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What We’re Reading

Tradeoffs:

It follows that we should—as incomprehensible as this may sound — hope for a deep, short recession, caused by a cliff dive in many forms of economic activity. That would be a clear signal that people have gone home and that the face-to-face economy has been shut down to limit the spread of disease.

Unforeseen risk:

“I tell my father’s story of the gambler who lost regularly. One day he hears about a race with only one horse in it, so he bet the rent money. Halfway around the track, the horse jumped over the fence and ran away.”

Toilet paper:

In short, the toilet paper industry is split into two, largely separate markets: commercial and consumer. The pandemic has shifted the lion’s share of demand to the latter. People actually do need to buy significantly more toilet paper during the pandemic — not because they’re making more trips to the bathroom, but because they’re making more of them at home. With some 75% of the U.S. population under stay-at-home orders, Americans are no longer using the restrooms at their workplace, in schools, at restaurants, at hotels, or in airports.

Recovery:

A 101-year-old man, identified as ‘Mr. P’ has been released from isolation after recovering from COVID-19 in the Italian city of Rimini. Mr. P., a WWII and Spanish Flu survivor was admitted last week to a hospital in northeast Italy after he was tested positive for the Coronavirus.

Analogies:

Is this a winter like we’ve faced before? … Each one was hard and painful, but each was followed by a normal spring and summer on the other side. Or is this an ice age? A period more like the Great Depression or other long periods of decline and stagnation? James Bullard at the St. Louis Fed warned recently of the potential for 30% unemployment and a 50% decline in GDP—both significantly worse than the extreme levels of the Great Depression.

Crime:

With more than two-thirds of the U.S. population ordered to stay home amid the coronavirus pandemic, it’s tougher for burglars to find an empty house to target. But the cooped-up residents seem more likely to fight each other.

That’s what crime statistics show in major U.S. cities where residents are spending almost all their time inside.

Have a good weekend, stay safe.


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