• COVID
hagopbul
due to Covid - 19 :

in few days my financial lose will be about a month income if i accumulated the lose starting from 15 march to this day

my sibling which she is a teacher lost about 50% teaching hours that means 50% of her income

another sibling lost about a month income or better say 95% of one month income starting the calculation from 15 march to this day

best regards and stay safe

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Gold Member
I am an engineer and fortunately have been able to keep my job and can do most of my work from home. Most days I sit at a card-table setup in our living room and work at my laptop. I live in the northeast part of the US, where Covid-19 has done some damage, so my employer is being super conservative. Work that requires specialized equipment in laboratories now requires more careful scheduling; some spaces have multiple pieces of equipment close together, and now only a single person is allowed in those spaces at a time. The only way to get the work done is to have 24-hour schedules so people can sign up to reserve the spaces for all hours of the day and night.

It has become clear that we can certainly do more work from home than we have in the past, so I am hoping it becomes a little more common after the pandemic is over. However, it is also just as clear that we will always need at least a few days a week when we have a critical mass of our team at work - zoom meetings are no substitute for those spontaneous meetings at the office where a few engineers stand around a white-board and work on problems together.

jason

bhobba
MidgetDwarf
I am only working 5 hours a week at 20 dollar an hour before taxes. Needeless to say, I an doing badly. I needed $130 to pay my monthly credit card statement. However, I used the$130 to purchase 3 books: Munkres Topology (2nd Ed/Hardcover), Simmons Topology and Modern Analysis, and Visual Complex Analysis. I don't regret the decision lol. Good thing is that I own my home, and I have payed the property taxes.

hagopbul
I am an engineer and fortunately have been able to keep my job and can do most of my work from home. Most days I sit at a card-table setup in our living room and work at my laptop. I live in the northeast part of the US, where Covid-19 has done some damage, so my employer is being super conservative. Work that requires specialized equipment in laboratories now requires more careful scheduling; some spaces have multiple pieces of equipment close together, and now only a single person is allowed in those spaces at a time. The only way to get the work done is to have 24-hour schedules so people can sign up to reserve the spaces for all hours of the day and night.

It has become clear that we can certainly do more work from home than we have in the past, so I am hoping it becomes a little more common after the pandemic is over. However, it is also just as clear that we will always need at least a few days a week when we have a critical mass of our team at work - zoom meetings are no substitute for those spontaneous meetings at the office where a few engineers stand around a white-board and work on problems together.

jason

you can't work from home in real life ,the reason for that saying that companies or working organizations don't like the idea of sending work over the network , the network inside the company is deffrent than what your isp provide

you can't work from home in real life ,the reason for that saying that companies or working organizations don't like the idea of sending work over the network , the network inside the company is deffrent than what your isp provide

@hagopbul , what you state above is simply not true. There are many companies even prior to the pandemic that have had its employees working from home (I'm a statistician working in the pharma/biotech sector, and have been working from home over the past 10 years).

Many companies have invested in their IT infrastructure to allow for a more or less secure system to allow work to be sent across their corporate IT networks (that is in essence what allows for a virtual private network, or VPN).

hagopbul, jasonRF, Vanadium 50 and 1 other person
hagopbul
@hagopbul , what you state above is simply not true. There are many companies even prior to the pandemic that have had its employees working from home (I'm a statistician working in the pharma/biotech sector, and have been working from home over the past 10 years).

Many companies have invested in their IT infrastructure to allow for a more or less secure system to allow work to be sent across their corporate IT networks (that is in essence what allows for a virtual private network, or VPN).

Thank you for clarifying that , but could you indicated the percentage of population working from home prior to SARS-COV-2

Best regards
Hagop

Thank you for clarifying that , but could you indicated the percentage of population working from home prior to SARS-COV-2

Best regards
Hagop

That's an interesting question, and something for which I have not been able to find any reliable data on.

Not surprisingly, the rates will vary greatly by country and by industry sectors. Home-based or remote employment has always been quite common in the software industry and the IT sector, and is also common in areas like statistics/data science and consulting for the pharma/biotech sectors.

