COVID-19 recession

2020 economic downturn
(Redirected from 2020 stock market crash)

The COVID-19 recession is a severe and ongoing global recession. An economic consequence of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the first major sign of the recession was the 2020 stock market crash on 20 February.


  • The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is urging the federal government to provide wage subsidies to workers, equivalent in value to Newstart to all businesses experiencing a sharp downturn. It is also asking the government to provide concessional loans of up to half a million dollars, with 80 percent of the debt guaranteed by government, as well as wage subsidies to cover sick leave entitlements. Nothing but corporate welfare of a kind that they have long decried when applied to workers themselves. In the short term, working class households will get some benefits from this cash splash. In Australia welfare beneficiaries will be getting $750 in their bank accounts. In the United States it is likely that Americans will receiving close to $1,000. But this is just short term relief to get the economy moving. The long term benefits will go to the capitalist class in the form of tax cuts and other financial concessions. The current crisis demonstrates not only that all the ideological nonsense about the virtues of the free market is quickly thrown overboard when capitalist interests are threatened, but also that the idea that governments are essentially powerless in the face of the markets is rubbish. Governments are not helpless victims who cannot do anything in the face of "economic reality". In the normal course of events, when we demand things like better welfare, health care or education, governments tell us that it isn't possible.
  • It's not that governments have suddenly discovered a big pot of gold in the basement of the central banks. They say that they are taking these measures to both protect public health and to save the economy. But it's obvious which takes priority. The new measures constitute the largest bailout bonanza in world history, carried out through state-administered transfers of public wealth and current and future debt to billionaires and big business: socialisation of losses, privatisation of profits. The outcome will be to further transfer, consolidate and concentrate wealth, just as has occurred since the GFC. While there is discussion about small handouts, nothing serious is being proposed to halt the mass layoffs now gathering steam.
  • In pretty much every spending package, subsidies to business, government loans and tax concessions account for two-thirds or more of the funds outlaid. Things that directly benefit workers – the big majority of the population – account for only one-third of the money.
  • It turns out that these things, too, can be done. So, in an economic emergency, few of the usual rules apply. Governments can marshal the resources and can threaten the narrow interests of private businesses. Hardcore libertarians despise these measures as rampant socialism. From their perspective, they're right: the very existence of such programs is condemnation of the free market capitalist model that they promote. But they are best seen only as another approach to the management of the capitalist economy. The fact that governments across the OECD are now prepared to spend trillions of dollar to save the financial system from collapse only confirms that the world economy cannot be left safely in the hands of "the market". And, the situation clearly confirms that when the capitalist class and governments deem it necessary to save their system, lots of measures they once denounced as "unaffordable", not permitted by the condition of "the economy", are actually affordable and permitted. Governments can act when required. The ideological justifications of yesterday are revealed as threadbare. But nor are government interventions of this nature geared towards the interests of the working class, only the interests of the bosses.
  • The Tories have proposed a huge economic package to help companies, but their support for working people sacked, laid off, or forced to self-isolate is pitiful. [...] Millions will find themselves with no income. When they try to claim benefits, they will find in place a ruthless regime of cuts, sanctions and suicidal despair — another achievement of Tory austerity. The most that Johnson has said about this so far is that claimants will not need to attend job-centre interviews any more. And what of expenditure? There is vague talk of a "mortgage holiday" and even vaguer talk of renters not being evicted during the crisis. But no talk of all the other payments that should be suspended, including, of course, utilities bills and other fixed household charges. Meanwhile, the profiteers are marking up the prices on goods in short supply — hand sanitiser, paracetemol, toilet roll, etc — and, needless to say, the Tories have done absolutely nothing to control prices. In any case, there is no evidence that the Tories have any intention of doing any of the things they say they will do. The "do everything necessary" rhetoric is bullshit. It’s just a mantra to hide the absence of concrete action and any enforcement mechanism. This can only get much worse, as the entire world economy nosedives, millions more are laid off, and we enter a period of catastrophic social breakdown comparable with the Great Depression. The Tories know this is coming. They are preparing for it.
  • We are entering an alarming situation where many poorer countries will face increasingly burdensome debt repayments while simultaneously attempting to manage an unprecedented public health crisis – all in the context of a very deep global recession. And let us not harbor any illusions that these intersecting crises might bring an end to structural adjustment or the emergence of some kind of "global social democracy." As we have repeatedly seen over the last decade, capital frequently seizes moments of crisis as a moment of opportunity — a chance to implement radical change that was previously blocked or appeared impossible.
  • As the coronavirus epidemic stretches on, working people are facing an economic collapse, the likes of which have not been seen since the Great Depression. Organizing to fight for an immediate ban on all layoffs has to be an essential part of any program to protect the working class and to make the capitalist's pay for their crisis.
  • Working people are facing what could be the biggest unemployment crisis since the Great Depression. As states and cities across the country continue to shut down schools, libraries, restaurants, bars, and other non-essential services in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus, hundreds of thousands of workers have already lost their jobs, and millions more will soon follow. While restaurant, theatre, hotel and hospitality workers have been some of the first to see massive layoffs, huge losses in travel, retail, and oil drilling and extraction industries are also expected, as more and more people are quarantined. [...] Such job losses would mean dire poverty for huge sections of the working class.
