COVID-19: Lockdowns Could Cause More Suffering Than the Virus

Extending the Lockdown Could Cause More Suffering Than the Virus

In countries like Canada, with relatively low death rates, the indirect effects of the virus could be more devastating.  

 

Thousands of Americans at a drive-thru food bank in Pittsburgh. Credit: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

 

The global economic decline will not reach rock bottom till the 2030s. 

The United States is now the world’s epicenter for COVID-19.

During the Great Depression, the unemployment rate reached 25 percent; it took three years.
18 percent of Americans have already filed for unemployment; it took a month.

Cars, not people, wait for food in America’s modern-day bread line.

4.7 billion people are in lockdown. If economies remain closed past May, (which is likely) the economic fallout from the coronavirus will not bottom out for more than a decade.

Few weeks ago, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned, “countries and economies could collapse because of the pandemic.”

University of Toronto Economics Professor Emeritus Albert Berry believes the economic fallout from COVID-19 can’t be avoided completely by any country, not even North Korea. NK is isolated politically, but they trade a lot with China.

A “collapse” depends on how we choose to define it. “If a collapse is a GDP drop of 2 percent, then pretty much everybody’s going to suffer,” Berry claims.

But, “the reasonable range of expectation for most countries is between 5 and 25 percent.”

A good definition of a recession is a GDP drop “of no more than 5 percent,” according to Berry.

25 percent would be a depression.

More than half of China is shut down; those 21 provinces account for 80 percent of the nation’s GDP.

“In a well-designed program, almost no one’s income will suffer a huge drop,” Berry says.

“If you make sure that people continue to receive payments, you eliminate 90% of the biggest problems.” – Albert Berry

 

Small Businesses are in trouble.

Half of Canada’s workforce is small business employees. 

The biggest part of the small business sector is agriculture. Farmers do not work in close spaces and, so, are unaffected by COVID-19.

That’s one end of the spectrum.

Restaurants and Bars are the other; they will face very dark times.

Cash flow in these businesses depend on people leaving their homes.

 

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“The small business industry is made of so many types that the government should figure out how many are closer to the restaurant side of the spectrum, how many are closer to agriculture, and target the ones that will suffer” – Berry

The bulk of lost jobs will come from small businesses.

But, will the jobs lost in the small store be replaced in online selling? 

Mostly, no.

Let’s take restaurants for example, you can’t eat and dine online; there are no online waitresses. Takeout makes up 100 percent of the sales right now, but not all in-person jobs can come back.

1 in 10 restaurants are now closed forever.

U.S. President Donald Trump said, “we cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself!

The higher the number of COVID-19 deaths, the longer the lockdowns for small businesses, unemployed workers, pensioners, etc.

 

Unemployment kills more than COVID-19

In Canada, COVID-19 has killed 1,583 people.

For every 1 percent increase in unemployment, 37,000 people die. 

The unemployment rate in Canada is now 8-10 percent.

Even if we are conservative and dial back the 37,000 potential deaths, it is far greater than the COVID-19 death toll.

The virus has affected nearly 35,000 people.

Unemployment has affected nearly 3 million million Canadians.

“At first I thought that this 2.7 million unemployed figure was the worst case, and then I thought it was realistic, and now I think it might actually be optimistic.” Senior Economist David MacDonald

 

Sick it out at home!

Social Distancing fines have become laughable.

In prison, inmates spend 23 hours locked up in a cell. For an hour, they’re let outside to get some sun and exercise. 

In COVID-19 lockdowns, people are told to stay home all day, except for an hour of grocery shopping and exercise.

Suicides go up during recessions.

India, a nation founded on small businesses, has one of the world’s worst suicide rates. It’s going to get worse.

According to OutlookIndia, “the impending humanitarian crisis in the aftermath of the ongoing global health crisis is real.

Increasingly, desperate and vulnerable populations of unorganised workers, who are in no position to negotiate wages or their rights, will be a massive pool for cheap labour.

Evidence suggests that Canada will face a similar fate, though not as extreme. With a very high unemployment rate and no safety net to fall back on, people looking for work won’t have bargaining power; they will be forced to accept jobs with lower salaries.

 

 

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