When the US began shutting down in response to fears about an impending coronavirus catastrophe, we asserted the health effects would pale in comparison to the economic carnage the pandemic would initiate. That take drew equal amounts of derision and incredulity. Clarifying that coronavirus was the match starting the conflagration rather than the dry brush to be burned made little difference. It was all doomerist nonsense, they said. More than two months on, we’re feeling vindicated:
Ours remains a minority position, but I suspect it is only a matter of time before it becomes the majority opinion. Subsequent waves notwithstanding, the health scare is fading. The economic consequences, in contrast, are only beginning to be felt. They will reverberate through the country for years to come. The worst is yet to come.
When the same question was asked in late March, nearly two-thirds of Republicans expressed more concern about covid’s health ramifications than its economic ones. Now fewer than half of Republicans feel that way. The figures for Democrats have remained unchanged. Among independents, they have shifted marginally away from focusing primarily on the health effects. Expect more independents to move towards the Republican position as time goes on: