31.03.20 23:00 ET
Just when everyone thought that the pandemic problem wasn’t creepy and frightening enough, Argentina’s curfew warning raises the level through the roof:
Yes, that’s the air raid siren, the same warning siren used in the move The Purge.
Which brings us to stage two of the coronavirus pandemic, a breakdown of civility, a shattering of faith, and a destruction of the emotional ability to cope with this. Then it will get worse.
The news stories recently are nothing short of depressing:
U.S. military command teams in charge of protecting homeland security are being isolated in the infamous Cheyenne mountain bunker where they will remain ‘sealed off’ until the coronavirus pandemic passes
I wonder if those four would have been arrested had they been protesting for transgender bathroom rights in a little girls restroom. However, I digress.
The news, the feelings of despair, the emotional depression within oneself and their family members is at a beginning, not an end now. With some people essentially quarantined for just a week, the truth is that the disaster is now entering into a new phase, one which will quintessentially change our society for decades to come.
First and foremost for many is the uncertainty about income and a livelihood. Shopping malls are shuttering with many stores never to open ever again. Ford Motor Company is now on indefinite shutdown, facing the prospects of little if any new car sales for the remainder of the 2020 model year. Airlines are flying at less than 10% of capacity on many flights, initiating more layoffs which ripple through our society as I highlighted last week. The economic panic is palpable for everyone and no one is truly prepared.
Wall Street has not fully collapsed yet, but will soon as the wizards of algo world have yet to figure out what 50, 60, or 70% decreases in gross revenues for many companies will mean to their ivory towers. Sadly, the retirees and those suffering on Main Street will open up their financial statements from their retirement programs and see massive losses as they simply followed the advice of the CNBSidiots and buy, buy, buy because that’s what their financial “adviser” told them to do. In the case of the retirees, many, much like the 2009 crisis, will be forced to go back to work but face a daunting challenge as their marketability is quite low in an environment where employers can pick and choose who they want once unemployment tops 25% nationally. Which it will.
Then comes the psychological damage. Every day Americans are being bombarded with statistics nationally and locally about the impact of the pandemic but can not really identify with it until it hits home. A friend, a co-worker, or a direct relative is hospitalized then suddenly dies, leaving a void emotionally as one can not go in person to say goodbye, making this an extremely cruel disease to cope with.
For those poor souls losing a husband, a wife, or parents, the idea that by living the American dream and playing by the rules in the end means at least they will have some financial recovery from their home retaining its value so they can at least sell it and move on. The devastating truth is that our real estate markets are beginning to collapse and 30-50% declines in home prices will leave millions of homeowners, and victims of the pandemic, upside down in houses they will eventually have to abandon due to the loss of a second income. The idea of buying a home will become laughable and renters face an uphill climb to win forgiveness from landlords as landlords face the same persecution from the collapsing financiers.
The post-Boomer generations who thought they would just play video games and live the high life on their parents retirements, a new sad reality is about to hit. Assuming they thought they would inherit thousands or millions from the passing of their parents or parent is now a fallacy. Unless they had their funds tied up in the safest of instruments, many retirement holdings have already lost more than the stock markets and adding the lost value of the homes, many retirees who pass away will leave half or less to their children; if they can collect that. Many insurance companies are now about to face a demographic reality that their basic calculations do not account for when a once in a century pandemic hits. A massive wave of non-payment and defaults will probably occur wiping out life insurance benefits if suddenly the companies had to pay out 500,000 or a million plus policies all of the sudden in the face of an economic collapse. Toss in the fact that our nation’s pension plans are grossly underfunded and millions of people who thought they could retire comfortably now face a 2/3rds reduction in their pensions via the PBGC.
Lastly, the survivors face a daunting task. Many who of the 20% who were hospitalized and had severe cases face a long life dealing with reduced immune system and lung capacities. The risk of re-infection without a cure will leave these poor souls living at home praying they do not catch a cold or worse until a permanent vaccine is distributed. Those who lose children, spouses, and parents will live with scars daily that will cause emotional problems unseen in our lifetimes. And those who are healthy and only have minor cases are going to face a daunting task living in a world where the American standard of living could easily be reduced by 20-30% with little hope of recovery before 2030 and beyond.
These are the times that will try our collective souls.
Welcome America, to the saddening.