May update from Spain…

May30

On Monday Valencia will move to Phase 2. The big change for me is the ability to do sport multiple times a day and without distance/time restrictions. And, kids will be allowed out anytime they want. The only remaining restriction is to not be outside for sport from 10 am to 12 pm and 7 pm to 8 pm so the 70+ demographic can have some exclusive time outside.

What else is new? Restaurants can open and be at 30% capacity indoors. They were allowed to open if they had a terrace a few weeks ago, but only at 50% capacity with space between tables. Most have stayed closed. The beach is going to open too. And, come July 1st Spain will open up foreign inbound/outbound travel.

What’s next for us?

We are thinking about doing a road trip to Southern France (once the borders reopen in July). We don’t plan to eat indoors, just outside. And, we plan to rent AirBNBs and cook most of our meals inside. We want to do a lot of hikes, eat some delicious things, see some history, and explore (I plan to do some bike rides!). We are still waiting to see if this makes sense, but it looks good so far.

Thoughts right now…

  • I look at what I see coming down the economic pipeline and I am dumbfounded with the stock market and some individual’s reactions. I do not think people see the absolute economic tsunami that is building and about to break over our heads. There is nothing to compare it with. With the data on Covid so far I do not see how you can keep operating any business that has people talking indoors and not expect this thing to spread like wildfire (schools, restaurants, airplanes, etc).  I am hopeful that contract tracing and massive testing could keep this from spreading… but so far I don’t see much promise there (esp with the Federal response in the USA).

  • I think the decision to shut down the economy to stop this from spreading was the right decision given the information we had at the time. That said, I am beginning to think that a response that pushes the young in front of this thing might make sense. It hurts me to say that… and I am still debating it in my head. Maybe by reopening schools, you infect the young and their parents who are the least likely to die from this. I don’t like it but I am having a hard time seeing other options right now in the USA… and possibly in Europe. The economy isn’t everything, but it annoys me when people think it is just about money.
  • I’ve been thinking about how restaurants could survive, can they partition off tables with massive individual filtration and airflow going up? Can governments push a bit of a Marshal plan to re-invent how we do public spaces?
  • I’ve been trying to look for a really good mask with a fan to provide better airflow. So far there are a few emerging but all sold out.
  • The 2020 USA election terrifies me. American society in its current state terrifies me. It is like spending 20 years watching a Volcano build and build… what is going to happen?
  • Watching a lot of people think we are going to go back to normal and that we beat this thing, and wondering what is going to happen politically and economically when they realize Covid isn’t going anywhere…
posted under covid 19 | Comments Off on May update from Spain…

Some things I am thinking about…

May15

What I find interesting about the current situation is that all the tools and knowledge we gained from past economic crises are not *super* helpful in our current situation. The modern globalized world has not really faced a global pandemic like this one. And, the way forward for the economy and society is a new path that is going to require experimentation.

 

It is easy to look at sectors like retail and restaurants that are getting destroyed at a speed we have never seen, but there are a lot of sectors that are slowly bleeding out. Taken as a whole this is as bad a situation as I could possibly imagine. Especially with a total lack of federal leadership in the USA. The EU has handled it better due to the design of their institutions but the division between the north and south is impacting a real response.

It is hard for me not to look at this situation and see parallels to the Great Depression and FDR revamping American society and government. Or, on a darker note the rise of Hitler and other dictators.

What worries me right now?

  • In March in the USA, 40% of households making less than $40k had lost a job. 33% of households in the USA make less than $40k.
  • Real unemployment right now is probably ~25%.

That is a crazy amount of pain inflicted on a lot of people and communities. And, if we undo the lockdown too soon we make it worse because Covid comes back and we have to start over… causing even more economic damage. And, if we don’t convince people it is safe they won’t go out.

Next, you have all the chain reactions that are slowly going to make things worse and take a long time to shake out the economic impacts. Especially when these are all happening at once instead of one sector is really hurt and the rest kinda ok.

