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When the world stops, did you want to get off? #coronavirus

Woke up with a sore throat, stuffed nose and cough. OMG, have I got the coronavirus????

After President Trump’s ban on Europeans last night, the coronavirus madness continues.

I know that coronavirus is boring – as it’s non-stop in the news, media, office and coffee shop – but it goes on … and on, and on, and on. I’ve never known anything like it. To be honest, in living memory, can you remember anything like this? Sure, SARS, Ebola and such like, but they didn’t shut down offices, cancel all conferences, make all airlines go bankrupt and stop the world.

Stop the world. I want to get off.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly how it feels. Coronavirus has stopped the world, and I’ve had to get off. Stuck at home with small children 24*7 is nowhere near as much fun as popping in every now and again between flights and giving them a cuddle. No wonder some folks say that the coronavirus will lead to a massive surge in divorces:

“This is going to destroy the marriages of the rich. All these husbands and wives who travel will now have to spend time with the person they’re married to.”

Hmmm …

The thing is that virtually all the conferences I usually go to are being postponed or cancelled. Lots of flights booked for March, April and May are no longer needed. Lots of hotel rooms I would have stayed in are defunct. Lots of entertainment I was looking forward to has gone. Concert stadiums, football stadiums, theatres and restaurants are suddenly all ghost towns.

This is the worst I can remember.

It means that the service economy is dead. The service economy is airlines, hospitality, entertainment, media and more. It’s all dead. It’s all shut down. It’s all stopped.

The only positive some would say is home delivery is surging, but that’s equally not the greatest. How many people have touched the hands of your Deliveroo drop-off? How many people have sat in your Uber Eats car? Who has the delivery guy touched?

It’s the thing of nightmares, as written about in many books and films. Dan Brown’s Inferno and Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion predicted all of this. In fact, a global pandemic has been forecast for half a century. It’s the reason why we all fear becoming zombies. One bite and you’re dead. One sneeze and you’re dead. One drop and you’re dead. One touch and you’re dead.

Truly scary and frightening.

Many are citing the 1981 book Edge of Darkness by Dean Koontz as predicting this, where he had a disease called Wuhan-400 that came out of Wuhan, but the similarities end there. His disease kills everyone. Coronavirus kills a small percentage but, as a friend pointed out, for the small percentage who die, think about their families and friends. It’s still a person. It’s still a human.

For me, it’s amazing how much is being shared about the disease and making incorrect information.

I’m sitting thinking about taking a flight and travelling, and have conflicting emotions. On the one hand, the chances of getting this virus are minimal. Today it’s a 0.001% chance. Even if I get it, the chances of becoming seriously ill from it are 1 in 5. Even if I become seriously ill from it, the chances of dying from it are small. So what’s to worry about?

Well, I have to worry about picking it up and having to self-isolate for two weeks, giving it to my friends, killing my family.

But where’s the balance?

Bearing in mind the above, the fact that all the meetings and conferencing business has cancelled everything is killing everything anyway. Killing businesses, murdering stock markets, driving people to bankruptcy, causing people to see their end of days … financially, if not physically.

What’s the solution?

I don’t know, but I don’t think it’s what we’re doing right now. Right now, everyone is saying we cannot afford to have any spread of this virus so stop the world, I want to get off. Is that the solution? I think it’s just adding to the problem. It’s spreading the virus to everyone who hasn’t got it. It’s spreading the virus to all the people who have bills to pay, families to feed, things to do and who need hope, not fear.

About Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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