Nothing happend this weekend.
Unlike last weekend, we didn't escalate our Trade War with China or actual wars with other countries and there were no new major scandals in the White House (that we know of yet) and there were no rogue scientists telling us we were re-opening the country too soon so the markets are in a great mood this morning and I'm in a great mood this morning as my daughter drove down from NJ to Florida to see me and I spent a very nice weekend hanging out at the pool in an 80% empty hotel (having her stay at the house still seemed too risky to me).
Not to advertise this particular hotel but the Opal Grand in Delray Beach has a lovely pool and is right on the ocean for just $175 night and parking was pleasantly free and, because I'm a local, we got 30% off that price so $122.50/night. I felt safer there than I do in the rest of my town, which is as full as it ever was this time of year (off season) with MAYBE 2% of the people wearing masks. The hotel has no restaurants open but they are selling food in the lobby.
Having just done it – I highly recommend taking a mental break and simply going somewhere else for the weekend – even if it's just a hotel in your own town. I checked out all the hotels in town and this one wasn't crowded and used to be a Marriott and is clean and nice (half is being rennovated) so it's no less safe to go to this hotel than the supermarket, probably safer but what a treat just to be somewhere else for a couple of days – even just a few blocks down the street from my house!
I even bonded with other survivors of the Viral Apocalypse – just like humans do when they encounter each other in zombie movies: "Where are you from", "What's it like over there?" "How did you make it here?", "What do you think will happen next?" My horror story of walking 4 blocks to get to the hotel didn't compare to the guy who sat in the middle seat on a packed plane (I gave him a good 10 feet!) and many people admired my daughter's logic of driving to avoid the airports becase "what else is there to do?"
In our town, the restaurants are opening back up at 50% capacity (which is the rule) and they've generally removed half their tables to make more space. We have a lot of people sitting outside and, at dinner time, the restaurants moved tables in front of banks and other businesses that are closed to give themselves more outdoor dining space and the police seemed fine with that logical arrangement (usually if a restaurant goes one inch over their property line, they get a stern warning).
My daughter and her friend, being from NJ, walked into the hotel wearing masks and they were mortified at how few other people were wearing masks (only the staff) and they were too freaked out to go to a restaurant so we got take-out and ate it by the pool. Jackie said it was like waking up from a dream as Jersey is still in full lock-down while Florida is essentially mask-less but I pointed out to her that we also don't wear helmets to ride motorcycles – so hard to go by what Florida is doing as any kind of example.
The problem is, it's way too early to tell if this is a good idea or not. On Friday we had 777 new infections in Floriday giving us a total of 45,588 cases. Now, if we divide 45,588 by 60 days back to March 15th, that's 759 per day so our cases are still moving along at the same pace they were for the last two month. The Government has shifted it's focus to how many deaths and "only" 9 people died so they really don't care how many people get infected as long as they don't go and die – even though just getting infected can lead to long-term health issues.
Our Governor, Ron DeSantis, embraces the official GOP attitude that it's not worth shutting down the economy just to prevent the deaths of some old people. Old people die in Florida every day, they come here to die – it's not the Government's job to stop that from happening. This is simply a new way for them to die – along with some unlucky young people but, like I said – no helmets – so protecting the young isn't going to win arguments in Florida either…
Bleeding-heart Liberal though I am, I can't entirely disagree with the logic. As I've mentioned before, "Flattening the Curve" doesn't lead to less cases – it only minimizes the deaths by spreading out the cases over a longer period of time so the Health-Care System doesn't get overwhelmed. The same number of people get sick but, hopefully, less die. In absense of a vaccine or cure – that's the best we can hope for.
Since a vaccine takes 18 months to develop (project Warp Speed aside), you can't flatten the curve enough to stop almost everyone from being infected before there's a vaccine. Well, you can, if you do what China did but we're way past the chance to do that – with 750 cases a day even in lockdown.
Shutting down the economy has consequences too and economic injury can be just as real as physical injury for people who spend the rest of their lives in poverty as businesses collapse and jobs disappear. The Governor has to take that into account as well. While it's hard to predict how many people will ultimately die of the virus, you can pretty accurately predict how many people will die of hunger, malnutrition, lack of heath care due to unemployment and numerous diseases from unsafe living conditions for many years to come if we don't get the economy back on track.
Unlike the Federal Government, Florida can't print money – the states have to live in an economic reality while dealing with this virus so DeSantis, like many Governors, has decided to address the KNOWN Economic Issues rather than continue to fight the UNKNOWN Health Issues. We've all seen this movie before – hopefully it doesn't end in catastrophe.
Meanwhile, for now, the markets are flying higher as the GOP has indicated they are willing to double down on the stimulus so the week is off to a great start as we throw another $3Tn at a problem that people don't believe even exists anymore.
More cognative dissonance….