The 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic will prove to be a massive make-or-break moment for the United States. In the past, Pandemics have changed human history and reshaped societies and cultures. A pandemic wiped out a majority of the Native American population in the late 1500’s to the early 1600’s, and from 1918 through 1920 America suffered from Spanish Flu that killed thousands.
When handled properly, a pandemic can have minimal effects on its population, but handled improperly it can lead to massive devastation.
In trying to predict what I think will happen during the COVID-19 Pandemic in America, I broke everything down to Five Phases.
- Phase 1: Initial Infection
- Phase 2: Initial Remission and Societal Decay
- Phase 3: Second Wave of Disease
- Phase 4: Mitigation of Second Wave and Societal Decay
- Phase 5: Aftermath
Each phase represents 3 months.
Phase 2: Initial Remission and Societal Decay (June through August)
This is where things start to get ugly.
Cases will decrease over the summer, but as more people are stuck at home there will be brownouts and blackouts, and people will start having their power turned off in one of the hottest summers on record. People will protest and riot.
America will start to return to some sense of normalcy as cases begin to decrease in parts of the country but increase in others. The coastal states will see the decline last for a while into June while cases in other states will see an increase until July. July 4th celebrations will be cancelled everywhere, if not already, and some states with decreased cases will decide to have them, anyway. These will be largely “red” states and counties, and some “blue” counties as well.
Come July we’ll see the first wave of mass evictions, and people losing their water and electricity due to not paying their bills. We’ll see cases start to go down as well across the country as the spread slows down. I also see some states getting rid of mask requirements by then.
I also see massive civil unrest starting in June and going into July. As cases increase again as workers return to the office, people will begin to question why they’re going into the office when they were able to work from home. Along with that you’ll have people dealing with the anger and frustration in the face of mass evictions as the unemployment rate rises to 16% and possibly 20%
Unemployment will rise to 20% since many businesses reopening will have two problems: Employees afraid, or unwilling, to come back due to COVID-19 safety concerns or that they make more on unemployment. The second is businesses closing because the customers aren’t coming back due to COVID-19.
The latter is the one I see happening the fastest. People will not have the money to go to many businesses they like, and many restaurants on the brink will close since people will be afraid to go out and eat. Small non-essential businesses that are on the brink may close all together due to restrictions on public places and fear.
August will be a strange time. As cases continue to decrease, more places will end restrictions and go back to “normal”. Unemployment will continue to be high, but will largely level off, but will continue to rise as the month goes on. Bankruptcies of many companies will happen. The evictions will rise, along with shutoffs for services..
By the end of August, the nation will be bracing for impact as some schools prepare to reopen.
Based on what I’m seeing, this is where America is going to have its only chance to save itself from becoming a failed state.
With so many American’s out of work due to the collapses of the service economy (restaurants, hospitality services such as hotels, retail), America will need to do a three-pronged attack to shore up Americans.
The first is to give everyone a guarantee of $2000 a month for the rest of the year as is currently proposed by some Democrats in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House.
The second is to extend unemployment benefits until, at the very least, March of 2021. This extension would include the extra $600 a week that is currently there.
The third is to cancel any and all rent and mortgage payments until March of 2021.
Giving every American $2000 will do a few things. The first is to make sure that everyone in danger will be one large step closer to benign solvent. People will be able to pay their bills, pay for essentials such as food and clothing, and as the year goes on, they will be able to buy random things to help prop up their local economies.
Small Businesses, not worrying about rent, will be able to stay open and owners will have income coming in to help them when they can’t open. Any that switch to curbside will be able to stay open during quarantines to deliver items.
Extending unemployment also means that the millions of Americans unable to attain or find work are solvent as well, but also able to do more than just survive.
The focus of these temporary reforms is to ensure that money is circulating in the economy as much as possible. Small businesses will see a bump, people who always wanted to start a company will have the time and money to do so, and people will still be able to stay in their houses without fear of balloon payments. Utility companies will be paid and remain operational, banks will have money for loans as people pay back their existing loans, and large businesses will prosper.
This would help ensure there is less civil unrest overall, as well as stop the wave of mass evictions from rent and mortgage payments. It also prevents balloon payments on those items, which is critical to avoiding a secondary crisis.
By taking these critical steps, America’s fiscal future will be saved.
Two more programs will need to be enacted to ensure the overall health of the nation itself as the Pandemic: Mail-In Election legislation and public works programs.
By ensuring there is a way to do Mail-In Elections for November during the summer, it ensures the elections will continue as planned overall. This does not mean mandating the elections are mail-in only, but it means making sure the systems are in place to allow it if necessary (which it most likely will).
A Public Works program focused on road work will make it possible to get people back to work and rebuild our infrastructure during the Second Quarantine in the fall.
Of everything outlined, the only thing that should be considered “optional” is the Public Works program which can be tried in another capacity in Phase 5. Without the programs I’ve stated here, The United States of America is very likely to become a Failed State.
I do not say that lightly or to cause fear. This nation will have nearly 30% unemployment, countless bankruptcies, mass evictions and homelessness, and a surge in businesses closing down. The most important thing the people can do, other than trying to stop this virus, is to prevent this nightmare scenario.