Commentary / Coronavirus / Economic Developments / Employment / Politics

The Pandemic has Caused Big City Dwellers to Get Out of Town

pandemic

WASHINGTON, DC, June 26 — Big cities across America are at risk as the COVID pandemic continues to fuel a workforce exodus. 

According to economist Stephan Whitaker, ‘The net flow of people out of U.S. urban neighborhoods averaged nearly 28,000 people per month in March through September of the recent years 2017 to 2019. That number about doubled—to 56,000 people per month—in 2020 after the pandemic’s onset in March.

Cities like New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles have all experienced losses in populations. Some of the experts tell us that it is only a passing phase that we are going through, that it will take time, but things will return to normal as the pandemic disappears in our rearview mirrors. But that remains to be seen.

Some big cities will be hampered by costs of living that continue to rise at alarming rates. New York City is looking at $4 billion in new taxes that will be imposed on high-income individuals and corporations in a city with a large population of high-income individuals. It’s bound to encourage more residents to get out of town.

Even some Democrats are saying enough is enough. A couple of them who are running to replace Bill DeBlasio as Mayor in New York City have expressed their concerns. 

Candidate Ray McGuire warns, “What the state is considering will push companies and higher-income families out of the city, which will cost us tax revenue and jobs.” And Andrew Yang says it will cause more Big Apple citizens to “actually vote with their feet and head to Florida.” This from a progressive who ran for the presidency on a promise to send each and every American a check for $1,000 each and every month if they would cast their ballots for him. 

According to Bloomberg CityLab research, “Across the U.S., the number of people making moves that they defined as permanent was up a modest 3% between March 2020 and February 2021. Even with that increase, national migration rates are likely still at historic lows. But zoom in to a few of America’s densest and most expensive metro regions, and the picture is more dramatic, with the percentage increase in moves well into the double digits.”

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland did an in-depth study of the pandemic migration and came up with a few logical triggers for the big city exodus:

  • Living in a metropolis forces residence to live in close quarters, so to speak. It puts them at risk when you consider how easy it is to pass along the coronavirus in tight spaces like elevators and subways, and buses.

To minimize that risk, employers told employees that they could work from home to avoid the dangers of close contact. 

  • Workers didn’t have to commute, giving them an opportunity to find larger, more affordable suburban housing.
  • Consider also that city living was not what it used to be as restaurants and entertainment venues were forced to close their doors.
  • In addition, city streets were being taken over by violent protestors and the homeless at a time when funding for police was being reduced.

The question now is: what will the future bring? 

Indeed, it is hard, at best, to maintain an optimistic outlook. The disease is still with us, and while human nature encourages us to be positive going forward, the reality is that the pandemic has infused us with pessimism.  

There is a new normal for companies and their employees, thanks to the coronavirus. It requires businesses to pay attention to the needs of their workforce. For many of them, they’ll have to accept the fact that their employees will be working from home for some time to come. 

And that means bosses will need to acquire the skills for managing their companies in a virtual internet-based manner.

As one business consultant put it: “The coronavirus pandemic has forced every large company to move knowledge work from their offices to their employees’ homes. Right now, everyone is wondering how long it will take for the virus to subside and for work – and the economy – to return to normal. But there’s another question that corporate leaders need to ask: What might not and should not return to normal? What new ways of operating in the time of the virus might be superior to the old routines?”

Good advice considering that it ain’t over yet. It seems that a new, potentially stronger variant of the coronavirus known as the Delta variant has surfaced. And according to a report in Forbes, “Officials say the variant is responsible for more than 90% of the U.K.’s Covid-19 cases (as high as 96% in England), which have soared since the variant replaced the then-dominant Alpha strain and pushed the government to prolong pandemic restrictions.” 

This development underscores the need for those of us who have not yet gotten fully vaccinated to do so sooner than later. 

It has already migrated to 70 countries, including the U.S. “Eighteen percent of cases in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming, and about six percent of cases nationwide” have been identified as the Delta variant. Preliminary research indicates that existing vaccines are still effective against this new variation of the disease, according to a report published on the National Geographic Website. 

The study, which is still under review, “revealed that after both doses, the Pfizer vaccine showed 88 percent effectiveness against symptomatic disease caused by the Delta variant compared to 93 percent against the Alpha variant. Two doses of AstraZeneca vaccine were 66 percent effective against Alpha but only 60 percent against Delta. But with just single dose of either of the two vaccines, the vaccine effectiveness was only 51 percent against the Alpha variant compared to 33 percent against Delta.” 

The news might be disheartening at first glance, but Dr. Robert Wachter, chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, put it into perspective in an interview with PBS. “The great news is, when you’re fully vaccinated, the vaccines work spectacularly well, as they do against the original. But you can tell that it has some superpowers because the first dose of your vaccine, which was 80 percent effective for Pfizer and Moderna with the original virus, now appears to be only 30 or 35 percent effective. So, you need to be fully vaccinated in order to stave off this variant.”

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Kim
5 months ago

I saw the perfect property last week, with 3 sunny acres and 2 hours’ distance from the city suburbs where I now live. Perfect…but someone else thought so, too, before I was able to submit an offer. Something else will come along, eventually. Can’t wait to be more self-sufficient. Plus city politics drive me nuts. Our mayor and city council just voted themselves a 50% raise, with only 1 (Rep.) of 9 voting against it. Meanwhile, half of our restaurants went belly-up.

Enough of this Covid cr^p and the federal/state handouts and ridiculous lotteries if you get the shot. If you don’t want the shot, don’t get the shot. Your choice. But take care of yourselves if you do get sick. That’s the way it should be in a free society. Actions have consequences. But, da^^^^it, let us get back to our lives, our work, travel, and dinners out. Let’s get out there and shop the brick and mortar stores, and get back the “downtown vibe”. (Of course, I wouldn’t know what that is because I never go into the city. But even small towns have character and attractions.)

