This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, April 6, 2020:
The timing could not be more propitious. Bookended by Palm Sunday yesterday and Easter Sunday next Sunday, believers are celebrating the “death of death” with the resurrection of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The Surgeon General of the United States, on the other hand, is calling the week ahead our “Pearl Harbor” week, or our “9/11” week, in remembrance of the surprise attacks on our country by its enemies.
He expects that the coming peak in coronavirus deaths, expected either this week or next, to be “the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives.” He told Fox News on Sunday:
This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it’s not going to be localized. It’s going to be happening all over the country. And I want America to understand that.
It’s already hard on small businesses. Polls conducted among small business owners the third week of March by Ipsos and Harris are showing the damage already being done to small businesses by the coronavirus shutdown.
Ipsos’s poll of 500 small business owners and operators with 19 or fewer employees (most of them running businesses with zero to four employees) between March 25 and March 28 – conducted via email since many business owners weren’t answering their phones – showed that a quarter of them have already shut down temporarily while another quarter are expected to close by the middle of April.
Worse, four out of ten owners think they have less than six months until the shutdown forces them to close their businesses permanently.
Those still open are adjusting the best they can: shortening business hours; laying off employees or reducing their salaries; and owners foregoing taking a paycheck from the business during the shutdown.
The numbers from the Harris poll – 300 business owners were polled on March 23 and March 24 – confirmed Ipsos’s results: one in ten have already gone out of business for good, while three-quarters of those still operating are doubting they’ll be able to stay open for another month without help.
That help is coming. Whether it’s enough, soon enough, remains to be seen. Business owners are filing loan applications to take advantage of the SBA loans being offered as disaster assistance or “payroll” loans. Those loans also cover operating expenses like leases, and will be forgiven once the crisis is over. Essentially they are government grants or “bridge loans” that won’t need to be paid back.
And those $1,200 checks about to hit everyone’s bank account or mailbox in the next two weeks should help, a little. And the temporary halt to the payment of payroll taxes in the interim will lift the pressure, a little.
It really depends on how long the shutdown lasts. And that depends on “bending the curve.” There are at least four different websites (see Sources below) dedicated to tracking the spread of the virus. One of the most encouraging is the Daily Tracker, operated by The New York Times. It tracks and publishes the total coronavirus deaths in 20 countries, including the United States. The U.S. “curve” is beginning to bend. It has not peaked, but the rate of increase in deaths (the “slope” of the curve) has slowed.
Worldometers website has pages dedicated to the progress of the virus in the United States. The most reliable is the “death” chart since that data is more reliable than the reporting of “active” or “daily new” cases. A log scale of total deaths shows the same slow “flattening” of the curve as reported by the Times.
The contrasts between the Surgeon General’s “Pearl Harbor” or “9/11” week, and Holy or Resurrection Week are striking. About 3,000 people died in each of those surprise attacks, while hundreds of millions have been saved from eternal death and damnation through the death and resurrection of One Man. The virus deaths will peak this week or next and then decline. Ultimately the COVID-19 virus will become a footnote in history.
But the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection has spread from twelve individuals to billions over the centuries. That Good News is now recognized as the pivot point in all of human history: the very end of death, with the promise of eternal life in its place. The week ahead is properly celebrated as Holy Week or Resurrection Week: the death of death.
Ipsos Poll: Special Report on Coronavirus and Small Business
Harris Poll: America’s Economic Engine
WorldOMeters.info: Total Coronavirus Deaths in the United States
The New York Times: Coronavirus Deaths by U.S. State and Country Over Time: Daily Tracker