This article, written by Loren Falkenberg, University of Calgary and Jillian Walsh, University of York, originally appeared on The Conversation and has been republished here with permission:
What does a post-pandemic economy look like? Health researchers are indicating that managing this virus will be a long-term game. That means COVID-19 will impact the economy for months, maybe years, but reopening businesses cannot wait until the virus is completely eradicated.
Estimated lost wages from the locked-down Canadian economy range between $3 billion to $6 billion per month. Many Canadians are worrying about more than infection; concerns about affording rent and everyday necessities are pervasive. Restarting businesses is not only important for the social well-being of Canadians but also for restoring investor confidence in the market and generating much-needed tax revenue.
Germany has just started to make small steps by reopening small shops. Understanding when and how to reopen businesses may be the most challenging task of this pandemic. Reopening too soon risks a second wave of infections and a far greater negative economic impact.
However, not allowing companies to promptly reopen will lead to a deep recession and is already fuelling societal unrest. Successfully re-establishing businesses in a COVID-19 economy requires government, health-care and business leaders working together to implement a phased return to employment.
The first phase is the one in which we now find ourselves: working from home or unemployed. Many professional and business-to-business companies have learned to facilitate working from home using web-based technology over the past few weeks.
This has been critical in reducing COVID-19 transmission, but it’s not sustainable in the long term. So what’s next?
Phase 2: Resuming small-scale operations
The next phase is a suppression approach involving reopening and supporting businesses where virus transmission can be easily controlled.
Workplaces that have adequate space for physical distancing, easy access to soap and water and the ability for continuous cleaning of all public areas should be encouraged to reopen. These businesses can learn from those that remained open during the lockdown.
This might require that businesses operate with reduced hours until they can assure regular and thorough cleaning of their workplaces.
In a pandemic, short-term age discrimination may also be justified. Employers should be encouraged to rehire younger people after they’ve been tested, while governments continue to provide financial support to older workers and those with chronic health conditions, since younger people are less likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 infection.
Success in this early phase is dependent on rapid testing of employees displaying symptoms, including a potential self-testing kit and the quick return of results. Employers must keep reminding employees to stay home if they are not feeling well, while governments must continue to provide easy and quick access to insurance for lost wages.
In the meantime, employees have a responsibility to limit their social exposure when they’re not at work. The goal must be to keep the transmission rate a low as possible.
Phase 3: Expanding to social events
The next phase should begin within a month of lowering the infection rate to acceptable levels, a number that still hasn’t been established. There is ongoing development of models of transmission in different-sized and types of groups, and as more is learned on how to ensure low infection rates, businesses and organizations can expand operations carefully.
This could mean allowing more customers into stores and restaurants at one time, allowing small social gatherings and reopening some education and recreation facilities. Professional sports leagues could resume, either with relatively few or no spectators. Whatever the expansion looks like, maintenance of new cleaning and social and physical distancing practices needs to be ensured.
Phase 4: Domestic tourism
The final phase should focus on rebuilding domestic tourism and Canada’s reputation as a safe country for its citizens to explore.
Airlines and hotels should have appropriate cleaning and hygiene practices ready to go. Reopening the border could be considered for those countries that have also controlled transmission of the virus.
During this phased-in approach, governments need to go beyond providing financial stimulus packages. Businesses also need to be supported in training workers on safety and sanitation precautions, and must facilitate the development of technologies that monitor workplace social distancing and tracking of interactions that could lead to virus transmission.
Governments and health-care experts must also continually monitor and provide updates on transmission rates. Success is dependent on everyone being informed.
Public trust in business is critical. Canadians have effectively responded to this pandemic. To ensure ongoing co-operation, they need to know there’s plan for getting people back to work.
COVID-19 will not be the last health threat to the Canadian economy. Our focus needs to shift from controlling risks through economic shutdowns to managing health-related threats in the workplace. Otherwise disastrous economic downturns will continue.
