Tuesday, March 16, 2021

After One Year of Pandemic, Americans Are Emerging

It was one year ago that America came to realize how serious the coronavirus was and how significantly it would change ways of life. The stock market, being forward looking, registered the seriousness first with a 2011 point drop on March 9, 2020. It was followed by three record-making drops on March 11 (1464), March 12 (2353) and March 16 (2997). Global markets plunged in tandem.

Although the market got former President Trump’s attention, for the public it was not the market or the WHO announcing a pandemic or a presidential speech (both on March 11), it was cancellation on March 12 of the March Madness by the NCAA, followed rapidly by the NHL, NBA and MLB (delay). The day also saw Broadway shows and Disneyland closed (they are beginning to reopen).

Times Square on March 11, 2020 |Ashley Gilbertson/New York Times

Sports are back and many of the arts and entertainment have starting dates. A few areas of the country are pretending there’s no risk from the virus and are fully open (no masks), but most are more cautious.

President Biden is rushing the vaccine distribution and economic help. He’s set a date of July 1 for gathering, but with some precautions.

Polling confirms the general optimism, with a majority of the public (77%) saying the worst has passed (CNN, 3-11-21). But, a majority also are expecting it will be at least a year before life is normal (i.e., pre pandemic activities) and up to two years for the economy to fully recover (Pew Research, 3-11-21).

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