I would also suspect that home-based or remote employment is more common in countries with ready or easy access to high-speed Internet service. So countries like the US, Canada, western Europe, and perhaps certain countries in Asia, although again, let me state that this is just speculation on my part.

hagopbul
I have been working from home for just over two years. The company I work for is a very conservative, old time engineering firm. Ten or even five years ago none of the employees worked from home, because the the company executives, and on down to the mid-management, held hidebound beliefs dating back to the early 20th century -- they simply didn't believe people could or would perform unless they were under constant supervision. The newer generation coming into their power years has different ideas. Plus, the IT infrastructure we have now was unthinkable when I started 40 plus years ago.

Gold Member
The division I work for did a study, actually, asked management to determine, which of their employees could work at home full time, part time or very little, i.e. 1 day per week. The answers were shocking, 60% could work at home full time without affecting their productivity. The other 40% was split evenly between the part time and minimally part time.

I suspect that this is why we've been slow to get people coming back into the office and I think we'll never gert back to the old normal.

I wouldn't be surprised to see many companies encouraging work at home, allowing them to cut back on their office space footprint.

Mondayman
We have had a recent uptick in overdose deaths to deal with since late March. Still haven't had to respond to a Covid related death, strangely enough.

The division I work for did a study, actually, asked management to determine, which of their employees could work at home full time, part time or very little, i.e. 1 day per week. The answers were shocking, 60% could work at home full time without affecting their productivity. The other 40% was split evenly between the part time and minimally part time.

I suspect that this is why we've been slow to get people coming back into the office and I think we'll never gert back to the old normal.

And I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing either. If 60% of your employees could work from home full time without affecting their productivity, then having that choice is I think good for both employees and employers.

I have always suspected that the only reason more companies haven't embraced remote employment is due to innate conservatism in their organizations.

I have two main concerns with work-at-home.

(1) I think companies will lose some cohesiveness. It is hard to create personal relationships between employees via emails and instant messaging. Maybe this is more an issue for old dogs like me, who didn't grow up with email, twitter, and online dating.

(2) I learned a lot over the years through chance conversations in the hallway or in the break room. It is hard to imagine that work-at-home will have as many serendipitous opportunities for the employees to cross-pollinate. While this may not show up as lost "productivity" I think it could lead to stagnation. It could hurt innovation and creative problem solving.

Dr Transport, jasonRF, atyy and 1 other person
Staff Emeritus
I think that the loss of "hallway conversations" and their value is obvious to those who have experienced this. What used to be solved in 15 minutes with 3 people around a whiteboard becomes an hour minimum meeting with PowerPoint slides and a dozen people, nine of whom are unnecessary but don't want to be left out.

bhobba, mfb, hagopbul and 1 other person
nine of whom are unnecessary but don't want to be left out
Getting an Invite in Outlook is hard to ignore. Unless I'm really really busy I won't just not show up on the call / Webex.

hagopbul
hagopbul
What about the competition what if those companies try to tap into your ISP or vpn provider ? That is not hard when the employee are working from home

Staff Emeritus
What about the competition what if those companies try to tap into your ISP or vpn provider ?

I think that's unlikely in the vast majority of cases. If you are worried about industrial espionage at this scale, you should be worried about it even when working in offices.

hagopbul
Gold Member
Getting an Invite in Outlook is hard to ignore. Unless I'm really really busy I won't just not show up on the call / Webex.

That's why I listen in and do other work. That reminds me, I need to send an email tomorrow asking about the resolution of an issue.

gmax137
I have two main concerns with work-at-home.

(1) I think companies will lose some cohesiveness. It is hard to create personal relationships between employees via emails and instant messaging. Maybe this is more an issue for old dogs like me, who didn't grow up with email, twitter, and online dating.

(2) I learned a lot over the years through chance conversations in the hallway or in the break room. It is hard to imagine that work-at-home will have as many serendipitous opportunities for the employees to cross-pollinate. While this may not show up as lost "productivity" I think it could lead to stagnation. It could hurt innovation and creative problem solving.

