Infometric's Gareth Kiernan sees a massive hit to growth, then some sort of recovery and reasons for cautious optimism

Infometric's Gareth Kiernan sees a massive hit to growth, then some sort of recovery and reasons for cautious optimism

The figures contained in this article represent our best guesses at how the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic might unfold over the next 1-2 years given the information and knowledge we currently have. The figures do not represent fully modelled economic projections, but we are attempting to provide our best partial insights into the outlook as it currently stands. Medical, political, and economic events have been changing rapidly over the last few weeks, no one is entirely sure of the full implications, and our current view could be out of date very quickly. We continue to assess the economic effects daily. Our regular forecasts will be published on April 17.

From a few headlines to economic chaos

In late January, just two months ago, we were finalising our most recent set of forecasts. We looked at the coronavirus problems appearing in China and pondered whether we should adjust our tourism projections. We decided that it was too late in the forecast process to change the figures, especially given that we had no idea how significant the effects would be. It seems naïve now but, at the very worst, we were anticipating something similar to SARS in 2003.

As recently as two weeks ago on Thursday 12 March, I was presenting at an Infrastructure NZ event in Auckland and commented that Infometrics was anticipating GDP growth of about 1% for New Zealand in 2020, down from a projection of 2.5% in our January forecasts. On Friday 13 March, the stock market was routed as the US implemented bans on European arrivals. By Saturday 14 March, the government had virtually shut the borders, and by Monday 16 March the Reserve Bank had slashed the OCR by 75 basis points. On Tuesday 17 March, the government announced a $12b economic support package, before a full-scale lockdown of the country was announced on Monday 23 March.

As the COVID-19 pandemic spread, we rapidly re-evaluated our economic expectations. Chart 1 shows the evolution of our thinking about GDP growth over the last couple of weeks, alongside our January forecast track, and Treasury’s illustrative view of economic activity published on 17 March. The most obvious point from this chart is that the current economic environment is incredibly fluid and fast-moving.

Chart 1

Although the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) also led to rapid revisions in economic forecasts, the changes at that time were largely “market-driven” – the result of the collective decision-making of businesses and households to alter their behaviour. In that situation, there can be a whole range of individual responses leading to the aggregate outcome. The most extreme outcomes tend to be moderated by the fact that not everyone makes identical choices or behaves the same way. In contrast, the current situation has seen government decision-making (rightly) forcing all individuals to take extreme action.

For example, tourism hasn’t been left to muddle its way through the COVID-19 crisis. If that was the case some people would cancel travel, some would delay or scale back their travel plans, and other people would continue on as if nothing was amiss. Instead, all tourism in New Zealand has been stopped – an outcome mandated by the government that would not otherwise have occurred.

Similarly, as we enter the lockdown at Level 4 restrictions, business production and household consumption are being collectively restrained by the government’s powers. Consequently, the current shock to the New Zealand economy is unprecedented in its combined speed and severity.

The first half of 2020: a massive hit to growth

Our current thinking is that GDP could contract by 3.1% between the December 2019 and March 2020 quarters, with a further 5.6% contraction between the March and June 2020 quarters.

The March figure is based on our estimate of a 0.4% contraction in economic activity prior to the lockdown being announced. This result is primarily driven by the hit that was already being taken by the tourism sector. Selected commodity exports, particularly to China, have also been weaker than usual. Additionally, these shocks will have started to negatively affect broader business and consumer confidence.

We have then estimated that the economy can only operate at about 65% capacity under lockdown conditions, once essential services and those people who are able to work from home are considered. This reduced productive capacity over the coming week equates to a further 2.7% reduction in output over the March quarter.

The June quarter will have three weeks of lockdown (at a minimum), meaning that output will be about 8.1% below “normal”. With March quarter output already about 3% below normal, this result implies a further decline of about 5% in activity on a quarterly basis. What about the other 0.6 percentage points of contraction in the quarter? Think of that as an allowance for just a bit more negative stuff taking place.

How bad might the medium-term be?