  • While capitalists and their paid politicians will scoff at these demands, claiming they are economically infeasible or impossible, this is because they only understand the language of profit and cannot imagine a world run for the benefit of all. Nonetheless, the fact remains that capital has significant resources that could and must be made available to all working people. Most major corporations such as Amazon, Walmart, Disney, Delta, GM, etc., have enough reserves and more than enough credit to continue to pay their employees the full amount of their wages for the length of the health crisis. Therefore, in the case of private corporations, working people must demand that the federal government make any future market aid contingent upon a wholesale indefinite ban on all layoffs, with full wages and continued benefits for all employees, whether they are working or not. States must likewise make all operating licenses for private companies and corporations contingent upon the same demand. Industries that refuse, particularly health, transportation, and manufacturing industries should immediately be subject to nationalization under workers' control.
  • Of course, working people ultimately cannot rely upon the federal government or the state governments (whose purpose is to maintain the hegemony of the markets and the rule of capital) to fix this crisis in any equitable way. Only the working class has the power to make this happen through mass strikes and work actions. In order to act swiftly in the case of any layoffs, lockouts, or shutdowns, working people ultimately must organize themselves at their workplaces and in the streets, whether they are in a union or not, and be prepared to use their collective power to demand that all necessary resources be employed for the well being of the whole class with full compensation and benefits, that full back pay be provided to all workers upon returning to work, and that everyone has access to well compensated employment.
  • Nanthana Chobcheun, 67, who works at a wet market in the eastern Thai city of Bangsaen, said her income had fallen by half since the coronavirus emerged. But she cannot afford to stop working, she added, even as Thailand’s caseload rises.
    “Young people, rich people are enjoying their nightlife, even when there’s a contagious disease, and gathering without a care in the world,” Ms. Nanthana, who has diabetes and high blood pressure, said at an open-air market on Saturday.
    “For us little people, and especially old people like me, it’s different,” she added, sitting on a stool amid piles of dried fish.
The coronavirus pandemic will cost the US alone an estimated $16 trillion over the next 10 years, according to Harvard economists David Cutler and Larry Summers, the former US Treasury Secretary. The IMF estimates that globally, the pandemic will cost $28 trillion in lost output between 2020 and 2025, relative to pre-pandemic projections. ~ Sam Kiley, Ingrid Formanek and Ivana Kottasová
  • This is unlike almost any other shock that we have seen in how quickly everything has ground to a halt, not just in the stock market but in everyday lives. And I truly do not believe that there is an action we can consider right now that is too small. I certainly have not seen any proposal that I would say is too large for us to be considering right now...We have to examine why there wasn't political appetite to do more in 2008. And the reason for that was because there was a package that was entirely designed to favor corporations, to bail out Wall Street that was more concerned with stock prices than wages and the health of Wall Street than the actual healthcare system. And that's why there wasn't political appetite to do more because we passed out billions of dollars and then the CEOs came in flying in on their private jets, asking for more... Now is a very different time. If we focus our package on immediate bailouts for everyday people, making sure that we're issuing things like mortgage and rent and student loan debt moratoriums, making sure that we're getting cash into people's hands, ensuring the fact that if they have to go to the hospital, coronavirus related or not because as we know this can trigger a series of other health issues, that you will be financially okay. And that is the number one thing that we need to do right now.
  • We need to be introducing stabilizers to working families. And Katie Porter is absolutely right on the point of tax credits. You know, I think sometimes with all due respect to my colleagues, we get into this, you know, there's a lot of like this 90s wonkery going on where if we do a backdoor tax credit, oh, that's a clever way of helping people. But it doesn't address the core issue, which is that people are experiencing a shock right now. We need to get checks into people's hands. If you're concerned about it being means-based, tax it on the other end. Get everyone a check right now. And then if you want to make sure that the millionaire's don't get 1,000 bucks, do an extra, you know, tax them on the other end of that and make sure that they can't wriggle out of that.
  • Just as in the 1930s, world capitalism, as it had existed until then, had reached a dead-end, and the need for it to be altered for the sake of preserving the system itself, was emphasised by many perceptive bourgeois thinkers, exactly in a similar manner contemporary world capitalism too has reached a dead-end and cannot continue as before. [...] Any change in capitalism, however, including a revival of the so-called "welfare capitalism" of the post-War period, will entail a loosening of the hegemony of international finance capital and hence will face stiff opposition from it. The fact that the need for such change is clear to bourgeois thinkers, does not mean that finance capital will simply voluntarily make a sacrifice of the hegemony it currently enjoys. Indeed the history of the 1930s itself bears witness to this fact. [...] Any change in capitalism, however, including a revival of the so-called "welfare capitalism" of the post-War period, will entail a loosening of the hegemony of international finance capital and hence will face stiff opposition from it. The fact that the need for such change is clear to bourgeois thinkers, does not mean that finance capital will simply voluntarily make a sacrifice of the hegemony it currently enjoys. Indeed the history of the 1930s itself bears witness to this fact.
  • It is real-life class struggle, informed no doubt by ideas, that ultimately determines which way the world will move. Hence even for altering contemporary capitalism in the direction of the so-called “welfare capitalism” of yore, it would be essential to have the working class fighting for such an agenda. But when it does so, and when international finance capital resists such an agenda, we would be in the thick of class struggle. Time alone will tell whether this struggle would remain merely at the level of achieving a revival of “welfare capitalism” or whether it would go beyond capitalism altogether towards a socialist alternative. Once class struggle, for changing the system in its present form, acquires momentum, its outcome would depend on praxis and may not necessarily remain bounded within the system itself.
