The Coronavirus Won’t Go Away for Good
The coronavirus is dragging the world into a recession. Travel bans, celebrity infections, and declining stock prices are sending people into a state of panic. Efforts to contain the spread are stepping up, as more rapid tests are being developed and administered. The pharmaceutical industry is doing everything it can to develop a vaccine. That said, the process of testing and ensuring the safety of a vaccine takes months. So, the coronavirus isn’t going away any time soon.
Evidence suggests the coronavirus is seasonal. The warmer months may offer us reprieve from the chaos. South American countries like Argentina and Chile have a very low case count, since they’re at the tail end of summer. As the first wave tapers out through April and June, we should not grow complacent. The coronavirus is too easily transmitted to go away for good. If we refer to history for guidance, we’ll find that a virus’s second wave can be worse than the first. Let’s turn to the Spanish Flu to see what we might expect from the coronavirus.
The Second Wave of the Spanish Flu Was Deadlier Than the First
The Spanish Flu of 1918 was caused by the H1N1 virus. More lives were lost to the pandemic than there were to World War I. As many as fifty million people, including 675,000 Americans, died over the course of two years. The second wave, which occurred in the fall of 1918, was especially deadly. The virus originally surfaced in an army base in Kansas. While highly contagious, mortality rates were comparable to those of the seasonal flu. That all changed as troops deployed to Europe spread a mutated virus to England, France, Spain, and Italy.
The mutated H1N1 virus was far deadlier. It was also indiscriminate. Young, middle aged, and the elderly were all at risk of contracting the Spanish Flu. With medical personnel on the battlefield, there were fewer healthcare workers to care for the sick. These days, healthcare is far superior to what it was during the early 20th century. However, we’re clearly incapable of preventing a pandemic. Can we avoid the grim reality that befell those contending with the Spanish Flu?
The Virus Will Kick Us While We’re Down
We’re seeing what an invisible pathogen can do to the economy. Over a trillion dollars has been wiped from the stock market. Central banks are doing what they can to stem the bleeding. I’m confident that we’ll get through this. What scares me, though, is that when life appears to be returning to normal, the second wave will hit. I don’t expect we’ll experience the same level of panic as we are during this first wave. However, the failure to sustain a recovery can send the world into an even deeper recession. How far down is the bottom? I don’t know, but we’re going to endure a lot of pain as we find out.
A Vaccine Is Our Only Hope of Killing It
How can we finally put the coronavirus in the rear-view mirror? Pharmacological intervention. A vaccine is the only way we can get rid of COVID-19 for good. Again, the coronavirus is too easily transmissible to disappear after this year’s flu season. We need the pharmaceutical industry to eliminate COVID-19 the same way it eliminated smallpox, polio, and the measles. Yes, I understand that those casting doubt on the efficacy of vaccines are leading to a resurgence in otherwise extinct diseases, but I won’t touch upon this here. Funding and research partnerships are needed to accelerate the pace at which this vaccine is developed. Then, and only then, can we feel confident moving passed COVID-19.
Be Prepared to Ride the Second Wave
How do you prepare for the second wave? You should do many of the same things that you’re doing now. Practice good hygiene, engage in social distancing measures, and stock up on essentials. Additionally, you should be preparing financially. I’ve previously discussed the importance of frugality. The coronavirus is a prime example of why it’s so important to be frugal. Identify side hustles that can help diversify your income streams. If you can, continue contributing to your emergency fund. I imagine many of us are staying at home and cutting down on spending. Bank that money for the second wave. Job losses will happen, so it’s important we do what we can from becoming too exposed to the pressures yet to come.
I’d hate to see my readers come up for air, only to be knocked back down by the second wave. Prepare yourself now. Otherwise, you may be washed away with others who thought the worst was over. If history serves as a guide, the troubles are only just beginning.
Do you have advice on how to prepare for the second wave? Leave a comment below or contact me directly.