The next question we need to attempt to answer is how quickly the economy might recover, and to what degree. If the lockdown is successful in stopping COVID-19 in New Zealand and everybody can simply go back to their jobs in four weeks’ time, we could expect the contraction in the first half of the year to be quickly recovered in the second half of 2020.

But such an expectation is patently ridiculous. We know that tens of thousands of tourism, retail, and hospitality jobs will not be recovered. The borders will remain closed for at least six months, with some restrictions likely to last for much longer. Many other countries will have larger and longer outbreaks of COVID-19 than New Zealand, and we will not want to start importing new cases again. Significantly reduced airline capacity will also hinder tourism’s recovery.

Outside of these sectors, there will be other businesses that are forced to reduce staff numbers or do not survive the downturn, even with the government’s assistance package.

There is also the non-trivial risk that the lockdown needs to be extended beyond four weeks, or that some restrictions need to be reimplemented by the government at future dates to prevent further flare-ups of COVID-19. We have not explicitly included these outcomes in our projections. However, in recognition that it is unlikely to be a smooth path back to full health, we have adopted a conservative growth track up until the September 2021 quarter, with growth holding below 1% per quarter.

The potential challenges posed by these public health measures are the biggest risk to the economy we see over the next 1-2 years. Apart from these challenges, we are most concerned about potential flow-on effects of the direct job losses caused by the tourism shutdown. These losses will lead to a reduction in household spending and business investment that results in other job losses and business failures.

It is possible, but so far unlikely, that the sharpness and magnitude of the current economic shock creates so much business and consumer fear that the decline in aggregate demand becomes self-reinforcing. The Great Depression in the 1930s is a prime example of the economy entering a decline from which it could not recover in any timely manner.

Chart 2 shows the GDP levels (rather than growth rates) implied by a growth track similar to the Great Depression alongside our current central scenario. We note that quarterly GDP figures from the 1930s are not available for New Zealand, but it is likely that the immediate severity of the current shock is greater than the initial hit to the economy back in 1930.

Chart 2

Reasons for cautious optimism

We are hopeful that the New Zealand economy will avoid a worst-case scenario similar to the Great Depression. Firstly, the government’s response in 2020 is already completely different to what occurred in 1930. Ninety years ago, the economic downturn mean that the government cut spending to try and prevent its fiscal deficit from ballooning out of control. This reaction simply exacerbated the downturn in economic activity. In contrast, the government has already announced significant support initiatives for the economy, and there is sure to be a lot more money spent in coming months. Just yesterday, Parliament authorised $52b in imprest supply spending to support the economy if required, a massive figure equivalent to 17% of GDP.

Secondly, New Zealand’s position as a food exporter to China places us in good stead. The initial outbreak of COVID-19 made us look overexposed to China as an export market. However, China’s success in bringing the virus under control suggests that its domestic demand conditions will be able to return towards normal much more quickly than in the likes of Europe, the US, or possibly Australia.

In the current global environment, China’s economy will grow at a slower pace than previously due to the lack of aggregate demand and constraints on economic activity in other parts of the world. Demand for Chinese manufactured products will be relatively limited for several months. Consequently, there will be soft demand for inputs into the manufacturing process. Hard commodity prices are likely to be weak, implying tough times for Australian exporters.

However, if the Chinese domestic economy is functioning relatively normally, its people will still need to eat. For many of our exporters, including dairy, meat, seafood, and horticulture, market conditions and prices are still likely to be reasonably good. This type of external stimulus is precisely the sort of thing we need to start our economy back on an upward trajectory. Even with export prices declining from previous highs, the significant depreciation of the NZ dollar will support our export revenue in coming months.

How could the pandemic effect building?

We have had several clients ask about the implications of recent events for the housing market and construction activity. We have not yet started preparing the building numbers for our next set of forecasts to be published on April 17. Bearing that standpoint in mind, here are our current high-level thoughts.

