The Lost Summer Of 2020

Back in March I was like most people and expected a lull in the coronavirus this summer. Unlike too many I also expected it to roar back like a lion in the fall. (I still do.) It appears I was incorrect and gave the Trump administration too much credit for competence. Let’s explore.

I’m not going to attempt to cite all the statistics to back up the next sentence. The pandemic is either getting worse or at best plateauing. If you doubt me just pay a little attention to any credible news source. My advice is that you pay particular attention to local newspapers and television stations.

I have lived under 13 presidents; seven Republicans and six Democrats. Some were good; several not so much. The first twelve had one thing in common; Americans were welcome in Europe. In fact while Europeans might or might not like us or America they loved our dollars and actively recruited them. Now the EU countries are barring Americans as a health risk. (Question: Mr. Trump, how is that make America great thing working out for you?)

I grew up in Western New York where the winters are hard and the summers, while beautiful, are too short. Summers were anticipated and enjoyed. It looks like Trump is the Grinch that stole the summer of 2020. Going outdoors and gathering at ballgames, picnics, fairs etc. are either not happening or activities too dangerous for the prudent and informed to attend.

While the coronavirus pandemic is a global event no advanced nation in the northern hemisphere has handled it as poorly as the United States under the “leadership” of Donald Trump. By any relevant measure we lead the world in both cases and fatalities (real numbers and percentage of population).

A lot of businesses are seasonal. For many of them the season is the summer. The rest of the year they are either shuttered or just break even with a skeleton staff. How many of them will be able to survive? How many people who depended on that summer income (I’m thinking particularly students and semi-retirees) will endure serious economic hardship?

In 2020 I had a grandchild graduate from high school and another from college. They both lost a lot of experiences forever. (Also how much commerce was lost in that “shuffle”?) Many “interruptions” in the economy will be made up down the road as part of pent up consumer demand; some is gone forever.

I personally have pretty much been confined to quarters since mid-March. I am wondering if I just flat out didn’t lose that time. With the number of people not engaging in prudent and safe behavior did I even gain anything? I was hoping to “come out” for at least a few weeks this summer but that is simply too dangerous. I know part of my spending is lost to the economy forever. Probably the best example is getting my hair cut. The last time I did it was in early March and I’m still holding off because I don’t want to risk my life, my family’s lives, my barber’s life or those of her family. At this point in my life I don’t drive a lot but I usually use about a tankful of gasoline a month. I filled up about March 1st and still have over ¾ of a tankful. When we have a true all clear I’m not getting extra haircuts or buying extra gasoline. Those sales are lost forever and while I may be somewhat at the extreme I am far from alone.

If you think losing the summer is bad –and I do! – I have every reason to believe it is going to be much, much worse come the fall. Like just about in time for the election. Thinking in terms of my grandkids – which I do a lot – I am seriously wondering if I’m going to get to see my oldest grandson play soccer his senior year in high school. The summer is lost and the losing under Trump is far from over.

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