With France and Germany heading into a new round of partial (at first) lockdowns over the next 48 hours DB's Jim Reid says that
"it’s fair to say that most of the Western World continues to struggle with how to handle this virus other than try to periodically restrict economic/social activity and wait for a vaccine or better treatment/testing."
As Reid continues, asking a question he first posed back in July, "it will be very interesting to see how the history books score this response. It continues to be an exceptionally discriminative virus with the best data on this coming from the state of Pennsylvania (population 12.8 million) which is the only area of the world that I know of where you can find age stratification for covid fatalities in 5 year buckets right up to age 110."
The credit strategist also reminds us of another observation he made back in the summer, namely that more people have died of covid over the age of 100 (135 people) in the state of Pennsylvania, than those under 45 (102). For comparison, 54.7% of Pennsylvania is under 45 and while we don’t have an centenarian count for this state, for the US it is 0.03% of the population.
"So, the latter group make up more fatalities than those under 45 years old even though this younger group is nearly 2,000 times bigger in size", he summarizes prompting him to ask the following $64 trillion questions:
- Could we find a better way of shielding the vulnerable while protecting the economy?
- Will vaccines be effective for those we are trying to protect the most. i.e. the elderly?
- Could we have acted more like parts of Asia, which seem to have cut the virus off at its source or was this unrealistic in the West?
- Was Sweden the most sustainable template or unrealistic for most larger economies?
As Reid concludes, "it will be fascinating to see how historians judge our collective response" considering that "very few Western economies have found the magic formula and the pending news from Germany brings this home as they have been one of the most successful at dealing with the virus so far."