House prices could fall 5-10% over the next 12-18 months. In the near term, there will be little activity taking place with few buyers or sellers in the market. The government’s mortgage holiday scheme, in partnership with the retail banks, will alleviate some of the downward pressure on the market over the next six months. Nevertheless, there will still be some people who are forced to sell their house for reasons such as a relationship break-up or a change in job location. The real pressure on the market will emerge in late 2020 or into 2021 as job losses mount and the mortgage holiday scheme presumably is wound down. For those that lose their jobs, a mortgage holiday is likely to only delay the inevitable.

Residential construction and consent issuance will effectively halt during the lockdown. Even if consent issuance continues with council staff working from home, we would expect an equivalent drop-off in subsequent weeks as the pipeline of new projects being submitted for consent by architects and developers dries up due to the lockdown. Once the immediate effects of the lockdown have been worked through, we could envisage the deterioration in the housing market and broader economic environment kneecapping new development activity. A 25%pa drop in consent numbers over the second half of 2020 would see the annual consent total for the calendar year sitting at between 29,500 and 31,000 new dwellings.

Following the GFC, the biggest decline in the annual volume of private sector non-residential building consents was 29% between May 2009 and May 2010. We were already forecasting an 8.1% drop in private sector consents over the year to March 2021. However, a 29% drop in private sector work by this time next year would see the annual consent total (including public sector consents) fall from about $7.5b currently to $6.2b. Accommodation, retail, and commercial buildings are likely to be most heavily affected.

Infrastructure is set to continue as the leading light of the wider construction sector, with a healthy pipeline of work and the backing of public sector funding. Additional work might also be commissioned by the government to support employment and help the economy’s recovery phase to get underway.

Re-evaluating our forecasts

Our forecasts will remain in a state of flux as conditions rapidly shift. We will continue to reassess the outlook as the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated political decisions change. The pandemic is first and foremost a health crisis, and our forecasts reflect how we expect the economy to perform under current settings, rather than attempting to influence how those settings are decided upon. To all those in lockdown with us, stay strong.


*Gareth Kiernan is chief forecaster at Infometrics.

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66 Comments

12
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"and help the economy’s recovery phase to get underway".

This commentator is firmly locked in the chanted religious mantra. Growth forever, amen.

What the human race needs, to survive on this finite planet, is de-growth. De-growth of both population and of consumption.

Who taught this commentator? What University is responsible? Time we laid a few charges at a few office doors.

Reversion to the mean is what we should expect, in absence of evidence that that is impossible. We have no such evidence at present.

Yes we should look to the fossil records to see evidence of other species overshoot and collapse.

Usually, during a deep recession, birth rates decline. And not to mention, those planning a baby might think better of it, the future does not look certain. People can no longer date, no late night hooks ups and the psychological effects of all this (as yet unknown) might all contribute to a global drop in birth rates.

You're such a"Millenial" Ginga, dating is done online nowadays, so are babies… I think???

Yes everything is made in China, even the Chinese.

Huh? there is no mention about China at all in this thread, what are you talking about?

https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/
scroll down to yearly growth rate

14
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"The great reset" is in motion. Lots of dead cat bounces from now on in the markets. House prices to follow next month. We need to let this corrupt system fail and rebuild a future of fairness with no more greed. The greedy will be punished hard this time and to tell you the truth, deserve to be. They did not care about the harm their greed was doing to ordinary kiwis. Karma is a b$%@h!!!!

11
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Always can rely on two things.....gravity and greed.

You forgot envy and jealousy

Tell that to those essential worker, the nurses & rubbish collectors. Rarely any of them owned/living in the 1M new house mansion in AKL 6 bedroom, 3 barthroom - When you're hospitalised your hardly flaunted your wealth.. mostly will beg to be subsidy in healthcare system. When stay at home being lock-down, I'm sure you monitoring your rubbish collection.. what of those peoples wages? - Most likely in ICU without those poor still renting carer.. you ended up dead - without those rubbish collector, that 1M mansion doesn't look appealing isn't it? - no one envy & jealous for the dead paper millionaire nor to those keep on chasing wealth, at the cost of their own humanity, empathy.

