The coronavirus recession, also known as the Great Lockdown or the Great Shutdown, is a severe and ongoing global recession. An economic consequence of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the first major sign of the coronavirus recession was the 2020 stock market crash on 20 February.
- The economy has collapsed due to this unprecedented challenge of Covid-19. The worst sufferers are the informal sector workers, daily wagers and the poor. We need a complete reboot of our economy and we must ensure that at least now we use this as an opportunity and build an environmentally sustainable model which is human economy, ensuring living wages to all and not perpetuating and furthering inequality.
- Amitabh Behar, as quoted in Covid-19 Exposed India’s Apathy Towards its Migrants. Only Social, Financial Security Will Ensure Their Return (May 17, 2020) by Naushad Khan, News18 India
- Capitalists preach "the market" for the working class – stand on your own two feet, don't rely on the government – but themselves sponge off the public big time. Just look at the billions in subsidies and tax concessions the fossil fuel companies, huge enterprises for the most part, extract from state and federal governments in Australia. The vehicle manufacturers raked in hundreds of millions a year from the Australian government for decades until deciding it wasn't enough and went overseas. This is why big companies and industry groups hire armies of former politicians to lobby on their behalf in the offices of premiers and prime ministers – there's money in government coffers and they want it. And while the capitalists talk about "the market" setting wages for workers, in reality, they don't really allow the market to do the job. They use the whole apparatus of state repression, the industrial tribunals, the police, the courts to suppress workers' rights to organise to pursue their demands. But when a crisis hits all the bullshit about the market is thrown to the winds. And that is just what we are seeing now. Faced with the collapse of the capitalist economy, for the second time in a dozen years, with massive bankruptcies on the table and the stock market plunging by more than 30 percent and more to come, fervent advocates of the free market are now embracing government intervention to save their skins.
- 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.
- In the immediate period, millions in the hospitality industry, in leisure and tourism, in retail and services, and in aviation are being laid off without pay or fired outright. But the entire edifice of global finance is crumbling and we could easily see a generalised economic collapse across the entire system. Talk of the irrationality of capitalism is being posted everywhere. Extensive industrial collapse could create millions of unemployed. A banking collapse would impoverish millions more at a stroke. This is what the government's authoritarian new bill is preparing for — a repetition in Britain and on a global scale of the kind of economic and social collapse that happened in Argentina in 2001–2, when most working-class and middle-class people lost all their savings and millions lost their jobs. Mass social and political anger could shake the system to its foundations, and those in power are preparing for emergency measures against radical "subversives" — left-wing activists, trade unionists, social activists — liable to lead mass resistance. This, it seems, could take the form of mass detention without trial.
- The imminent public health crisis facing poorer countries as a consequence of COVID-19 will be further deepened by an associated global economic downturn that is almost certain to exceed the scale of 2008. It is too early to predict the depth of this slump, but many leading financial institutions are expecting this to be the worst recession in living memory. [...] Closely connected to this are the measures put in place by governments and central banks since 2008, most notably the policies of quantitative easing and repeated interest-rate cuts. These policies aimed at propping up share prices through massively increasing the supply of ultra-cheap money to financial markets. They meant a very significant growth in all forms of debt — corporate, government, and household.
- Adam Hanieh, This is a Global Pandemic – Let’s Treat it as Such, 27 March 2020, Verso Books
- 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.
- Adam Hanieh, This is a Global Pandemic – Let’s Treat it as Such, 27 March 2020, Verso Books
- Let's be clear: what's happening right now is the economic and financial equivalent of 9/11 and the Financial Crash rolled into one. And what's fast coming down the track could make even the Great Depression look like a stroll through the park. A total and complete shutdown of vast sections of the economy, indefinitely, with mass unemployment possibly around the corner.
- 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.
