Canindia News

How coronavirus has changed us all

PRADIP RODRIGUES
PRADIP@CanIndia.com

Until recently, no one could imagine the world shutting down. We have seen that happen in war zones, specific regions and countries like in the case of China, but even as China literally quarantined large swaths of their country, no one thought about, leave alone, prepare for what we are experiencing and the worst is yet to come. Last weekend gave us the opportunity to review our priorities and start with something as basic and essentials- groceries. In Brampton, many South Asians who have lived through and experienced food shortages in India during times of bandhs, hartals and riots raced to pick up every last packet of milk, lentils and other grocery items, leaving little or nothing for others. There are complaints about some independent grocers who are taking advantage of the situation and over-charging for scarce and essential items. Hoarding with an eye of selling items and products later is an issue that is hard to detect and prosecute. As Canada winds down, businesses either shut down temporarily and the lucky get to work from home, those in the restaurant business and other areas of the service industry have to be content with surfing the internet and watching movie and television re-runs now that all new film and television productions have been suspended. Very little is being really written about the painful economic consequences of the corona pandemic and that is because most people are first of all preoccupied with keeping themselves safe. The government has been reassuring jittery Canadians that economic help is available. But for the hundreds of thousands working in the gig economy, freelancers and small business owners, that help may not be enough to stave off a wave of bankruptcies. Just this week, President Donald Trump warned that this crisis could stretch into the summer. Hundreds of thousands of jobs are at risk and it is already affecting every sector of the economy and will most certainly impact the real estate market. What happens when renters lose their jobs due to coronavirus and can’t make rent. What happens when an investor has difficulty paying down the mortgage of his or her second or third property because his own job or business has been affected? Should the government be coming to the aid of homeowners who risk losing their home or investors who risk defaulting and losing their investment? Either way the housing market will feel the impact in the months to come. On one hand, the air quality in heavily polluted cities and regions has never been so good as a result of factory closures and an economic shut-down. Environmentalists are cheering that outcome; economists however see that as an ominous sign. Less pollution would be widely welcomed if it was possible to live on love and fresh air!

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