On today’s show we’re going to take a brief history lesson for the year 2020.
We saw the first outbreaks of the pandemic in China, followed by countries where the infection had spread. These included Korea, Italy, Japan, Spain and France. Soon after followed Switzerland, Belgium, Sweden, the US and Canada.
For much of the Winter and early Spring, North America was about 3 weeks behind what was happening in Europe. Critics in North America tended to dismiss what was happening in Italy as something that was specific to Italy. It won’t happen here in the US or Canada because Italy has an older population. It won’t happen in Canada because there is less population density. It won’t happen in the midwest of the US because there is already social distancing built into the way people live.
Yet, there is a trend in almost every conversation…and that is the person agrees that the pandemic is a problem, but it won’t be a problem here. Why?
There’s always a reason, until they’re wrong. At the other end of the spectrum, there are those who say there was no need for a large scale lockdown. The number of cases didn’t explode in their community and the damage to the economy was needless.
So here we are again, with a near doubling of new cases in France and Spain in a very short time period. Many European countries have implemented new travel restrictions based on the increased number of new infections.
Spanish authorities have flagged social gatherings—in nightclubs and among family and friends—as the primary source of infection. In France, high-risk workplaces and medical facilities have been the top sites for disease clusters.
I was reflecting on those situations when I used to catch a cold. So far this year, I have not caught a cold. The last cold I caught was in July of 2019 when I attended a wedding. I haven’t had one since.
Before the pandemic, I rarely used to catch a cold. If I did, it was because my children brought it home from school. Sometimes I would catch a cold from attending a conference, or perhaps someone seated nearby on an aircraft was coughing and sneezing. Catching a cold required contact with those who are infected. I know I’m not telling you anything earth shattering.
So now, we have schools going back into session. Some schools have already started holding in person classes. We have differing protocols from one school board to the next. Some schools are requiring children to wear masks. Others have established plastic partitions in the classroom. Others are reducing class time to three days a week.
Some have chosen a mix of hybrid online and classroom teaching. Some schools have reduced the number of subjects being taught at a time. The hope is that by concentrating the full year math course into a full-day 6 week period, the amount of social interaction will be reduced. These measures might help. But it’s fair to say that we are heading for another wave of increased covid-19 infection.
Where this will hit, and when, or how broadly is anyone’s guess.
Just like in the Spring of this year, we looked to Europe to see our future.
I’m going on record, right here, right now as predicting that we will see another wave of infections. Those businesses that rely upon social gathering or movement of people will take another hit. That means a further setback for travel, hospitality, food and beverage, car rentals, and live entertainment.
Some geographic areas have the core of their economy built on tourism. I’m thinking of places like Las Vegas, Orlando, many islands in the Caribbean, coastal beach towns. These sectors of the economy are going to be hit again.
If you want to see your future, look ahead to Europe.