Virus Outbreak 1918-2020

This 1918 photo from the Library of Congress depicts volunteer nurses from the American Red Cross as they tend to influenza patients in the Oakland Municipal Auditorium, which was used as a temporary hospital. The current health crisis is the most widespread pandemic in a century.

What is likely to be the full economic impact of the coronavirus on the nation and its thousands of regions such as the Pocono-Northeast?

We have seen the devastating results in cases and deaths rise sharply across many parts of the United States.

However, the subsequent impact no one really knows but speculation can be generated after six months of terror caused by this novel and insidious development.

Schools are targets of COVID-19, both colleges and primary public and private schools, which start and then many have to change their role from full opening to partial and, at times, delaying the initiation of what plans were established to enable students to begin a new school year.

The decisions about how parents can work and take care of homebound children are extremely difficult and weigh heavily on the shortage of day care centers while the virus continues.

What happens when the economy dives and has been adversely impacted by the virus shows in nation and in other countries.

There may be a need for an overall economic impact analysis for the Pocono-Northeast as well as the entire nation to help determine what role economic development plays as part of the current and future aspect of the economy.

Some have defined the virus as being the worst misery of economic focus since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Yet more elements are yet to be faced such as funding for relief of the impact on family life, attention on safety nets that have, in the past, been important factors in helping to continue support for those facing the worst such as paying mortgages, rent, utilities and more.

How all of this can be responded to is a question that imperils the livelihood of the many, not the few. The impact on the private, public and nonprofit sectors has been extensively negative without the true meaning of both short- and long-term periods.

Yet it seemingly is a pervasive issue that few have any true answers or solutions to in coming years. In fact, some have suggested hat the unemployment situation will get worse as a result of many jobs never returning and what the meaning of that will have on this region and nation.

Even if a vaccine proves effective, it does not mean that everyone will go straight back to work without any consequence.

Some of that relates to the unknown status of what the economic changes will be.

There is, as yet, no national infrastructure plan in effect which, in the past, assisted in defining a positive conclusion to recessions.

No answer seems on the horizon. The hope is that such a plan will become reality as soon as possible.

We know how to build jobs in the economy.

However, this public health menace has caused a deep divide between which comes first, a solution to the health debate or a solution to the economic downturn?

The true nature should be handling health, which impacts so many families and has caused great harm. But at the same time we should try our best to change the nature of the economy.

This condition has meant that unemployment has left the nation in tatters and regions such as this have not found ways to overcome the sense of uncertainty.

Answers to both issues needs to be found, but it is pretty clear that the economy will not come back without an answer to eliminating the worst of the public health elements.

We should not waste time trying to define whether we are in recession or depression. We know that the world faces a crisis unlike any since 100 or so years ago during the 1918 influenza pandemic.

We seem to be aware that we face a time that has sharpened our capability to find economic answers with so many people out of work or trying to find some jobs.

The current crisis is something beyond past recessions and novel answers are needed beyond what has been used in past recessions, especially trading, travel and other factors related to global movement.

We may faces changes that have never been seen in the past, but this was also said when technology readjusted our way of life, both inside and outside this region.

As one columnist stated, “there is little consensus on what to do and how to do it.”

How will the national debt be handled as a result of what is occurring today and what was the result of the tax law passed and signed by the president in 2017?

Debt impacts the economy across the board and some new thinking must become a standard, such as perhaps a value-added tax, which is used in many other countries. At the same time, the thinking that has been around in the Commonwealth abut changing the school property tax to some other form of revenue needs to be reexamined.

A pandemic is different than other negative elements as it pervades the entire globe and we do not know the extent to which potential second and third waves of the coronavirus may have on the population of the region, let alone the entire nation and world.

Will there be sufficient jobs available at the end of this cycle of devastation? Will the region be competitive or as competitive as it has been in past recessions and downward economies? How will the nation respond to unemployment elements that are likely to be with us for many years?

These, and many other questions remain unresolved. We need statements from political leaders nationally that reflect honesty and are ethical and that should change how we look at the economic impact of the coronavirus today and in the future.

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