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The Potential Economic and Societal Impacts of COVID-19

Avatar for Samantha Biggers Samantha Biggers  |  Updated: March 29, 2020
The Potential Economic and Societal Impacts of COVID-19

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There are many different ways that COVID-19 is going to affect the world. To quote the CDC “The disruption of daily life might be severe.” They are talking about the USA but this applies to the world as well. They should know because they totally failed the public on many levels at this point and increased the threat and danger to every person residing in the USA.

In this article, I am going to concentrate on some of the things that at this point are either starting to occur or very likely to occur over the next few months.

Before I address supply chain disruptions and other societal impacts, I want to address how the government and the Center For Disease Control have totally failed and endangered the medical professionals and law enforcement officers of the United States.

They failed in the following ways:

  • Did not provide timely and accurate information to police, medics, doctors, nurses, and other professionals. They did not tell these fine folks how contagious COVID-19 actually is. They never expressed that this disease is aerosolized.
  • Provided no way for medical professionals to test. The long delay in testing supplies combined with delivering dirty and unusable test kits has made a bad situation much worse than it had to be.
  • The CDC has stopped reporting testing after complaints about how few they were doing. This is irresponsible and not how an agency that is supposed to be working in the best interest of the health of America should act.
  • Refusing to acknowledge that the incubation period of COVID-19 is likely longer than 14 days. The result is an inadequate quarantine period.

Coronavirus tests have been expensive for some.

The fees for the coronavirus test are hard for many to cover. Insurance does not cover all of the fees but there are some states such as NY attempting to require insurance agencies to waive the cost. An unaffordable cost discourages people that suspect they may have the virus from coming forward, thus further endangering the health of the public. In an article from The Miami Herald a man claimed that he received a bill for $3,270 for a test and was responsible for $1400 of that after his insurance. The man had recently returned from China and arrived in Miami.

This is shameful.

The people that work hard to provide medical and emergency services for us are being let down and we will all pay for this in the future. What happens when the people trained to take care of us when we are sick and keep communities safe cannot because they are sick too?

The results of these decisions are highlighted in the stories and videos below.

12 of the 30 firefighters and police officers that responded to the COVID-19 outbreak at the LifeCare Nursing Home in Kirkland, Washington are now exhibiting flu-like symptoms at the time of this writing. I really wish these fine folks had been informed and provided with some gear to protect themselves. This is tragic.

5 Dallas police officers were sent home after it was discovered they were potentially exposed to COVID-19 due to interaction during the arrest and processing of a man.

Even if you ignore the rest of my article, I urge you to at least watch the video below that highlights the struggle of doctors and how they cannot get what they need to test patients.

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Almost all clothing was made in China, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Even the fancy name brand designer labels that cost a fortune per piece take advantage of the low labor costs in these countries to produce their designer duds.

All those inexpensive cotton socks, underwear, and packs of t-shirts that we are used to are not going to be on the shelves. Some are still made in America but it will take quite some time to create the infrastructure necessary to meet increased domestic demand.


Luckily, America is a country that produces more food than it consumes. There will be food as long as there are people to work on the farms. However, there are imported food items that you and your family may like a lot that could become either impossible to get or more expensive due to the collapse of the global shipping industry and how hard it is to procure the ingredients.

Other countries that rely on the United States for food on some level will suffer a lot as crops and foods are not exported but consumed domestically or only exported to countries that are close enough to make it economically feasible.

Pharmaceutical Drugs

We rely on China for most antibiotics. India produces a lot of final product medications but many of the active ingredients are produced in China. There are already some medications that are starting to be harder to find. While some may rest a bit easier when reassured by Indian drug manufacturers that they have an 8 week supply on hand, that is not a big enough cushion to make me think this is not a serious problem.

Many people renewed their prescriptions sooner rather than later when items started appearing in the news that indicated that meds may be harder to get or that they may need to stay at home for many weeks. This led to supplies becoming more depleted at the beginning of the situation. Those that did not renew and get their meds, will be the first to suffer the consequences of doing without. Even so, everyone that is on meds will eventually feel the impact.

Of course, there are also those that are on prescription medications that are only allowed a 30 day supply at a time. This is how it works with some drugs that are prescribed for mental health or pain. You also have to go to an actual pharmacy to get these meds. They won’t ship you major painkillers or drugs like Adderall or Ritalin for ADHD.