Haha jesus, I want whatever the sour pill this guy is having! :D

"The greedy will be punished hard"
Did you forget about the sharemarket .... smashed already

Hahahaha!

OMG, it has dropped precipitously!

The NZX50 is now down to only ~66% gains over the past five years, after being "smashed" by coronavirus....

For reference, Auckland house prices for the period 2/2015 to 2/2020 has gained about 29% (before any CV price adjustments that may occur).

I am pleased for you yankiwi I know you have a lot of expertise in that area of investment. Are you taking full advantage of this black swan and do you recommend any shares to buy. Thanks

This is a tough question to answer. In NZ, I might politely suggest that utilities are most likely to weather the upcoming economic storm. The only individual stocks I own are the three utilities that were sold off during the last government. I strongly disagreed with that sale, but took strong advantage of that sale. That is, after the first IPO debacle. With the first one, Mighty River Power, we bought on the open market a couple months after the IPO when the price drop after IPO made it attractive. The other two, we bought via the IPO and have been VERY happy with both the high dividend return as well as the stoopid high capital gains. Just as in housing, the capital gains don't count until you sell... BTW, on a related subject, anyone hear from BuyLowSellHigh in the last year or two? I mention the utilities not because I own them, but instead that they are unlikely to see a large loss in demand during shutdown or after the lockdown opens up. Well, excepting the worries about aluminium demand which may affect meridian... that issue will be a bit farther in the future.

A bit over a week ago (19th and 20th), I went from 100% cash in my US account to 20% shares via investing in US index funds, including small cap value, sp500 and vanguards high dividend mutual fund. I was very likely early, despite the inane market run up of last week. My expectation is to buy an additional 10% in the index etfs and mutual funds for each additional 10% decline from my original purchase point. I expect to do 2 or 3 additional purchases, but would not be surprised to find that the US QE to infinity has artificially bottomed the market. IMO there are many companies in the US that deserve to go bankrupt due to their profligate financial chicanery. Sadly, this is not likely to happen (witness the numerous bailouts of TBTF financial companies in the GFC, which should have instead had senior executives indicted). Hence, my dipping my toes into the waters prematurely, with a measured rules based buying for the future.

The 19th was also a very happy day as I transferred a relatively large amount of US$ to NZ$. I got really lucky on that one, was two minutes prior to the absolute nadir with the effective exchange of 0.552 (mid market was 0.548). I'd like to take credit for a discerning trade on that one, but know better. I was watching the NZD fall precipitously and when greed outpowered fear and I grabbed the falling knife. Was crazy, while watching a couple hours earlier, I saw the rate change by 2% in two minutes while organizing the funding for the upcoming transfer.

Well done on the currency move to nzd. I have a friend who wants to buy usd right now :) BLSH has now called himself Due Diligence, why do you ask about him. We have recently bought some retirement village shares and some kiwi property group shares with some money we had hanging around. I like the dividend yield (on hold for the virus) and the discounted share prices

Interesting... I hadn't made the connection between DD and BLSH. I had struggled with BLSH in that he was adamant that one shouldn't ever sell, which was contrary to his moniker.

I may be able to give your friend a much better deal on USD than the typical foxex transfers... I've still more USD that needs to turn into NZD in the future.

I'd be curious about what you have found for property groups and retirement villages in terms of investment. I've been extremely wary of the ones I've looked at to date, those appeared to me to be defining me as the greater fool, with high risk and likely low return despite their promises.

Hi yankiwi, thats really generous of you, I could ask him how much he is looking for. Probably most companies are selling cheap IMO they have fallen a long way so they have even further to rebound, on a percentage basis. But there are some economic risks of course, on the other hand stimulus packages are helping. Really decent historic yields atm and since the deposit rates have dropped the relative income returns are better than before I guess. The wider public possibly haven't cottoned on to that yet it's still early days. Do you think you will you get some more energy company shares? I dont understand enough of the intricacies of futures put/call options and currencies so I haven't tried it, maybe sometime. As regards never selling I will always sell something if there is something that I've been waiting for that comes along so I am not in the never sell category, I suspect that some of the ones like BLSH might do the same and break their own rules lol. Happy investing..

