Coronavirus Update: Y2K Scenario Fades to Mist

The Y2K scenario for the economy and markets relies on a fairly early lifting of the virus and a swift return to normal in terms of allowed behavior. Behaviors will likely change, but as long as work can resume, a rapid pick up in the economy could follow. Evidence from abroad says the odds of this happening are falling quickly. China has closed movie theaters, localities reimposed quarantines and now Singapore is starting a one-month lockdown. At this point, a swift restart will take luck. Also, if it looks like the virus will be back in the autumn, it may loom like a dark cloud over the summer. Thoughts of stockpiling toilet paper may push out a desire to get away from it all.

Nikkei: Singapore to shut workplaces for a month in drastic coronavirus shift
Singapore on Friday announced it will shut most workplaces and schools for a month, effective next week, calling the more aggressive coronavirus containment measures a "circuit breaker" and avoiding the word "lockdown."

Come Tuesday, businesses will close except for essential services such as supermarkets, hospitals and transport. Starting Wednesday, all schools including universities will shift to full home-based learning until May 4.

These moves mark a major shift in strategy for the city-state. Until now, it had focused on strict border controls, thorough contact tracing of patients as well as extensive "social distancing" campaigns. While it encouraged telecommuting, it sought to keep business as normal as possible.
On a positive note, global case growth has slowed. It took two days more to hit 1 million global cases than I expected because growth slowed from around 15 percent daily to 10 percent. It doesn't sound like much, but this is how curves break.

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