  • The chief fearmonger of the Trump Administration is without a doubt Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. Fauci is all over the media, serving up outright falsehoods to stir up even more panic. He testified to Congress that the death rate for the coronavirus is ten times that of the seasonal flu, a claim without any scientific basis. On Face the Nation, Fauci did his best to further damage an already tanking economy by stating, "Right now, personally, myself, I wouldn't go to a restaurant." He has pushed for closing the entire country down for 14 days. Over what? A virus that has thus far killed just over 5,000 worldwide and less than 100 in the United States? By contrast, tuberculosis, an old disease not much discussed these days, killed nearly 1.6 million people in 2017. Where's the panic over this? If anything, what people like Fauci and the other fearmongers are demanding will likely make the disease worse. The martial law they dream about will leave people hunkered down inside their homes instead of going outdoors or to the beach where the sunshine and fresh air would help boost immunity. The panic produced by these fearmongers is likely helping spread the disease, as massive crowds rush into Walmart and Costco for that last roll of toilet paper. […] People should ask themselves whether this coronavirus "pandemic" could be a big hoax, with the actual danger of the disease massively exaggerated by those who seek to profit – financially or politically – from the ensuing panic. That is not to say the disease is harmless. Without question people will die from coronavirus. Those in vulnerable categories should take precautions to limit their risk of exposure. But we have seen this movie before. Government over-hypes a threat as an excuse to grab more of our freedoms. When the "threat" is over, however, they never give us our freedoms back.
  • Donald Trump and his top Republican allies in Congress are fighting a war, and the battle lines have begun to clarify themselves. Their war is not being waged against COVID-19, the pandemic that has killed tens of thousands in this nation alone. Their war is being waged against the nation itself, and specifically against areas of the nation that are heavy on population but light on Trump supporters. In other words, the big-city blue states, whose governors have refused to fawn over Trump's gibberish-flecked "leadership" during this crisis. Trump has been treating the delivery of federal aid to the states like his own personal spoils system: rewarding loyalty, punishing critics, and demanding to be praised for doing his job whenever he actually does it, but especially when he doesn't. The issue has come to a head as governors from both parties are screaming for desperately needed federal aid for their respective states. Congress, particularly the Republican Senate, has been dragging its feet over passing a bill to provide states-specific aid, because doing so would be an example of government working to help the people, and such a thing is ideologically unsound on McConnell's side of the aisle.
  • Trump and McConnell know these states are reopening too soon, but they don’t care, because they need to make the money happy. To protect the money, McConnell wants to shoehorn in a provision to the states' aid package that prevents businesses from being sued by employees or customers because they got sick after businesses opened too soon. The blue states need that aid, and McConnell knows he has their congressional representatives over a barrel. The utter cruelty of these tactics, the nihilistic self-destruction of it in the face of more than 55,000 dead and thousands more to follow, has scarce precedent in the annals of U.S. politics. Instead of helping the entire country in this time of grievous crisis, Trump and McConnell are putting their boots to the neck of every state they deem ideologically unfit. It will be a damn miracle if the nation survives this, and them.
  • We had the greatest economy in the history of our country. We have never done so well. Every – everybody was amazed by it. Other countries were copying us. We got hit with COVID. And when we did, we spent the money necessary so we wouldn't end up in a Great Depression, the likes of which we had in 1929. By the time we finished – so we did a great job. We got a lot of credit for the economy, a lot of credit for the military, and no wars and so many other things. Everything was rocking good. But the thing we never got the credit for, and we should have, is getting us out of that COVID mess. He created mandates – that was a disaster for our country. But other than that, we had – we had given them back a – a country where the stock market actually was higher than pre-COVID. And nobody thought that was even possible. The only jobs he created are for illegal immigrants and bounce-back jobs, they're bounced back from the COVID.
  • The problem of policies aimed to return the economy to what it was before the virus hit is this: Global capitalism, by 2019, was itself a major cause of the collapse in 2020. Capitalism's scars from the crashes of 2000 and 2008-2009 had not healed. Years of low interest rates had enabled corporations and governments to "solve" all their problems by borrowing limitlessly at almost zero interest rate cost. All the new money pumped into economies by central banks had indeed caused the feared inflation, but chiefly in stock markets whose prices consequently spiraled dangerously far away from underlying economic values and realities. Inequalities of income and wealth reached historic highs. In short, capitalism had built up vulnerabilities to another crash that any number of possible triggers could unleash. The trigger this time was not the meltdown of 2000 or the sub-prime meltdown of 2008/9; it was a virus. And of course, mainstream ideology requires focusing on the trigger, not the vulnerability. Thus mainstream policies aim to reestablish pre-virus capitalism. Even if they succeed, that will return us to a capitalist system whose accumulated vulnerabilities will soon again collapse from yet another trigger.
  • The second reason I focus on capitalism is that the responses to today's economic collapse by Trump, the GOP and most Democrats carefully avoid any criticism of capitalism. They all debate the virus, China, foreigners, other politicians, but never the system they all serve. When Trump and others press people to return to churches and jobs—despite risking their and others' lives—they place reviving a collapsed capitalism ahead of public health.
  • As progress in fighting hunger stalls, the COVID-19 pandemic is intensifying the vulnerabilities and inadequacies of global food systems – understood as all the activities and processes affecting the production, distribution and consumption of food. While it is too soon to assess the full impact of the lockdowns and other containment measures, the report estimates that at a minimum, another 83 million people, and possibly as many as 132 million, may go hungry in 2020 as a result of the economic recession triggered by COVID-19. The setback throws into further doubt the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 2 (Zero Hunger).