On paper lots of systems and ideologies look great and work - democracy, capitalism, communism, religion and so on - and most are implemented with good intentions.

Where they all fall down and become corrupt and distorted is when humans get involved. I haven't quite figured out how to keep them out of it yet. So unfortunately even if there is a great reset we will back here again at some point in the future.

14
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Quite a good piece, and I think at this point these predictions are about right. I still find it hard to accept how economists like this could still have been so 'bullish' (comparatively speaking) in early - mid March. It feels like they are too beholden to models and not aware of the real world enough.
Sorry to be a pedant, but this annoys me 'How could the pandemic effect building?'

It should be 'affect'

This time it actually looks like Scomo was right. This lockdowns going too far.

12
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FB
The choices
- lock down and significant economic impact
- no lock down, 40,000 deaths* and significant economic impact.
I don't like your choice.

*NZ death toll 1918 pandemic 9,000 in a population of 1 million.

12
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At some point soon we will be testing to see who has the antibodies. So there are going to be two groups of people in the world....those who have had the virus and can't spread it, and those who are still susceptible.
Those with the immunity are going to want freedom of movement and to get back to earning a living.

And how will the governments will handle that situation of the immune wanting to travel about ?... facial recognition anyone?

Except there won't be nowhere near 40"000 deaths, not even 4'000.

You seem pretty sure about that...Italy is losing almost 900 citizens per day, and that is despite all the social distancing, lockdowns protocols and having one of the most advanced and best equipped hospital systems in the world. We’re only a few months into this pandemic. We all live in hope that it burns itself out, or we develop herd immunity, or a vaccine is found and fast-tracked. But all of these still take time. We are vulnerable to multiple waves until any of those can occur. The world economies are sadly spectators along for the ride till then.
To treat these deaths as just statistics overlooks the long term economic impact of loss of workers, tax payers, family support structures, etc. For example, Italy has now lost 40+ doctors (many specialised in their fields of respiratory intensive care). Not to mention there would also be more nurses and frontline health care workers that don’t even get mentioned in the reported stats. I think we are lucky in NZ to have been able to act so quickly (hopefully quick enough). I’d rather relative short term economic pain, than the alternative. History will judge countries like Australia and the USA and the huge gamble they are taking with their citizens vs the economy.

It'll be a bloody miracle if we get away with less than 5,000 deaths. 600,000 NZers use asthma medications on regular basis, and many more that don't usually have issues. 1 in 1000 of those get a serious case of coronavirus, there goes your 4,000 deaths, and then some. [ Fragment removed, personal insult. Don't do it. Ed ]

For the record Prags you have predicted anywhere between 5000 and 100,000 deaths in NZ

Yvil
I appreciate that there is unlikely to be anywhere "not even 4,000". I hope that the figure which eventuates is negligible.
The point I make that left unfettered, proportionally on a population basis compared to the 1918 NZ epidemic we would be looking at that figure.
The key point is that we should not be underestimating the potential impact of a pandemic and the need for proactive strategies such as a lock down. If you want to get an idea of the potential impact, then compared to the 1918 epidemic left unchecked we could be looking at the considerable number mentioned.
As mentioned in another post, Italy - albeit with a larger and aged population - is currently looking at 10,000 deaths and 900 deaths in the past 24 hours with it now spreading to the south and this is with a lock down with strict armed police and military enforcement.

I liked FB choice, of no lock-down.. as been stated by the moniker 'Foreign Buyer'..it's proven to be not an issue here in NZ, two things will work without the lock-down.
- You can put any number you could to estimate death, but this is just a nature normal purging process, lessen the super burden.. sorry NZ seniors.
- As world started to self contemplate against China from 21-22 onward licking the Covids wound.NZ shall be the beneficiary of China new young generation to settle down, give assurances to local RE industries.. that commission, GDP are all in up trajectory.
We can immediately got massive China assistance, in every facets by aligning with them, join the federation of China provinces.