Some medications you cannot quit suddenly without some potentially serious or fatal consequences. Consider how some people that rely on mental health medications are going to do if they suddenly have to quit. In the USA we have a pretty significant population on psychiatric medications.

I wrote an article quite a while back on what might happen “When The Meds Run Out.”

Medical Supplies

From face masks to gloves to major medical equipment, China is the main manufacturer. Considering that we are dealing with an epidemic or pandemic depending on what you believe, now is a heck of a time to be facing shortages of medical supplies.

Illicit Drug Supply Chain

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Some of you may have read the story about the shipping container boat owned by J.P. Morgan that was found with 20 tons of cocaine aboard with an estimated street value of $1.3 billion. A lot of illegal drugs are smuggled in shipping containers that have other goods in them. Who knows how many days worth of supply is in the USA but regardless, at some point that amount is going to dwindle which will at first lead to higher prices for users. Some areas may lack any as dealers divert supplies to those that can pay more. At some point, there just may simply not be any of certain drugs across a big are.

The increased cost alone will lead to more stealing and other crimes committed out of desperation to get the substance the user relies on. Some drugs incapacitate those in withdrawal while others don’t so much thus you have people that are desperate and capable of some pretty awful things.


Some of the larger appliances are still made domestically but that doesn’t mean that they don’t rely on components manufactured in foreign countries. Usually, this country is China. Almost all small appliances are made in China from toasters ovens to coffee pots and blenders. Any device, even if you buy a better than average brand, has a working life.

At some point, what appliances and parts that are already in the country or at least in a nearby one, will start to dwindle. It is hard to say when this will happen because there are many factors at play. Maybe we have enough to get by until manufacturing starts up in US or else ware but I kind of doubt it.

When your coffee pot breaks if may be a little harder to find a replacement that is anywhere near the price point you are used to paying. Even the small appliances that were considered cheaply made, will be resold for a much higher cost to those that want the convenience that they bring to their lives.


A lot of the power and hand tools we use every day are made in China or Japan. As a farmer and someone that built their house with their husband, I put a lot of value in tools. During hard times a lot of us may have to do more tasks on our own. Hopefully, our tools hold out for a while. There are some good hand tools made in the USA but like so many things, the supply is far lower than the demand.

Auto and Machine Parts

A lot of auto manufacturers have decreased or stopped production because they cannot get the materials and components they need to produce vehicles or the parts needed to repair existing ones. How many of us have bought an aftermarket part for a car or small machine? Almost all the aftermarket generic parts that are affordable are made in China.

Just about everything that the average person uses to maintain and run their household.

I could list many more things that are in your home that may be harder to get. Sheets for your bed, towels, and blankets are just a few of the other items that are often made in China or India. Although India is not reporting a ton of cases yet, I suspect that the numbers are much greater and considering the population density, the potential for a major outbreak is extraordinary.

More expensive goods due to a lack of low labor costs. Manufacturing will occur closer to home.

We are used to being able to get a lot things at a low cost. This is not going to be as common. People will not work and are not able to work for the wages that they will in China, Vietnam, or Cambodia.

It will take a long time to get any production going domestically or in an alternative foreign location. There are many components that go into even basic electronics and appliances. Metals, small parts, etc, are something we used to take for granted as always being there.

Price gouging is already happening. Demand is much higher for some items like N-95 masks. Price gouging and people reselling items on eBay for extremely high prices is something we are likely to see more and more of.

Resentment and blame towards fellow consumers

There are already people that are blaming fellow shoppers for them not being able to get items that they want. One person was angry because they could not find something for their baby and blamed people for stocking up. They called them selfish. Another man couldn’t put in his weekly order for 2 loaves of bread and was livid about it.

When other more major shortages start to be apparent, the blaming will get worse, with many people in denial that the real cause is the lack of manufacturing and shipping.

Politicization and the blame game is already happening and will continue to escalate.

It really annoys me when important issues that affect us all get politicized. People from all across the political spectrum are already blaming this political party or this person. I am critical of the CDC but that is an agency that is supposed to work for all of us regardless of political leanings. I will not get caught up in the political blame game because it does nothing to help us get through this horrible virus that as all over the world. As far as I am concerned governments need to put aside some of the party politics and concentrate on the health crisis at hand.

Racism and xenophobia will surface more often towards some groups.

