Thursday, February 27, 2020

10 Types of People Who Will Be Hammered if There is a Pandemic

The news today is all pandemic this and pandemic that.  Who knows if this will turn out to become a super deadly, worldwide pandemic or a blip on the screen of emerging viruses.  Obviously the worse (more virulent, more deadly) the virus is, the more people who will be hammered by the situation.  These 10 types of people will probably be affected the most so if you are one of these people, plan accordingly...

  1. Parents with kids in school.  Japan has already moved to close all of the schools in the country for a month to stem the spread of the coronavirus.  The vast majority of US parents will be hit hard if all of our schools close for a month or more because they simply can't afford to pay for full time daycare for their kids.
  2. Workers who have to go to work and can't work at home.  The CDC is encouraging businesses to allow employees work from home but there are many people--healthcare providers, fast food workers, plumbers, cops, etc--who have no way to work from home and have to actually show up at work in order to provide the services that people need.
  3. Workers who do not get paid sick days.  Unfortunately, a lot of US workers don't get paid if they don't work.  You can bet that people who need the money will show up for work whether they are sick or not.  
  4. People who do not have health insurance or cannot afford the health insurance they have.  Ideally if people are ill they will go to the doctors and get the treatment they need.  In reality, many people in the US can't afford to go to the doctor, whether because they don't have insurance at all and don't want to get a huge bill or because they can't afford their insurance copay/deductible so they will try to hold out without medical care until they are literally at death's door.
  5. People who live paycheck to paycheck.  Nearly 80% of American workers live paycheck to paycheck and they can't afford any major financial glitches.  This means that anything that comes with a cost (buying needed medications, stocking up and food and water, etc) is going to have a huge, negative, financial impact on many people.
  6. People planning to go on vacation.  Vacationers have already been hit hard by the coronavirus (remember the quarantined people on the cruise ships?), now many people are questioning whether to keep their vacation plans or to cancel.  Needless to say, this will have a dramatic economic effect that ripples throughout the industry.
  7. People with money in the stock market.  Everyone from day traders to 401k/mutual fund managers to retirees who rely on their investments to pay their monthly bills may be in for a wild ride the longer the coronavirus impacts the markets.
  8. People who are unprepared for a disaster.  There are a lot of people who have just recently figured out that they are wholly unprepared for a disaster of any sort.  They didn't have N95 masks on hand and now those masks are going for exorbitant amounts of money.  They don't have a few week's worth of food stockpiled at home and can't really afford to do this now.  It's hard to believe but some people literally don't know how to cook (they eat out for almost every meal) so what will happen if they are quarantined at home for weeks on end?
  9. Vulnerable populations.  The term 'vulnerable populations' is a catch-all for the elderly, children, the mentally ill, the chronically ill, prisoners, the homeless, and anyone else who needs others to assist/advocate for them, even on a good day.  On a bad day, like during a pandemic, these people can be hit from all sides.  Currently the coronavirus seems to be hitting the elderly the hardest, and without being able to help themselves, during a severe pandemic, these people will have problems with everything from being quarantined at home to getting the medical care they need.
  10. The people who are supposed to be in charge of taking care of those who are ill with the coronavirus.  It's no secret that hospitals are often overwhelmed, even on a normal day, and, while pandemic planning has been going on for at least the past couple decades on the federal and state levels, these systems that have never really been tested (and they seem to be cracking already--examples here, here, and here).

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