The response to COVID-19, in fact, should become a learning opportunity on how to develop more illness-proof economies.
Loren Falkenberg, Senior Associate Dean, Business, University of Calgary and Jillian Walsh, Graduate Student, Health Economics, University of York
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The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — After weeks of fraught delay, the federal government recognized President-elect Joe Biden as the “apparent winner” of the Nov. 3 election on Monday and gave the green light for co-operation on a transition of power. The move came after President Donald Trump suffered yet more legal and procedural defeats in his seemingly futile effort to overturn the election with baseless claims of fraud.General Services Administrator Emily Murphy cleared the way for Biden to co-ordinate with federal agencies ahead of his Jan. 20 inauguration after Trump’s efforts to subvert the vote failed across multiple battleground states.Trump, who has still refused to concede the election — and may never — followed up with a tweet that he was directing his team to co-operate on the transition. The president had grown increasingly frustrated with the flailing tactics of his legal team.Murphy, explaining her decision, cited “recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results.”She acted after Michigan on Monday certified Biden’s victory in the battleground state, and a federal judge in Pennsylvania tossed a Trump campaign lawsuit on Saturday seeking to prevent certification in that state.It also comes as an increasing number of Republicans were publicly acknowledging Biden’s victory, after weeks of tolerating Trump’s baseless claims of fraud.“With Michigan’s certifying (its) results, Joe Biden has over 270 electoral college votes,” tweeted Mississippi Sen. Bill Cassidy. “President Trump’s legal team has not presented evidence of the massive fraud which would have had to be present to overturn the election. I voted for President Trump but Joe Biden won.”Yohannes Abraham, executive director of the Biden transition, said in a statement that the decision “is a needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation, including getting the pandemic under control and our economy back on track.”He added: “In the days ahead, transition officials will begin meeting with federal officials to discuss the pandemic response, have a full accounting of our national security interests, and gain complete understanding of the Trump administration’s efforts to hollow out government agencies.”Murphy, a Trump appointee, has faced bipartisan criticism for failing to begin the transition process sooner, preventing Biden’s team from working with career agency officials on plans for his administration. The delay denied Biden access to receive highly classified national security briefings and hindered his team’s ability to begin drawing up its own plans to respond to the raging coronavirus pandemic.Murphy insisted she acted on her own.“Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts. I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official—including those who work at the White House or GSA—with regard to the substance or timing of my decision,” she wrote in a letter to Biden.Trump tweeted moments after Murphy’s decision: “We will keep up the good fight and I believe we will prevail! Nevertheless, in the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same.”Max Stier, president and CEO of the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service, criticized the delay, but said Biden’s team would be able to overcome it.“Unfortunately, every day lost to the delayed ascertainment was a missed opportunity for the outgoing administration to help President-elect Joe Biden prepare to meet our country’s greatest challenges,” he said. “The good news is that the president-elect and his team are the most prepared and best equipped of any incoming administration in recent memory.”Murphy’s action came just 90 minutes after Michigan election officials on Monday certified Democrat Joe Biden’s 154,000-vote victory in the state. The Board of State Canvassers, which has two Republicans and two Democrats, confirmed the results on a 3-0 vote with one GOP abstention. Trump and his allies had hoped to block the vote to allow time for an audit of ballots in Wayne County, where Trump has claimed without evidence that he was the victim of fraud. Biden crushed the president by more than 330,000 votes there.Under Michigan law, Biden claims all 16 electoral votes. Biden won by 2.8 percentage points — a larger margin than in other states where Trump is contesting the results like Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.Some Trump allies had expressed hope that state lawmakers could intervene in selecting Republican electors in states that do not certify. That longshot bid is no longer possible in Michigan.