• Exit strategyIt’s Time to Admit Our COVID-19 “Exit Strategy” Might Just Look Like a More Flexible Version of Lockdown

    As the COVID-19 curve starts to flatten in Australia and New Zealand, people are rightly wondering how we will roll back current lockdown policies. Australia’s federal health minister Greg Hunt says Australia is looking to South Korea, Japan and Singapore to inform our exit strategy. New Zealand is relaxing some measures from next week.Toby Phillips writes in The Conversation that a long-term solution – a vaccine – is many months, probably years, away. In the meantime, we must rely on social distancing policies to contain the epidemic – and begin to accept the idea that an “exit strategy” may really look more like a more flexible version of lockdown.

  • PerspectiveInternational Air Travel as an Indicator of COVID-19 Economic Recovery

    It seems likely that routine international air travel may not resume until the end of June at the earliest. Paul Rozenzweig writes that that, more than President Trump’s wishful thinking, is a true indicator of what economic recovery will look like. As any good student of law and economics would say, the best indicator of commercial expectations can be found in commercial enterprises—the market signals that indicate what businesses truly anticipate. And if any enterprise is likely to be a leading indicator of economic expectations, it seems that the airline industry is a good candidate.

  • COVID-19: UpdateAs Part of U.S. COVID-19 Reopening Steps, Midwest Governors Form Coalition

    Yesterday President Donald Trump during his daily coronavirus task force briefing will announce the first plans for reopening the economy and transitioning from widespread stay-at-home efforts. Yesterday during the briefing the president said America had likely passed the peak of its infections, and physical distancing measures were working. Joining governors on the West and East Coasts, seven Midwestern governors yesterday announced a new coalition to open the Midwest economic region. In a letter from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s office, she and the governors of Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky announced the partnership.

  • Future shocksCoronavirus Shows We Are Not at All Prepared for the Security threat of climate change

    By Kate Guy

    How might a single threat, even one deemed unlikely, spiral into an evolving global crisis which challenges the foundations of global security, economic stability and democratic governance, all in the matter of a few weeks? My research on threats to national security, governance and geopolitics has focused on exactly this question, albeit with a focus on the disruptive potential of climate change, rather than a novel coronavirus. At this stage in the COVID-19 situation, there are three primary lessons for a climate-changing future: the immense challenge of global coordination during a crisis, the potential for authoritarian emergency responses, and the spiraling danger of compounding shocks.

  • Post-disasterTools to Help Volunteers Do the Most Good after a Disaster

    In the wake of a disaster, many people want to help. Researchers have developed tools to help emergency response and relief managers coordinate volunteer efforts in order to do the most good. The researchers used advanced computational models to address these areas of uncertainty in order to develop guidelines, or rules of thumb, that emergency relief managers can use to help volunteers make the biggest difference.

  • The economyThe Normal Economy Is Never Coming Back

    The latest U.S. data proves the world is in its steepest freefall ever—and the old economic and political playbooks don’t apply.
    Adam Tooze writes in Foreign Policy that this collapse is not the result of a financial crisis. It is not even the direct result of the pandemic. The collapse is the result of a deliberate policy choice, which is itself a radical novelty. It is easier, it turns out, to stop an economy than it is to stimulate it. But the efforts that are being made to cushion the effects are themselves historically unprecedented. In the United States, the congressional stimulus package agreed within days of the shutdown is by far the largest in U.S. peacetime history. Across the world, there has been a move to open the purse strings. Fiscally conservative Germany has declared an emergency and removed its limits on public debt. Altogether, we are witnessing the largest combined fiscal effort launched since World War II. Its effects will make themselves felt in weeks and months to come. It is already clear that the first round may not be enough.

  • Perspective: Reopening the economyBoris Is Worried Lockdown Has Gone Too Far, but Only He Can End It

    The British government had asked Britons to stay at home, but Fraser Nelson writes in The Telegraph that government modelers did not expect such obedience: they expected workers to carry on and at least a million pupils to be left in school by parents. The deaths caused by COVID-19 are shocking, he writes, but so, too, are the effects of the lockdown. “Work is being done to add it all up and produce a figure for ‘avoidable deaths’ that could, in the long-term, be caused by lockdown. I’m told the early attempts have produced a figure of 150,000, far greater than those expected to die of COVID.” The decision about when and how to reopen the economy is a tough call to make, but “it’s a decision that will be better made sooner rather than later,” Nelson writes.

