The spread of Covid-19 is slowing in America.
That is of course great news for every single American.
How have we slowed the spread?
Well, that much is obvious. We have all been locked down in our homes for at least the past three weeks.
And when I say we are slowing the spread, I am talking about 30K new cases per day down to around 26K new cases per day.
Needless to say, that is still an extraordinary number of new covid-19 cases being added every single day in our country.
But we are certainly moving in the right direction, and that is a great sign.
That being said, we now have a decision to make – when do we begin re-opening our country?
This argument has already started raging over the past several days, with President Trump and state governors butting heads over the most prudent path forward.
But the reality is that this decision will not be made by Donald Trump or any of our state or local politicians.
The American people will decide when we “re-open” our economy, because it is the American consumer that drives the economy.
President Trump can snap his fingers in two weeks and says “poof, we are re-open for business”, and that is all well and good, but what would that even mean?
Would the government come to our homes and drags us, along with our wallets, out to the local restaurants, shopping malls and movie theaters?
Of course not.
The American consumer will decide when they feel comfortable enough to resume their normal life activities.
And if we are still adding a large number of new Covid-19 cases per day, or worse, the virus starts spreading like wildfire again because we have re-opened too soon, then then no one in their right mind is going to change anything about their social distancing behavior, which of course means that the American people will have decided that our economy is still closed.
That is the main issue here.
Any way you slice it, the situation sucks. Businesses have been hurt and will continue to be hurt.
The direction we head right now, however, will determine how long this downturn will last and how hard our businesses will be hit.
Most models are currently predicting that if we continuing doing exactly what we have been doing for the past month, we will have very little, if any, community spread by June 21. That is a little over two months from now.
Virtually every single model is also predicting that if we re-open in the next few weeks, the virus will at the very least continue its current spread, and likely accelerate its spread.
So what is the choice?
Well, it’s pretty simple.
We can buckle down for another two months, essentially stop the spread of this virus completely and then have an open window for the American consumer to begin fairly normal activities.
This will of course hurt both business and the American employees for the next two months.
Make no mistake; it would be two more brutal months.
The other option is to “re-open” the nation in a matter of weeks.
The very best case scenario with that option is that the virus continues to spread as it has been, and that will likely carry on for the next 8-12 months until we have a vaccine or viable treatment.
In that situation, consumers will be virtually non-existent, so our economy will essentially be closed for the next 8-12 months.
No one will be going to restaurants, shopping malls, movie theaters, ballgames, etc. for as long as this thing is lingering around all of us.
So while we would technical be “re-open”, the consumers will dictate that the economy will be all but closed for the next 8-12 months.
So what is the better option here?
Will it be two more months of pain, or we will suffer for the next 8-12 months?
There will be more economic pain any way you slice it, that much is for certain.
How long that pain will last will be determined by the virus and the American consumers, not by any politician.
So our president and local politicians can snap their fingers and say open or closed, but the American consumers will decide when we are re-open, and sorry folks, but that ain’t happening until this virus is either gone or the spread is slowed significantly from where it is today.