“Fiscal policy and excess inflation during Covid-19: a cross-country view” (July 15, 2022)


François de Soyres, Ana Maria Santacreu and Henry Young; “Fiscal policy and excess inflation during Covid-19: a cross-country view”, Federal Reserve, (July 15, 2022)

In this note, we examine how fiscal support impacted the balance between supply and demand across countries during the COVID-19 crisis. Our findings suggest that fiscal stimulus boosted the consumption of goods without any noticeable impact on production, increasing excess demand pressures in good markets. As a result, fiscal support contributed to price tensions. Indeed, focusing on inflation through February 2022 which does not capture many disruptions associated with the war in Ukraine, we show that countries with large fiscal stimulus, or with high exposure to foreign stimulus through international trade, experienced stronger inflation outbursts. Our back-of-the-envelope illustrative calculations suggest that U.S. fiscal stimulus during the pandemic contributed to an increase in inflation of about 2.5 percentage points (ppt) in the U.S and 0.5 ppt in the United Kingdom.
  • In this note, we examine how fiscal support impacted the balance between supply and demand across countries during the COVID-19 crisis. Our findings suggest that fiscal stimulus boosted the consumption of goods without any noticeable impact on production, increasing excess demand pressures in good markets. As a result, fiscal support contributed to price tensions. Indeed, focusing on inflation through February 2022 which does not capture many disruptions associated with the war in Ukraine, we show that countries with large fiscal stimulus, or with high exposure to foreign stimulus through international trade, experienced stronger inflation outbursts. Our back-of-the-envelope illustrative calculations suggest that U.S. fiscal stimulus during the pandemic contributed to an increase in inflation of about 2.5 percentage points (ppt) in the U.S and 0.5 ppt in the United Kingdom.
  • The pandemic affected both the supply and demand side of the economy, hampering firms' ability to produce, as well as consumers' ability to consume. Unlike previous recessions, consumption of goods and services behaved very differently. In advanced economies, where the data allow real consumption expenditures across goods and services to be discernible more easily, consumption of services fell dramatically and then started recovering slowly as containment policies eased and vaccines were made widely available. In contrast, goods consumption fell by less during the beginning of the pandemic and experienced a strong recovery thereafter. Industrial production, however, was slow to adjust, creating a discrepancy between supply and demand in the goods' markets that likely played a role in the depletion of inventories and ultimately in recent price tensions.
  • We find that governments that provided generous fiscal support mitigated the drop in goods consumption in periods of lockdowns, while boosting consumption in periods of increased mobility. The effect of fiscal stimulus on services consumption, however, is insignificant. Finally, our results reveal that generous fiscal spending did not significantly contribute to supply expansion: countries with larger fiscal support did not have a significantly different association between mobility and Industrial Production. In other words, supply did not adjust quickly enough to meet the sharp increase in demand for goods.
  • We find that excess inflation is significantly correlated with each country's domestic stimulus, as well as with exposure to foreign stimulus. When taken separately or when used in conjunction with domestic fiscal stimulus, both vertical and horizontal exposure to foreign stimulus appear to be significantly correlated with domestic excess inflation. Moreover, our results show that excess inflation is also strongly related to our aggregated measure of Foreign Exposure.
    Before describing our results further, we need to acknowledge several limitations in our analysis. Our estimation relies on the association between excess inflation and exposure to domestic and foreign fiscal stimulus, but it might be the case that countries that engaged in larger fiscal support are also those that have been the worst hit by the pandemic and thus had a greater recovery. In such a case, and if the severity of the pandemic is itself positively correlated with excess inflation in the recovery period over and beyond the effect of fiscal support, then we would suffer from an omitted variable issue bias. Moreover, the bias would be positive because our fiscal stimulus variable would capture both the direct effect of the pandemic and the effect of the fiscal spending. Future work on this topic would gain from addressing such concern. For the moment, the results should be viewed as illustrative, highlighting perhaps the higher end of potential price pressures from fiscal stimulus during the pandemic.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic hampered firms' ability to produce and consumers' ability to consume. In response to economic disturbances, many governments resorted to large fiscal stimulus. This policy was successful at boosting consumption which, together with relatively inelastic supply, may have led to supply chain bottlenecks and price tensions.
    However, one should also recognize the positive role played by generous government support throughout this unprecedented crisis. The large spending supported a strong economic rebound, with both GDP and employment recovering at a remarkable pace, likely preventing worse outcomes despite the price pressures that may have resulted from the spending.