- Unfortunately, despite calls from progressives like Sanders and AOC, the U.S. government has so far done little to address the problem of layoffs and unemployment; and even limited proposals, such as universal paid sick leave and emergency cash payments, have been met with obstruction by Republicans and Democrats. While such government measures are important and necessary, they are clearly not enough. Confronting this crisis ultimately means confronting capitalism, and that means directly resisting these layoffs, since layoffs are always the first weapon used against working people in moments of economic crisis. Big businesses and corporations that have benefited from years of economic growth (not to mention the massive surplus value of workers' labor) owe employees and their families a huge debt and it's time to pay up. In order to make this happen, working people must organize for and demand: 1. An immediate ban on all layoffs. 2. Full wages for all employees, whether they are working during the crisis or not. And 3. A redistribution of working hours among currently unemployed workers (including undocumented and precarious workers) so that no one is denied the essential right to employment. Any company that cannot or will not comply with these demands should be nationalized under workers' control or expropriated directly by the workers themselves. Wherever possible the capital of these companies should also be immediately put to the service of solving the current economic and health crisis and providing for the full needs of the working class. Sitting by and allowing companies to layoff workers, on the other hand, expecting that the crisis can be solved with an expansion of the existing safety net, or direct cash payments, would be a huge mistake and would only weaken the power of the working class and ultimately strengthen the power of capital.
- 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.
- The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global health, social and economic crisis. [...] The pandemic, in other words, is now testing the capacity of our political and economic systems to cope with a global problem situated at the level of our individual interdependence, which is to say at the very foundation of our social life. [...] We equally depend on the state to help businesses of all sizes endure this trial by providing them with the financial assistance and guaranteed loans they require in order to avoid bankruptcy and retain as much of their workforce as possible. States no longer have any qualms about spending without limits in order to save the economy — "whatever it takes!" — while just weeks ago states opposed any request to increase hospital staff, hospital beds, or emergency services, out of its obsessive concern for budgetary constraint and limiting the public debt. States have since rediscovered the virtues of interventionism, at least when it comes to funding private enterprise and shoring up the financial system. One of the most ambitious stimulus plans to date has been implemented by Germany. Their plan constitutes an abrupt break with the ordoliberal dogmas that have been the norm since the beginning of the Federal Republic of Germany.
- Christian Laval and Pierre Dardot, The pandemic as political trial: the case for a global commons (March 28, 2020), ROAR Magazine
- In China, the epidemic effectively paralyzed the country both politically and economically. Freezing economic production and trade has never been practiced on such a scale, and the outcome has been a very serious economic and financial crisis in China.
- Christian Laval and Pierre Dardot, The pandemic as political trial: the case for a global commons (March 28, 2020), ROAR Magazine
- We are extremely skeptical of Macron's promise to be the first leader to question "our developmental model" after the crisis is over, and there are plenty of reasons to think that the drastic economic measures currently in place will eventually share the same fate as those enacted during the 2008 economic crisis: we will likely see a concerted effort to "return to normal" — i.e., return to our otherwise uninterrupted destruction of the planet amidst increasingly conditions of social inequality. And we fear the enormous stimulus packages designed to "save the economy" will once again be borne on the backs of the lowest-paid workers and taxpayers.
- 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.
- With nearly one-third of all Americans on government-enforced lockdown and the National Guard pouring into the streets, it's a good time to take stock of the coronavirus scare and the real nature of the threat. What is our most important investment as the markets crash?
- Ron Paul, "What's Coronavirus' Greatest Threat? What's The Most Important Investment?" (23 March 2020), Ron Paul Liberty Report
- 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.
- The only reason Florida can claim to be living within its budgetary means is by denying hundreds of thousands of residents, many in the service industry, clear access to the unemployment compensation they desperately need. If you don’t pay your bills, your bank account stays full. It’s a trick Trump learned a long time ago.
- 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.
