Connect with us

coronavirus

How US response to #COVID-19 could precipitate second Great Depression

SHARE:

Published

on

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you've consented to and to improve our understanding of you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

On 10 March of this year, there were 290 daily new U.S. cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus-19). On 13 March , US President Donald Trump declared a pandemic national emergency, because the number of daily new cases was now suddenly doubling within only three days. However, no lockdown was imposed. The policy-response was instead left to each individual. This is in accord with America’s libertarian idelogy. Trump even announced that “he was allowing his health secretary to bypass certain regulations to provide more flexibility to doctors and hospitals responding to the outbreak” — outright reducing, insead of increasing, federal regulations, this being his way to address the matter. That’s the libertarian response, writes Eric Zuesse, originally posted on Strategic Culture.
COVID-19 (coronavirus-19) cases started soaring in the US, from 600 daily new cases on 13 March, to 25,665 on 31 March. Americans were scared to death, and facemask-usage soared, and independent small businesses started laying people off en-masse. (Restaurants, hair salons, travel agencies, inns, dental offices, etc., were hard-hit.)
Immediately, the alarming rise in new cases halted on April 4th (at 34,480), and the daily new cases remained approximately flat, but slightly downward, from March 31 to June 9th (when it reached bottom at 19,166), but then soared yet again, to 78,615, on July 24th.
But, then, it again declined, so that, on September 8th, it was at only 28,561. This was already returning to around what the new-cases rate had been back on March 31st. So: despite peaking again on July 24th, the rate of daily new cases was little changed between March 31st and September 8th. And, all during that 5-month period, people were coming back to work.
The key immediate and direct economic variable affected by Covid-19 is the unemployment rate. Here, that economic effect is clearly shown:
US unemployment: March 4.4%, April 14.7%, May 13.3%, June 11.1%, July 10.2%, August 8.4%
Though the daily-new-cases rate went down after March 31st and after July 24th, the unemployment rate progressed far more gradually downward after 31 March: the small businesses that had been panicked by the explosion of new cases during March were now gradually re-opening — but they remained very nervous; and, so, unemployment still was almost twice what it had been during March.
Here, that experience will be compared with two Scandinavian countries, starting with Denmark, which declared a pandemic national emergency on 13 March, just when Trump also did. Starting on 13 March 2020, all people working in non-essential functions in the public sector were ordered to stay home for two weeks. The daily new cases fell from the high of 252 on March 11th, down to the low of 28 on March 15th, but then soared to 390 on April 7th, and gradually declined to 16 (only 16 new cases) on July 9th. Then it peaked back up again, at 373, on August 10th, plunged down to 57 on August 26th, and then soared yet again back up to 243 on September 8th. The new-cases rates were thus irregular, but generally flat. By contrast against the experience in U.S., Denmark’s unemployment-rate remained remarkably stable, throughout this entire period:
Denmark: March 4.1, April 5.4, May 5.6, June 5.5, July 5.2
Sweden’s Government pursued a far more laissez-faire policy-response (“The government has tried to focus efforts on encouraging the right behaviour and creating social norms rather than mandatory restrictions.”), and had vastly worse COVID-19 infection-rates than did the far more socialistic Denmark, and alsovastly worse death-rates, both producing results in Sweden more like that of the US policy-response than like that of the Danish policy-response, but far less bad than occurred on the unemployment-rate; and, thus, Sweden showed unemployment-increases which were fairly minor, more like those shown in Denmark:
Sweden: March 7.1, April 8.2, May 9.0, June 9.8, July 8.9
That was nothing like the extreme gyration in:
US: March 4.4%, April 14.7%, May 13.3%, June 11.1%, July 10.2%, August 8.4%
Why was this?
