each day, I'm more & more inclined to think that we haven't really come to grips with just how devastating & long-term the effects of this pandemic are going to be on the economy, and society in general. Is our talk about "when this is over" & " re-opening the economy" a little too...optimistic...?
I'm starting to fear so...Tell me I'm wrong, because unless they come up with a sure-fire vaccine, even if its still a year off...I'm starting to believe it could well be "the end of the world as we knew it"
Total end, no. Lots of changes to the world we knew, yes.

This is the largest event in my lifetime. It will definitely bring sudden change in economy, investing, business, health, travel, education, and pretty much our day to day lives. We don't know what the 'rules of engagement' will be, and things are constantly changing.

Will things be rocky? It will take time to adapt and figure out the 'new norm' if there is a stable one. Some will choose or have to stay at home to survive, while others who can will have to test things out. I don't have any answers, but I am optimistic of my ability to figure things out and adapt. I won't wait for a vaccine as I am not sure when that will occur, so I will try to find ways to create a new normal for my family.
 

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I'm starting to fear so...Tell me I'm wrong, because unless they come up with a sure-fire vaccine, even if its still a year off...I'm starting to believe it could well be "the end of the world as we knew it"
I'll not say you are wrong. You are absolutely right.

There will never be a “cure” or a vaccine, and our leaders know that. In the end, they’ll be forced to do what should have been done in the first place – simply let nature take its course, never mind a “flat” curve, since that would take years and years to allow the virus to spread by baby steps. All restrictions should be lifted and let ‘er rip. I am an old guy, so I’ll probably go, but I am expendable. Leave some world for the young ones who survive, instead of leaving them as paupers in perpetuity. Even now, so much damage has been done. If we tried tomorrow to attempt an immediate return to “normal”, it would never come.
 

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as more & more bleak economic news filters across the screen each day, I'm more & more inclined to think that we haven't really come to grips with just how devastating & long-term the effects of this pandemic are going to be on the economy, and society in general. Is our talk about "when this is over" & " re-opening the economy" a little too...optimistic...?
I'm starting to fear so...Tell me I'm wrong, because unless they come up with a sure-fire vaccine, even if its still a year off...I'm starting to believe it could well be "the end of the world as we knew it"
You're wrong :)

With proper medical care the death rate appears to be 1% for symptomatic cases, including asymptomatic cases it's a lower portion of the population.

They are finding better ways to treat.
I'd argue that a <1% loss of population, mostly older people with existing medical conditions would have minimal long term impact on the economy.

The actual impact is the massive government reaction, that was likely warranted initially, but as it goes on it appears less appropriate.


We've spent hundreds of billions of dollars, to save lives of a few hundred thousand people, many who were likely going to die of other causes in the next 5-20 years. This makes sense as long as we feel we can pay a few hundred $k per life year. We can for small numbers, we can't afford to pay that much for large numbers of people. It's simply not sustainable.


I feel the big risk is that governments aren't going to want to lose this power, and in some cases it's clearly being abused.
Also the stage is set for a slew of new government "support", and massive spending. I'm afraid that they're going to completely kill the economy with UBI, and even more funding to "work for the government' than elsewhere in the economy.

Why create a business, they are going to have to tax you into oblivion to even handle the interest on all this new debt?
 

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The closest thing we have to compare is the Spanish flu epidemic of 100 years ago. It appears it was more deadly than Covid19 and yet until recently was nearly forgotten. It affected the world for nearly 2 years then the world moved on to the Roaring Twenties. I predict the same thing will happen this time, and that the quarantine will prove to be more damaging to the economy than the disease but the world will bounce back in a year or so.
 

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The closest thing we have to compare is the Spanish flu epidemic of 100 years ago. It appears it was more deadly than Covid19 and yet until recently was nearly forgotten. It affected the world for nearly 2 years then the world moved on to the Roaring Twenties. I predict the same thing will happen this time, and that the quarantine will prove to be more damaging to the economy than the disease but the world will bounce back in a year or so.
Was the roaring 20's due to the end of the war? Or end of the Flu?

Here the real pain being felt by western countries is self inflicted

will this whole episode just be a bad memory by, say, the end of 2021?
It will linger, particularly in areas that insist on maintaining lockdowns.

The policy hangover, we'll never get rid of it.
The new debt? We're at generational level debt for just this crisis.
 

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I'm not saying the Roaring Twenties was caused by the flu or the war. I am saying the economy recovered quickly after those two disasters. The point is, this Covid thing will blow over eventually and things will get back to normal as they have in the past. It may not be this year or even next year but this is hardly the end of the world.
 

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Trade lives for cash.........is this like a cash for clunkers kind of deal ? Sounds reasonable........to an insane person maybe.
 