As someone who has worked from home for the past decade, and who has previous to that worked in an office setting, my own take is that both of the concerns are less of an issue than it may initially seem.

On the first point, I do concede that forming relationships with your employees does take more deliberate effort, compared to the office setting where you have no choice but to engage with your co-workers. That being said, I have not found it especially difficult to form connections with my co-workers in a remote setting (especially in the pre-pandemic period where I would on occasion meet up physically with clients, which will happen again once the pandemic passes).

On the second point, it is indeed true that there are advantages in being in close proximity with those you work with on common projects, in terms of sharing ideas over lunch for example. That being said, I have found it fairly easy to casually share ideas with my co-workers without resorting to structured meetings - a quick phone call, or instant messaging between myself and multiple employees have worked well for me.

Staff Emeritus
Hertz Global Holdings (Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty), as many of you know, went bankrupt (Chapter 11) around three weeks ago, citing declining travel business during Covid.

Normally during a bankruptcy, bondholders are paid first, then other creditors, and if there is anything left, it goes to shareholders. Hertz says they are unlikely to pay back bondholders fully, and shareholders likely not at all. Unsurprisingly, the stock tanked, going to a low of 40 cents a share. That makes the company worth around $50M at that time. Five years ago it was a$10B company.

But there's a twist - Hertz asked the bankruptcy judge if they could issue up to 250M shares in new stock. The judge agreed, provided that Hertz made it clear that the stock is likely worthless.

There's another twist. The stock has moved up, not down. It peaked at $6.25. People are buying this stock like hotcakes. And by people, I mean people: institutional investors are not touching it. It's retail buying, and much of it is from a single platform: Robinhood. omigosh About a decade ago I left a job I didn't much like, with a toxic work environment & started a full time remote job. It was like I was suddenly on vacation all the time, from a stress level. atyy and rsk rsk As a teacher, the effect on me has been the same as on most other teachers, a switch to online learning not entirely without glitches, but for the most part smooth (and removing the god-awful commute). It resulted in our school term being extended by two weeks and we finally finished yesterday. Saying goodbye to students online was very strange and sad. Had we been on site there'd have been hugs and tears but online it was just a sad shrug and 'bye then'. Next week I should be moving country for a new job and the uncertainty regarding flights is my major stress right now - at the moment flights between the two countries are operating (having restarted just a week ago) but the curve is on the rise and further restrictions could be brought in at any time. Fingers crossed. atyy rsk As a teacher, the effect on me has been the same as on most other teachers, a switch to online learning not entirely without glitches, but for the most part smooth (and removing the god-awful commute). It resulted in our school term being extended by two weeks and we finally finished yesterday. Saying goodbye to students online was very strange and sad. Had we been on site there'd have been hugs and tears but online it was just a sad shrug and 'bye then'. Next week I should be moving country for a new job and the uncertainty regarding flights is my major stress right now - at the moment flights between the two countries are operating (having restarted just a week ago) but the curve is on the rise and further restrictions could be brought in at any time. Fingers crossed. Narrator: rsk did make it to the new country, though the flying was very different from normal. Evo and atyy Education Advisor Narrator: rsk did make it to the new country, though the flying was very different from normal. If you don't mind my asking, what new country are you in, and where did you fly in from? I am asking because I know that, as of this moment, American travelers (along with those from Brazil, Russia, and India) are barred from entering any EU country (due to the US having the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world). Last edited: Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Education Advisor "due to the US having the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world " By that logic, any of the 50 states should be OK then. wukunlin and russ_watters rsk If you don't mind my asking, what new country are you in, and where did you fly in from? I am asking I know that, as of this moment, American travelers (along with those from Brazil, Russia, and India) are barred from entering any EU country (due to the US having the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world). It was within the EU - I flew from Romania to Spain. Romania had just lifted restrictions on traveling from Spain the previous week so flights had only just restarted, and with the nº of new cases rising steeply, I was more than a bit anxious that either country might put the brakes on again. I have friends / ex-colleagues in various parts of the world hoping to travel in time for the new school year and the only thing certain right now is the uncertainty. Mentor An update on the general impact to the economy: The US 2nd Quarter GDP drop was 32.9%(!), which is roughly triple the previous worst: https://www.usatoday.com/story/mone...ate-32-9-q-2-amid-covid-19-crisis/5536647002/ Combined with the 5% drop in Q1, it's down about 50% more than it declined during the Great Depression. This is despite$2.5 trillion in federal stimulus/aid (and uncounted state aid). The Great Depression lasted roughly 10 years, so we're a long way from that in terms of total losses, but it's already double the total loss of the Great Recession. It's an historic economic calamity we've inflicted upon ourselves. I hope it was worth it.

