By Christopher J. Petherick
There is currently a push being made to restart the U.S. economy and allow Americans out into public again in an effort to bump up the stock market and help businesses and individuals suffering financially due to the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus, Covid-19. As states are just beginning to get the spread of the virus under control, now would be the worst time to cancel the stay-at-home orders, open the floodgates, and allow everyone out into the world.
Before states started getting aggressive with orders for people to stay in their homes, epidemiologists were predicting over 1 million deaths in the United States from this disease, which is deadly to the elderly, overweight people, the sick, and the infirm. Because the states with the largest populations took it upon themselves to listen to the warnings, President Donald Trump’s advisor, Anthony Fauci, who has been the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, has since tempered those predictions, estimating that around 60,000 Americans will likely die from the virus by the end of summer. Those numbers are comparable to a bad flu season—where no extreme precautions are taken other than encouraging citizens to be vaccinated against the four subtypes of flu that regularly circulate in any given year.
Orders to close schools, limit large gatherings, and shelter in place are nothing new. In 1918, at the height of the Spanish flu, administrations around the world took these very steps in an effort to limit the spread of that deadly disease.
Today, for the most part, doctors have been helpless to treat and cure the worst cases. All they can do is buy patients time by placing the worst cases on ventilators to help them breathe while flipping them so their lungs can drain of the fluid that continues to build up in the lungs, slowly drowning them. At this time, doctors’ advice is simply to do your best to build up your immune system by eating well, getting lots of sleep, and taking vitamin C, zinc, and other immune-building supplements.
The harsh reality is, once the pandemic is under control, there will be winners and there will be losers. It already appears that grocery store chains, internet retailers that deliver food to your door through the mail, and medical suppliers are going to come out on top while the service industry, airlines, and ocean cruises are going to take it on the chin.
This is in no way an attempt to downplay the suffering of those Americans who have been laid off or have been forced to close their businesses. It is a lie that won’t die that those who suffered the worst during the Great Depression were the bankers, the brokers, and the wealthy elites. The truth is, more farmers and average Americans lost their land and their livelihoods than any of the country’s richest class. The same will likely happen today, though there are signs that our elected representatives have learned some lessons from the past by pressuring banks to ease debt collection, cancel late fees, and grant leeway for mortgage payments. Congress is also offering loans to small businesses, which make up the majority of businesses in the United States today.
While some 80% of Americans are invested in financial markets, the Dow Jones and other indices have never been a good barometer of the state of the U.S. economy, evidenced by the fact that a company like news and entertainment company Buzzfeed—which produces drivel on the internet about Hollywood stars and “trendy” foods—could have a market valuation of nearly $6 billion in 2020.
The question is, should we be willing to put the health of our parents, grandparents, and other sick Americans at grave risk because our economy is threatened? It is estimated that approximately 160 million Americans are in the workforce today. So far, since March, jobless claims have jumped to about 17 million. That number is expected to increase in the coming months. But, as AFP goes to press, the unemployment rate is still only 4.4% for the month of March, the latest number available on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ website. The temporary measures in place will have been worth it so that we don’t risk losing our elders or the infirm.
So, what should the country do? As a whole, the populist measures enacted by Congress to support local businesses and the middle class are a good place to start. In addition, there should be strict limitations on immigration and screening of all travelers to the U.S. until scientists can come up with solid treatment plans for those who would be most affected by Covid-19.
States should make the decision for themselves as to whether they will remain shuttered for months to come. For example, New York state will likely have to remain shut for the next few months while the virus runs its course there. The same goes for California, Illinois, and Louisiana. States like Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Alaska, on the other hand, should be able to decide for themselves if they can open up for business based on the number of cases they have.
States like Maryland and Virginia that moved quickly to test residents and close schools and non-essential businesses will have to eventually take the leap as the number of cases and deaths peak in the coming weeks. Officials need to be careful, though, as countries like Singapore and South Korea that put a lid on the virus early and then opened for business are now starting to see an uptick in infections as travelers bring the virus back into major cities and towns.
There is no doubt that the United States will bounce back from this, most likely even stronger than ever with the knowledge that allowing globalists to export critical supplies of medicines and other medical equipment to authoritarian countries like China was a terrible decision. Hopefully, American politicians at all levels are working to remedy this as this newspaper goes to press on April 16.
Christopher J. Petherick is the editor-in-chief of American Free Press and has a small farm in historic Southern Maryland.