Even though Sweden’s policy-effectiveness was more like America’s than like Denmark’s at keeping down the percentages of the population who became infected, and who died from Covid-19 (i.e., it was not effective), Sweden’s policy-effectiveness at keeping down the percentage of the population who became unemployed was more like Denmark’s (i.e., it was effective, at that). Unlike America, which has less of a social safety-net than any other industrialized nation does, Sweden had, until recently, one of the most extensive ones, and hasn’t yet reduced it down to American levels (which are exceptionally libertarian). Therefore, whereas Swedes know that the Government will be there for them if they become infected, Americans don’t; and, so, Americans know that, for them, it will instead be “sink or swim.” Make do, or drop dead if you can’t — that is the American way. This is why Swedish unemployment wasn’t much affected by Covid-19. When a Swede experienced what might be symptoms, that person would want to stay home and wouldn’t be so desperate as to continue working even if doing that might infect others. Thus, whereas Sweden’s unemployment-rate rose 27% from March to May, America’s rose 202% during that same period. Americans were desperate for income, because so many of them were poor, and so many of them had either bad health insurance or none at all. (All other industrialized countries have universal health insurance: 100% of the population insured. Only in America is health care a privilege that’s available only to people who have the ability to pay for it, instead of a right that is provided to everyone.)
On September 9th, Joe Neel headlined at NPR, NPR Poll: Financial Pain From Coronavirus Pandemic ‘Much, Much Worse’ Than Expected, and he reported comprehensively not only from a new NPR poll, but from a new Harvard study, all of which are consistent with what I have predicted (first,here, and then here, and, finally, here), and which seems to me to come down to the following ultimate outcomes, toward which the U.S. is now heading (so, I close my fourth article on this topic, with these likelihoods):
America’s lack of the democratic socialism (social safety-net) that’s present in countries such as Denmark (and residual vestiges of which haven’t yet been dismantled in Sweden and some other countries) will have caused, in the United States, massive laying-off of the workers in small businesses, as a result of which, overwhelmingly more families will be destroyed that are at the bottom of the economic order, largely Black and/or Hispanic families, than that are White and not in poverty. Also as a consequence, overwhelmingly in the United States, poor people will be suffering far more of the infections, and of the deaths, and of the laying-off, and of the soon-to-be-soaring personal bankruptcies and homelessness; and, soon thereafter, soaring small-business bankruptcies, and ultimately then big-business bankruptcies, and then likely megabank direct federal bailouts such as in 2009, which will be followed, in the final phase, by a hyperinflation that might be comparable to what had occurred in Weimar Germany. The ceaselessly increasing suffering at the bottom will ultimately generate a collapse at the top. Presumably, therefore, today’s seemingly coronavirus-immune U.S. stock markets, such as the S&P 500, are now basically just mega-investors who are selling to small investors, so as to become enabled, after what will be the biggest economic crash in history, to buy “at pennies on the dollar,” the best of what’s left, so as to then go forward into the next stage of the capitalist economic cycle, as owning an even higher percentage of the nation’s wealth than now is the case. Of course, if that does happen, then America will be even more of a dictatorship than it now is. Post-crash 2021 America will be more like Hitler’s Germany, than like FDR’s America was.
The Democratic Party’s Presidential nominee, Joe Biden, is just ascorrupt, and just asracist, as is the Republican nominee, Donald Trump. And just as neoconservative (but targeting Russia, instead of China). Therefore, the upcoming November 3rd elections in the U.S. are almost irrelevant, since both of the candidates are about equally disgusting. America’s problems are deeper than just the two stooges that America's aristocracy hires to front for it at the ballot-boxes.
The opinions expressed in the above article are those of the author alone, and do not reflect any opinions on the part of EU Reporter.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