Beauty services

  • Mandates for beauty services, especially hair and nails, are going to continue to change. But be sure to reach out to your hairstylists before you go to ensure they're wearing a mask — at the very least. "Clients should be asking if the hairstylists always wear protective gear including gloves and masks, and if everything used in the salon is scrubbed and sanitized after each client," dermatologist, Sapna Palep, founder of Spring Street Dermatology in New York City, tells Allure. "The chairs should also be wiped down thoroughly with antiseptic cloths." She notes that getting your hair done outside is safer, but either way, salons should be taking the temperatures of all staff and clients on a daily basis, and staff and clients should be screened for possible COVID-19 exposure.
  • As any model will tell you, makeup and grooming are person-to-person professions. A makeup artist's job is to get as close to your face as possible, while a hairstylist might spend hours in close physical contact with a single client. With some states beginning to reopen for beauty services, professionals are developing new systems to stay safe amid the pandemic.


As tall buildings are often lagging economic indicators, any chilling effect that economic conditions or work interruptions may have had on new project starts, or projects that were under construction in 2020 ... remains to be seen. It must be remembered, the economic crisis of 2008 was not reflected on skylines, in terms of lower completion rates, until 2010 and 2011. ~ Oscar Holland
  • The number of new skyscrapers built globally dropped more than 20% in 2020, according to data released this week by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH).
    Last year saw the completion of 106 new buildings measuring 200 meters (656 feet) or above, down from 133 in 2019 -- and the lowest total since 2014.
    The CTBUH largely attributed the slowdown to Covid-19, as projects around the world "ground to a halt" amid restrictions on assembly, said its annual report. Though the group was only able to find nine projects directly blaming delays on the pandemic, it assumed that "many more" had "encountered difficulties" as a consequence.
  • Looking ahead, the CTBUH said it expected worldwide completions to bounce back next year, predicting between 125 and 150 new 200-meter-plus buildings globally in 2021.
    But its report also suggested the long-term impact of Covid-19 may yet to be fully realized. High-rise buildings take years to complete, meaning a drop in investment now may affect completion data further down the line.
    "As tall buildings are often lagging economic indicators, any chilling effect that economic conditions or work interruptions may have had on new project starts, or projects that were under construction in 2020 ... remains to be seen," the report reads. "It must be remembered, the economic crisis of 2008 was not reflected on skylines, in terms of lower completion rates, until 2010 and 2011."



Film and television

  • “We can actually learn a lot about safety guidelines by listening to producers of porn,” said Perry N. Halkitis, dean of the School of Public Health at Rutgers University. “Thinking back to the H.I.V./AIDS crisis, the adult film industry had to learn how to keep their workers safe.”
    He recommends fol-lowing its lead by using what he calls the Four Ts: Target, Test, Treat and Trace. The adult film industry uses a nationwide program called PASS, for Performer Availability Screening Services, that requires performers to be tested every 14 days for H.I.V. and other sexually transmitted infections in order to be cleared for work. If a worker tests positive, he’s treated, and his partners are traced.
  • Christian Manz, the special effects supervisor on JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts films, the latest of which has delayed filming at Warner Brother’s Leavesden studios due to the virus, says there are limits to replacing actors.
    “The big question is what can you get away without physically filming,” he says. “There will definitely be an increase in digital work but none of it can be done at a push of a button. To digitally build a location you still need to capture [the real thing] in some way. If you are making a crowd of digital characters you will still need references such as to costumes and the film’s [real] characters, all of that. It will be about how to shift some of the film work to computer generation.”
  • Benjamin, an internal medicine specialist and Maryland’s former secretary of health, said, “Just like in a restaurant, you take a mask off to eat popcorn or drink, etc. And of course, when you do that, if you’re infected, you will expel virus.” Especially, he noted, if you laugh or scream at the movie.
    De St. Maurice, a physician who specializes in pediatrics and infectious disease and is the co-chief infection prevention officer for UCLA Health, agreed: “How often are they going to pull the mask back up? And movies make you laugh and shout.”
    The health experts expressed concern that even proper social distancing might not be enough protection for a long period of exposure (say an average visit of two hours) to people who are not wearing masks.


