Yes. There are two potentially reversible causes. The coronavirus and Saudi Arabia’s decision to increase oil supply and flood the market.
Take the first.
Imagine for a moment, that we began to see a drop in the incidence of cases. A few days of such a trend would lighten our heavy hearts. Possible? Of course.
Today I read an article in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (3/5/2020). It carried a brief report of the first case of coronavirus in the country. A 35 year old man in good health otherwise, had returned from Wuhan, China and, after a 4 day history of cough and subjective fever, presented himself on 1/19/20 to an urgent care clinic in Snohomish County in Washington state. He was tested and the next day the CDC confirmed he had Covid-19. He did develop signs of an atypical pneumonia but by 1/30 all his symptoms had resolved except for the cough which was decreasing.
In the same issue, a hospital in Munich, Germany reported that 4 people had developed symptoms after exposure to a person who had visited from China but was asymptomatic while in Germany. She developed symptoms on her flight back to China, sought help and her contacts were traced. Of those German contacts, 4 became ill. Persons 1 and 2 had been in direct contact with the visitor, while persons 3 and 4 had only been in contact with persons 1 and 2. None had shown signs of a severe illness.
So, yes, this illness can be controlled.
Of course, if you’re already ill, your chances of recovery are lower but the illness can be controlled.
What about if we had an online summary of cases, or a sample of them, with both good and bad outcomes, so we could all check in?
Maybe we wouldn’t panic so much about this. Maybe we would be more rational.
Openness is good.
We need it.
Now I turn to the second reversible cause, the drop in the price of oil.
The Saudis and Putin have feuded before and will again. This time, though, with oil demand already low, the timing is disastrous for some of our industries.
Price of gas cheaper? Sure. But what about our shale oil producers? What about all those industries deeply connected with them? How many companies will go under?
Word is that Putin has wanted to put a good bruise on those industries of ours, since we have become a major exporter of oil and thus compete directly with Russia.
Well, now the Saudi Prince, with his intemperate action, will do what Putin has wanted.
Dear Mr Trump, was this prince not the same man who our intelligence agencies have said is responsible for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi embassy in Ankara, Turkey?
You did not hold him accountable then.
Will you hold him accountable now for the damage he is doing to our economy?
Just a phone call away, Mr Trump, just a phone call away.