As the world struggles to react to the novel coronavirus that is sweeping the globe, fears are rising on a number of levels.
As factories and businesses have closed across Asia, markets everywhere have dropped dramatically. More than three trillion dollars were lost in the US stock market last week alone, and similar losses were seen around the globe.
Materials are not being produced on time or shipped when expected. Around the world, businesses waiting for products and materials are unable to meet their demands. The financial pain is being felt everywhere.
But even more frightening for many people, the virus appears to be spreading rapidly from person to person. The World Health Organization has warned of a global pandemic.
So how exactly will this scary new disease impact the upcoming presidential election?
In the first place, many of those who continue to support Donald Trump claim that they do so because of the “booming economy.” They say that while they dislike Trump’s behavior and wish he’d take it down a notch, they have to support him because of his great economic success.
A lot of them cite the record high stock market as proof that the economy is on a roll. So obviously a serious market crash (or “correction,” which is what they call a ten percent drop) would most likely cut into that support.
But it seems to me that there will be an even greater impact on the election if the virus spreads in the US.
With more than 27 million Americans still uninsured, a lot of people are going to be seriously worried about catching this new disease.
No one knows, as of this moment, how far the virus will spread. No one can say whether or not it will become an American epidemic. We can’t predict whether or not it will mutate and become even more dangerous.
We do know that Covid-19 is approximately twice as lethal as the flu. This year alone there have been up to 46,000 deaths related to the flu.
Image twice as many deaths. Imagine hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations.
Now imagine having to go into the hospital with a possibly deadly pneumonia from this new sickness. Picture yourself dealing with a ventilator, weeks of medications, weeks of recovery at home.
How are you feeling about your deductibles and co-pays now? How do you know that your insurance carrier will cover this brand new virus or the as yet undiscovered treatments and vaccines?
How are you feeling if you or someone you love is one of those millions of Americans with no insurance at all?
It seems to me that a lot more people are going to realize that universal healthcare is the only insurance plan that makes sense in a world of global travel and global pandemics.
If you ask me, Bernie Sanders is the only candidate in a position to benefit from the tragedy that is unfolding.
And if he does prevail, and the United States finally joins the rest of the world in providing healthcare to all of its citizens, we will all be the ones who truly see the benefit.