  • The financial toll for hotels is worse than during the 2008 financial crisis, according to industry executives and analysts. Up to 4 million hotel employees, from desk clerks to maintenance workers, already have been laid off or soon will be, according to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the industry’s largest trade group. The group, the U.S. Travel Association and hotel CEOs met with President Donald Trump and other White House officials on March 17 to lobby for $150 billion in federal aid to help cover some of the devastating economic impact of the pandemic.


  • Pandemics and other forms of epidemic outbreaks are a unique case of manufacturing risk typified by high uncertainty, increasing propagation, and long-term disruption to manufacturers, supply chain actors as well as the end-users and consumers. For manufacturing the COVID-19 disruption scope has been largely twofold; an endogenous disruption of manufacturing processes and systems as well as extreme shifts in demand and supply caused by exogenous supply chain disruption. Existing literature on disruptions in manufacturing suggests that pandemics are qualitatively different from typical disruptions. There is no literature available to manufacturing practitioners that identify the barriers and enablers of manufacturing resilience, especially with regards to pivoting of the manufacturing sector in response to a pandemic.


  • Mines remain open in some countries. But in others, such as Peru, mining operations are severely restricted as part of government efforts to control the pandemic. Viral outbreaks at specific mine sites in other locations have also caused those operations to be closed.
    Some metals such as nickel (a component of electric vehicle batteries) have lost more than 30 per cent of production, due to reliance on particular countries such as the Phillippines.
    This makes predicting future prices no better than a guessing game. Until recently, the idea that copper prices would hardly move in response to a 6.8 per cent fall in Chinese GDP was inconceivable.
    Even if demand for many commodities falls, in some cases supplies of that product may fall even faster. That means metal prices could actually rise during this economic downturn.
    A case in point here is uranium, an essential material for nuclear power stations. Uranium prices increased 20 per cent in April from a low in March as fears of supply shortage have arisen. Coronavirus has affected an estimated 30-35 per cent of global uranium production, according to the Financial Times, including the one-month closure of the world’s largest uranium mine, Cigar Lake, in northern Saskatchewan.


  • First it was just a few displaced shows in Asia and Europe — then came the toppling of global music-tech conference SXSW, desert bacchanal Coachella, and tour dates for everyone from Pearl Jam to the Rolling Stones to Post Malone to Billie Eilish. North America’s largest concert promoters AEG and Live Nation suspended all their shows; major arenas and underground clubs alike were forced to their doors. By mid-March, the coronavirus pandemic had effectively put the multibillion-dollar concert industry on indefinite pause and brought cataclysmic knock-on effects into the rest of the music business as well.


The Antiquities Trafficking and Heritage Anthropology Research (ATHAR) project has reported a rise in antiquities trafficking on Facebook during 2020. There are also reports of theft occurring during lockdowns and it’s possible that the rate of theft now is higher than it was pre-Covid.
  • The survey results document extreme financial distress in the museum field. One-third (33%) of respondents were not confident they would be able to survive 16 months without additional financial relief, and 16 percent felt their organization was at significant risk of permanent closure. The vast majority (87%) of museums have only 12 months or less of financial operating reserves remaining, with 56% having less than six months left to cover operations. Forty-four percent had furloughed or laid off some portion of their staff, and 41 percent anticipated reopening with reduced staff.
    During the pandemic, 75% of museums stepped into their pivotal role as educators providing virtual educational programs, experiences, and curricula to students, parents, and teachers. However, two-thirds (64%) of directors predicted cuts in education, programming or other public services due to significant budget cuts.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic, and the economic recession it has fostered, loom large over Live Science’s archaeology predictions for 2021. While the development of vaccines is promising, it will be sometime before they can be distributed to a large proportion of the world’s population.
    As such, archaeologists will likely continue to experiment with new ways of doing their work. They will likely rely more than ever on new digging and survey methods that use smaller teams of locally based archaeologists, complimented by many more researchers helping analyze finds virtually. The days of archaeologists holding large conferences in hotels may also be coming to an end, as the pandemic has demonstrated that virtual archaeology conferences are cheaper, more popular and gives a much wider audience the chance to watch and participate.
  • There are indications that COVID-19, and the accompanying lockdowns and economic crisis, have led to an increase in looting and thefts. The Antiquities Trafficking and Heritage Anthropology Research (ATHAR) project has reported a rise in antiquities trafficking on Facebook during 2020. There are also reports of theft occurring during lockdowns and it’s possible that the rate of theft now is higher than it was pre-Covid. One example is a Van Gogh painting that was stolen from the Singer Laren museum (where it was on loan from the Groninger Museum) in the Netherlands in March 2020 during a COVID lockdown. The perpetrator (or the painting) has yet to be found.
  • Supergiant oil tankers are floating outside the world’s largest shipping ports with enough oil to meet the world’s daily demand twice over. Only months ago these vessels criss-crossed the globe laden with up to 2 million barrels. Today they stand motionless and bloated with crude that no one will buy.
    The record volume of stranded crude cargo illustrates a deepening crisis in the global oil industry. Demand for oil has fallen so severely, and at such pace, that there is little space left on land to store the crude made redundant by the coronavirus crisis. At least 160 million barrels are now stored at sea, outside global shipping ports from Singapore to Suffolk and along the US gulf coast as oil traders brace for storage facilities to reach capacity imminently.
    Market forecasts suggest that the world’s conventional oil storage – which can hold about 3.4 billion barrels – will be filled to its limits within the next month. In the meantime, oil traders are turning to alternative storage options: supergiant tankers, rail freight carriages and even underground salt caverns have become sought-after havens to stash millions of barrels of surplus crude.