coronavirus

Honouring the 'forgotten angels' of the health crisis

Published

on

A leading ferry operator is honouring the “forgotten angels” who have been at the sharp end of the ongoing health crisis.

Nurses worldwide have been acclaimed for their sterling efforts to help the needy during the near-two year pandemic that has cost tens of thousands of lives and devastated economies.

DFDS has now decided to honour the contribution made by the nursing profession in the UK which, currently, again has one of the fastest growing rates of coronavirus infections in Europe.

Advertisement

The ferry operator is giving away £1 million worth of crossings on its UK-continental Europe routes to health service personnel in the UK.

A spokesman for the company told this website that the offer of £1 million worth of free ferry crossings to NHS staff is its way “to say thanks for all your hard work throughout the pandemic.”

 “The past 18 months have been some of the hardest the nation has faced and the NHS have taken on these challenges with strength and dedication. To say thank you, we are we are giving away £1 million worth of crossings in association with Blue Light Card.”

Advertisement

“If you work for the NHS or know someone who does, share this with them so that they can enter and start planning their longed-for getaway. Throughout this time health service staff have put themselves on the front line for us, to make things better and easier for us. Now it’s our turn to do something for them.”

The offer is for the Dover/Dunkirk-Calais and also on the Newhaven to Dieppe routes. DFDS is the only cross-channel ferry operator to offer this route and its multiple daily crossings take just 4 hours. Ferries from Newhaven to Dieppe provide the perfect route from the UK to the heart of northern France and bookings are now open for 2022.

It is also available for the overnight Newcastle to Amsterdam mini cruise where passengers stay in a private, en suite cabin, enjoying our onboard restaurants, entertainment and duty free shopping.

Travel is for selected dates in 2021 and 2022. Anyone interested can enter the ballot via Blue Light Tickets.

As travel is still very much subject to the whims of the pandemic the company is aware that people may have to change their travel plans. If so, the DFDS travel guarantee offers free cancellation and rebooking on travel taken before 30 September 2022. DFDS has again this year been nominated as the "World's Leading Ferry Operator" after winning the last ten years in a row.

Continue Reading

coronavirus

Macabre upshots of COVID-19 rampage in Romania

Published

on

In the past several days, the demand for coffins increased by 50% in Romania. Some working in this sector said that in October alone their sales increased as never before, writes Cristian Gherasim, Bucharest correspondent.

This comes as no surprise since COVID 19 has been killing one Romanian every five minutes, the country registering the highest death rate in the world.

Representatives of funeral homes and of those selling coffins said that they have encountered numerous tragedies in the past weeks. They met cases of entire families ending up burying four of their members in the past two weeks alone.

Advertisement

The COVID mortality rate is so high that many have compared it to the most tragic events in Romania’s recent history. The most tragic event was the Collective Club fire of 2015. The fire resulted in 64 deaths, almost nine times less than the COVID deaths recorded on Tuesday, 19 October. At the anti-communist revolution of 1989, 1,166 Romanians died. At the beginning of the week, 561 died in just 24 hours, namely half of the victims registered during the anti-communist revolution which unfolded over a period of 5 days. The 1977 earthquake killed 1,570 people. The 24h death rate from COVID in Romania represent one third of the victims of the worst earthquake in Romania’s recent history.

Town halls across the country are now using excavators to dig burial plots for recently COVID deceased. Authorities in Slobozia, Ialomița county can no longer cope with the large number of dead and have brought an excavator to the cemetery to dig the graves.

Botosani City Hall also rented an excavator to deal with the wave of deaths. The number of deaths in recent days led to increase activity not only in hospitals but also in cemeteries, said local authorities. Gravediggers could no longer cope with the wave of burials, and heavy machinery had to be brought in.

Advertisement

Centralized data show that in the city of Botosani, every month, there were about 50 deaths, but now the number has more than doubled.

The wave of burials exacerbates the crisis in the cemeteries, so the mayors must find solutions.

Due to the large number of deaths as a result of the new coronavirus, a crisis in cemeteries broke out in Italy this spring as much as it did during the first year of the pandemic. In Rome, in May, there was even a riot of funeral home workers who complained that there were no more places available. Spread over 140 hectares in northern Rome, Prima Porta, the largest cemetery in Italy, had a waiting list stretching all the way back to the beginning of the year.

People in Italy who had someone dying in January said that in May they were still not buried or cremated, and mortuaries at other cemeteries in the city were in similar situations.

Continue Reading

COVID-19

‘We must remain vigilant’ Charles Michel

Published

on

The message from the European Council summit is that Europe must remain vigilant. Vaccination campaigns across Europe have brought progress in the fight against COVID-19, but there is a recognition that there is still a problem with vaccine hesitancy, in particular, in Romania and Bulgaria where the vaccination rates have been low. 

Charles Michel said that disinformation had to be tackled, particularly on social media platforms. 

There is ongoing work to accelerate recognition of certificates, with one important development being the recent decision of the United States to lift restrictions for vaccinated EU citizens as of 8 November, 2021.

Advertisement

In its conclusions, the European Council also called on the experiences of the COVID-19 crisis to strengthen the EU’s preparedness for future health emergencies and the conclusions of negotiations on the new Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA).

In the context of the upcoming G20 meeting and in view of the special session of the World Health Assembly in November, the European Council underlines its support for a strong, central role for the World Health Organization in future global health governance and for the objective of agreeing an international treaty on pandemics.

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending