What will be the outcome of the coronavirus?
The virus will pass eventually. But the economic damage is something that could be with us for many years. We may never recover.
In the Great Depression of the 1930’s, unemployment reached 25%. Today, it’s already 10-13% and growing. We may even reach the highest figure the US ever experienced, the 1896 Depression when 50% of the people were unemployed, at a time when government did not provide unemployment benefits. That year saw the biggest turnout ever for an election, 80%. The population was roughly 75 million. According to Wikipedia:
“Since the onset of the Panic of 1893, the nation had been mired in a deep economic depression, marked by low prices, low profits, high unemployment, and violent strikes. Economic issues, especially tariff policy and the question of whether the gold standard should be preserved for the money supply, were central issues.”
I do not have to tell you how devastating this would be.
One thing is for sure, it’s unlikely we can go back to the way things were.
The United States Is not specifically mentioned in biblical end time events. These take place in the Middle East and Europe. China is also not mentioned, except (maybe) where an army of 200 million men comes from the East. (Revelation 9:16)
So, for the US to be out of the picture, it must come down as a nation. An economic collapse could fit this scenario. In the last twenty years, the US economy has suffered serious impact three times – 9/11, the Great Recession of 2008 and now the coronavirus pandemic. It’s as if God is warning us. We recovered from the first two. It does not follow that we will recover from the third.
The big problem is the borrowing. The stimulus, as it’s being called. It was big news a few years ago when our national debt reached one trillion. Now, we add trillions without a second thought. With the national debt now running at $23 trillion, an additional two trillion of stimulus money doesn’t sound like much. But a second, third and maybe even fourth round might be needed, adding as much as 8 trillion to our debt.
There will come a point when the rest of the world will no longer accept dollars as payment for anything. There will also come a point when we won’t be able to pay the interest on the debt. Inflation may also be a major problem, with many items already costing more. Worst case scenario – the dollar may become worthless!
A second concern should be the military. I was struck earlier this week by reports that the US has two aircraft carriers in the Pacific, and both were incapacitated by an outbreak of the coronavirus amongst their crews. It reminded me of the events of December 1941. At that time, Britain was the greatest naval power and still the #1 nation in the world. But, after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, it went on to sink the British battleship Prince of Wales and the battle cruiser Repulse, on December 10th. Nobody realized at the time that this was the end of British naval supremacy, after more than 200 years.
This is how quickly and unexpectedly a nation can fall from preeminence.
The second development that may come from the coronavirus is significant upheaval in Europe, the second major area of biblical prophecy, after Jerusalem.
Already battered by the refugee problem, Brexit and the rise of populism, Europe has been unable to make a difference with the virus now sweeping the continent. There is increasing talk of Europe breaking up, with arguments over money being a major cause.
For Europe to make the biblical changes foretold, the EU is most likely to fall apart, leaving some nations to rally around Germany, the continent’s dominant power.
Revelation 17:12-14: “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.”
These ten will be led by Germany, the modern descendant of Assyria (Isaiah 10:5-8).
Men are proving much more susceptible to the coronavirus than women, dividing opinion as to whether it is linked to behavioral factors such as smoking and drinking – or biology.
While it has been widely reported that the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions are most at risk from Covid-19, emerging data from around the world has revealed that the virus also discriminates by sex.
First seen in China, where one analysis found a fatality rate of 2.8% in men compared with 1.7% in women, a similar pattern has emerged in France, Germany, Iran and South Korea. (The Week, 3/27/2020)
CORONAVIRUS ENDS ISRAELI DEADLOCK
In the end, it took the coronavirus to break the year-long deadlock in Israeli politics. Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu will still face corruption charges, but he has yet another new lease on political life, as he and political rival Benny Gantz cut a deal yesterday: Bibi will continue as prime minister, with Gantz serving as either defense or foreign minister, until September 2021 at which time Gantz will take over as prime minister.
It’s a full about-face for Gantz, who had previously vowed never to serve under a prime minister facing formal corruption charges. But Gantz’s inability to form a coalition government of his own, and the need for an “emergency unity government” in the face of the coronavirus crisis, forced his change of heart.
