It has been about 5.5 months since the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, infected the human race and subsequently wreaked havoc around the globe. As of June 17th, there are 8,320,288 confirmed cases world wide and 447.628 deaths. In the United States there are 2,162,785 confirmed cases and 117,694 deaths. In my home state of Massachusetts there are 106,151 confirmed cases and 7734 deaths. Today marks the 98th day of quarantine.
The United States is slowly flattening the curve and daily cases are dropping, but several states are now seeing cases on the rise after opening up again. This is the tradeoff that’s going to happen throughout the remainder of the pandemic: Lockdown your state and see cases drop or reopen and see them rise. Interestingly enough, the stock market doesn’t seem too concerned about what lies ahead. Despite an almost certain recession, the market has been on the rise and has now exceeded pre-COVID levels. This may simply be optimism as numbers have been improving and businesses reopen again. However, I think it’s going to be tough for a lot businesses to continually reopen and close for periods of time. Many businesses are never going to recover despite attempts from the government to keep them afloat with loans. Massachusetts entered phase 2 of it’s reopening plan this week, which included beaches, parks, and outdoor dining for restaurants. It will be interesting to see if this leads to an uptick in cases later in the month.
The return of sports appears to be on the horizon with the NBA and NHL announcing plans for a return while the MLB looks like it follow suit any day now. 22 teams from the NBA will head down to the Disney World Complex in Orlando and play 8 regular season games and the playoffs. This will take place from July 30th through October 12th if the NBA Finals goes seven games. The NBA sent out a 100 page guide to teams outlining all of the safety precautions required in the “Bubble.” The NHL also announced their return with a 24 team playoff field that will likely begin in early August. The MLB has caused a lot of drama while trying to agree to a plan for the 2020 seasons. Since owners would lose substantial amounts of revenue from no ticket income, they tried to convince the players to take pay cuts. After weeks of both sides being downright nasty to each other to the point where the season was on the verge of being canceled all together, both sides sat down today and the MLB finally proposed a plan that would not involve cuts to players’ salaries. The proposal is not official but would include 60 games in the regular season along with expanded playoffs for 2020 and 2021. It is still too early to know what the NFL is going to do since the regular season is 3 months away, but all eyes will certainly be on them as we get closer and closer.
For the last couple of weeks, COVID-19 was not actually the top story in the news somehow. The murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer sparked uproar in not only several states but several countries as well. Riots and protests were everywhere and most appeared to be peaceful but some did turn violent. Many people all over the world joined together to denounce racism and call for police reform. The response was so strong that Minneapolis announced it was disbanding the police department and the NFL took a compete 180 on protesting during the national anthem. It does very much feel like this is a long overdue turning point. We’ve had events in the past such as Ferguson and Charlottesville, but with the most recent murder that was so blatantly racist it appears that there is a real opportunity for change. It’s interesting to wonder if, in a weird way, this is one of the positives of coronavirus. The virus was already disproportionately impacting minorities and with the whole country grinding to a stop, many people had nothing but time on their hands. Another interesting ramification will be the impact of the social protests on the 2020 election. However, we still have a long ways to go until that point.
Stay safe and stay healthy.