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This is how deeply the coronavirus changed our behaviour

The virus recession is expected to outstrip even the most pessimistic of early forecasts.
People lay on the grass in circles drawn to promote social distancing at Dolores Park in San Francisco, California, US, on Thursday, May 21, 2020. Image: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

In early 2020 a deadly microscopic predator sent humans into hiding and slammed the brakes on global commerce. Economic destruction like this hasn’t been seen since the Great Depression. Here we illustrate the new coronavirus’s effects on basic metrics such as gross domestic product and unemployment, the collapse in demand for fuel, the rapid adoption of telehealth, and the surge in liquor purchases. This is a new economy built on fear.


The virus recession is expected to outstrip even the most pessimistic of early forecasts. With strict lockdowns in place across many major economies and a growing recognition that it will be a long path back to normality, Bloomberg Economics has revised its estimate for global contraction in 2020 to -4%, from earlier forecasts of -0.2% in March and growth of 3.3% at the start of the year.


As the global economy contracts, businesses are reducing costs through temporary and permanent job cuts. In the US, the world’s biggest economy, the percentage of people who are unemployed exploded from a 50-year low in February to the highest level since the Great Depression in April. Furloughs in Europe are helping limit job losses. But the outlook remains bleak for the world’s workers.

Unemployment rises around the world

The International Monetary Fund forecasts a surge in the annual unemployment rates of developed economies, including the US Meanwhile, Germany and Japan are expected to fare better.

Off the Clock

The UN projects a widespread decline in hours worked as businesses shutter.

Europe Furloughs Huge Swaths of Its Workers

Millions have been temporarily laid off in Western Europe. The furloughs are designed to preserve jobs over the long run.

Women Will Suffer From the Gender Divide in Labour

Among workers in the informal economy, women hold a disproportionately large share of jobs in the fields most at risk of being affected by the pandemic, according to the International Labour Organisation. Worldwide, 53% of women in the informal economy are in sectors deemed to be at risk of high to medium-high impact from the pandemic, compared with 44% of their male counterparts.

Pocketbook Voters

Workers in US swing states have been hit hard before the election.

WFH Is for Top Earners

A majority of only the highest-paid US workers can do their jobs remotely.

Where Robots Could Seize the Moment

When the global recovery begins, some businesses will automate operations, leaving workers in the lurch. Countries such as South Africa, Argentina, and Italy face a substantial blow to growth and have a high vulnerability to automation. When the recovery comes, some workers may find their jobs taken by robots.

Varying Value of Care

Nurses face peril everywhere but are compensated differently around the world.


Lockdowns gutted demand for fuel, and a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia flooded the market, leading oil futures to turn negative in April. The historic move had dramatic consequences for companies and government balance sheets. Much now depends on whether the extreme changes to work, travel, and commerce are brief, temporary shifts or permanent readjustments.


Government efforts to keep people at home and slow the spread of the disease have stripped global oil demand.

Bottom of the Barrel

Excess crude drove US futures into negative prices for the first time ever.

US Drivers in Park, China in Gear

Americans stopped driving to the office and regularly filling up their tank. In China, people are driving more instead of taking public transportation.

Flyers Are Grounded

The number of US airline passengers plummeted as the virus spread.

Earth Catches a Break

With oil use down, global emissions are forecast to fall (but rally with the recovery).


The pandemic has transformed the way we spend money. At the beginning of April, US consumer confidence suffered a record weekly decline. Stores and malls are empty or closed, and online retailers are struggling with shortages. Instead of risking a visit to the doctor’s office, patients are starting to seek virtual advice. And many are self-medicating: Sales at UK alcohol stores jumped more than 30% in March.

Feeling Uneasy

Sentiment about the US economy, buying climate, and personal finances fell.

Drop in the Shop

Lockdowns and social distancing rules kept consumers home.

Panic-Buying Depleted Online Supplies

Online shopping has been plagued by shortages since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, according to data compiled by market-research firm Euromonitor International. Inventories of disinfectants sold on e-commerce platforms dwindled as the virus spread.

The doctor is online

The pandemic accelerated patient adoption of virtual care services.

Drinking Alone

Liquor stores, one of a few retail categories open under the UK’s lockdown, saw sales surge almost a third in March—the biggest monthly rise since January 2011.


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The world over reacted and destroyed the economy. Currently they blame Corona 19. But soon when the world sobers up they will blame governments and their advisors.

Agree but when the world sobers up governments will also realize just how easy it is to control their citizens.

As for behavioral change I don’t see much here. Where I live life seems normal just a lot more people doing nothing.