“The people of Michigan have spoken. President-elect Biden won the State of Michigan by more than 154,000 votes, and he will be our next president on January 20th,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, said in a statement, saying it’s “time to put this election behind us.”The Trump legal team dismissed the certification as “simply a procedural step” and insisted it would continue to mount legal challenges.Trump’s efforts to stave off the inevitable — formal recognition of his defeat — have faced increasingly stiff resistance from the courts and fellow Republicans with just three weeks to go until the Electoral College meets to certify Biden’s victory. Time and again, Trump’s challenges and baseless allegations of widespread conspiracy and fraud have been met with rejection as states move forward with confirming their results.In Pennsylvania, a conservative Republican judge shot down the Trump campaign’s biggest legal effort in Pennsylvania with a scathing ruling that questioned why he was supposed to disenfranchise 7 million voters with no evidence to back their claims and an inept legal argument at best.But the lawyers still hope to block the state’s certification, quickly appealing to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, which ordered lawyers to file a brief Monday but did not agree to hear oral arguments.The campaign, in its filings, asked for urgent consideration so they could challenge the state election results before they are certified next month. If not, they will seek to decertify them, the filings said.Biden won Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes.Pennsylvania county election boards were voting on Monday, the state deadline, about whether to certify election results to the Department of State. The boards in two populous counties split along party lines, with majority Democrats in both places voting to certify. After all counties have sent certified results to Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, she must then tabulate, compute and canvass votes for all races. The law requires her to perform that task quickly but does not set a specific deadline.In Wisconsin, a recount in the state’s two largest liberal counties moved into its fourth day at a slow pace, with election officials in Milwaukee County complaining that Trump observers were hanging up the process with frequent challenges. Trump’s hope of reversing Biden’s victory there depends on disqualifying thousands of absentee ballots — including the in-person absentee ballot cast by one of Trump’s own campaign attorneys in Dane County.___Associated Press Writers Maryclaire Dale in Philadelphia, Jonathan Lemire in New York, Mark Scolforo in Harrisburg, Pa., Christina A. Cassidy in Atlanta and John Flesher in Traverse City, Mich. contributed to this report.Zeke Miller, David Eggert And Colleen Long, The Associated Press
Can't solve economy issue without solving COVID-19, says professor – KitchenerToday.com
It’s a classic case of trying not to put the cart before the horse.
There’s no doubt the economic disaster is caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but an associate political science professor at Brock University indicates you can’t solve the economic crisis without dealing with the health crisis first.
“You can’t have a strong functioning economy if you’ve got the disease running rampant in the community, it just can’t happen,” Blayne Haggart told The Mike Farwell Show on 570 NEWS.
He said economists have been clear on the issue from the beginning, advocating for financial support on the health side and figuring out later how to pay for it.
Haggart said overall, while we started off the pandemic well and saw numbers begin to drop, not enough was done to prepare for fall and winter, such as adequate investments in contact tracing and testing.
He said when it comes down to it, just the mere presence of the virus is causing the economic problem, not the restrictions related to it.
“People are not going to go into shops (as per usual), even if there’s no government intervention, because people don’t want to die,” Haggart added.
“Some people will, but a lot won’t, so businesses are going continue to be depressed up until the moment where the disease finally hits a breaking point, where we’ve got to basically close things down, or everybody gets sick.”
“That’s the kind of roller coaster that we’re on, and the key is to get off it. The longer you wait, though, the more costlier it is to get off the roller coaster.”
Reimagining the global economy for a post-COVID-19 world – Brookings Institution
When the COVID-19 pandemic sent the global economy into a deep recession, it exposed structural weaknesses in economic institutions and highlighted the need for reform. The challenges countries face today are daunting, but this moment should be recognized as an opportunity to build back more sustainable and inclusive economies. David Dollar is joined by three Brookings experts—Eswar Prasad, Marcela Escobari, and Zia Qureshi—to discuss their forward-looking policy proposals for a post-COVID-19 world.
Prasad, Escobari, Qureshi, and Dollar are all contributors to a new report, “Reimagining the global economy: Building back better in a post-COVID-19 world.”
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