- The dynamics of the economic and financial crisis will strengthen the tendencies toward recession, aggravating the effects of the health crisis. This relationship means that the duration and depth will be dependent on the combination of both crises. The drops in the stock market are bursting a bubble that helped maintain weak economic growth (particularly in the U.S.), without having resolved any of the structural problems that burst forth with the 2008 crisis (low productivity, low investment). Companies today are more indebted than in 2008, so a series of bankruptcies (in airlines, shale oil companies in the U.S., tourism, etc.) could hit the banks. Unlike 2008, the banks appear to be in a better position, but this all depends on the depth of the recession. There are other significant differences compared to the last recession: instead of coordination between the governments of the main powers that was seen in 2009 (when they were obviously terrified by the depth of the crisis), today confrontations are prevailing due to geopolitical tensions and ruthless competition not only between the United States and China, but also between the U.S. and Germany (with strong economic ties to China), and even between the United Kingdom and the European Union. For all these reasons, we call on working people and youth to take the struggle for measures against the crisis into our own hands.
- Why should the people and taxpayers of America be bailing out poorly run states (like Illinois, as example) and cities, in all cases Democrat run and managed, when most of the other states are not looking for bailout help? I am open to discussing anything, but just asking?
- Donald Trump during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, on a Twitter post, 27 April 2020. Quoted in Trump asks why taxpayers should help bail out blue states by Brett Samuels, 27 April 2020, The Hill; and in Trump: Government shouldn't rescue states and cities struggling under pandemic by Adam Edelman, 27 April 2020, NBCNews.com
- The desperate policies of panic-driven governments involve throwing huge amounts of money at the economies collapsed in response to the coronavirus threat. Monetary authorities create money and lend it at extremely low interest rates to the major corporations and especially big banks "to get them through the crisis." Government treasuries borrow vast sums to get the collapsed economy back into what they imagine is "the normal, pre-virus economy." Capitalism's leaders are rushing into policy failures because of their ideological blinders.
- 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 dot.com 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.
- 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.
- Sapna Palep, as quoted in “Hair Salon Owners Are Making It Work During the Pandemic”, by Elizabeth Denton, Allure, (September 30, 2020)
- 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.
- Leah Prinzivalli, “How Hairstylists and Makeup Artists Are Returning to Work Amid the Pandemic”, Allure, (July 31, 2020)
Film and televisionEdit
- “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.
- Perry N. Halakitis, as quoted in “Lessons on Coronavirus Testing From the Adult Film Industry”, by Michele C. Hollow, New York Times, (June 18, 2020)
- 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.”
- Christian Manz, as quoted in “How coronavirus has animated one section of the film industry”, by Mark Sweney, The Guardian, (19 May 2020)
- 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.
- Georges Benjamin & Annabelle De St. Maurice; as quoted in “How safe is it to go to indoor movie theaters during the COVID-19 pandemic?”, by Michael Ordono, Los Angeles Times, (Nov 23, 2020)
- “I’m definitely having conversations where people are looking at which films are easier to make if restrictions continue, or if the virus comes back again later,” says Tim Webber, chief creative officer at London-based Framestore, whose credits include Avengers: Endgame and the BBC’s adaptation of His Dark Materials. “People are looking at bringing out films that have a greater computer generated component so productions can keep being developed [if filming stops].”
- Tim Webber, as quoted in “How coronavirus has animated one section of the film industry”, by Mark Sweney, The Guardian, (19 May 2020)
- Cash-strapped and empty hotels across the country are finding ways to keep the lights on by converting themselves into coronavirus wards or temporary housing for the National Guard or exhausted doctors and nurses.
It provides some much needed revenue for an industry that’s been brought to its knees by the COVID-19 outbreak that’s spread to more than 1.4 million people in nearly every country across the globe.
- Will Feuer, Emma Newburger; “Empty hotels ‘keep the lights on’ by converting into coronavirus quarantines, emergency housing for first responders“, CNBC, (Apr 8, 2020)
- 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.
- Will Feuer, Emma Newburger; “Empty hotels ‘keep the lights on’ by converting into coronavirus quarantines, emergency housing for first responders“, CNBC, (Apr 8, 2020)
- 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.
