Axtria Blogs have continued to follow the uncertain course of the US economic recovery, like an “accordion” or repeating “W-shape” induced by the COVID-19 pandemic [1-2]. Newly released data and economist predictions now suggest that recovery of the US economy will take years (until 2022), not months, in returning to a pre-coronavirus economic level . Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has likewise cautioned that the US economy needs continued stimulus from Congress to maintain the recovery, something that appears unlikely before the presidential election, given the political stalemate between Democrats and Republicans .
Choosing Between Food and Medicine
The COVID-19 induced recession has taken another ominous turn as the Census Bureau recently reported that almost 30 million Americans responded in a survey that they did not have enough food to eat at some point during the week before July 21 . A record number of people are also going to food banks . The reason for this situation is the combination of COVID-19 mandated shutdowns with their resulting effects and the economic consequences from high unemployment generated from these business closures. This turn of events is not surprising as similar effects were seen during the Great Recession of 2007-2009. The economic fallout from the COVID-19 induced recession is much more severe, with the unemployment rate still above 10% (the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 10.2% rate for July 2020) . This means people are increasingly having to make tough choices about where to spend scarce dollars for necessity items like food, medicine, rent/mortgage, or essential utility bills.
“U.S. Economy Sees Record Downturn”
The headline on the record drop in U.S. GDP for Q2 2020 at an annual rate of 32.9% and 9.5% from the previous quarter, The Wall Street Journal, print published July 31, 2020 .
“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word 'crisis.' One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger--but recognize the opportunity.”
- John F Kennedy
The US pharmaceutical industry, which is racing to develop a vaccine to beat the novel coronavirus, is facing never-before-seen challenges. The hurdles include public policy mandates (e.g., shelter-in-place orders and closing of non-essential businesses) and sweeping restrictions placed on industry representatives from entering offices and hospitals to meet healthcare professionals (HCPs). These policy mandates and restrictions are causing pharmaceutical companies to rethink their go-to-market strategy.
“VIRUS WIPES OUT 5 YEARS OF ECONOMIC GROWTH”
The headline on the record drop in US GDP for Q2 2020 at an annual rate of 32.9% and 9.5% from the previous quarter, The New York Times, print published July 31, 2020.
Will the recovery of local economies from the coronavirus pandemic take the shape of a V, U, Nike Swoosh, or W? The “W” shape is gaining more acceptance from economists as they consider the recession at a national level.1,2 Here we consider the possibility that local economies may go through an "Accordion Effect": a series of W’s as they navigate the next several quarters. Each of them waxing and waning differently; an ensemble of accordions.
On June 27, 2020, CNN reported the somber news that five states: Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and even significantly low population density states like Utah and Idaho recorded their highest number of coronavirus cases in one day. Global deaths have reached half a million. 125,000 people have died in the United States.
Over the last several months, federal, state, and local governments as well as individual towns have made difficult decisions around applying and relaxing restrictions around social distancing to curb the spread of the pandemic. Leaders have been in the unenviable position of making difficult tradeoffs between sustaining public health and protecting the healthcare system from unmanageable spikes in COVID-19 cases, versus ramifications on the social and economic wellness of the population.
As of today, there is no vaccine or effective treatment for COVID-19. It is not known with certainty when one will be available. The approach of the fall and flu season will likely bring added burdens to the healthcare system with a further surge in COVID-19 cases. The degree to which these impacts happen will differ from geography to geography. A myriad of factors will affect the geographic variation in COVID-19 cases, including differences in policy decisions and the compliance of local populations to those policies and guidelines.
One likely possibility is that different geographies will go through an “Accordion Effect,” experiencing multiple cycles of reopening, reclosing, and reopening again until a vaccine becomes available, and the world starts recovering and moving toward a new equilibrium. The impact on local economies is also likely to oscillate during this uncertain period, as employers make decisions that shift in risk-appetite over time based on how their industry sector is evolving.
Omnichannel Marketing is Widely Used With Clear Benefits and Will Become More Essential in the Months to Come
Today, omnichannel marketing is largely accepted as a necessary and effective way of marketing and selling within many industries. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing, and shelter-in-place mandates, the use of digital channels has increased. In fact, online order volume from grocery merchants rose 210.1% from March 12 through March 15, 2020 compared with the same period a year earlier (per Rakuten Intelligence data).
The healthcare industry finds itself at the center of the coronavirus crisis, especially in terms of how patient care is managed and delivered. Meanwhile, most other companies are fathoming the reality of operating in the current uncertain and virtual world. Teladoc, a telehealth provider app in the US, reported 100,000 visits in seven days in March and a 24% increase in respiratory diagnosis compared to a year ago.1 Visits to doctors' offices have gone virtual. The latest data reflects continued growth in total retail prescriptions relative to 2019. Patients aged 65-plus show both sharp increases in prescription demand and continued therapy rates in recent weeks,1 driven by the need to stock-up on their prescriptions.
"When you control the supply of medicines, you control the world."
Senior Advisor to the Hastings Center, a US-based Bioethics Research Institute and author of
the book, China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America's Dependence on China for Medicine.
As of April 20, there are 2,440,528 confirmed coronavirus cases and 167,592 deaths globally. Currently, the U.S. continues as the hardest-hit country in the world, with 749,666 total cases – 238,831 of which are in the current epicenter, New York. In deciding timelines for reopening economies, officials from affected countries, including Italy, Spain, China, and the U.S., are relying on AI/ML-powered predictive models to determine next best actions. Given the unpredictability and rapidly-changing pandemic climate, AI/ML is necessary to overcome COVID-19 eventually.