We’ve escaped the frying pan and found the fire. COVID-19 cases are now growing faster than they were when the first US lockdowns occurred last March.
I live near Austin, Texas, one of the hotspots where hospitals are filling fast. The governor has paused his reopening plan. It seems likely much of the state will shut down again, whether he orders it or not. Businesses can’t stay open if customers stay home, or workers get sick.
Nationally, it took four to six weeks for the first shutdowns just to begin reducing infections. We are in for a rough summer if the milder measures now being taken show a similar lag. And economically, hopes for a quick recovery (which were always dim, in my view) are likely gone.
All this was predictable and preventable. Viruses reproduce as long as they can find new hosts. They don’t care who it is. They stop only when something deprives them of opportunity.
Yet here we are. We will get through this, but the economy will be far different on the other side.
When staying close to home becomes a matter of life or death, someone has to pay the price.
Trapped on a Plane
The pandemic’s economic impact doesn’t fall equally. Some industries feel it more because the conditions that spread the virus (crowds and confined spaces) are integral to their business models.
For instance, crowds are hard to escape when you travel.
Consider airlines. Even if you’re fortunate enough to fly first class, simply being on a plane puts you dangerously close to other people for extended periods. Not to mention the whole process of getting to the airport, through security, and to your gate.
Every person you are near is a potential virus carrier, and the virus is potentially deadly, particularly to older people and those with certain health conditions.
To stay in business, airlines must:
- Maintain a reasonably safe environment and
- Make people believe the environment is safe.
Both are important. It’s not enough that the airports and planes are safe. Travelers must feel safe. That’s hard when you look across the aisle and see this…
The MAGA-hatted person using a mask as a blindfold may be owning the libs, but he’s also hurting the economy. He is telling everyone, “You should stay home because people like me make travelling…
Read MoreTravel Virus Strikes Economy