Bad as the virus has been this summer, it actually spreads better in low temperatures, and when temperatures fall, more people will be inside in poorly ventilated areas where transmission is also more likely. If the U.S. goes into the fall with new daily cases in the tens of thousands, as they are now, then the numbers could explode and the Morgan Stanley prediction could come true. Considering our containment efforts to date, there is little reason for optimism.
If that occurs, the economy will not come back. Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, said as much recently. “The path forward for the economy is extraordinarily uncertain and will depend in large part on our success in keeping the virus in check,” he said at a July 29 news conference. He added: “A full recovery is unlikely until people are confident that it is safe to re-engage in a broad range of activities.”
But containment, and the confidence that goes with it, is not remotely where we are at the moment. Among developed nations, the U.S. ranks first in categories one would prefer to be last in: number of cases and number of deaths. It lags well behind in economic recovery as well. As of this writing, the European Union and Britain combined have a population of about 510 million, and 1,924,569 Covid-19 cases. They have had around 8,000 cases for the latest daily count. The United States, population 328 million, just passed 5.4 million cases, with 42,303 the latest daily case count.