This is already happening all over the world. Those that kept their feelings to themselves are feeling that now is the time to express them. There are also some that have switched to this way of thinking. While checking in on a new friend in Italy I met in a preparedness group on Facebook, he told me of a man verbally abusing a Chinese lady in the street by loudly yelling that “All the s*** eaters need to go back home”. This was more than a week ago and at the very beginning of the quarantines in Italy and occurred in a town that was not yet under mandatory quarantine.

It will be harder to shelter children from the woes of the world.

Kids are going to ask a lot of questions. While causing them to panic and freak out is not the answer, it is going to be a lot harder to hide what is going on over a period of time. Some parents have decided to approach it from encouraging more hand washing and telling children and teens to avoid people that are coughing or showing signs of illness. I think that a degree of honesty is best myself but I realize that how you raise your child is something that is ultimately a personal decision.

There may be a time when kids and teens ask some other really tough questions that you will need to address and it will be practically impossible to shield them from. What if something awful like a friend or family member gets sick, is hospitalized, or even dies? Kids may also have some questions about the xenophobia and racism that could pop up.

Events that involve large groups will be rarer and many that are planned will be canceled.

Sometimes I am sitting here typing and an ad will come on Pandora from an artist telling me to catch them on tour. Now when I hear that I think about how many of those big concerts and sporting events are going to be canceled. In some cases when they are not canceled, the musicians or players will either be greeted by a nearly empty or empty venue. In Italy, soccer teams are playing without the fans due to the possibility of spread.

Children and teens that are used to the team spirit and camaraderie that comes from participating in organized sports may have to face losing that part of their life.

The travel industry will crash

Travel agents and online booking sites are facing record-breaking numbers of cancellations. This means at least a partial refund of fees that were already paid.

Anyone that works at hotels, for airlines or any industry that caters to travelers is going to be affected. The ripple effect is going to be very noticeable. I would not be surprised to see some hotels and motels shut down and never open again. Bankruptcies in the travel industry are very likely to accelerate greatly over the next year.

The cruise ship industry, in particular, is being hit hard and with good reason considering the disaster of the Diamond Princess and other cruise ships.

People will become more isolated. Social distancing will be the rule for many.

Doing what you can to distance yourself from others is one of the things that you have some control over. While staying at home is not an option for many due to their jobs or school, avoiding other social situations, shopping online, or visiting stores at very low volume times are all possible. Many people have been doing this for quite some time.

Restaurants, coffee shops, and bars are going to face some tough times.

Some of the first social distancing will be people avoiding restaurants and drinking establishments. This is one of the easiest things for people to do to reduce exposure to others. At the moment, staying at home and popping a frozen pizza in the oven makes sense to some. Going out and socializing is something people like to do but you can have a beer at home for less money and avoid exposure. There are a lot of people employed in the restaurant and bar industry. Many of these hard-working people rely on tipping that is just not going to be there.

The lack of cargo to ship will have a significant effect on the shipping and transport industries.

This is another industry that employs a lot of people. From the local UPS and FedEx drivers to the port and cargo ship workers. While at the time a lot of people are utilizing mail order, as time goes on and there are less goods to ship, the volume will drop. Volume has already dropped dramatically at ports on the western and eastern seaboards of the United States. Where shipping containers were once stacked as high as buildings, there is empty space and nothing coming in.
This video shows what some of the ports look like at this time. It was taken by a lady that drives container trucks to and from the port.

Truck drivers that service ports, as well as those responsible for moving cargo across the country, will likely feel the effects of fewer goods to distribute.

Lack of demand for oil will cause the barrel price to crash.

The oil markets are already experiencing the effects of less demand. When this continues, the price will drop a lot. Of course, if some oil production shuts down as a result, the price may go back up to some degree. Regardless there are going to be some dips and volatility in the oil market.

Families will either learn to get along or be miserable. Some will simply fall apart because they cannot cope with all that time together.

There will be more homeschooled children and teens in the future.

Some school districts are already creating plans for delivering learning materials online. Other people are thinking about homeschooling as an option. I was homeschooled from 7th-12th grade. It was the best option for me. Although I was doing very well in school, it was boring and the social aspects were not something I enjoyed. I had to spend 90 minutes of my life on a bus because the nearest junior high was 10 miles away and that took 45 minutes each way.

