In the US, and not only, an interesting phenomenon of modern capitalism is beginning to surface and become apparent: economic stability is much more important than public health.
More and more opinions are voiced that the way to fight COVID-19 by way of total quarantine and lockdowns is not proper.
Because the economic consequences of this war will cause more problems than the epidemic itself.
Various US outlets are publishing pieces looking specifically at that. Western economists say that mass unemployment is ten times worse than the coronavirus.
And scientists doubt the adequacy of the total quarantine method for treating the virus.
The business has recently had a kind of manifesto related to the epidemic.
The Wall Street Journal, called for the fight against the virus. And the outlet did it entirely on its own behalf, releasing an editorial column.
“Rethinking the Coronavirus shutdown” is the name of the piece, published on March 19th.
“No society can safeguard public health for long at the cost of its economic health” is the tagline of the hype article.
Financial markets suspended their fall on March 19th, but one should not think that this economic disaster has ended. If government restrictive measures last longer than a week or two, the cost of job loss and bankruptcy will exceed what most Americans imagine.
“Government officials should start adjusting their antivirus strategy now to avoid an economic downturn that will exceed the damage from 2008-2009,” according to the WSJ.
The quarantine of the last ten days was necessary and brought many benefits. The public has gained critical hygiene and disease prevention skills.
Nevertheless, the price of stopping the economy is growing every hour, and this is starting to weigh on the budget.
Tens of millions of people will lose their jobs, because trade and production will simply stop. Many large companies can live for several weeks without income, but this does not apply to millions of small and medium enterprises.
Production losses will be serious, and it will take years to recover. In a normal recession, the United States loses about 5% of national production within a year or so. In this case, it can lose as much or twice as much in a month.
“Think of an entrepreneur who invested his life in Memphis Ribs just to see his customers disappear in one week. Or a retail chain of 30 stores that employs hundreds of people but doesn’t see sales and should close.”
Or a recent university graduate with $20,000 of student debt, who quits his first job. He may be able to return to his parents, but what if they are fired too?
“How to evaluate the human costs of these shattered dreams, upturned lives, or mental health damage that results from government restrictions?”
Some media say that China has experienced a comparable shock for its economy, but is already recovering. Why can’t the US do the same? At the same time, they forget that the Chinese state owns a huge share in the economy and takes losses on itself.
In America, these losses will be borne by private owners and workers. They have no government support that could be counted on.
“Even America’s resources to fight the viral plague are not unlimited – and they will melt every day,” the publication sums up.
In the United States, another publication, The New York Times, published a column from Yale University’s Center for Prevention, Dr. David Katz, titled, “Is our fight against coronavirus worse than disease?”
He stated that the virus is not as dangerous as they say. According to Katz, the mortality figures are clearly overstated, since much more people are infected with COVID-19 than the statistics present.
“The data from South Korea, where coronavirus tracking was the best to date, indicates that up to 99 percent of active cases in the general population are” mild “and do not require special treatment,” the scientist said.
The doctor explains the higher mortality rate in Chinese Wuhan by the fact that fewer people were tested there.
“Mortality in China may be higher, but perhaps this is the result of less extensive testing. South Korea quickly and unequivocally began testing almost the entire healthy population, finding mild and asymptomatic cases of Covid-19 that other countries overlook,” argues the scientist.
Katz said that even on such a revealing “viral island” as the Diamond Princess cruise ship (where people infected with the virus were found, and the ship remained in quarantine off the coast of Japan for a long time), the mortality rate is only 1%.
According to him, coronavirus is even less dangerous than the flu, which kills both the elderly and children, since it kills those with chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.
Therefore, the doctor believes, if anyone is isolated from the outside world, these are people over 60 years old. And the rest should be given a mild illness so that collective immunity develops more quickly.
And most importantly – then you will not have to remove the active population from the economy.
At the same time, he notes that the call to all to stay at home leads to the fact that in the same room together are members of the same family of different generations. Including pensioners, which increases the risk of their infection.
“I am deeply concerned that the social, economic and social consequences of this almost complete collapse of normal life – the closure of schools and enterprises, banned meetings – will be long-term and catastrophic, perhaps even more serious than the direct damage to the virus itself. The stock market will recover, but many firms will not. Unemployment, impoverishment and despair will become more serious disasters for public health,” Katz said.
The doctor also criticizes the US health care system and says that it, like the European one, is not designed for such loads. Unlike medicine in China, South Korea or Singapore.
Therefore, Katz believes, “we follow Italy, and our medical system is overloaded twice: first, when people are in a hurry to get tested for coronavirus, and again, when especially vulnerable people catch a severe infection and need hospital beds.”
“The path we are following may well lead to uncontrolled viral infection and colossal collateral damage to our society and economy. We need a more targeted approach,” Katz writes.
The bottom line of his recommendations is that isolation should be selective and concern only risk groups. That is, only old people should sit at home. And the rest – to study and work. It is also important to figure out how to isolate the older generation from the younger within families – so that the young do not infect the elderly.
In conclusion, it appears that MSM is strongly concerned with the state of the economy, and the response should similar to that of ancient Sparta, those weak or “disfigured” should be left to die, at the cost of success. And many, if not all, of the issues described in both texts stem from the flawed healthcare system in the US, and the generally corporate mindset of its politicians, not from the fact that COVID-19 requires quarantine and a loss of profit.
And many businesses are fine with the COVID-19 response, because it presents opportunities to shift the model – allow for more distance work, more digital products being sold, improving fiber optic cables and what not.
However, as is typical for US conduct – all issues are the cause of outside factors and the blame is never within, and, also, the one who lobbies the hardest (and pays most) gets the loudest voice.
An economic crisis has been on the way for a while, and its been more apparent than ever. Acting surprised by the downturn, and blaming it on the virus is entirely understandable, but it is more than apparent that (of course it exacerbated the situation) the economic crisis was not solely and entirely caused by the infectious disease.
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