By: Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner

Tony Duncan is just one of the millions of small business owners who will have to permanently close their doors if the shutdown continues much longer.

Duncan is the owner of Body Science, a fitness center in Kenilworth, Illinois. Just three months ago he invested his life savings and signed long-term leases to open his business. Today, he says, “If this were to go on for another six weeks, we’d be destroyed. There’s just no getting out of that.”

For weeks the number of COVID-19 diagnoses and deaths has dominated America’s collective mindshare. How could it not, as the death toll in the U.S. has just surpassed 10,000.

But now the country is starting to see a new set of frightening numbers. In just two weeks, 10 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits as a result of the economic shutdown. And it will get much worse. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis estimates unemployment in the U.S. could quickly reach a high of 50 million workers. Managed improperly, the human toll from the shutdown could end up exceeding the toll of the virus itself. That’s particularly true if the economy remains shuttered for an extended period of time. 

As testing ramps up and COVID-19 data becomes more robust, the federal government and states must urgently begin to address both the public health and economic crises simultaneously.

Duncan summed up the conclusion that many Americans are beginning to reach: “It’s unfair when people look at things so binary, and say, ‘Either you care about people’s health, or you don’t. Either you care about the country’s economy, or you don’t.’ It’s not binary, and for that reason there have to be intelligent strategies on both sides.”

Yes, the federal government has already passed $2 trillion in stimulus. But the package is only a financial band-aid that does little to stop the crumbling of the world’s most complex economic system. A shutdown that lasts too long will cause damage we can’t imagine, thwarting any hope for a quick recovery. And while it’s true that some stimulus money will go to displaced workers, that does nothing to address the physical, emotional and psychological health that’s inextricably linked with going to work each day.

Unfortunately, discussions about the impact of the shutdown are often shouted down with accusations of favoring “Wall Street over lives.” That’s just patently wrong and unfair. 

Behind every unemployment number is an individual, a family and often, a business. Nearly one-third of the nation’s 165 million workers are part of small businesses or entrepreneurial ventures. Interwoven with economic decline are drug abuse, depression, domestic violence and deepening poverty that destroy families.

All that can’t be ignored.

Duncan employed eight people before the crisis hit. “What my team has been struggling to understand is, what are they supposed to do? We’re all dealing with the overwhelming economic impact of not being able to work.”

“You can’t have any wealth greater than physical health. But the amount of emotional, psychological and economic health that’s necessary involves going to work, it involves being a productive citizen, it involves seeing your actions keep you safe and in place for long-term survival.”

We must remain vigilant in fighting COVID-19 and ensure that our healthcare systems are fully prepared. But a rational balance must be struck between public health and the health of America’s economy, particularly as new case and testing data is revealed. 

“If we can just find a plan that everybody can buy into – a realistic, comprehensive plan,” says Duncan, “success is getting back to where we were just a few weeks ago.”

Read more about the impact of the Coronavirus on Illinois:

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Poor Taxpayer
5 months ago

Going broke would be the nicest thing the greedy unions could do for Tony.
Then he would move to a state that would treat him far better. Life would improve.
Right now he is a slave to Greedy Unions, they will only let you live, not get ahead. The fruits of your labor belong to the Public Workers.

JWB
5 months ago

Much easier for politicians and government elites to shut down the economy since they’re being fully paid during the crisis.

Rick
5 months ago

6 months? Geez who in their right mind would go near a health club for at least a year? I wouldn’t. Just got the notice to renew for my municipal health club and pool, that ain’t gonna happen.

Freddy
5 months ago

This is a side note but very important. Does anyone know how to contact the governors office? I tried to email but not sure it went there. My concern that is burning yard waste is completely falling under the radar. I live in the county (Boone) and cannot even go out and enjoy today. Seems like everyone is burning and those with asthma-bronchitis-COPD-emphysema will have a difficult time breathing .At least a 30-45 day ban until this lets up a little. I contacted my local Rep and Health Dept and they will take it under advisement so basically it went… Read more »

Ben
5 months ago

The reality is the economy will have to get going sooner than later, by June at the latest. People aren’t going to stay in their homes for all of summer. People will start doing whatever they want in time, no matter what orders are in place. There will be riots before then also, and then they would be forced to open things up anyway. Lots of people are going to die, and there is no way around that. Herd immunity has to happen for this to truly end. State bankruptcy allowance will be passed at the end of this, and… Read more »

Joe Blow
5 months ago

what I want to know is why aren’t we talking about the diamond princess cruise? Literally 3200 people were exposed to the virus in close isolated conditions and only 25% contracted the disease and 10 died so if 25% of those exposed get it and 20% of those cases need hospitalization and like 1% of those people wind up dying… this is such a ridiculously low amount of people, (1/2000 people even if everyone gets exposed to the virus) the harm we are doing to the economy is going to be far worse… maybe that is what they want? we… Read more »

DantheMan
5 months ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

Maybe that could be the new cruise line promotion…”Sail with us. We guarantee 75% will return just fine.”

I’m sorry. I’m so bored.

Joe Blow
5 months ago
Reply to  DantheMan

pretty normal for cruise lines it seems, and its more like 99.5% will return alive at least

Gemini
5 months ago

I am not buying it.

What good is it to save the economy if everyone dies?

