Amid rumors of a national lock-down, and the National Guard already activated in states across the country, rumors are rife that the land of the free will soon be cordoned off behind an iron curtain of martial law.
Although there have been just 258 reported deaths from coronavirus in the United States, Pentagon officials announced Friday it is drafting plans to take over hotels, college campuses, sports facilities and other buildings “if necessary” to help hospitals accommodate patients.
“We would…take the building over in a period of an exceptionally short amount of days, and we would go in and turn this into an ICU-like facility,” Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite said in comments to the Wall Street Journal. The remarks come as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) warns that as many as 70,000 Americans could be confirmed as infected with coronavirus by the end of next week.
Boots are already on the ground in neighborhoods across the nation as 3,300 Air and Army National Guardsmen have been called up in some 30 states and US territories, including California and New York. In Baltimore, meanwhile, the scene was reminiscent of Hurricane Katrina, when thousands of people were forced to seek shelter inside of the Louisiana Superdome, as rows of National Guard Humvees were spotted outside of empty stadiums.
In California, meanwhile, where officials say 56 percent of the state – more than 20 million people, a figure that has been hotly disputed since just 1,195 positive cases and 23 deaths have been reported in the state thus far – could eventually be infected, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a “stay home” order for the state’s nearly 40 million residents. The clampdown includes the closure of various types of businesses, including dine-in restaurants, entertainment venues and public events and gatherings, according to the California state government website.
Meanwhile, large swaths of the international service sector – hotels and airlines particularly – are threatened with deep layoffs and even bankruptcies amid the CONVID19 pandemic. The Economic Policy Institute estimated that the outbreak could eliminate three million jobs by summer. Inevitably, millions of American will soon be feeling pain, potentially on a scale not seen since the Great Depression.
Considering the average American’s personal debt bubble, where an estimated 49% are living paycheck to paycheck, and that wages for the bottom 50% of college graduates (many of who are saddled with record-high tuition debt) are lower today than they were in 2000, and it is easy to understand how any sudden upsurge of unemployment will reverberate through the markets like an earthquake.