Anne Case: The idea that tables could be spread far enough apart that it would be safe to open restaurants — maybe that’ll happen in many cities, but it seems highly unlikely that sector will bounce back, which means there are all these service workers who are not going to find work in the sector they were working in. Losing that for 18 months, that’s enormous. Eventually, when the time comes for people to go back to work, I worry that some large fraction of working-class people won’t have work to go back to.
Peter Singer: If we’re thinking of a year to 18 months of this kind of lockdown, then we really do need to think about the consequences other than in terms of deaths from Covid-19. I think the consequences are horrific, in terms of unemployment in particular, which has been shown to have a very serious effect on well-being, and particularly for poorer people. Are we really going to be able to continue an assistance package to all of those people for 18 months?
That’s a question each country will have to answer. Maybe some of the affluent countries can, but we have a lot of poor countries that just have no possibility of providing that kind of assistance for their poor people. That’s where we’ll get into saying, Yes, people will die if we open up, but the consequences of not opening up are so severe that maybe we’ve got to do it anyway. If we keep it locked down, then more younger people are going to die because they’re basically not going to get enough to eat or other basics. So, those trade-offs will come out differently in different countries.