An Economic Pandemic

By: Melody Hansford

Economic progress has fallen sharply due to the rise of COVID-19. Businesses, schools, and other facilities have closed their physical doors as they shift to an increasingly online structure. As society adapts to a new normal, a new debate has been sparked on how the economy should safely reopen. 
 

The prospect of global economic prosperity amid a world crisis has been this source of heated debate over the last few months. Coronavirus has taken the lives of thousands of people across the world with the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions having a particularly higher risk of suffering complications and death from the virus.
 

To protect and even save the lives of their citizens, governments across the world began the lockdown. Stay at home orders were enacted across the United States and the world. Most businesses, schools, and workplaces were ordered to close their physical facilities but were allowed free reign to continue their operations online if possible. Months later, as all the states' economies have reopened, albeit not completely, a new question becomes increasingly prominent; how can governments continue to reopen their economies safely?
 

Others enquire that the people, not bureaucratic governments, should decide when they can go back to work. Secluded governments are at times seen as independent of its people’s best interest in favor of other political pursuits. 
 

Public health officials have discussed their desired regulations for the sickly, COVID-19 infected global economy.
 

Anthony Fauci, the director of the NIH institute, explains how governments can reopen safely. “My concern [is] that if some areas, cities, states...prematurely open up without having the capability of being able to respond effectively...we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks.”
 

As the future of the corona virus’s curve looms, the health of global economic matters has been of increasing concern.
COVID-19 has reversed the progress of monetary advancement and has created several financial calamities for the world to endure.  The world's economy has been stricken with a stark downfall not seen since 2008. Stock prices have plunged since the beginning of the pandemic. 

 

COVID-19 has swiftly stolen the cherished livelihoods of millions of hard-working people in America and across the world.
George Lowenstein, a professor of economics and psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, explains his opinion on whether the economy should reopen, "I think it might be a false dichotomy because we don't have a very good understanding of what the impact of a severe [economic] depression would be on human life," adding, "It will dramatically decrease the quality of human life, and it will certainly kill people as well."

 

While some citizens and politicians want to reopen America's economy, others warn that the preservation of lives is more essential to society than money.
 

Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, argued, "There is no relative context to death. Death is death. 367 people passed. 367 families."
 

A vaccine has been continually proposed as a requirement for the complete reopening of the global economy. However, the earliest supposed arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine could be delayed to the first half of 2021.
Dr. David Nabarro, a professor of global medicine at the Imperial College in London, explains, “It's absolutely essential that all societies everywhere defend… against the coronavirus as a constant threat… to go about social life and economic activity with the virus in our midst."

 

Without a vaccine, our society will be forced to further test the state of our wounded economy or the state of vulnerable civilians’ health and wellbeing.
 

As younger, less vulnerable people ache to leave their homes and go to work, older vulnerable populations seek refuge inside their homes from COVID-19. Wise and calculated decisions must be made between governmental leaders and the people whom the devastated economy has affected before society can return to a sense of normality. 

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash