Stay at home… For Now

Updated: Jul 1, 2020

I guess we are going to talk about it again. This topic that is getting everyone sick of both earing it and literally sick because of it. The Coronavirus pandemic has been covered so much in the traditional media that if you decide to read anything about it, you will be bombarded with articles about every different aspect of it. Everyone already knows the basic procedures, wash your hands for 20 seconds, wear gloves, wear a mask, use disinfectant and most importantly: stay at home.

Yes, the idea is to stay at home in order to prevent the virus to spread. There is even a very nice picture that went viral in explaining the idea with some matches. The reasoning is quite clear: we know that the virus has a very high rate of contamination, therefore, if you isolate the infected people you will stop the spread and, because of that, save lives. However, there is a catch. If some of us don’t do it, then the efforts of the others will therefore be completely redundant.

I have already covered this on a previous article, and this might sound familiar, but if we keep everyone at home (with the exceptions of those needed key areas such as healthcare, pharmacies, grocery stores, police and many others), the economy will stop, and that is fine… for now. The economy can stop with the help of the government, as it is, for a couple months. But it is very important that we have a light at the end of the tunnel. The economy needs a date to get back to business. Many people, those who earn less money or plan week to week, month to month will be affected and, for these people, there will be a day when the fear of the economic crisis will be bigger than the fear of the pandemic.

I understand that (some) politicians do not want to give their people a date fearing not being able to accomplish it. However, society needs some hope. We need to see our leaders working towards a tangible goal. We need a common goal. And don’t think that I am not considering of the difficulties that come with setting a date and even the difficulties of even deciding a date. I am taking that into account, but that is a must in a time of emergency. If this is a war, as many are saying, then the date will be our day of victory over our “common enemy”.

The economic effects of having a common enemy are splendid because the society will be working with more knowledge, feel like they have responsibility to do their part towards having lifted the bans and everyone’s health getting better.

The sooner we deal with this crisis the better. That is clear. And we should get back to normal, to what we had in November 2019. But what is it going to be, “going back to normal”? I don’t necessarily think that we will be able to go back to what we had exactly, but both the governments and the people need to work towards that. We have seen that, all over the world, the unemployment rate going up in ways that make you shake. Academics think that the unemployment rate will continue to go up, but we will also see an employment rate going up, and consequently an unemployment rate going down, straight after this crisis.

The problem that exists with this is that the employment rate does not go up at the same pace that we are now seeing the unemployment rate. That is simply because the world will not restart the same way we have stopped. Take culture, as an example. Even if the disease is controlled, governments declare that we are “back to business”, I cannot picture people rushing to buy a stand-up comedy ticket here they will be a closed room with 100 strangers that might have coronavirus or something else.

Another great example for this is Tourism. Tourism, as we already know, is having a big drop in revenue and I do not necessarily see that going up even if we suddenly return to normal. People are going to be afraid of what they are facing when travelling to a different country. If those businesses do not have the numbers that they had before the pandemic, they will not re-hire the fired people, or, if they decided to not fire and hold on, the low business will push them to fire some of the staff.

I really think that world leaders should decide on a date. That will be imperative to our economic survival, and it cannot be too far away because people need their lives back to normal. For the moment, stay at home.

The Politician Independent Newspaper, created in 2020