Mentor
It's an historic economic calamity we've inflicted upon ourselves.
As opposed to what? You still didn't present a plausible plan that would have avoided it. Neither did anyone else, probably because there is no such thing.

The impact could have been much weaker, sure, see European countries for examples (although many of these differences are due to long-term policies that you can't introduce overnight), but a negligible impact is unrealistic.

Evo
Staff Emeritus
As opposed to what?

It is descriptive. It doesn't have to be opposed to anything.

russ_watters
Mentor
As opposed to what?
Huh? How can you even ask that? You just replied to a post of mine in a 3,800 post thread that has been dedicated to discussing exactly that for the past six months!
You still didn't present a plausible plan that would have avoided it. Neither did anyone else, probably because there is no such thing.
Huh? You don't believe that. You have been arguing the merits of various different approaches, real and hypothetical, in that thread. That the US botched the containment effort and could have done better may well be the only thing we've agreed on!
The impact could have been much weaker, sure, see European countries for examples...
Yah!
...but a negligible impact is unrealistic.
Who made that claim? Certainly not me.

 On reread, it looks like you're trying to create a false-dichotomy scenario. I don't believe nor have I ever claimed that it's all or nothing, and you don't believe it's all or nothing. And I've never claimed it is plausible for a negligible economic (or health) impact to have happened. There is nothing binary about this.

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Mentor
You said "inflicted upon ourselves". That implies some action that caused it, without that action it wouldn't have happened. Sure, you can argue that it wouldn't have happened if that unlucky Chinese person wouldn't have had their food that got them first infected, but I doubt that's what you meant.
That the US botched the containment effort and could have done better may well be the only thing we've agreed on!
Yes, and we still agree there. But the only thing the US inflicted upon itself is the detailed magnitude of the impact, not the fact that there was a massive impact.

Mentor
You said "inflicted upon ourselves". That implies some action that caused it...
Yes. I don't see this as a difficult concept. You order a restaurant to close, and as a result the restaurant loses income and goes out of business. It's a basic cause and effect.
...without that action it wouldn't have happened.
Most restaurants eventually go out of business, and there are host of reasons why that may be. If a restaurant is forced out of business by a lockdown today would have gone out of business anyway due to its own negative cashflow a year from now -- or an unfortunately timed case of bad lettuce, that's two separate cause-effect chains. It would be wrong to claim that the lockdown didn't harm the restaurant because it was going to go out of business next year anyway.

It's really important to deal with these cause-effect scenarios individually because if you mix them together you end up with an incomplete or just plain false understanding of what actually happens. In other words, you have to quantify them separately first in order to then compare them.

The problem I'm seeing is that people don't attempt to identify or quantify the disease impact itself, but rather simply assume its existence -- or, rather, simply assume it would be worse than the lockdown's impact.
Yes, and we still agree there. But the only thing the US inflicted upon itself is the detailed magnitude of the impact, not the fact that there was a massive impact.
That's an assumption based on your preconceived beliefs, not a conclusion based on facts and logic.

Mentor
The problem I'm seeing is that people don't attempt to identify or quantify the disease impact itself, but rather simply assume its existence -- or, rather, simply assume it would be worse than the lockdown's impact.

That's an assumption based on your preconceived beliefs, not a conclusion based on facts and logic.
I'll expand on this. ...and we discussed it in significant detail early in the pandemic.