“These are not normal times and they call for unusual decisions,” Gantz explained, much to the anger and dismay of some of his political allies. The virus outbreak has also delayed the opening of Netanyahu’s trial until May 24. (Gzero, 3/27/2020)
The German government and the EU Commission are taking up positions against Chinese aid, in the combat against the Covid-19 pandemic. In view of the fact that Italy, for example, is receiving systematic support from Beijing, after the EU’s refusal of aid, “controversial debates on how to deal with China” are pending, according to the German Defense Ministry. EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Josep Borrell detects a “global battle of narratives.” Beijing is waging a “struggle for influence” with “politics of generosity,” which the EU must counteract. Since China succeeded in containing Covid-19, it has come to the aid of a growing number of countries around the world. Western powers, which have traditionally been using their assistance for consolidating their global influence, are unable to control the virus and some are requiring assistance themselves. For the aftermath of the pandemic, experts are predicting “a changed world order” with the East Asian countries as the “new global health powers.” (German Foreign Policy, 3/29/2020)
NEW YORKERS FLEE CITY
Many New Yorkers are fleeing the city as it becomes the global centre of the pandemic, but upstate locals have not been entirely welcoming, writes Adam Gabbatt. The spread of the virus at the city’s Riker’s Island jail complex is a “public health disaster,” the jail’s top doctor has said. The New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, warned on Wednesday that his state and the US would never “get back to normal” after the crisis, but instead “get to a new normal.”
The Golden State was quick to lockdown and appears to have flattened its Covid-19 curve. But it still lags behind in testing. (The Guardian, 4/2/2020)
OFFER OF IRANIAN HELP FOR US
On March 31, 2020, the Iranian news outlet Khabar Online tweeted a video featuring a reporter wearing a face mask standing in front of a shipping truck. The reporter said: “This is the aid shipment that the Iranian nation is sending to the oppressed American nation… The Jihadi students will be giving this shipment to the party that is responsible for America’s interests in Iran, which is the Swiss Embassy.” A sign on the truck read: “Humanitarian Health Aid Produced by Iranian Students to Americans.” The same source later tweeted that the Swiss embassy refused to accept the shipment. (MEMRI 4/2/2020)
SANCTIONS HURT EFFORT TO STOP VIRUS
US sanctions on Iran, to which German enterprises are obliged to conform, are in fact seriously hampering the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, according to UN General Secretary António Guterres, who is campaigning for an immediate suspension of the sanctions. The boycott measures had already caused serious damage to Iran’s health system prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, depriving, for example, cancer patients of desperately needed medicine. Now they are blocking deliveries of Covid-19 test kits that are inexpensively produced in Germany. Iran is one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic. The numbers given in yesterday’s official statistics – around 27,000 infected, a little more than 2,000 deaths – are considered far too low. Iranian experts fear an increase in deaths into the 6 or 7-digits. Washington, with absolutely no intention of at least suspending the sanctions to enable the fight against the pandemic, imposed even new punitive measures a few days ago. Berlin remains inactive and silent. (German Foreign Policy, 3/27/2020)
TO THE POINT
- The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil dipped below $20 a barrel, nearly its lowest point in 18 years. Demand has slumped amid the coronavirus outbreak and a price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia. Brent crude, the international benchmark, also fell below $23 a barrel.
- Kim Kielsen, the prime minister of Greenland, announced a prohibition on the sale of alcohol in Nuuk, the capital of the autonomous Danish territory. The move was motivated by an attempt to reduce violence against children in their homes now that schools are closed because of covid-19. Nearly a third of people living in Greenland suffered sexual abuse as a child (The Economist, 3/30/2020)
- America’s death toll from the coronavirus pandemic rose past 3,000, with a record 540 new cases recorded on Monday. At that rate it will overtake China’s official count at some point today. The USNS Comfort, an oil tanker converted into a floating hospital, drew cheers from New Yorkers as it docked in midtown Manhattan. Field hospitals are springing up elsewhere in the city, to cope with the surfeit of covid-19 patients. (The Economist, 3/31/2020)
- In his memoirs, Jean Monnet, one of the founding fathers of the European Union, wrote: “Europe will be forged in crises, and will be the sum of the solutions adopted for those crises.” With crisis currently gripping the continent, those multilateral solutions are proving hard to come by. (Joe Evans, Deputy News Editor, The Week, @TheWeekUK)
Encouraging words for a time like this: “Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)