I don't think the lockdown is going too far however I don't think it should go on and on either. Everyone should keep to the spirit of the lockdown and just stay sheltered. No decisions should be made about making people redundant or not paying rent or mortgages.
We should have a very strict and harshly enforced quarantine period.

If it fails and we cannot manage the virus after this we just go full Sparta mode on it. Just quarantine all those over 70.

Do the best we can. If this were a virus infecting animals we would hardly notice it. We just have to let it rip through the population and accept the losses. Just thank goodness the young and fit are mostly spared. Spartans would have no problem with this approach I am quite sure. This is not the Black Death (30% to 60% mortality). It's really rather mild in comparison.

Get rid of handshakes, become accustomed to wearing masks a bit more, improve hygiene in general and we might be okay.

We'll probably still need to have a bit of isolation of incoming folk for a while.

Haa love it ZS, this animal loving country.. let's purge the animals (they can be the carrier), let's purge those cruise ship holiday loving elderly (free up more RE to be sold to paper value rich foreigner), let's leave it to the young & fit which mostly thinking they're invincible.. been smoke dope, soon to be legalised? from teenage years (man you won't believe how highly their IQ) hardly prone to MH illness, binge on alcohol.. tell that to their 'tadpoles' when in mid 20s,30s even - Forget us the looser, keep on working/studying hard.. yet still renting. Don't worry we'll move. The US, Canada, UK & OZ seems to value our skills.

Until China account for what happened to the missing 21 million mobile phone users- do not emulate.

Who's believing China's death toll till date is only 3,298?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7qxMBqRNZs&feature=youtu.be

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Tang_Dynasty_Television

Very hard to decide who to believe these days. Somehow I think I'd go with NTD.

Cancelled accounts? To limit information flow? It's what authoritarian regimes do best!

The lockdown is not going far enough and people will slacken off as it goes. Expect the military to be called out and checkpoints to be setup if people don't pull their heads in. I'm getting reports of cars driving around like its a "Normal" day out there. You should be only going out to get shopping and that should ideally be once every 2 weeks at present. Its imperative that we see the total new case numbers here begin to crash in 2 to 4 weeks time or the lockdown will be extended and the penalties for ignoring it will become more severe. If we get a handle on this now at least some sort of "Normal" can return in terms of freedom of movement in a relatively short period of time.

Cannot be too long before there is a nationwide curfew, who can say 9pm to 6.00am? Anyone who needs to be moving during that time has a pass or suitable work ID. We just have too many fools and desperados for a country the size of NZ.

Every car to have a piece of paper saying why it is moving. Simple for a Nurse, not too hard for a shopper = "going to specific store", gets harder to keep printing the paper for those who just driving for the sake of it.
Alternatively - fuel price $100 per litre but free for proven essential workers.

"fuel price $100", I'd arbitrage the sh!t out of that...

Twas the night before Christmas around our way. Incredibly quiet

Gareth you did not mention your view of the population effects of migration from 1. kiwis returning TO NZ and 2. those visa-holders currently in NZ who might leave the country. Can you give an update of projected migration please.

I do not recall New Zealand having 1.2 trillion in housing "wealth" in 1919. By 2025 , however, this should be slightly lower at around 720 billion

Which is the amount you get when you strip non-value-added rentier costs from the system and suddenly you are near 3x median income, or lower.

However, there are two ways to get to this lower median. 1) our present status quo way with a boom and bust system or 2) set up competitive land supply and a housing system that prevents speculator behavior in the first place and you there have very stable house prices over almost all economic conditions.

The difference between the two figures in your comment, ie 480 billion is monopolistic gain and would not exist if we have a truly competitive market. It also represents the majority of private debt ie the debt is on non-value-added part of the asset, and the banks have claim to mainly the value-added part.

Imagine how much better we could survive this crisis is that imaginary wealth ( but real debt) did not exist.

Most people still see this lockdown and everything will return to normal in the near future.

