Vienna, VA. –The COVID-19 pandemic appears to have no clear end in sight and the lasting economic, social pain, and hardship will remain, even after the virus spread is contained. Many furloughed people continue to become jobless as companies cannot financially afford to maintain their employee’s benefits. Jobless throughout the outbreak’s progression, many people struggle to afford the most basic necessities despite some aid from the United States government.
The U.S government has approved multiple stimulus plans. On March 27, the $2 trillion dollar coronavirus stimulus bill was signed into law, providing up to $1,200.00 Economic Impact Payment, to be sent to qualifying individuals depending on salaries, found on previous tax returns. Thursday, April 2, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced, effective immediately, that it will exercise its enforcement discretion and will not impose penalties for violations of certain provisions of the HIPAA Privacy Rule against health care providers or their business associates for “good faith” uses and disclosures of protected health information (PHI) by business associates for public health and health oversight activities during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency.
Despite help from the Federal government, there are still many un-addressed concerns from recently unemployed people, like the ability to maintain health insurance.
“People have the option of getting Cobra, but a lot of people are not going to be able to afford it. I am waiting for my insurance company or ex-employer to provide some info about Cobra, because once you are laid off, your employer stops paying the insurance. I can keep the insurance that I had, but it is going to be one-hundred percent out of my pocket. The former employer is not responsible for any part.” Juan Bello, a furloughed, laid off employee for the hospitality industry said during a phone interview.
Single-parent households worry if the sole parent gets sick, what might happen to their children.
“My main concern is that I get sick, and all my kids get sick. If we do get sick, hopefully all of us would be quarantined together and none of us would have to go to the hospital. If I were the only one to get sick, what would happen to my kids? I pray that if we get sick, someone will be kind enough to take the time to leave food at my doorstep.” Linda Bartlett, a single mother of five, said during an in-person interview.
As citizens prepare for an uncertain future, they wonder how to provide food or care for their families. Those who remain employed are grateful.
“I’m a bartender for a restaurant, but starting on March 16, the restaurant became a take-out only. Fortunately, I am one of the lucky ones that was able to find a job amidst all the chaos. I couldn’t be more grateful to be still employed at a time like this.” Leonela Clavijo, a furloughed bartender, said during an interview, “The reality is unless you’re a doomsday prepper, one is never fully prepared for a pandemic. My mother is able to work from home and my father is still employed as a UPS driver. Luckily, the need for delivery services are only rising with more and more people staying home. As for me, this has made me realize that I need to invest my money right and work on my savings.”
Another concern many people face is what is to come from the Presidential Elections.
“When I look at the TV, the only thing I hear is about COVID-19. Why are we not being informed about what will happened if this virus does not stop? We do not hear about other candidates’ point of view.” Margi Gonzalez.
COVID-19 is now on every continent in the world according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Trade continues to slow, and the global and U.S. economy is suffering at record speeds. After reaching a solution, the world will need to recover from social and economic losses.
“The US unemployment rate jumped to 4.4 percent in March 2020, as the Covid-19 crisis threw millions out of work. The number of unemployed increased by 1.35 million to 7.14 million, while the number of employed declined by 2.99 million to 155.77 million. The numbers are expected to get even worse in April as the government surveyed businesses and households for the report in mid-March, before majority of people was under some form of a lockdown” according to The United States Unemployment Rate (USUR).
Economic recovery is mere speculation as the factors for economic growth and stability depend on the course the virus takes.
Authors Carsten Brzeski, Chief Economist at Eurozone and James Smith, Global Head of Macro and Developed Markets Economist, describe four scenarios for the global economy amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Scenario 1: Our base case
The scenario assumes that the lockdowns eventually manage to flatten the curve of those infected, although not entirely. Given socio-economic tensions and the significant economic fallout, the first European governments decide to begin relaxing the lockdown measures at the end of April. The return to normality is gradual, and social distancing continues for at least the entire summer.
Scenario 2: Winter lockdowns return
In this scenario, the virus returns in the autumn 2020, and despite more widespread testing efforts and contact tracing, the new spread pushes most economies back into lockdown. For indicative purposes, we’re assuming it will take until April 2021 before the virus is back under control, and economies, as well as societies, begin to return to normality.
Scenario 3: The ‘best’ case
The best-case scenario will be if the Western World follows in China’s footsteps by ending the lockdowns as soon as the curve of new infections flattens.
A quick return to normality is assumed to materialize toward the end of April 2020. This scenario also happens if the virus does not come back again in the winter, either because a larger-than-expected proportion of people have already had the virus and built immunity, or because control measures become much more effective.
Scenario 4: The ‘worst’ case
To give a sense of how the worst-case scenario for the global economy might look, we assume here that the lockdown measures last until the end of the year.
We’re assuming that things return to normal from 2021, perhaps if a vaccine develops and can deploy over the winter months. The recovery here may be a little faster and more reliable than in the other scenarios, as the virus is assumed to be entirely under control.
The rebound in 2021 would be slow. It would not be until 2023 before most worldwide economies return to pre-crisis levels. Many can only hope for the best outcome possible during these difficult times.
Make sure to stay tuned for any additional updates. Here at LNT, we try our best to get the most information that may be useful to the public. If anyone has any further information or would like to give a lead on another topic, feel free to do so on the Life News Today Facebook page or the Life News Today webpage.
By Alexander Fernandez