Because of COVID-19 and the global pandemic it has caused our world looks radically different from what it did at the beginning of the year.
People are (quite literally) quarantined within their homes throughout the United States, nervous about going out for anything that isn’t completely essential for fear that they will be infected with this novel coronavirus or that they might infect someone else.
Millions and millions of people are out of work (20 million as of late April, by the last estimate) and the stock market looks more like a yo-yo than the skyrocket it was just a few short months ago.
Economists are already projecting that our world is going to look radically different for the next 2 to 3 years (and maybe even longer) – and virologists and medical experts expect things won’t begin to turn around, even just slightly, until we are able to get a vaccine for this infection.
At the same time, it’s hard to argue with the fact that Americans have tackled this crisis the same way that they have tackled every other.
Hundreds of millions of people are voluntarily complying with quarantine and social distancing orders, many are trying to find ways to support and help those that are at most risk and in the most need, and the private and government sectors are working together to find a way to defeat this virus once and for all.
The hyper-partisanship that has divided us so much over the last decade or so has disappeared considerably. Americans – red, blue, conservative and liberal, coastal and middle America, etc. – are all coming together to fight COVID-19 so we can get back to our normal lives.
Here’s how experts believe our world will look post-pandemic.
Rebuilding and Refueling the Economy
It’s impossible to argue that our economy was doing anything but growing by leaps and bounds over the last 10 years.
The stock market continued to break record highs on an almost weekly basis, the unemployment rate reached historic lows just a few months ago, and overall economic satisfaction polling was consistent across the board.
Americans were very happy with their lives, at least from an economic standpoint.
Today, however, the economy is anything but certain.
One week the stock market is jumping back to its former glory, another it is tumbling to almost 2010/2008 lows, and then it lurches around all over again with no real rhyme and no real reason behind it.
Unemployment is approaching historic rates, especially over the last 50 years, and as highlighted above almost 20 million Americans are believed to be out of work right now because of the pandemic. That number is likely to get even higher unless something radical happens in the next few weeks.
As far as our post-pandemic outlook is concerned, though, things are still very bright.
Our economy remains the largest in the world (though China is creeping up on us) and we are still one of the most highly competitive nations in a number of critical fields – including defense, financial services, medicine, and agriculture as well as technology and artificial intelligence.
At the same time, we still have to confront the hyper-partisanship that feels so much of the political discord in our nation today. Levels of trust in our established institutions are at a record low (with the exception of trust in our military and our first responders), and the future of the relationship between those institutions and the general public is more than a little bit murky.
There is certainly going to be a bit of a slump for our economy until a vaccine is discovered, but there’s no reason to believe that we won’t be able to rebuild and refuel faster than any other economic decline – especially since the root core issue of this turmoil has to do with a viral threat and not economic mismanagement.
The China Problem
As far as the relationship between the United States and China is concerned (as well as the relationship with China and the rest of the world, for that matter) it is likely things are going to be more strained than they have ever been.
It’s becoming obvious that China was exactly forthright or timely with the information that they spread regarding the novel coronavirus that first took hold in this country, and leaders on both sides of the aisle today believe that China continues to mislead the world regarding the severity of viral outbreak within their borders.
From an economic standpoint, though, the nationalistic push that the US has been moving forward with has likely got a shot in the arm with this viral outbreak.
For decades the United States (and a lot of other countries in the West, for that matter) have moved their manufacturing base overseas and established it in China.
Because of the pandemic breaking out in China and because of their lack of candor, it’s likely that a lot of those manufacturing jobs are going to come back to the US and other Western nations – and maybe more aggressively than anyone could have expected or anticipated.
The US, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and a number of other nations have already mentioned that they want to take a closer look at the manufacturing relationships they have with China.
These nations have also spoken about how they want more control over their medical supply chain, how they want less reliance on the Chinese when it comes to their own internal security, and how important it is for nations to remain as self-sufficient as possible – especially in the face of an outbreak and global pandemic like this.
The trade war between the United States and China has (obviously) been put on pause during the pandemic. But there’s no reason to assume that this situation won’t be used as leverage by the United States in any future negotiations.
Restoring Faith in the Job Market
At the end of the day, there are a lot of experts and economists that believe our economic recovery – especially when it comes to our unemployment rate – will bounce back much faster than it has during any other economic catastrophe or recession in the past.
As highlighted above, the root core issue of this economic meltdown has little to do with the economic stability or economic health of the United States (or any other nation around the world).
Prior to the outbreak, the United States was cruising along and there’s no reason to believe that we aren’t going to be able to get back to business sooner rather than later, though a lot of that depends on when a vaccine is developed in the effectiveness of therapeutic solutions.
The American people have seen more dire days than this in the past.
The Great Depression and the Great Recession were both far longer-lasting issues that needed to be contended with and were caused almost entirely by economic malfeasance, shortsightedness, and questionable decision-making by those in charge of our financial health and well-being.
This virus certainly hit us hard but it isn’t a knockout.
We’ll be back and better than ever post-pandemic.