Immediate term: Confirmed cases will show huge increases as widespread testing becomes available (finally). Don’t be surprised. It’s inevitable.
The mortality rate could actually go down. Why? The number of known cases will reach a more accurate number (see previous point). Then the mortality percentage calculation will be using a larger (more accurate) denominator – causing the percent will lower. For example, if you saw 3 deaths out of 100 known cases, but there are actually 200 who are infected, the real mortality rate would be 1.5%, not 3%. It’s math.
Although the symptoms overlap, COVID-19 is not just like the annual flu. Why? With this coronavirus, there are no immunities in the population due to its novel characteristics and the lack of a vaccine.
Our healthcare system will be overwhelmed. This is almost a certainty.
People that can’t afford to miss work due to lack of sick pay coverage will increase the spread of the disease. This is self-evident.
A serious illness that requires treatment and hospitalization is a huge problem if you can’t pay for it. This will delay some people from seeking treatment thus making their condition worse.
The U.S. economy will be under enormous strain. China’s economy has slowed, and we know they manufacture so many different products at such scale that the rest of the world’s economy will rapidly slow down. This is a likely a long-term problem that will last for years. Economically speaking, it could be worse than the aftermath of 9/11.
The world stock markets will continue to bleed value. Uncertainty is driving it down. Our political leaders are not helping.
What to do going forward
Don’t panic, but wash your hands. Frequently.
Avoid crowded places. Practice social distancing. Use common sense.
Don’t shake hands. Instead: wave, hand over heart, praying hands & bow, jazz hands. Just don’t touch.
Avoid touching your face. (good luck with this one)
Use technology alternatives to replace in-person meetings.
If you need to travel, make contingency plans if possible, such as travel insurance (although trip insurance probably won’t cover you getting sick).
If you’re sick, stay home. Period.
If you need to seek medical care, call ahead.
Try not to look at your 401K. There’s not much you can do in the short term.