DantheMan
5 months ago
Reply to  Gemini

Last person alive wins I guess.

debtsor
5 months ago
Reply to  Gemini

The black death killed off so many people that it, for all practical purposes, it ended the major structures feudalism in most of western europe, it raised the standard of living and wages for those who survived and inherited or just took unclaimed wealth and property. It lead to smaller, healthier less congested cities, and more abundance for those who remained. While the death death killed indiscriminately, the Wuhan virus is far more selective. It likes only to kill the unhealthy, mostly the elderly living of social security (or pensions in our state’s case), and the unhealthy living off medicaid,… Read more »

JimBob
5 months ago
Reply to  debtsor

Well done: worthy of H.L. Mencken and W.C. Fields. “My favorite: Whilst traveling through Afghanistan, we lost our corkscrew. Had to live on food and water for several days.”
https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/W._C._Fields

What you say is what many think — you’ve said the unsayable! If “they” decode your pseudonym and find you address, they’ll be coming with pitchforks.

Ben
5 months ago
Reply to  debtsor

The fact is the world is overpopulated with the virus known as humanity. There are so many people propped up that should have died twenty years ago. Fat, drunken, unhealthy smoker boomers. This virus is going to clear them out.

Bob
5 months ago
Reply to  Ben

Very intelligent response. People like you will someday be in charge ?

Ben
5 months ago
Reply to  Bob

The virus is in charge, and it is winning.

DantheMan
5 months ago

When it comes to this virus stuff, I tend to hesitate with making comments. I guess I’m still confused and unclear of the situation. For example, my gut tells me that as soon as the lockdown (or quarantine) is lifted the virus will quickly accelerate again, yet I hear nothing about why that feeling is right or wrong. Also, my gut tells me the economy isn’t going to bounce back quickly. For example, how long will it take for the population to again feel comfortable with air travel? In a nutshell, I guess you could say I’m not buying it.… Read more »

Mike Williams
5 months ago

I wanted to mention I caught Ted’s presentation on zoom. It kept my interest and was well organized. I watched from the Philippines. It was 1:00 AM here so it had to be good to keep me awake. Thanks Ted. Ted’s opinion is that the crisis provides an opportunity for Illinois leaders in that it gives them cover to do the right thing (like change the constitution). Technically I agree with Ted about this opportunity, but don’t believe for a second that Illinois leaders have any interest in changing the status quo. If Ted makes the presentation available, I recommend… Read more »

Indy
5 months ago
Reply to  Mike Williams

Your comment is spot on.
Unfortunately Ted & other peoples misplaced optimism is giving so much false hope to people in Illinois it will lead to a lot of ruined lives.
Being a rational optimist is one thing. Being a blind stubborn optimist is another & in the end does society no good.
Leaving Illinois is simply a matter of giving your family a fresh start and a better life vs staying and being stuck in miserable suffering.

Illinois Entrepreneur
5 months ago

Can someone give a clear answer on the criteria for ending the quarantine or, “shelter in place?” At first I thought I heard all of them saying that we needed to “flatten the curve.” Now, it seems that we are waiting until we reach the “end of the curve,” for fear of it “starting back up again.” Are they afraid to set some objective criterion simply because it removes their subjective political power to command and control as they see fit? Many of our rights have been stolen for this, and for the most part the population has silently and… Read more »

ConcernedExpatfromCincy
5 months ago

Couldn’t agree more. Jabba and Lori Bigfoot should release benchmarks they are tracking and guidance upon which they would lift. Instead of being fear mongers and peddling half truths masked as “science”. They are drunk on power.

Illinois Entrepreneur
5 months ago

I’m sure many of you saw the news clip today about how Lori decided to get a haircut this past weekend.

She decided that since “she is in the public eye” this was a dire need in the City of Chicago’s interest.

This really pisses me off, and I’m hoping the Wirepoints guys post a Quicktake or a column on it, because I have a lot of nasty things to say.

Riverbender
5 months ago

Some animals are more equal than others.

chumpchange
5 months ago

Just wait until Bill Gates and his globalist brethren require you get your clean bill of health certificate before you’re allowed back into decent society.

Doug
5 months ago

The severity of the Virus will dictate the damage to the economy. Even if the Governments all decided to do nothing, significant number of people will stay away from others for fear of dying, i.e. they won’t want to play Russian Rouette. This would still take over a year to achieve > 75% infection rate and herd immunity. The economy will be damaged one way or the other. In fact the best way to protect the economy is to make it mandatory that everyone (or 80% of population) get infected so that it’s all over in 1 month (probably over… Read more »

Doug
5 months ago

Testing is not ramping up, it’s getting more scarce and rationed more! There is less and less reliable data on the true #of cases and deaths. Only people hospitalized get tested, and it can take weeks of symptoms before people are hospitalized. An estimated additional 180 – 195 deaths per day occurring at home in New York City due to COVID-19 are not being counted in the official figures. “Early on in this crisis we were able to swab people who died at home, and thus got a coronavirus reading. But those days are long gone. We simply don’t have… Read more »

Douglas
5 months ago

I see your point on the economy and the effects this will have on poverty, but I also know older people, kids with immune issues and a situation that if allowed to go out of control, will destroy hospitals with the amount of patients. If this is rushed, this could flare up again, and things would need to be shut down again. This is the reason government should have been fiscally responsible and limited what it was involved in! The US government comes into this pandemic in very bad financial shape and while pandemics and their prevention is a legitimate… Read more »

Hank Scorpio
5 months ago
Reply to  Douglas

Douglas, the lockdown wont work. This virus is too contagious. R0 will not be pushed below 1.0 — the moment you re-open you will get another surge. Best case scenario, they come up with an effective drug like hcq+zpak+zinc to attenuate the symptoms enough to prevent hospitalization, then open everything back up and let the virus run its natural course. If this lockdown goes on for months people will begin to riot like we haven’t seen since he 1700’s, especially if they are still expected to pay their bills. Far more people will die in the ensuing chaos. Hope you… Read more »

chumpchange
5 months ago
Reply to  Douglas

Reasonable observations, wrong conclusion. Let the most at risk stay home. Let the vast majority of society get on with life and risk assess their own well being. Why let Jabba and Groot determine that for you?