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The economic impact of the coronavirus is about to get even worse

The weather is getting colder and the days are getting shorter — accelerating the economic and psychological damage of the coronavirus pandemic.

The big picture: During the summer, businesses took advantage of outdoor dining, exercise and shopping, and families and friends safely gathered outside and at a distance. As the season changes, much of what made the last several months bearable will vanish.


Businesses that have made it this far could start closing in droves.

  • The pandemic has already forced at least 100,000 restaurants to close indefinitely or permanently.
  • Those that have stayed open in big metros have done so by seating patrons outside. And although many cities are extending outdoor dining permits into the fall and winter, restaurateurs doubt customers will want to sit outside in the cold or the rain — unless they spend big on outdoor heaters.
  • Many other businesses — from yoga studios to music schools — have been conducting classes outside all summer. Their customers may disappear in the winter, too.

Washington's failure to deliver relief in the form of a stimulus package is hammering the economy.

  • The unemployment situation is rapidly worsening. "We’re seeing a transition from short-term unemployment to a situation where a lot of these workers are not going to have a job to get back to," says James Stock, an economist at Harvard.
  • And the lack of stimulus money and unemployment insurance is pushing Americans to tighten their wallets — a troubling sign for the economy's health.
  • "The expiration of enhanced unemployment insurance benefits pulled $667 billion in purchasing power out of the economy in August alone," per the Economic Policy Institute.

The upcoming holiday season could trigger case spikes all over the country — or further devastate the hard-hit travel industry.

  • "People are tired of isolation and lockdown," Stock says. Many may use the holidays as an excuse to gather indoor in groups, which dramatically increases the likelihood of transmission and spread.
  • But if people choose not to travel for the holidays, the already-battered travel industry — set to lose $500 billion this year — will lose even more money and shed even more jobs.

It didn't have to be this way. With masks, social distancing and other precautions, America could have controlled the virus. But we didn't.

  • "It's technically completely feasible to have a pre-vaccine recovery, but we’ve just chosen not to do that," says Stock. "We’ve chosen deaths and job losses over health and recovery."

The bottom line: In July, I wrote that the pain of the pandemic was about to get a lot worse. It turns out we hadn't seen anything yet.

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Humans are capable of great kindness and compassion, and there are countless examples of individuals who have made a positive impact on the world through their selflessness and generosity.

One such example is Mother Teresa, who devoted her life to serving the poor and sick in the slums of Calcutta. Through her tireless work and unwavering dedication, she touched the lives of countless people and became a symbol of compassion and selflessness.

Another example is Malala Yousafzai, a young woman from Pakistan who has become a powerful advocate for education and the rights of girls. Despite facing threats and violence, she has continued to speak out and fight for change, inspiring others to do the same.

These are just a few examples of the many good humans who have made a difference in the world. They remind us that one person can make a difference and inspire others to do the same.

It's also important to note that acts of kindness and compassion don't have to be on a grand scale to make a difference. Small acts of kindness, like holding the door open for someone or offering a word of encouragement, can have a big impact on the people around us.

In conclusion, humans are capable of great compassion and kindness, and there are many individuals who have made a positive impact on the world through their selflessness and generosity. They remind us of the power of one person to make a difference and inspire others to do the same. Let's all strive to be good humans, and make our world a better place.

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