In the blink of an eye, we live in a changed world. Two months ago, nobody heard of the Covid-19 virus and today, it’s all we talk about. Sunday, the county took the first step in protecting the citizens of Franklin County from an obvious exposure vector. Also on Sunday, there was a group of 40 people in Carrabelle, from children to senior citizens, partying in tight conjunction right along 98. Crazy.
Does everybody remember the Peter Benchley book Jaws? This 1974 novel by American writer Peter Benchley tells the story of a great white shark that preys upon a small resort town and the voyage of three men trying to kill it.
My how similar the town fathers of Amityville and the Franklin County Board of Commissioners appear. It’s very simple. The BOCC is making the calculus that the number of infections and deaths we get by not banning visitors from the county is worth the economic gain. There is another thing that they aren’t considering: the longer this goes on, the more economic hardship. Therefore, the decision should be easy; whatever shortens the exposure period is the way to go. Fewer exposures mean less transmission which means less death and a shorter period of economic recovery.
I write for our company and here’s part of the message we are sending out today on what we project economically:
* That the virus peaks in April and begins to abate. It is our opinion that this will allow for a sharp rebound as all the fundamentals will still be in place as the stimulus of the government is going to be massive. Also, it is a presidential election year and historically, those years are good economically. This is the vaunted deep V recovery you may have heard about.
* The virus does not peak until May or June. We would expect a recession lasting between three months and a year as a consequence. However, the recession will be uneven as some areas of the country will have been affected less than others and the government will have to be innovative to find longer term economic tools to spark the economy. Tools that will be in short supply as they are being used to a large extent now.
* The virus does not peak until later and has caused widespread destruction of economic and social structures. This scenario would likely lead to a worldwide depression and all bets would be off.
If I had any message for our commissioners, it would be that they embrace the concept of isolation the rest of the country is slowing coming around to. Precious days are being wasted as we incrementally do the things that will eventually stop the spread of this pathogen. Please take this seriously. It will pass and there will be a tomorrow. We will survive. But, particularly in a small county with limited resources and not high on anyone’s priority list save our own; we must come together and treat this as the war it really is. Lives are at stake and your contribution to the cause will make a difference in the only currency that really matters. Lives.