Imagine life when the civil service gets back to occupying desks, after two months “rest” they will be worse than ever before.

‘overreacted’ compared to what? Peru? You don’t think the lock down made the consequences mild for now? You really haven’t thought this through.

The lock down achieved nothing. What ever they wanted to achieve could have been achieved without a lock down. You have been brainwashed by ‘them’.

Yet, US equities are racing along as if the issues raised in this article do not exist. Total market cap to GDP is far more expensive than March 2000. The Schiller index will probBly go through 40 when the June quarter results are in.

I think some investors in the US think that regardless of the current (or future) economic conditions Uncle Sam won’t allow a single large corporate to fail, helicopter money will rain from the sky if needed and the too big to fail mantra will reign supreme.

‘…a deadly microscopic predator…’

IE. If you go outside you will die.

Bloomberg is mainstream media by definition and sheer size, influence. Look at these 4 words in your opening sentence, which defines your and every other mainstream outlet multi-daily coverage headlines and articles – you are just hell bent on keeping the global narrative and fear mongering.

Why not just for once write a balanced article.

We are repeatedly told that corona virus (more accurately would be covid 19, considering that there are 100`s of documented corona viruses) has caused this global economic train wreck. NO it has not. The global government coordinated insane lock down of the economies, is what has caused the current crash in the economies with much worst to come.

Based on what, flawed 80`s style modelling, which were false apocalyptic fear mongering at best and something intentionally more sinister at worst, such as that presented by Neil Ferguson, which have been ripped apart by the likes of prof Sunetra Gupta and many others academic giants. UK arguably has one of the worst covid situations in the world, made exponentially worst by the fact that the NHS has been run into the ground over the last 2 decades, with nearly 50,000 staff laid off over the last decade alone, yet the Tories arranged a weekly ‘clap for carers’ to try and cover up the massive short falls, of an institution that is about as effective as the east German medical system in the mid 80`s. However, having said that and even with the massive number of likely overstated deaths – yes overstated, as like many other countries in the top 6 death tolls in the world, in the first part of the ‘pandemic’ covid 19 testing was not available, so UK doctors were allowed best guess and were encouraged to place covid 19 on the death certificates.

How can a hospital system/s not be expected to fudge figures in their financial favour, such as those in New York where for each hospital submission under covid 19, they are granted $13k from the federal government (suspected covid 19 only required no test needed) and then when they are deemed necessary to place on a ventilator (a horrifically invasive and destructive procedure for healthy people) they are granted $39k (again no covid 19 test required)?

In the UK then the current debatable death toll stands at 40k. However, in the 1967/68 flu season (HK flu) the confirmed death toll was 81,000+. But rarely garnered a mention in the press other than once a week on page 13. The same flu season caused more than double the current debatable covid 19 figures, yet we left the economies alone.

You have seen a week of explosive rioting in various US cities – do you think this was due only to George Floyd? No for sure George Floyd was the lit match, that dropped into a petrol soaked tinder box of pent up frustrations, caused by global lock downs. Expect many more ‘George Floyd’ matches in the USA and all over the world, for you reap what you sow.

The truth undisputed. We are being programmed by the powers that be.

We are being bombarded with phrases like ” this is a new normal” and “life will never be the same”

Don’t fall for the psyop.

You said it all. The political system incentives irrationality, and punishes pragmatism and logical reasoning. The majority of voters fall back on their emotions because their ignorance does not allow any logic. When the individual cannot interpret, or understand facts, then an emotional response is the default option.

“The scientific spirit is of more value than its products, and irrationally held truths may be more harmful than reasoned errors.”
― Thomas Henry Huxley

Excellent comment. I’m not a conspiracy theorist but literally nothing about this global lock-down makes sense. Possibly the placing of significantly more ‘control & surveillance’? (now I sound like one!) but no … something is afoot. The only theory I have is that the global economy wad on the brink of catastrophe and that this COVID crisis served as a ‘controlled demolition’ as opposed to the ‘uncontrolled collapse’ of the globalised system? I’m not satisfied that anything seen in the mainstream media remotely satisfies why there was a global lock-down. I’d def appreciate some comment on this

1 JUNE 2020 @ 7:27 PM
I said it before covid 19 is social media,main media,incompetent goverment docters and academics hoax disease that scared the living daylights out of the people that trigged the stupid politicians to invoke draconian measures on the populace with far more health and economic ramifications that will kill more peoplet than just to let the virus ran free,with people older than 70 years and people with underlying conditions in locdown.There will be payback when people realised this was just a average flu with same average yearly mortality rate that the goverment will surely argue was thanks to their locdown.

Why is the thruth stop for moderation

End of comments.





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