When Does Covid-19 End? When Do the Masks Come Off?

Joe Biden made his first prime time speech after 50 days in office.  The majority of the speech was centered on saying the end of this nightmare is coming.  He stated that all adult Americans will be able to get the covid 19 shot in May.  Maybe if you are lucky and EVERYONE goes out and gets the shot “they” will let you maybe get together with a few family members for a barbeque on July 4th.  I don’t know what Bizarro world he lives in, but his speech signaled a couple of things that gave me an indication of how this all ends.

First, Covid-19 will be here forever.  It’s a virus that does what viruses do, spread.  Soon it will be viewed as the common cold, just as many other coronaviruses are.  Biden signaled that the end to masks, the end to business restraints will actually happen sooner than you think.  Here is how it will all go down.  Biden spent a good deal of time PLEADING with the audience to get their shot.  As we know it will be readily available in May.  What they don’t see coming is that the demand for the product will drop off the cliff in early April.  The people who want the shot will have had it within the next 3 weeks.  After that Biden and company will be forced to change either the carrot or the stick part of the equation.  Statistics are showing that 20-25% of Americans are not likely to get the shot.  We will find out very soon that the reality is that under the current incentives (carrot) or punishments (stick) a MUCH larger portion of American society won’t show up when their time comes.

A disease that mainly kills older, obese people is not one that scares young healthy people.  Once the statistics start rolling in that grandma is no longer dying of Covid and now is dying of other factors, like old age, the entire argument for masks, social distancing and getting the shot disappears.  So where is the incentive for a young healthy person to grab the shot?  Can you throw away your mask when you get the shot?  According to the administration and the CDC, no.  Just think about that, they are going to be begging young healthy adults to get something that won’t change their life and possibly is more dangerous to them than what they are trying to protect themselves from. 

In early April a few articles and primetime news stories are going to come out shaming and begging young healthy people to get the jab.  Newscasters are going to be mystified.  The articles are going to have headlines like, “why won’t people get the shot?”  The administration is going to find that the fear is gone as the statistics will show very few deaths, very small spread, and very few people in the hospital.  This is because the vaccine works.  It lowers the chance of death in old and obese people.  Without fear the administration needs to change the equation to get more people vaccinated.  Do they choose to increase the incentives, or do they choose to put in a more punitive solution?

Early April: The fear is gone, celebrities and the administration have tried pleading with the remaining (and large) percentage of people who have chosen to not get an appointment for a shot.  Companies get in the mix and start offering cash payments to get people off the fence.  They will find some success in this, but they still won’t get their dream of 90% of the population (and herd immunity).  Then they have to decide if they can politically dangle the dropping of masks to get people off the fence.  They can’t choose to offer that incentive, as it would further damage the fear gauge that they need to keep all of the people who have had the shot in line.  The last incentive is actually a punishment (the stick).  They would have to release the vaccine passport on everyone’s cell phone.  To get into a bar or restaurant you need to show your pass (show me your papers).  To get a hotel room, show me your pass.   To get on the plane, show me your pass.  To get on the subway or local bus, show me your pass.  Is the administration willing to go down that path for a disease that is no longer killing people (since all of the at risk people have had the vaccine)?

Without fear, without the political will to incentivize the remaining (over 35%) of the population, what will the administration do?

They will follow the lead of the great scholar, Michael Scott

Rather than declaring bankruptcy Biden will in his second prime time speech in the Middle of April dunk all over the American people with a speech labeled “I declare herd immunity”.

You heard it here first.  This panic ends when biden and the cdc declare herd immunity.  By that time with the fear gone, masks have been burned and most of the country back to normal, they will have no choice but to play along.

The end is in sight, it is much closer than you think (yes APRIL 2021).  More importantly, the ending will come as a shock as the biden administration takes credit and ends it all.

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Ross Landreth is an Accredited Senior Appraiser with a MBA in Finance.
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