July 4, 2020 felt significant to me as I thought about the phenomenon of Covid 19. January 20 was the date of our first case in the United States. Seems hard to believe. Fast forward to today and there are 2.93 million confirmed cases and 132,000 deaths. We wrestled with the idea of re-opening the economy, and Texas did so in May, because our economy was dying even faster than our population.
However, that hasn’t worked out as planned (cue the sad trombone sound). New cases shot up faster than a box of illegal fireworks.
So, the economy limps along, not totally shut down, but not re-opened. Unemployment rates went down, supposedly, so stimulus check promises dried up. But the economy is still gutted. Many businesses will disappear for good, taking their jobs with them. And the stimulus debate rages on…
So, in the battle between health and business, life and money, economy and medicine, how do we decide who wins? What does money mean if you’re not alive to spend it? But, what is life if you have no money to take care of yourself? Can we, in good conscience, save businesses while overcrowding and devastating the health care system? But how long can people be out of work, how many businesses can fall into bankruptcy, before poverty, homelessness, and crime collapse the entire U.S. economy, and take the world with it?
These are not easy questions to answer. And, like a child who realizes for the first time that his parents aren’t gods, we are realizing that our government has no clues. Our society’s weaknesses are being exposed like a flasher on the subway.
Ironically, the housing market is still strong. That’s good news for many industries, including mine. However, is this a case of the band playing on while the Titanic sinks into the icy blackness of the ocean? Or, is this a sign that the fundamentals of the economy are still strong? Or, is there simply a lag time between the initial signs of recession and the crashing of the housing market?
As for me, I’ve decided to focus on the things I either understand or have some control over:
- The Covid-19 death rate is believed to be around 2% – two to three times worse than the flu, but much lower than SARS (10%) or Ebola (50%). Some studies put Covid’s death rate at 1/1000, or .1%.
- South Korea is a good example of what’s possible. South Korea’s total confirmed cases are 13,091, with 283 deaths. Their first case happened at the same time as our first case. They provide a model for the methods we could adopt to save our people.
- Like any virus, it has to out-fight our immune system in order to win. So, our best bet, besides the procedures already in place, is to strengthen our immune system. Eat those veggies; get your vitamin C, D, and anti-oxidants; get enough rest; get some sunshine every day; wash your hands before eating or touching your face – especially eyes and nose; get some exercise; maintain a healthy weight; and stay away from sick folk. These actions are no guarantee you won’t get Covid 19, but they can help you survive.
- Lastly, even the experts are still trying to figure this thing out. Even the numbers themselves are inaccurate because, at first, the tests for the virus were harder to get than a winning lottery ticket. How many of us had it, unknowingly, and recovered without ever being the wiser?
So, as the months of lockdown and semi-lockdown drag on, I hope you are doing whatever you can to stay positive. While things seem to be falling down like a line of dominoes around us, we are all capable of bringing joy and positivity to the people around us.
What kinds of things do you do to stay centered? What do you think of the money vs. life issue?
Have a great week – and stay safe!
Raven B. Kushner, NMLS #1905164, is a mortgage loan officer based in Houston, Texas. For more information, or to be pre-approved, please contact her at (818) 423-0318 or firstname.lastname@example.org