Saturday, July 4, 2020

Idle Rambling -- How Corona Virus Changes America -- July 4, 2020


July 16, 2020: cocoon culture
  • forecast: permanent drop in US miles driven could be as high as 10%
  • due to:
    • working from home
    • on-line shopping
  • historically: 17 million autos sold annually
  • going forward: likely to be 16 million autos annually
  • "people will fight very seriously for a million vehicles, especially if sales drop"
July 12, 2020: mass / public transportation takes a holiday. Amtrak announced reduced service some weeks ago (reported previously that daily Amtrak through Williston, ND, will be cut to three days / week due to less demand).
It's being reported that demand for Greyhound bus service is plummeting. Some have attributed lower bus demand due to less illegal immigration. The mayor of Scranton, NY, asked Greyhound to suspend the only bus service that city had with NYC earlier this year. The government and the CDC have done such a good job scaring folks about risk of public transportation, it will now take similar efforts to convince folks it's safe.
Again, those who can afford automobiles will not feel the impact; the poor will be disproportionately affected.
July 9, 2020: Mac sales surge

July 6, 2020:

July 6, 2020:

July 5, 2020: example of how professional team sports will be greatly impacted by the corona virus. MLB, NBA, NFL can announce that they will play this season, but the players may not show up.

Original Post 

After November 4, 2020, "this" all goes away and things return to normal.

But let's say that does not happen.

Let's say things do not return to normal after November 4, 2020.

If one feels strongly that things will not return to normal by November, 2020, then it's time to start thinking about how America changes in the short term and the long term.

For discussion purposes:
  • short term: six months of continued surge in cases; lock downs and threats of lock downs continue; things get worse before they get better; things don't return to normal until July, 2021; 
    • remember, seasonal flu will begin to be reported in late fall, 2020
  • long term: the new normal -- corona virus continues to impact Americans through January, 2022;
First of all:
  • the vaccine -- even if an effective vaccine is announced tomorrow, it won't be accepted by the majority of Americans; many will consider it "more fake news";
  • it might take a third or fourth generation vaccine before the majority of Americans accept it
  • by the time an effective vaccine is announced, many Americans will already have had the natural infection, most of them asymptomatic
    • based on past comments, it's likely that Dr Fauci will say that all Americans need to take the vaccine regardless of history of natural infection
    • this is a Big Pharma position; Bill Gates heavily invested in global vaccine program, for example
  • educated folks won't want to get the vaccine until they know whether they already have natural immunity
  • uneducated folks will think it's a government conspiracy to infect them with a dangerous vaccine
So, back to the discussion. Two scenarios.
  • scenario one, the short term scenario, the optimistic scenario:
    • short term: six months of continued surge in cases; lock downs and threats of lock downs; things return to normal July, 2021
    • right now, Disney theme parks will likely remain closed until 2021;
  • scenario two, the long term scenario, the pessimistic scenario: 
    • long term: the new normal -- corona virus continues to impact Americans through January, 2022
Under both scenarios:
  • professional sports:
    • teams will "play" in front of empty stadiums, stands, arenas
    • television revenue surges 
    • retail around stadiums like Boston's Fenway Park will disappear
    • non-team sports (PGA, NASCAR) relatively easy to re-open
    • team sports (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL) a much bigger unknown
      • a team could be out-of-the-running with one "franchise player" testing positive
      • already many players refusing to play
    • MLS in the US: dead 
    • online ticket outlets like StubHub disappear (?) 
    • NFL salary caps, etc; see this link;
    • NFL farm teams, i.e., college football
      • the NCAA says football will go on as usual; I think some folks doubt that
  • concert events:
    • concert venues on hold for quite some time
    • maybe places like Branson, MO; Las Vegas, recover enough; hard to say
  • education: virtual and home-schooling surges;
    • teachers as wells as parents will  push back on school openings
    • music programs will suffer most; sports programs will suffer;
    • education gap widens between "haves" and "have-nots"
    • "the Detroit" experience; 30% of folks in Detroit do not have internet access at home
    • universities take huge financial hit
      • dormitories
      • television revenue for sports
  • children's nutrition
    • huge hit as schools do not open; 
    • meme: some urban students -- only guaranteed meals -- for some
  • US energy
    • continued glut across the board
    • will gasoline demand start to flatten out?
  • retail:
    • e-commerce surges
    • Amazon could spin off "Amazon Logistics"
    • mom-and-pop restaurants: require major changes; many/most will disappear
      • will start to resemble small, intimate restaurants common in Europe
      • take-out surges, just as take-out is huge in England
    • Starbucks: will re-evaluate need for comprehensive service; if take-out / drive-through only eliminates a lot of "social" issues
    • McDonald's: hard to believe McDonald's would never re-open PlayPlaces but discussion will dominate the board room 
    • bars, taverns: ???
  • commercial retail:
    • rents continue to plummet; already being reported in San Francisco, NYC
    • malls: dead 
    • mall anchor stores: dead
  • film:
    • big screen theaters: their demise?
    • streaming surges
      • Apple TV
      • Netflix
    • home entertainment centers surge in popularity
  • spaceholder
Tea leaves: we may get an early indication of how "corona virus" plays out, sooner than later, perhaps by the end of July -- we will see how governors and citizens respond to massive surge in number of cases being reported.

Comment: most fascinating will be watching public elementary, middle, and perhaps high schools this fall.
At least one reader says schools will open on time, maybe under staggered schedules, but nonetheless, open. I'm not convinced. Schools may re-open but my hunch is that attendance will be well less than anticipated. But, and this is the big "but": the success / failure, if one wants to use those words, may be our first real indication how folks feel about the virus, and even possibly, how they feel politicians and federal/state agencies handled the pandemic. So, we'll see.
The Humor Page

My favorite cartoon from Power Line today:

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