Reflections

COVID-19 quarantine side effects: Are they worth it?

Is another Great Depression worth it?

I was stockpiling cans at the grocery store before it was cool. Yep – I had a feeling this would get bad. I hoped my school would cancel classes (and move online) for fear of the coronavirus, and they did. As governments started to issue shelter-in-place orders, I received confirmation after confirmation that I was right.

Indeed, the U.S. cases appear to be climbing at the same pace as Italy’s. Yet, as some have pointed out, the U.S. has a much larger population than Italy. Therefore, our spread is far more “contained” than theirs. Perhaps our quarantine efforts are doing something.

I’m not going to claim that this isn’t a seriously bad virus, and that serious precautions shouldn’t be taken. I think some are missing the point of it all: to avoid overloading the medical system (which even a small percentage of infected U.S. citizens with serious cases could do.)

But the fact is, that just hasn’t happened in the U.S. Projections say that it will, but it hasn’t yet. Doctors are out of masks thanks to citizen stockpiling and Chinese manufacturing. One thing is clear: mask shortages are NOT an indicator that medical facilities are dealing with loads of coronavirus cases as I write this. This is an example of the unpreparedness that has caused lots of hysterical headlines – all in anticipation of a massive outbreak. 

What the government is doing right now is purely precautionary. What are they doing, exactly?

Shutting down cities. Non-essential businesses, state beaches and parks, and schools have been ordered to close. (Everyone knows this, we’re living it.)

Here’s what people don’t necessarily know:

The Federal Reserve just loaned 1.5 trillion to banks in an effort to keep the second Great Depression from coming.

St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard predicted that unemployment could hit 30 percent. The Great Depression, at it’s height, had unemployment at 25 percent. Wow.

Congress is considering sending anywhere from $1000 to $6000 to all American adults (either one-time, or per month throughout the crisis.) They’re also voting on a 2 trillion economic stimulus package. 

So, is this all worth it?

‚ÄčAre hundreds if not thousands of people not being able to return to work after this is over worth it?

Is another Great Depression worth it?

Is skyrocketing inflation worth it?

Is the National Debt climbing a few billion, if not a trillion more worth it?

Is the Federal Reserve creating another, bigger economic “bubble” through 1.5 trillion in dirt-cheap loans worth it?

The Fed wouldn’t have had to do this if not for the government mandating the economy come to a grinding halt. No doubt, while most Americans live on credit cards and paycheck-to-paycheck, this has already devastated a lot of people financially. The longer this goes on, the worse it will get.

Here’s my problem:

There’s a lot still in the “unknown” about this virus. How bad is it? How many people will require hospitalization, and how many will feel symptoms for a week and be fine?

Are the projections for spread correct? How do we know when the tests are both unavailable and, sometimes, inaccurate? 

What do you think…

Is the economic shutdown worth it?

Should high-risk people be advised to stay home while the rest of us go about normal business?

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