  • Restaurants – A lot of restaurants are not going to open, and those that do have to figure out how to survive on xx% less revenue (even if states/cities open up the lack of trust in the gov and fear of covid is going to hurt). A lot will declare bankruptcy, thus making it near impossible for those owners to start a new business. All the industries that supply those restaurants suddenly might have 25% less business, food suppliers, wine/liquor suppliers, linin services, etc. They layoff people, people have less money, repeat, repeat.
  • Retail – The same problem.
  • Tourism and Travel Related – Just decimated. Airlines will be back but at what % compared to last year? 25%? 50%? And, for how long. Once again, more layoffs. Hotels too. Think of all the ripple effects downstream from those… This is a huge part of each State’s income too.
  • Hospitals – They are all going to lose massive amounts of money. All their elective surgeries have disappeared, at what pace they come back is going to be interesting. And, with the USA’s poor response it is likely they will have 20% of their hospital for Covid and as things spike watch everything happen again. Stories of nurses and doctors being laid off or having pay reduced during this crisis are emerging. Covid doesn’t pay the bills.
  • Doctors – Small practices don’t have many patients right now. They are going to start going out of business or having significant revenue declines.
  • Health Care Premiums – I am curious about what premiums will cost for 2021. The fun thing is we should find out a few weeks before the election I believe :). A ton of elective surgeries are being put off, but what is Covid care costing and will see the normal 3% to 5% increase. Or a 20% increase?
  • States – Income is down and they have balanced budget amendments and obligations. Goodbye teachers, cops, and firemen. More layoffs.
  • Universities – Loosing foreign and domestic students because they can’t reopen classes. Some could need States to step in to fill the holes.
  • Daycare – Absolutely vital for working parents, and already insanely unaffordable. How many are not going to be able to stay in business and reopen? How many are losing kids now both from fear and to cut down on costs? 40% of households making less than $50k a year use a daycare, a big chunk of them just lost jobs, can they still pay that bill or are we about to lose a ton of people from the labor market.
  • Oil – Ditto.
  • Trucking / Shipping – Duh.
  • Landlords – A lot of missed rent payments, a lot of missed mortgages. A huge swath of landlords are just normal people not big businesses and that is going to impact their spending and ripple out.

Things I am thinking about what comes next…

  • Are we going to nationalize the health care system in the USA? Or will they just keep giving it money they create and ignoring the nightmare that is our medical system?
  • The 2020 election…
  • Can the EU pull their shit together and build an actual union, or just kinda limp along until someone else tries to leave.

My hope is that Covid just kinda mutates and goes away like the magical ending of a Michael Crichton novel. Or, maybe we will get a true scientific breakthrough and get a vaccine to market that breaks all previous speed records. Or, maybe we can’t make a vaccine and we are living with this thing for a long time.

Maybe you live in interesting times and all of that.

posted under covid 19, Politics | Comments Off on Some things I am thinking about…

End of a 60 day warm-up + push-up challenge.

May3

I just finished a 60-day self-challenge to do a daily warmup every day except Sunday. It usually took about 15 to 20 minutes and it def made me less stiff. I didn’t always do it in the morning, but I could tell a difference when I did (less stiff/sore).

As part of this, I did 72 medicine ball pushups every day (not in a row). I was still trying to work out 3 times a week, so there were days the pushups were harder and I was sore. And, by the end, I was bored with pushups and not looking forward to them. I am going to keep it going, try to get it done first thing in the morning, and switch up the exercises a bit. The goal is just to warm up my body every morning with some stretches / usage.

posted under Fitness & Sports | Comments Off on End of a 60 day warm-up + push-up challenge.

Spain’s quarantine eases up… now what?

May3

Spain reopened on Saturday to allow solo sport and some walks for adults. I got a nice 2-hour ride in and it was glorious :). Lindsey took a long walk in the evening, and Calico got to go out in the late afternoon. It was pretty busy as everyone was excited.

I am not sure what the plan is at this point, it seems unclear globally. I realize there are a TON of unknowns about the virus, but I am surprised how unclear the messaging is.

  • Do they want to manage ICU capacity while keeping an eye on the exponential growth of the virus?
  • Do they really think they can reopen without this thing going above R1?
  • Are they just hoping the mortality rate is 0.5% once more studies come out and they aim for herd immunity slowly to keep it below R1?
  • Do they want young people to get it while old people stay home to get faster herd immunity?

What is the plan? :)

Keeping it below R1 seems highly unrealistic with “lite” social distancing. We’ve been in 6 weeks of total lockdown in Spain and it is still hovering around R0.7 to R1.1. If you re-open the question isn’t will it go above R1, it is by how much IMO. The minute you open schools this thing is going to start spreading.

Our big decision right now is if we want to get a treadmill before the next lockdown.

And, a new bike I got on May 15th for Zwift usage (my bike won’t fit)…

posted under covid 19 | Comments Off on Spain’s quarantine eases up… now what?

This is bwb’s personal blog so he can share his thoughts with the world, however scary or silly they might be. Plus family and friends can track what I am up too, and where I am in the world.

I am pretty simple. I love Mangos. I love the ocean, although mostly at sunset as I’m a ginger. I love to travel, eat exotic food, read, and use my imagination. I love creating and developing ideas into businesses, understanding how all businesses work, and building cool stuff. I am a globalist and see the entire world as my responsibility and playground. And, I am married to an amazing woman who makes life even more fun :)! And, we are now the proud parents of Calico Jack :).


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