Study findings show social distancing good for future economy

Reporter: Morgan Rynor Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News

Experts have long been telling the public to avoid getting close to others. Social distancing is key to stopping the coronavirus spread. And a new study finds that staying apart is actually good for the economy.

A study by University Chicago finds closing businesses and practicing social distancing is good for the future of the U.S. economy and, of course, the health of Americans.

“Obviously, you lose productive workers,” said Vishan Nigam, an economic researcher at University of Chicago. “You lose a lot of people young or old who have a lot of experience working in companies, in service industries but also knowledge industries. [COVID-19] affects everyone equally.”

And Tom Smythe, an FGCU finance professor, agrees with the study and the researchers behind it.

“What they’re really trying to demonstrate is essentially the lost productivity that we would have if the death rate associated with the virus continues to rise,” Smythe said.

For some people, New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street is how they measure the health of the economy. So many people are not feeling too good these days. But, the study from the University of Chicago offers hope.

Nigam told us that $8 trillion comes from the 1.1 million lives the U.S. expects will be saved because of social distancing. He believes a veteran workforce is the engine of economic recovery.

Nigam also said, when you have a comparison between money and something else, money almost always wins. Whereas, thinking of lives in terms of their economic worth upsets that whole argument.

“Really, what they’re trying to do is get people to see beyond any short-term discomfort and unpleasantness associated with social distancing that we’re all experiencing,” Smythe said.

And Smythe said the bounce back of the economy depends on there being as many healthy people returning to their roles.

“For us to have a successful recovery going forward in the quickest possible, we need as many productive people coming back into the economy as we can have,” Smythe said. “And social distancing is one of the ways to make that happen.

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