I did get the shot because of my age. Hearing what it can do to young people, I would not have gotten it if I were 20 or 30. There’s virtually no risk from the virus to the young, but complications of the shot have a much greater chance of sending someone to the emergency room.

Just curious–can you name a favorite small town near you? Maybe the AMAC writers can come up with some ideas.

Last edited 5 months ago by Kim
Nick
5 months ago
Reply to  Kim

What do you mean by “take care of yourself” if you get sick? Do you mean you should be responsible for treating your own infection, or that you should visit a health care provider who may well have to transfer you to a state-funded hospital if your condition is grave enough?

Should hospitals be required to spend extra time and money to treat people who could have been vaccinated for a fraction of that cost? Curious about your thoughts.

Kim
5 months ago
Reply to  Nick

The vaccination is available to anyone who wants one. A significant percentage (25-30%) of the U.S. population refuse to get the shots(s) under any circumstances, and those I’ve spoken with accept the fact that they might get the virus and recover, might die, and might not get it at all. They do not expect the country’s economy to be held hostage any longer for their sake. In other words, let the country open up, they said, and they’ll deal with the consequences.

I’m not saying they should be denied care if they do become sick. They said they’ll wear a mask or not wear a mask, and come and go as they please. They’ll take care of themselves, as they themselves said, and will accept the consequences. They know the odds of getting sick or dying. Still, no shots for them!

Yes, the vaccine is cheaper than treatment in a hospital, but, again, many people are refusing the shot under any circumstances. Would you mandate everyone get the shot even against their will? If they want to take the risk, then so be it. But they also are aware that, as most of the country gets vaxxed and is protected from the disease for an undetermined amount of time, they are less likely to get it.

Nick
5 months ago
Reply to  Kim

I would agree with you if the disease weren’t communicable. The problem is, one person refusing to get vaccinated for “personal reasons” is putting thousands of other people at risk who legitimately can’t get vaccinated — either because the vaccine isn’t available to them, or they have actual health conditions that are incompatible with it. Also, even though all the vaccines are quite effective, they cannot be 100% effective, so the number of people who contract the disease in spite of being vaccinated is going to be higher when more people are walking around unvaccinated.

So, we’re outside the realm of “personal responsibility” here. This is very different from someone refusing to wear their seatbelt, or wear sunscreen, etc.

Kim
5 months ago
Reply to  Nick

The common cold is communicable, the annual flu is communicable, ringworm, impetigo, and deer ticks are communicable. Again, should everyone be required to get a shot for every malady that comes along? We can build and have built immunity to many diseases simply by being exposed to the pathogens.

It’s no different from those who wear or don’t wear a seatbelt or use sunscreen. We own the choices we make; every choice is within the realm of personal responsibility. You can’t make someone get the shot if that person refuses it. That’s called tyranny, and I wouldn’t want to live in a society like that. We play the odds all the time. Some will win; others will lose. You yourself, referring to vaccines, said “…they cannot be 100% effective.” Some will lose. That’s the nature of living on this planet.

Kim
5 months ago
Reply to  Nick

The common cold is communicable, the annual flu is communicable, ringworm, impetigo, and deer ticks are communicable. Again, should everyone be required to get a shot for every malady that comes along? We can build and have built immunity to many diseases simply by being exposed to the pathogens.

It’s no different from those who wear or don’t wear a seatbelt or use sunscreen. We own the choices we make; every choice is within the realm of personal responsibility. You can’t make someone get the shot if that person refuses it. That’s called tyranny, and I wouldn’t want to live in a society like that. We play the odds all the time. Some will win; others will lose. You, yourself, referring to vaccines, said “…they cannot be 100% effective.” Some will lose. That’s the nature of living on this planet.

(Not sure if it posted.)

PaulE
5 months ago
Reply to  Kim

Excellent, well reasoned comment Kim. Something a lot of our so-called representatives and “leaders” could learn from.

Kim
5 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

Thanks, PaulE. When my neighbors and others who refuse to get the shot can accept the consequences, then it’s time to fully open up this country! All these continuing shutdowns were a huge mistake.

Nick
5 months ago
Reply to  Kim

When my neighbors and others who refuse to drive sober can accept the consequences, then it’s time to fully abolish the legal blood alcohol limit.

Kim
5 months ago
Reply to  Nick

Don’t be silly, Nick.

Nick
5 months ago
Reply to  Kim

Nah, I was just making a fair comparison to what you were saying. You’re the one being silly.

Bill on the Hill
5 months ago

AMAC & John Grimaldi… Shame on you for continuing the so-called vaccine propaganda machine…
It is NOT a vaccine, never was & never will be, period. All of these so-called vaccines are ” EXPERIMENTAL TREATMENTS not approved by the FDA, read the WARNING labels on the vials…
Look at the US mortality rates on these so-called vaccines, NOT good…
FACTS: Hydroxychloroquine & Ivermectin have been PROVEN cures for this virus when taken early on from day ( 1 )… People, i.e. Fauci, the pharmaceutical industry with the help of MSM have squashed this FACT from the very beginning & once again, Donald J. Trump was correct on this…
Because of this continued disinformation, the storyline here gets completely lost in the fog of bad journalism…Folks, you can do better than this ready for the trash bin story, sadly…
Bill on the Hill… :~)

Nick
5 months ago

Did Trump take hydroxychloroquine when he was sick? I certainly didn’t hear it mentioned. He was treated with monoclonal antibodies and remdesivir.

Esther
5 months ago
Reply to  Nick

I do not care how Trump was treated BUT the fact that Trump has encouraged people to take the vaccines mean I no longer trust the man. Wonder what they pumped him up with in that “hospital”!

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