The Incalculable Damage Done by Covid
Author: Greg Valliere
December 20, 2022
AS 2022 MERCIFULLY ENDS, there’s a temptation to find something upbeat to write about — but once again another year ends with a reflection on the astonishing damage done by Covid and its variants.
THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO LOOK AT THIS HORRIFYING DISEASE: We’ll focus on the raw data and policy implications, which are still reverberating from China to the United Kingdom.
LATEST STATISTICS from the World Health Organization, as of yesterday, show that there have been 649,038,437 Covid and Covid-related cases globally and a staggering 6,645,812 deaths, according to the WHO. The U.S. recently topped 1 million fatalities, and now stands at 1,087,672, with about 400 deaths daily in the U.S. this month.
THE UNOFFICIAL TOTALS undoubtedly are higher, as some countries such as Russia and Brazil have under-reported the extent of this catastrophe. There would have been millions more casualties, experts believe, if vaccines hadn’t been developed and administrated quickly. And it now appears that still another wave is imminent, centered in China.
WHILE THESE STATISTICS ARE BEYOND DISPUTE, THE SECOND ENORMOUS IMPACT — policy failures and a lingering labor crisis — continue to evolve.
BOOKS WILL BE WRITTEN for decades to come about how the global economy reacted. The U.S. took the lead, administering trillions of dollars in government spending, which reduced the immediate economic pain, but this had a profound impact on labor, as millions of workers took a hard look at their lives and dropped out of traditional jobs. The generous government aid played a major role.
NOWHERE IS THIS LABOR MARKET UNRESET MORE DRAMATIC than in Great Britain, which is enduring an enormous upheaval as strikes grow in nursing, creating chaos in hospitals. The average nurse’s salary in the UK is about $43,000 a year. The government is proposing a 4.75% salary increase; the nurses union wants 19%.
THE U.K. FACES WALKOUTS by firefighters, baggage handlers, paramedics, driving examiners, immigration officers, bus drivers, construction workers, mail carriers and railway conductors. The public has been warned to avoid train travel during the Christmas holiday.
THIS IS NOT ENTIRELY CONNECTED TO COVID, of course, but after years of Covid deaths and sacrifices, nurses want — at the least — to keep pace with inflation.
THERE WAS NO TEMPLATE for dealing with the worst pandemic in a century; the mammoth infusion of cash in countries like the U.S. was too stimulative, helping to produce the worst inflation in decades, which caught the Federal Reserve off guard — a policy error that may require a self-inflicted recession.
WE WOULD LIKE TO CONCLUDE that the Covid crisis is about over, but less than 20% of Americans have received booster shots, with a vast majority concluding that any more vaccines are unnecessary. And like everything in America, the issue is fiercely polarizing.
IN MANY RESPECTS, THE U.S. AND CANADA ARE IN REASOMABLY GOOD SHAPE: If a recession comes by summer, it may be brief and shallow in both countries. That’s not the case in much of the world, as unrest persists and Covid, tragically, remains far from eradicated.
* * * * *
OUR BEST WISHES to you and your families; we have much to be grateful for, including your kind support. We’ll take some time off time between now and New Year’s, writing only occasionally. In the meantime — Happy Holidays, Joyeux Noel et Bonne Annee.
The views expressed in this blog are provided as a general source of information based on information available as of the date of publication and should not be considered as personal investment advice or an offer or solicitation to buy and/or sell securities. Speculation or stated believes about future events, such as market or economic conditions, company or security performance, or other projections represent the beliefs of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of AGF, its subsidiaries or any of its affiliated companies, funds or investment strategies. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy in these commentaries at the time of publication; however, accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Market conditions may change and AGF accepts no responsibility for individual investment decisions arising from the use of or reliance on the information contained herein. Any financial projections are based on the opinions of the author and should not be considered as a forecast. The forward looking statements and opinions may be affected by changing economic circumstances and are subject to a number of uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in the forward looking statements. The information contained in this commentary is designed to provide you with general information related to the political and economic environment in the United States. It is not intended to be comprehensive investment advice applicable to the circumstances of the individual.
AGF Investments is a group of wholly owned subsidiaries of AGF Management Limited, a Canadian reporting issuer. The subsidiaries included in AGF Investments are AGF Investments Inc. (AGFI), AGF Investments America Inc. (AGFA), AGF Investments LLC (AGFUS) and AGF International Advisors Company Limited (AGFIA). AGFA and AGFUS are registered advisors in the U.S. AGFI is a registered as a portfolio manager across Canadian securities commissions. AGFIA is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland and registered with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission. The subsidiaries that form AGF Investments manage a variety of mandates comprised of equity, fixed income and balanced assets.
About AGF Management Limited
Founded in 1957, AGF Management Limited (AGF) is an independent and globally diverse asset management firm. AGF brings a disciplined approach to delivering excellence in investment management through its fundamental, quantitative, alternative and high-net-worth businesses focused on providing an exceptional client experience. AGF’s suite of investment solutions extends globally to a wide range of clients, from financial advisors and individual investors to institutional investors including pension plans, corporate plans, sovereign wealth funds and endowments and foundations.
For further information, please visit AGF.com.
©2023 AGF Management Limited. All rights reserved.