How risk perceptions and actions have changed over several years of the pandemic. How the pandemic’s impacts continue to affect politics, the economy, financial markets, how we invest, and our personal lives.
Topics covered include:
- Is the pandemic really over? Based on what criteria
- What percentage of people continue to isolate at home
- How behaviors such as eating out and visiting friends have changed throughout the pandemic.
- How work has changed with the pandemic
- Has pandemic stimulus changed beliefs about the sustainability of the national debt leading to structural inflation
- How productivity improvements could improve the national debt burden
- What investment lessons has David learned from the pandemic
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Welcome to Money for the Rest of Us. This is a personal finance show on money, how it works, how to invest it, and how to live without worrying about it. I’m your host, David Stein. Today’s episode, 403. It’s titled, “The Pandemic Might Be Over, but Not Its Repercussions.”
Is the Pandemic Over?
Last Sunday, President Biden said on 60 Minutes, “We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lot of work on it, but the pandemic is over.” The President’s comments the next day, Monday, caused vaccine manufacturers Moderna, Pfizer, NovaVax—they all sold off. Collectively, the major vaccine manufacturers lost over $9 billion of market value. That’s the collective value that dissipated when their stocks sold off.
The difference between an epidemic and a pandemic is an epidemic is an increase in the number of cases, a sudden increase, of a disease within a specific country or geographic region. A pandemic is an epidemic that has spread to several countries and continents.
If we look at the number of COVID cases—this is data from John Hopkins University, the number of deaths has averaged between 10,000 and 20,000 a week since this past May. That’s the lowest since March 2020, and down from around 75,000 deaths attributed to COVID on a weekly basis in February 2022, when the Omicron variant peaked.
COVID hasn’t gone away. It’s endemic, which means it’s found around the world, but cases aren’t growing, and so I guess by that definition, the pandemic could be considered over. That’s not really the point of today’s episode though, because it’s just a matter of opinion.
In the past 30 months of the pandemic, we’ve done six regular podcast episodes on the COVID pandemic. The first was in February 2020, when the pandemic was first starting to spread; we covered it twice in March 2020, when the global economy was shut down, we had two episodes in the second half of 2020, and the last time we really focused on COVID was almost 18 months ago, March 2021, episode 333, “How the COVID shock nearly destroyed the financial system.”
How Covid Risk Perceptions and Attitudes Have Changed
The COVID pandemic has been one of the three biggest financial shocks in my adult life, and I suspect yours also. The others were the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 and 2009, and when the internet bubble was created and collapsed in the late ’90s and early 2000s. The aftermath of these financial shocks and crises can last for years, both on a macro basis, but also personally.
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