While parents may have to go to work, I do have to say that some responsible teens may be able to handle staying at home and completing their studies even if you are not there. I was pretty much self-taught through junior high through graduation.

If you find yourself working from home and feel that you should eliminate the risk of exposure via schools, then homeschooling is something to consider. Many kids find that they enjoy it and have more time to do other things like learn skills or even help out around the house. A lot of time is wasted within the public school system.


Times are not going to be easy. We are going to be facing some major disruptions to our way of life in the future. Let’s hope that a cure and better treatment becomes available soon. Even if things dramatically improve, the global supply chain is going to be forever changed.

I wish the best for you and your family during this trying time.

Best wishes,
Samantha Biggers

To keep up to date on coronavirus I encourage you to subscribe to the Peak Prosperity Youtube Channel. Chris does a fantastic job covering the latest news that you should know about COVID-19. He has been producing a daily video covering COVID-19 since the epidemic started.

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18 Responses to “The Potential Economic and Societal Impacts of COVID-19”

  1. As a Small Business Owner (my wife and myself), I’m hoping not to get too affected by this covid-19. I work in the Video business converting old media into digital. Most of my supplies come from China or Taiwan. DVDs and other digital media are all made in China. I stocked up at the end of the year (something I do every year) on most of my supplies. I’ve seen some prices rise already.
    Parts for my old machines are made in China or Japan. I’m glad I didn’t throw away broken machines because I use them to repair my working machines if they go down.

  2. Referencing my previous comment about the $3200 for Covid 19, you apparently did not even read the fact check site I gave you a link to. Yes, the man got a bill for $3200+ but that was the fault of his poor insurance. HE WAS NEVER TESTED FOR COVID 19, thus that article has not reference point talking about Covid 19 testing. It is currently FREE.
    Excerpt from the link to Fact checker I posted :”That total included an emergency room visit and testing for 22 upper respiratory pathogens, according to Lidia Amoretti, a spokeswoman for the hospital who answered questions from by email. Azcue tested positive for the flu and, after hospital workers consulted with the Florida Department of Health, he was not tested for COVID-19.
    So, this widely referenced case did not actually include testing for COVID-19.That total included an emergency room visit and testing for 22 upper respiratory pathogens, according to Lidia Amoretti, a spokeswoman for the hospital who answered questions from by email. Azcue tested positive for the flu and, after hospital workers consulted with the Florida Department of Health, he was not tested for COVID-19.
    So, this widely referenced case did not actually include testing for COVID-19.”

  3. Excellent article.
    I fully agree with the author. With a background in Financial Services, I see and even greater impact on our economic system and society. Most people have less than $500 and when they can’t go to work, are afraid to go to work or their business has shut down, they won’t have an income and funds to pay the outlandish prices that limited supplies of commodities will command.
    Not going to be a fun time at all.

  4. How exactly was the CDC supposed to notify law enforcement and firefighters of people they don’t know about?
    We all know that working with the public we are at higher risk with anything like this. It’s a no brainer. All I work with is disease. I’ve had the HIV possible exposure meds gamut twice, exposed to TB 4-5 times, got the HepB vaccine, exposed to scabies multiple times, been bitten and spit on and had the feces/urine cocktail thrown on me several times and of course everyone wants to fight you naked and living that awesome lifestyle they do you’ve no idea what rubbed off on you.
    The very reason we are into preparedness is the basic knowledge of knowing that the government can not take care of emergencies in many cases.
    As a LEO and government we are and have been getting bulletins for a while. Everyone has the same access to public information as I do and I got off the X immediately.
    The virus is still hardly my biggest threat. It’s a 3% kill rate on certain categories primarily. I got worse odds than that on I40 in morning traffic. I’ll see it and probably get it.
    I’m not blaming the admin for not notifying me of anything. That info I can cover myself.
    In the meantime I’m hoping for a early hot n humid Spring for the first time in my life to help hinder the spread.
    It’s not too late to get preparations and start preparing to defend folks. Never mind the politics and finger pointing cause it’s too little too late for that. Get busy

  5. Sorry but there was a post right before mine from Proteus that I guess I don’t understand either. What is it that anyone has said that you perceive as part of the problem? Scores of people die from the flu every year because the vast majority of people don’t get the vaccine. Less people would die from heart attacks if they chose to take better care of themselves. Please note that I said LESS people not ALL people who have heart attacks. Trying to get answers to questions or distancing yourself from people as much as possible during this spread of a virus for which there is not vaccine or known medicine to cure it is NOT handwringing. It’s called PREPPING!

