I can already hear it now.
The lockdown, not the virus, has destroyed the economy.
“MOTALA, Sweden—While much of Europe and the U.S. have endured strict government-imposed lockdowns, Josefine Sandblom has been free to savor the Scandinavian spring and lounge in restaurants in her hometown here, a popular lakeside vacation destination.
But Ms. Sandblom, like many Swedes, has chosen not to. She keeps 6 feet away from colleagues in the factory where she works and stays home the rest of the time. She takes a dim view of the young people crowding bars in the capital, Stockholm.
“They are stupid,” the 41-year-old Ms. Sandblom said. “Not here in Motala. We like each other here.” …
All of that is contributing to what Sweden’s government estimates will be a 6% contraction in domestic consumption this year. Combined with a forecast 10% drop in exports, Swedish authorities predict, the result will be a 7% decline in overall 2020 economic output. The eurozone economy as a whole is projected to contract by about 8% this year, according to a European Commission estimate. …”
This is a fantasy of the reopeners.
Even if everything reopened right now, the economy would still crash like it has in Sweden, which as we have been told a million times is the model which we should have gone with to handle the virus. The overwhelming majority of people will alter their behavior to avoid spreading the virus. It was always a billionaire’s fantasy that the public would be willing to just “ride out” something like this.
“Two months after the coronavirus shuttered much of the United States economy, the outbreak’s impact — on jobs, health care, food access and much more — is growing only more severe, according to a growing body of polling and social science data.
But here’s what else the polls are telling us: Americans are generally uninterested in returning to normal, and they tend to believe federal health experts, who continue to warn against a swift reopening of the economy.
But more than two-thirds of respondents said in a Pew Research Center poll out Thursday that they were more concerned that state governments would reopen their economies too quickly than that they might take too long — roughly on par with past responses to the same question. …”
Reopeners are minority.
Over half the population isn’t going to resume their normal lives until the public health threat is addressed. So you can reopen malls and movie theaters but isn’t going to make much of a difference. There is still a nasty virus infecting people and it is clear to everyone now that it isn’t the flu. You can be John Galt sitting by yourself in an empty reopened movie theater.
“As Americans continue to give the news media a solid grade overall for coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, the percentage who say journalists have exaggerated the risks of the outbreak has decreased notably in recent weeks, according to survey data from Pew Research Center’s Election News Pathway project.
Among U.S. adults surveyed from April 20-26, 69% say the news media have covered the outbreak very well or somewhat well, a number that is virtually unchanged from the 70% of respondents who said the same thing in a survey conducted from March 10-16.
But as the toll from the coronavirus has grown dramatically over time, there has been movement in the share of Americans who say the news media have greatly or slightly exaggerated the risks it poses – with that percentage dropping from 62% in March to 48% in April. That includes a decline in the portion saying the media have greatly exaggerated the risks, from 37% to 24%. At the same time, the portion of respondents who say the media have gotten the COVID-19 risks about right grew by 9 percentage points – from 30% to 39%. …”
As the death toll has grown, it is “just the flu, bro” is perceived as more and more absurd and out of touch with each passing day. It is on its way to joining “Iraq is going to be a cakewalk.” The threat posed by the virus actually wasn’t exaggerated. This was a pretty big deal.
In late March and April, the virus was also a New York and New Jersey problem that the rest of the country watched on television. Not anymore. We’re well on the way to the Coronavirus Confederacy as new infections and deaths shift from the East Coast to Middle America.
“As of this writing, Sweden has 24,623 cases of coronavirus and 3,040 deaths. Sweden has 2,438 cases per million people and 301 deaths per million people. The United States has 3,906 cases per million people . . . but only 232 deaths per million people. …
Sweden has about 10 million people. Much like the United States, Sweden is having serious outbreaks of the virus in nursing homes, and complaints about insufficient access to personal protective equipment. Much like the United States, their rate of testing is increasing much less quickly than their leaders wanted.
When you compare populations, other key differences become clearer. Sweden has about 4 million citizens over the age of 60; the United States has about 150 million. With 7.6 million people living in urban areas, Sweden ranks 57th in the world in that metric. We rank third with almost 240 million. Neither of our population densities is particularly high by world standards, but ours is a little higher. …
Perhaps most importantly, Sweden is literally the least-obese country in the world, just 12 percent. We rank 16th, with 33 percent of our population being obese. (Some put the percentage of obese Americans closer to 40 percent.) …”
There is nothing about deaths from the virus in Sweden, particularly in Stockholm, which suggests that the virus isn’t really that bad. The deaths that have occurred there are what we would expect given its age and health profile and not anywhere close to the flu.