  • For many businesses, coronavirus has been a disaster. Amidst stay-at-home orders and a faltering economy, spending is plummeting and tens of millions of people have lost their jobs. The unprecedented circumstances, however, has led one industry to thrive. A surge in demand for digital sex work means that cam girls are finding that their services are increasingly being sought out as even the most intimate and physical parts of our lives move online.

Restaurants and bars

  • In recent years, May was typically the top sales month for restaurants, based on the unadjusted data. On average during the last five years, May sales at eating and drinking places were more than 5% higher than the average monthly sales volume for the entire year. This year, May sales were more than 40% lower than what would have been expected in the absence of the pandemic.
  • From the early days of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, states have wrestled with the best course of action for the nation's imperiled bars and nightclubs. Many of these businesses find their economic prospects tied to a virus that preys on their industry's lifeblood — social gatherings in tight quarters.
    Public health experts and top health officials, including the Dr. Tony Fauci, say the evidence is abundantly clear: When bars open, infections tend to follow.


  • The coronavirus pandemic is shining a light on U.S. department stores’ dependence on selling fashion and their delay in adapting to today’s retail environment.
    Not only are a number filing for bankruptcy, but some, including the oldest in the nation, are liquidating entirely. One by one, the categories that have defined department stores for decades have been seized by other types of retailers. Big-box chains Walmart and Target have acquired the value shopper. Best Buy and Amazon reign in electronics. The likes of Home Goods and Wayfair have become top-of-mind destinations for home furnishings. And Williams-Sonoma has sealed a place for itself in kitchens, for its high-end appliances and cutlery.
    Fashion seemed to be the one stronghold department stores had left. For a while, that was enough. But not anymore.
    Apparel sales are in a free fall, dropping roughly 20% year over year in July, after suffering a 25% decline in June, according to the latest data from the Commerce Department. Clothing has been one of the hardest-hit categories in retail during the pandemic, with fewer people concerned about refreshing their wardrobes when they hardly ever venture to public places. And some simply aren’t able to spend on a new outfit like they used to, as millions of Americans are unemployed due to the crisis.


  • In the NFL, money driven by in-stadium attendance is estimated to account for about 30 percent of league-wide revenue—somewhere in the area of $4 billion to $5 billion annually. So, as you might expect, the NFL is aggressively trying to figure out how soon it can fill the stands. It has left that decision to the individual teams. Of the league’s 32 franchises, 17 have plans to permit fans or are already doing so, but their approaches vary wildly, with the Dallas Cowboys permitting close to 25,000 fans per game, while the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles have been allowing about 5,500 in recent weeks. Following tumultuous recent weeks, with games being postponed and rescheduled, fan attendance will continue to be a hot topic.
    In college football, the numbers change by the day. Already some 30 teams have plans to bring back 10,000 or more fans to their stadiums, and many more will do so in the thousands. Here, too, the financial incentive is powerful; college football teams generate revenue that can range from tens to hundreds of millions of dollars annually, and, in high-powered conferences like the SEC, Big Ten and Big-12, their success often is used to fund other athletic programs at their schools.
  • The global outbreak of COVID-19 has resulted in closure of gyms, stadiums, pools, dance and fitness studios, physiotherapy centres, parks and playgrounds. Many individuals are therefore not able to actively participate in their regular individual or group sporting or physical activities outside of their homes. Under such conditions, many tend to be less physically active, have longer screen time, irregular sleep patterns as well as worse diets, resulting in weight gain and loss of physical fitness. Low-income families are especially vulnerable to negative effects of stay at home rules as they tend to have sub-standard accommodations and more confined spaces, making it difficult to engage in physical exercise.
  • The global value of the sports industry is estimated at US$756 billion annually. In the face of COVID-19, many millions of jobs are therefore at risk globally, not only for sports professionals but also for those in related retail and sporting services industries connected with leagues and events, which include travel, tourism, infrastructure, transportation, catering and media broadcasting, among others. Professional athletes are also under pressure to reschedule their training, while trying to stay fit at home, and they risk losing professional sponsors who may not support them as initially agreed.
    In addition to economic repercussions, the cancellation of games also impacts many social benefits of global and regional sport events, which can cement social cohesion, contribute to the social and emotional excitement of fans, as well as their identification with athletes leading to greater physical activity of individuals. Sport has long been considered a valuable tool for fostering communication and building bridges between communities and generations. Through sport, various social groups are able to play a more central role towards social transformation and development, particularly in divided societies. Within this context, sport is used as a tool for creating learning opportunities and accessing often marginal or at-risk populations.