    • My point was … that creating a panic about this virus is not helping …. more people die from everyday causes than this current virus du jour. Many of the readers of this blog have already prepped for a number of contingencies … “pandemic” being one of them. I remain convinced that the lame stream media, politicians and opportunists are using this latest virus to capitalize … When 25 cent N95 masks sell for $50, there is something wrong. Don’t fall for the hype … keep things in perspective.

  6. Here’s the part that I’m not getting. We are being told by the CDC and other medical professionals that we should not wear masks because they don’t do any good but yet the drawing that the CDC has up showing moderate symptoms compared to more severe symptoms has a very small paragraph on the bottom left which says to protect yourself by wearing a mask.
    Another doctor says you are more apt to become infected if you wear a mask because you may be repeatedly touching your face adjusting your mask and that you can still get it through invisible droplets via your eyes. I would think that the answer is if you feel like you need to adjust the mask you should sanitize your hands first. You can also wear a full face mask or googles to protect your eyes. So I’m still not understanding why you are more at risk with a mask.
    Also it’s obvious to stay away from people who display symptoms. However, people can transmit the virus to others and be 4-6 days away from showing any symptoms themselves. Seems like it would be prudent to stop all travel to other countries. The US was checking temps of incoming passengers but it had been suspected for a while by WHO and the CDC that people could be contagious without symptoms but all of those people were allowed to go on about their lives. So now the thought is that there were contagious persons who just passed through. They’re not sure that 2 wks is enough to quarantine and that 3 wks might be more like it. They also don’t know if you have any immunity to the virus once you have had it so maybe you could be infected again. Why wasn’t this country jumping on proper protocols and ordering test kits, supplies, etc. in January instead of waiting almost 2 months? Why is the test kit costing roughly $3600 leaving people with horrendous bills to pay? Most insurance don’t even come close to covering the cost of the test. Yes, I have a lot of questions not only regarding the initial response but the ongoing management of this disaster and nobody seems to be able to answer anything.

    • I clarified this part of the article. Here is the link to The Miami Herald article where a man received a bill for $3270 for a coronavirus test. His insurance did cover all but $1400. That is a very substantial fee. Thanks for you input though. I missed some important specifics. Your complaint helped me improve this post. Thanks for reading!

  7. Interesting article. However, please don’t be part of the problem. The hype and hand wringing about this virus is entirely uncalled for at this point. 30 to 50 thousand people die from the flu every year. Doctors misdiagnosing and mis-prescribing kill 100 or more a day. Heart attacks kill another 1200 or more a day. Let’s keep things in perspective.

    • Thank you!!!!
      the media and other websites have blown all of this out of proportion. 20,000 deaths from the “normal” flue in this country this year, 200 children. and no press about this. We are in a RESET period now. bout time. it had to come. times will be hard for a year or so, it had to come, but it will work out for the best in the long run I believe. good luck to everyone and stay safe!

  8. Columbus OH just announced changes to one of the largest events in the city, The Arnold Classic. Body builders from over 80 countries are here to participate. The Governor and Mayor, along with health dept officials have decided to allow the competition to continue, but no spectators all week (except the finals Saturday) and shut down the trade show/expo. Health dept personnel are monitoring all participants, and no one was allowed from Iran, Italy, S Korea, Japan or China. I personally think it was a wise move. Maybe not enough, but a step in the right direction. The auto racing community has already seen several worldwide events cancelled. Ipersonally feel social distancing is the best way to protect yourself.

  9. Observation is what you see and don’t see.

    The obvious, older people, with under lying health issues are more susceptible. They also are the people closest to immediate care. They are in nursing homes, they are in the system.

    What you don’t see, are younger patients. Toddlers, children and teens are absent from this event. They are certainly infected and can transmit the virus, but are otherwise unaffected.

    The required precautions should be targeted at the elderly. They should wear the masks. They should avoid large crowds. They should avoid public transportation. This is turning into a pandemic, but the over reaction will soon subside.

    The high number of deaths in China are probably due to the number of extended families. Several generations in one household, could well account for so many deaths.

    • also the fact that a huge percentage of chinese adults are smokers, and the entire country has terrible air pollution. those things have to make their lungs more damaged and therefore more vulnerable.

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