There is no estimated loss of life which we should consider an acceptable number but during a pandemic, there will be loss of life. Minimizing risks, maximizing recoveries and finding viable treatments and preventative vaccines and therapies are all top priorities now for modern medicine, bio-science, pharmaceutical companies and the alphabet soup of intergovernmental health agencies across this globe.
Thankfully, social distancing, virtual lockdown and self-quarantining/shelter in place orders are making more than a dent in potential infections, and generally having their desired effect. And even with testing numbers/percentages at far from desirable levels, COVID19 case numbers are plateauing, hots spots are getting a bit cooler, and the worst of the surge of infections appears close to being behind us, or at least within the next few weeks.
Just as our freedoms and movements were ratcheted down, in a series of more aggressive Emergency Orders, it will soon be time to start opening back up the spigot and America's economy. Fear and trepidation, in some respects thankfully, are expected also to remain here for some time to come.
The recovery will likely take longer than the shutdown. Six weeks ago, our nation was humming along at virtually full employment. And as of this past Friday, 22-million Americans had filed for unemployment insurance.
During the Great Depression, that number was 15-million at the peak, with nearly 25-percent of the working-age population out of work for the better part of a decade, against the backdrop of a smaller national population (122-million as of the 1930 Census, slightly more than a third of our current population). Unemployment did not drop below 10 percent until the onset of WWII.
Just six weeks ago, one of the strongest sellers' markets in decades was finally bringing near full recovery of home prices to their highs prior to the financial market and real estate collapse of 2008 (12 years ago).
Just six weeks ago, the robust economy had small businesses hiring, and our beloved Delta Airlines was in midst of training nearly 10,000 new pilots and stewards it had recently hired.
Our world really can change on a dime, or in this case a microscopic virus which tells our own body to turn on itself, and which structure mirrors that of a healthy protein cell.
COVID19 has knocked us out of our boots, and there are likely a few more shoes yet to drop. But we still have to stand up, and go ahead, with caution, and strap our boots back on and walk out of the house.
Pay cuts, lay-offs, and terminations are dropping like flies from businesses large and small. The public sector, which derives its revenues from taxes and fees of all kinds of individuals and the private sector is about to see its lagging revenues and cash flows drop off a cliff. We have to begin the process of turning the spigot back on before for many it is too late. Congress moved unusually quickly for a body that takes its time walking from one side of Capitol Hill to the other. The CARES Stimulus Act is far from perfect, but it is moving billions (actually trillions) in aid to the states, major population centers and almost every sector of our economy.
But after nearly one month of no income for many, it simply is not moving FAST enough. Though LARGER small businesses are successfully receiving Payroll Protection loans and assistance, the truly smaller businesses and self-employed who occupy so much of Main Street, are likely to find their application denied or insufficient funding available.
I'm not suggesting we ignore the public health experts, throw caution to the wind or assume we have suddenly developed immunity to this horrible virus that we did not have before. However serum treatments, promising clinical trials, and new uses for several old drugs, and NOT just the treatment protocol being hawked by the President, ARE each positively impacting survival rates.
Our boots are off, and the chips are down. I don't know about you, but I'm ready to stand up and strap'em back on. These boots are made for walking and climbing, not cowering, and not for expecting the state, federal or local government to drop by, keep handing me checks and to disinfect my home and entire community. When those folks in the know tell us to proceed with caution, let's do that, but c'mon folks pretty soon it is going to be time to GO. Ready when you are.