Your job or your life: Living in the age of Corona Virus

Last night, the US employment report showed that 3.3 mil people applied for unemployment benefits. It means they got laid off. This is 4 times the number reported in the Great Depression. It’s more than half the population of Singapore. It is a mind-blowing number.

We will see things continue to get worse in the coming weeks and months, and millions more will become unemployed. Tens of millions. Singapore is not immune too, and it remains to be seen if we get massive layoffs as well.

The tragic thing about the USA is that their health insurance is tied to their unemployment. So if the job goes, so does their health insurance. In a time of a pandemic. I’m not sure if there are transition schemes, I think it varies from state to state.

It is with great sadness that I see this unfolding. I never imagined that the corona virus would affect the world so much. We were watching since Dec 2019, and thought it was a minor issue. How things have changed.

Will Stimulus help?

I don’t think all the stimulus coming to America and Singapore will be enough if the lock-downs keep extending. It only replaces a fraction of lost income, like putting a plaster on a gushing wound. All the lower interest rates and free money won’t bring people back onto the streets and restaurants. It won’t be able to get people to travel and take holidays. It’s not possible to keep printing cash for months.

They need to ease the lock-downs so the economy and workers can survive. The “cure” is just as bad or worse than the disease.

I’m hoping more sensible measures like Singapore’s will be put in place by the USA. It doesn’t have to be a complete lock-down, something in the middle can work. But its really tough. It’s like choosing to cut off your left or right leg. The choice is between preventing thousands or millions of deaths, or millions of unemployed families. My guess is that if they don’t ease the restrictions in a month or so, there will be mass riots and protests.

I’m still optimistic that the lock-downs can be eased by May 2020. Hopefully by then, the infection curve has been pushed down so the healthcare sector can take it and won’t collapse. The medical supply situation is rapidly improving, and I understand that in China, there is an abundance of masks now.

While things are worrying, we should have faith that things will work out. Humanity has been through even tougher times, and we still survived. So we can get through this.

Stay safe everyone

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