We have a pandemic every year and attempts are made to quantify its economic impact. The flu infects on average 45,000,000 per year, kills an average of about 40,000 Americans a year and costs about $50 billion per year. That's both cost and loss. Lost wages due to lost work, lost consumption due to people staying home for a week...or dying, etc. Cost due to medical care. Medical care cost isn't loss, but let's assume it is for this model. This is with a vaccine that sometimes works, and near zero non-pharmaceutical interventions. If this scaled linearly for deaths, COVID could cost$500B if 400,000 people die (and I think we're headed in that direction), or by cases maybe $100B if we have 90 million cases. It's logical: 1 week of of lost wages due to being at home sick is about$1,000 and for 90 million cases, that's $90B (or maybe$180B if it is 2 weeks for COVID vs 1 week for flu).

The actual cost of COVID already exceeds the upper one by an order of magnitude.

When we discussed this early in the pandemic, the speculations on mechanisms for closing that order of magnitude or two gap involved overwhelmed hospitals and huge numbers of additional deaths, and basic societal collapse. You even cited those as recently as about a week ago. But that's just wild speculation. But you (and many others) consider it to be such an obvious/inevitable impact as to close a factor of 10 or 100 gap, that we don't even need to attempt to measure or model it. You/others -- even that popularly cited article about the 1918 flu -- even structure your sentences/frame the question to inexorably mix them. That's just absurdly irrational.

So yeah; if you define your threshold for "negligible" to be 1% or less, then yeah I think there are probably several mitigation strategies that could have rendered the economic impact negligible. Plausible? I'm not naive. I know we're never going to get a mandatory, automated contact tracing app in the US. But that doesn't mean I can't still prefer that we were a country morally/politically capable of it or blame it on the privacy extremists who are preventing it from happening.

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Mentor
By the way, I don't think I've heard anyone use the "d" word to describe the current economic situation yet. It isn't used very often (it's been 80 years), so it would be a really big deal to invoke it here. And the current economic calamity is fairly unique in its profile. But still, the NBER defines a "depression" as:
1. A decline in real GDP of 10% or more. Or:
2. A recession lasting more than 2 years. Note: for a depression, the end date is often considered when the GDP has recovered to the previous level whereas for a recession it is when the GDP has started rising again.

The current situation is characterized by how sharp and short (so far) it is. We've already had a 33%(!) drop in annualized GDP last quarter. And if we don't recover completely in Q3 (we won't), the annual GDP loss will exceed 10%. So we're in a depression. Henceforth named The COVID Depression.

Wait, here's one:
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/06/second-great-depression/613360/

That article is a month old. None of the policy recommendations for avoiding a Second Great Depression - including my favorite - have yet been implemented.

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Mentor
The problem I'm seeing is that people don't attempt to identify or quantify the disease impact itself, but rather simply assume its existence -- or, rather, simply assume it would be worse than the lockdown's impact.
People changed their behavior (including spending less) before any government measures happened in places where these government measures came late. We discussed this before, I see no need to repeat that. No economy anywhere survived this without impact. Even if you could magically keep the disease out of the country completely (without travel restrictions and their impact) you would still feel the effect of the overall economic downturn in the world. All this has been studied in detail.
That's an assumption based on your preconceived beliefs, not a conclusion based on facts and logic.
Of course it's based on facts. It's quite elementary, actually.
This is with a vaccine that sometimes works, and near zero non-pharmaceutical interventions.
Exactly. While the COVID-19 deaths are despite massive non-pharmaceutical interventions. Without measures that reduce the infection rate - at a cost of reducing GDP - the death toll would be much higher. This is not limited to government measures, this includes personal measures taken by people. Your extrapolations are not even trying to take this into account. And again you use the result after methods to reduce the infections to argue that the disease was never so bad anyway.

Edit: To make that point clearer, here is a toy example: Let's say our implausibly good accounting determines in the future that the direct cost of the disease was $500 billion and the indirect cost was$5 trillion. What does that tell us? On its own: Nothing. What would have been the direct cost of the disease if decisions would have been differently? Certainly a different number. In an absurd scenario where no one changes their behavior the direct cost would be much, much higher than it is now, that is certain.

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Ygggdrasil