Ireland's Economic and Social Research Institute have issued revised scenarios for economic activity in 2020. The projections have changed from gross domestic product increasing by around 3.5%, to a deep contraction in the order of 7.1%.
Some have argued already that 7.1% might be on the conservative side, and that the Irish economy, which is driven by exports and imports, could contract by an even greater extent. Might we even surpass the 9% contraction of 2009 in the depths of the Irish banking crisis?
The fallout from the crisis will be extensive and long-lasting. The economic, political and social ramifications will probably last years. Right now however, the focus is on getting from one day to the next. Sadly, another 10 people lost their lives yesterday in Ireland due to Covid-19. This brings the total number here to 19. We can only hope that the actions of the vast majority of Irish people, and people around the world, will help slow the spread of this virus, so than
Such actions have come at a cost. Restriction of movement requires sacrifices. Not seeing family, grandparents in particular, isn't easy. However, it is a price that is worth paying. Movements have been largely reduced to essential activities - basically trips to the supermarket or pharmacy.
The other form of movement encouraged is physical exercise. People have been advised to stay active by walking, jogging or running. This benefits both physical and mental health.
It seems to be very successful. I have noticed a marked increase in the number of people passing our house, at various speeds, over the past 2 weeks. In fact, the number seems to be growing daily. Not only have I witnessed this, but I have also been part of the increase.
Normally at this time of the year, my road running distance covered would be 0km. This only starts in mid to late April with our focus on the Cork City Marathon in early June. 2020 has been different. So far this year I have run nearly 26km in the past 9 days. I suspect this will grow in the weeks ahead, despite the cancellation of the Cork City Marathon until September.
The Covid-19 pandemic is going to leave many legacy effects. People might queue much further apart in shops in the years ahead. Handshakes might become a thing of the past. Working from home may become more frequent. Let's hope greater physical activity becomes habit and is retained long after this crisis passed. And pass it will.
On the 30th of September 1859, Abraham Lincoln recounted the following story:
It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: "And this, too, shall pass away." How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!