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With proper medical care the death rate appears to be 1% for symptomatic cases, including asymptomatic cases it's a lower portion of the population.
At present total deaths are ~271,000 and cases world wide 3.95Million . About 6.87%? Is my math wrong?

As a % of world population (7.8Billion) covid deaths are of course a small portion. But they are on top of the many other causes of death. And will likely be a lot higher as restrictions are removed.

For world population growth rate : World Population Clock: 7.8 Billion People (2020) - Worldometer Wonder if food supply is growing at same rate!
 

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I agree with Rusty. With all the accrued debt, the bounce will likely be a little subdued, but a bounce nonetheless.
Watch Sweden.
Sweden's health doc read the tea leaves from this pandemic differently from other countries. I think they knew herd immunity was a requirement - with or without interventions (distancing etc). They seem to be ok, I think.
 

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Trade lives for cash.........is this like a cash for clunkers kind of deal ? Sounds reasonable........to an insane person maybe.
You realize that's literally what we're doing.

It sounds callous, but if we spend $1 million to extend someones life by 10 years, that's a cost of $100k a year.
I'm okay with that, as long as we can afford it, and being a rich country, we can afford to do that for a few hundred thousand people.

But at some point we run into the simple physical reality that we can't do that any more.

How many people can we provide 24/7 care to before we simply run out of people to care for them?

I've asked before, at what point should we stop spending on health care?
$100B/yr, $500B, $1T, $2T/yr?

Or, what percentage of the population should we dedicate to health care to take care of people?
1%, 10%, 50%?

At some point, we simply can't continue to give the best care, or even any care at all.
I'd bet money you won't answer either of the above questions.
 

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Yesterday, I was talking to a friend who lives on a Greek island. They have yet to have one case on the island. Population 115,000 and not one case. Greece moved quickly to lock down and as a result have done very well in limiting the virus in their country. With roughly 1/3 of our population they have had only 2700 cases and 148 deaths compared to our 65k cases and 4,471 deaths. IF we had matched them based on population we would have only 8,100 cases and 444 deaths! We are 10 times worse than that.

They are now looking at opening up tourism in June but with strict controls at the airports including the testing of every arriving tourist.

Some point to Sweden above and herd immunity as a goal. I suggest that countries like Greece or New Zealand who currently have ZERO cases in the country, are a better alternative than Sweden's approach of accepting people dying.

Our problem was that we moved too SLOWLY. We could have done a better job of limiting spread if we had done things like putting out a travel advisory for 'essential travel only' ahead of the March Break for example. How many returned from March Break and were infected when they arrived back in Canada? We'll probably never know.

We could have done a better job of enforcing lock-down when it was put in place. Greek police wrote 60,000 tickets for people disregarding the regulations. Here is the only list I can find for Canada, it lists 123 fines.

IF we had done a better job, we would not now be talking about the economic cost of continuing a lockdown, we would be on a far better track to opening up, without having to talk about how much is a death worth.
 

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Good post.

Without a doubt those countries that locked down have contained the spread of the virus.

Imagine what would have happened in China or Italy if they had not literally locked the population inside their homes.

Mark Zandi, Chief economist for Moody's Analytics has done the calculations and discussed options with major companies.

He says the US is in a recession, but if they open up and have a second wave of infections, they will fall into a deep depression.

He says there is little interest by big business to open up until a vaccine is found. Installation of appropriate workplace measures is simply too expensive.

In Canada, the government approach appears to be providing support for an extended period.

The government has extended the CWSB program and likely will do the same for CERB after it expires in June.

The cost of the support programs so far is $76 Billion. That is a small amount compared to what the US and Europe are spending.

Canada will continue financial support programs as needed, and then will move into the stimulus spending stage.

Patience while vaccines are tested is the clearest path forward.
 

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...
They are now looking at opening up tourism in June but with strict controls at the airports including the testing of every arriving tourist.
...
Interesting. Is there now an "instant" test for C-19? So they can quickly test a planeload of tourists while they wait for their luggage? Because if one C-19-positive case gets in, there goes their blemish-free record and the whole country will be sitting ducks. I have not looked to find out how testing is carried out. Maybe it is instant nowadays, with almost no cost (except perhaps for screeners wages).
 

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Patience while vaccines are tested is the clearest path forward.
You're only saying that because you don't understand that the economy will collapse if we don't get things moving.
Then more people will die.

You might think you're somehow protected from the economic problems, but you're not.
 

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...I'm starting to believe it could well be "the end of the world as we knew it"
Given that scenario, how you finish the fence may not assume much importance in the overall scheme of things. Of course, on the other hand, we could be facing permanent lockdown and you'll be spending a lot of time looking at that fence. Perhaps decorating with gold leaf? The other day discovered some in my workshop from a project long ago I could share. My opened and unfinished can of gold size might have dried up a bit.
 
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