We are not medical experts; we are financial planners. Therefore, we normally limit our observations to areas we know and understand. Unfortunately, people who appear on business channels do not show the same restraint. During the last weekend it came to our attention that a television “expert” claimed that soon the “United States would be just like Italy.” Our hearts go out to the Italian people, particularly the medical professionals who are trying to make “bricks without straw.”
We understand the seriousness of the pandemic, and recognize that it will unfold to different degrees in different places. Italy has a much older population and very different family structures than the United States. Italy also has far fewer intensive-care beds with respirators than the United States. According to Doug Saunders, writing in Canada’s Globe and Mail, “the world leaders in equipped-bed availability are the United States with 35 beds with ventilators for every 100,000 people, and Germany and Taiwan, with 30 each. Italy has about a dozen.”1 Of course, even in the United States, beds will not always be where they are needed most.
Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve is taking bold and much-needed steps to maintain a functioning financial system. Hopefully, our government will soon provide the necessary fiscal measures to help our citizens, businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and local governments as they need it.
Please note, we are practicing social distancing. We urge everyone to do so as well. Breaking the chain of contagion will limit the economic and health damage to our nation. It will also help us to more quickly begin the path to recovery. Some of us are working remotely and we are not having in-person meetings. If someone feels it is imperative to drop documents off to our office, or to pick something up, call us from your car and we will come out to you. We are confident that a united effort by all of us will defeat this threat.
1.) Saunders, Doug. "Opinion: Hospital bed shortages amid CORVID-19 expose the deadly cost of a lack of vision." The Globe & Mail, 03/13/2020. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-hospital-bed-shortages-amid-covid-19-expose-the-deadly-cost-of-a-lack/. Accessed 03/23/2020.