  • "My fear has always been that Covid-19 would reduce global trade which lowers growth, increases poverty and joblessness (and then) leads to more sea piracy," he added.
    "There is certainly concern that with trade going down there will be fewer sailors on board ships (and therefore) fewer crew monitoring for potential pirates or armed robbers."
  • Global maritime trade will plunge by 4.1% in 2020 due to the unprecedented disruption caused by COVID-19, UNCTAD estimates in its Review of Maritime Transport 2020, released on 12 November.
    The report warns that new waves of the pandemic that further disrupt supply chains and economies might cause a steeper decline. The pandemic has sent shockwaves through supply chains, shipping networks and ports, leading to plummeting cargo volumes and foiling growth prospects, it says.
    According to the report, the short-term outlook for maritime trade is grim. Predicting the pandemic’s longer-term impact as well as the timing and scale of the industry’s recovery is fraught with uncertainty.

Transportation and travel

When the New York Stock Exchange reopened in May, traders were required to avoid public transportation. ~ Janette Sadik-Khan
  • By the time the MIT report appeared, according to the transportation-data company Transit, ridership on bus and rail systems had already dropped by 74 percent in New York, 79 percent in Washington, D.C., 83 percent in Boston, and 87 percent in the Bay Area from pre-pandemic levels. The assumption that transit was accelerating infections stoked public fears and quickly hardened into conventional wisdom. “Subways, trains and buses are sitting empty around the world,” a Washington Post headline intoned in a May headline, adding, “It’s not clear if riders will return.” When the New York Stock Exchange reopened in May, traders were required to avoid public transportation.
    Underlying that rule is an assumption of danger that, so far, research has not borne out. A recent study in Paris found that none of 150 identified coronavirus infection clusters from early May to early June originated on the city’s transit systems. A similar study in Austria found that not one of 355 case clusters in April and May was traceable to riding transit. Though these systems, like their American counterparts, were carrying fewer riders at a lower density than before the pandemic, the results suggest a far less sinister role for transit than the MIT report described.
    If transit itself were a global super-spreader, then a large outbreak would have been expected in dense Hong Kong, a city of 7.5 million people dependent on a public transportation system that, before the pandemic, was carrying 12.9 million people a day. Ridership there, according to the Post, fell considerably less than in other transit systems around the world. Yet Hong Kong has recorded only about 1,100 COVID-19 cases, one-tenth the number in Kansas, which has fewer than half as many people. Replicating Hong Kong’s success may involve safety measures, such as mask wearing, that are not yet ingrained in the U.S., but the evidence only underscores that the coronavirus can spread outside of transit and dense urban environments—which are not inherently harmful.
  • The cruise industry has been in free fall since the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March. Not only are vessels unable to sail, but the swirl of bad publicity has also left the public believing that cruise ships are deadly incubators of disease.
    Will travelers ever want to sail again? Cruise junkies say yes; experts say it might take a long time for the industry to recover.
  • A day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans to stay home for Thanksgiving, more than one million people in the United States got on planes, marking the second day that more than a million people have flown since March. Nearly three million additional people have flown in the days since.
    The high number of travelers speaks to a sense of pandemic fatigue that many people are experiencing. For some, the desire to see family is worth the risk of potentially getting the coronavirus while traveling.
    But it’s important to remember that the current number of people flying, while increasing, pales in comparison to the number who still find the idea of getting on a plane frightening. In the 11-day period around Thanksgiving last year, a record 26 million people flew. This year, fewer than half that number are likely to travel.
  • Between February and April, more than 19,000 British travellers from 59 vessels in 20 different countries had to be repatriated by the government.
    It wasn’t just bad news for tourists. In April, Andy Harmer, director of Cruise Lines International Association UK and Ireland (CLIA), said the 90-day cruise suspension would cost the UK economy £888 million, lead to the loss of 5,525 jobs and £287 million in wages. Across the UK, the industry supports 40,517 direct jobs paying £1.35bn in wages. CLIA says the industry generates £10bn annually for the UK economy.
  • In a short period, some researches have been conducted examining the tourism effects of COVID-19. The vast majority of these studies focus on regional impact analysis. Dinarto, Wanto, and Sebastian (2020) investigated the impact of the virus on Bintan's (an island in the Riau archipelago of Indonesia) tourism industry; Centeno and Marquez (2020) made their research on the loss of the tourism industry in the Philippines, Correa-Martínez et al. (2020) examined the spread of the virus in a ski area in Austria. Nepal (2020) focused on the impacts on Nepal in his commentary. Also, few studies are focusing on the global impacts of COVID-19 on the tourism industry. Gössling, Scott, and Hall (2020) evaluated the effect of global travel restrictions and stay at home behavior on tourism and projected global change; Niewiadomski (2020) commented on de-globalization and post-COVID-19 tourism industry, where Galvani, Lew, and Perez (2020) evaluated the sustainability of the industry.
    To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study that aims to reveal the effects of COVID-19 on global tourism, in the light of travelers' comments.

See also

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