  • COVID-19 & the economyAcute & Chronic Economic Considerations of COVID-19

    By Rachel-Paige Casey

    Just as the high probability of a pandemic was foreseen so, too, were the economic effects of such an event. COVID-19 is no black swan, nor is it an event for which we were not given warning shots. In the last three years, the U.S. intelligence community, the Council of Economic Advisers, the Department of Homeland Security, among other government agencies, specifically and in disturbing detail warned of the grave risk a pandemic would pose to U.S. health and economic wellbeing – with the U.S. intelligence community specifically warning of a “novel strain of a virulent microbe that is easily transmissible between humans continues to be a major threat,” and listed pathogens H5N1 and H7N9 influenza and MERS-CoV as potential culprits. Even as we weather COVID-19, the questions remain as to when, not if, the next infectious disease will emerge. We were unprepared for COVID-19, but, hopefully, we will learn a few lessons from it. Specifically, to better prepare for the next pandemic, we need a plan to sustain our economy at the individual, household, and firm levels so that we are not forced to shut down, accrue more debt, and, perhaps, never recover from the economic losses the outbreak causes.

  • Post-pandemic recoverySandia Stimulates Marketplace Recovery with Free Technology Licenses

    Sandia National Laboratories has announced a new, fast-track licensing program to rapidly deploy technology to a marketplace reeling from the effects of COVID-19. The move is designed to support businesses facing widespread, often technical challenges resulting from the pandemic.

  • Post-pandemic recoveryThe Economic Recovery Won’t Only Be U-Shaped – It’ll Look Like a Wheelbarrow

    By Karl Schmedders, Jung Park, and Robert Earle

    The economic effects of the coronavirus crisis will be severe but short-lived, according to much of the recent commentary. The cautious revival in stock markets points in the same direction, while recent polling suggests that 75 percent of business people share this view. Most of them expect economic activity to rebound this year. We hope that this optimism is correct, but the economic recovery will most likely be long and slow. We are talking U-shaped at best – and probably more like a wheelbarrow than a wok.

  • Post-pandemic recoveryThe Data Speak: Stronger Pandemic Response Yields Better Economic Recovery

    By Peter Dizikes

    With much of the U.S. in shutdown mode to limit the spread of the COVID-19 disease, a debate has sprung up about when the country might “reopen” commerce, to limit economic fallout from the pandemic. But as a new study co-authored by an MIT economist shows, taking care of public health first is precisely what generates a stronger economic rebound later. His study of the 1918 flu pandemic shows U.S. cities which responded more aggressively in health terms also had better economic rebounds.

  • Disaster planningOnline Economic Decision Tool to Help Communities Plan for Disaster

    Preparing a community’s buildings and infrastructure for a hurricane or earthquake can be an incredibly complicated and costly endeavor. A new online tool from NIST could streamline this process and help decision makers invest in cost-effective measures to improve their community’s ability to mitigate, adapt to and recover from hazardous events.

  • ResilienceBuilding a Flood Resilient Future

    By Tom Almeroth-Williams

    Seven of the United Kingdom’s ten wettest years on record have occurred since 1998. Its wettest winter in history came in 2013, and the next wettest in 2015. In a single week in November 2019, 400 homes were flooded and 1,200 properties evacuated in northern England. The frequency and severity of these events is expected to increase as a result of climate change, meaning that many more communities will suffer their devastating effects. A new book shows how we can adapt the built and natural environment to be more flood resilient in the face of climate change.

  • ResilienceFrom Bush Fires to Terrorism: How Communities Become Resilient

    By Tony Robertson and Sandra Engstrom

    The world has watched in sympathy as Australia has come to terms with the ravages of the worst bush fires on record. Communities have been devastated by this crisis, but many have shown incredible resilience in banding together to support one another through the harrowing experience. Challenges to communities come in many guises – social, political, economic, climatic, technological and cultural. Our study looked at ways of building community resilience in response to extreme events.

  • WildfiresBefore We Rush to Rebuild after Fires, We Need to Think about Where and How

    By Mark Maund, Kim Maund, and Thayaparan Gajendran

    Public support for rebuilding in the same disaster affected places is often high. But as fire-fighting agencies are aware, our bushfires are increasing in size, intensity and duration, and a warming climate will continue to worsen these factors. We need to start being more strategic about where we rebuild homes and facilities lost to fire, and how.

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