Not so sure this time, nor should we want it to.

Statistics from Italy

Deaths by age group:

0 - 29 0
30 -39 17
40 - 49 67
50 - 59 243
60 - 69 761
70 - 79 2403
80 - 89 2702
90+ 608

6474 (95%) of the deaths are people over the age of 60 with most deaths also having co-morbidity factors.

Source

Once we have completed the four weeks lockdown I would suggest we keep quarantining all those over 60 if possible. Everyone else should try and get things back to normal. Continue to wear face masks and keep distance where possible.

A significant number of the younger people who have died may be medical staff. Perhaps 10% of the younger age groups.

That's a very reasonable proposition Zach, sadly I doubt people will agree because most are too afraid

The Boomers and Silent generation haven't really had to face a dangerous crisis like this during their lives. We had thought we had got away with it. It seems not. We may have to make sacrifices after all. Give up the ventilators to younger folk if we need to. Or maybe just spend the rest of our lives on the couch watching TV and surfing the web? I think we should sacrifice our freedom of movement for the sake of the younger generations. Give up working, stay inside, keep the pressure off the health system while at the same time letting the younger folk have their lives back.

Our fathers and grandfathers fought epic wars and made epic sacrifices. All we need to do is sit on the couch for a couple of years so that our children can be free.

What say you fellow oldies?

Are you a Boomer Zach?

Yes I am a Boomer. No health issues but willing to give up my job and lie low for a couple of years.

For a while the USA looked as if it might be out turning infections and mortality at a lower age than China, cannot locate actual stats but the trend now appears to align with both China & Italy, probably Spain too. And that is those that are likely to succumb are the elderly with or without pre-existing respiratory problems and the younger with the former. Very simple message here as Zach has explained, get out of and stay out of harm’s way, don’t clog up the hospitals, use all those years of experience to do the sensible and necessary.

Here is another corona this time Corona-tion St. It was on when I walked past the telly last night and there was dear Ken Barlow and annoying Norris Cole both on screen together. They are both long timers so I wondered how old are they now. William Roach aka Ken now 87 and Malcolm Hebden aka Norris is 80 years young. Both seemingly still going strong I don't think they would want to have to retire to the couch Zachary.

Yes you are right Houseworks, mass unemployment, poverty and violence will be totally worth it to keep those characters on Coro St.

Yes let's hope not. I wonder if some who are nearing retirement might decide they want to pack it in anyway and enjoy a bit more of life .. while still young and fit.

Was it William and/or Ken who over indulged in some couch casting? Not proven in court of course, but nevertheless, a shadow.

Nasty comment

No one actually knows the damage to economy and everything is based on assumption and in this unchartered unknown territory with lockdown anything that any economist or experts can do is come out of a theory to run the show.

True, we don't know exactly but when tens of thousands of people lose their jobs, they tighten the belt and stop spending. This means that many businesses which will have survived the lockdown and will be weakened will fail to recover. It's a snowball effect,

To that end it's probably a better idea to hand out Prezzi / Bonfire cards with money on them that would then be spent on necessary items rather than being saved (if we get to helicopter money).

Walked the dog this morning. Lots of folk out & about at the park. All doing their best impression of social distancing. That's good right? Only one problem. As the local council have closed their attention of the parks as well as the parks themselves, there were no green dog poo bags on tap. Buggar!

I think the general rule these days is it's okay as long as you wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.

Apparently most of the staff in our hospitals are still not wearing masks. Recent arrivals from overseas housed in Greenlane are making visits to the local supermarket. They're leaving the hotel rooms for communal smoke breaks.
People are going to the beach in groups. People walking around the streets aimlessly. Taking the whole family to the supermarket. Hardly anyone wearing masks.

Yep and then suddenly one of them gets ill and dies and they all wake up and say why us and blame the government and everybody else in sight. It is so damn predictable that it would be funny if it wasn’t true.

.

It's OK. Let the "economy" shrink. It's about time humans took their collective foot off the throat of the planets life support systems!