- Okechukwu Okorie; Ramesh Subramoniam; Fiona Charnley; John Patsavellas; David Widdifield; Konstantinos Salonitis; “Manufacturing in the Time of COVID-19: An Assessment of Barriers and Enablers”, IEEE.org, (27 July 2020), pp.167-175
- 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.
- John Steen, “How the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the global mining industry”, The Conversation, (April 30, 2020)
- The global economy has entered the current downturn in a weakened state. Most governments have no cash reserves and are heavily indebted. The trillions of dollars in stimulus spending will be financed with unconventional monetary policy. Going beyond fancy technical terms such as quantitative easing, this essentially means governments will have to print more money.
Increasing the supply of money makes currencies less valuable and leads investors to look to precious metals as a way to store value. Gold prices have performed extremely well over the past year, rising to nearly US$1,800 per ounce compared to around US$1,300 per ounce one year ago.
- John Steen, “How the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the global mining industry”, The Conversation, (April 30, 2020)
- 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.
- Rolling Stone, “How Coronavirus Is Wreaking Havoc on Music”, (April 27, 2020)
- 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.
- American Alliance of Museums, “A Snapshot of US Museums’ Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic”, (Jul 22, 2020)
- 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.
- Jillian Ambrose, “Oil market faces storage crisis in a world awash with crude”, The Guardian, (25 Apr 2020; modified 1 Jul 2020)
- Labor Day is meant to be a celebration. A day to reflect on and recognize the achievements of American workers.
There's little to celebrate this year, however, for roustabouts, roughnecks and drillers — the hard-working muscle for decades on oil rigs from the wilds of Alaska to high plains of Wyoming. These are jobs that have long helped fuel America. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has brought it all to a hard stop in many places.
- Jessica Flores, ”Nowhere to labor: The US oil industry, sapped by COVID-19, has lost hundreds of rigs in a 'historic and troubling' year”, USA TODAY, (Published Sep 7, 2020 Updated Sep. 9, 2020)
- 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.
- Katie Bishop, “Coronavirus Has Scrambled the Sex and Porn Industry. Cam Girls Are Cashing In.”, Observer, (05/11/20)
Restaurants and barsEdit
- 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.
- Restaurant.org, “Restaurant sales remain well below normal levels, despite May uptick”, (June 16, 2020)
- 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.
- Will Stone, "How Bars Are Fueling COVID-19 Outbreaks”, NPR, (August 18, 2020)
- 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.
- Lauren Thomas, “America’s department stores, cornerstones in fashion, could be in their ‘last stages’“, CNBC, (Sep 1, 2020)
- 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.
- Carolyn Barber, “When Will Football Stadiums Look Normal Again?“, Scientific American, (October 21, 2020)
- 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."
- Brandon Prins, as quoted in “Coronavirus: Piracy incidents double across Asia during pandemic”, by Lucy Martin, BBC, (17 July, 2020)
- 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.
- United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, “COVID-19 cuts global maritime trade, transforms industry”, (12 November 2020)
Transportation and travelEdit
- 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.
- Janette Sadik-Khan, Seth Solomonow; “Fear of Public Transit Got Ahead of the Evidence”, The Atlantic, (June 14, 2020)
- 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.
- Rosemary McClure, “To cruise or not to cruise. Loyalists face a dilemma”, LA Times, (Sep. 10, 2020)
- 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.
- Tariro Mzezewa, “Is It Safe to Fly During the Pandemic? Answers From the Experts”, New York Times, (11/25/2020)
- 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.
- Liz Sharples, Kokho Jason Sit; “Can the cruise industry really recover from coronavirus?”, The Conversation, (August 19, 2020)
- 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.
- Naciye Güliz Uğur, and Adem Akbıyık; “Impacts of COVID-19 on global tourism industry: A cross-regional comparison”, Tour Manag Perspect. 2020 Oct; 36: 100744.