More than two months have passed since the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on March 10, with notable delay, that Covid-19 had spread and the dangerous pandemic required strict sanitary measures.
After more than two months of strict economic shutdowns in the United States, Europe and other countries, the world is in a deep economic recession (with the exception of China, which has become a global source and supplier of medicines and other essential products). And the sudden stoppage of almost all production activities for such a long time threatens to lead to a world economic depression similar to or even worse than that of 1929.
Therefore, I very much doubt that the strict closure of the economic activities during such a long time was justified or that it is justified to extend it even further. An economic depression like the one suffered on the last century can lead to millions of deaths caused by suicide, starvation, lack of sufficient resources to face essential health care expenses and a sharp deterioration of the levels of well being enjoyed by most countries until now. Economist Brian Wesbury predicted that keeping the US economy closed until Easter would cost the economy 3% of its capacity; until the end of April, 8%; and until the end of May, 15%. He was short in his predictions; that is exactly the contraction the US has already suffered by early May – three weeks before it was foreseen! And US unemployment rates rose from an all time low in January (just above 3%) to 16% as of today, the highest level since the Great Depression.
Indeed, this pandemic, and the experimental attempts to mitigate and control it, have created a series of challenges and debates that go beyond epidemiology and medicine. Once, and again, and again ... some authoritative person is in favor of some policy or solution and the next hour some other expert is rejecting that course of action. Simply put, the world (except China) was not prepared for this pandemic. The world lacked testing kits, masks, surgical gloves, ventilators and other required health care items (not counting the fact that stopping production has caused shortages in practically all consumer goods) and it is desperate trying to get them from China or is trying to introduce the necessary reforms in many factories and industries to produce them in sufficient quantities to face the crisis. But these actions take too long and the damage is already done.
To be sure, the pandemic is not the cause of all the confusion surrounding the relationship between morality, economics, and the advance of reliable scientific knowledge pertaining to how we best meet societies' needs. The situation has been grossly politicized, especially in the United States and in some European countries. When had it been experienced in a democratic country that the political opposition did not close ranks with the President or the Prime Minister in such times of tribulation? That is exactly what is happening. It is pitiful and outrageous, as if the crisis was an instrument to achieve more power and take it away from those in government who are trying to confront it.Add a comment Leer más...