A Covid-19 Cautionary Tale: Economic Recovery Depends On Public Health
Trump fans waiting in line for the Phoenix rally last monthCredit: Screen shot
July 22, 2020

Here’s what happens when you try to pretend the virus is no big deal and you can do whatever you want:

Arizona had been one of the last states to close, and first to reopen, when the coronavirus started to sweep the nation this spring. But a brazen gamble to restart its struggling economy has backfired months later, threatening to plunge workers and businesses into a deeper financial hole.

Hundreds of thousands of people are still out of a job, some for the second time this year. Restaurants, gyms and other companies are closing up shop once again — perhaps for good. Even government officials say they are bracing for a crippling blow, with the latest shutdown expected to cleave further into their still-souring finances.

The economic devastation comes as Congress prepares to return Monday and begin debating how to structure another round of federal stimulus. The $2 trillion Cares Act, which lawmakers adopted in March, helped buttress the country during the early days of the pandemic. But many of those benefits are on the verge of expiring, imperiling states that are in worse shape than they were nearly four months ago.

Like Florida, Texas and others that opened early, Arizona now ranks as one of the country’s worst coronavirus hot spots, with more than 143,000 cases and more than 2,700 deaths as of this weekend. Some residents in cities such as Phoenix and Scottsdale say the surge is the result of the state’s return to old routines, after Republican Gov. Doug Ducey lifted his stay-at-home order in May in part to give the local economy a boost — leading people to flock, often without masks, to cramped public places.AD

This time, however, families and businesses that fall into dire straits are at risk of even greater financial trauma: Nearly 1 million Arizonans, for example, are set to lose extra money in unemployment assistance after this week, leaving them with benefits that are much lower than most other states.

“If that happens, it will spell financial disaster for us,” said Erlynne Campbell, a 47-year-old resident of Phoenix who lost her bookkeeping job in March and then struggled for months just to cash her first unemployment check.

“I obediently stayed home and filed for unemployment,” she said, “and trusted I would be provided for in the time frame we needed to stay home to stay safe.”

In Arizona’s turmoil, local leaders and economic experts said they see a cautionary tale with national import: Those that try to prioritize their economic recovery over public health in the middle of the pandemic are at risk of undermining both.

California did everything right except for one thing. When they opened up they didn’t make it clear that social distancing and mask-wearing was still required. People just went back to normal, assuming the crisis was over. It wasn’t.

If you want to save your favorite restaurant you’re probably better off buying gift cards and ordering take-out than insisting on eating indoors. Bars, theatres, concert halls and other entertainment venues are simply screwed unless we can get this thing contained. The government has to step in to help these businesses hang on. What we know now is that if this virus spreads it ends up destroying all these small businesses in the long run anyway.

Nobody should be like this asshole:


Trump came around on masks Monday, probably because he got a look at his poll numbers:

He probably should wear an orange colored mask to match his make-up. But whatever works.

It will be interesting to see if his followers will fall in line now. If even a few of his cult members get excited and start wearing a mask so they can look like their “favorite president” it will help. His and their ridiculous resistance to doing it for months has caused a lot of suffering and death.

I wonder how many people these folks at Trump’s Phoenix rally last month spread the virus to? (And good for the girl at the beginning for at least wearing the bandana.)

Published with permission of Hullabaloo

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