The outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) is a clear and present danger to public health and the U.S. economy, but businesses, along with Federal, State, and local governments, are already taking effective countermeasures to retard its spread. It is possible, if not actually likely, that the disease will become a still-dangerous but manageable nuisance by summer due to suppression of its effective transmission rate as opposed to availability of a vaccine.
The COVID-19 crisis has also revealed enormous risks in complex international supply chains, and China has openly threatened to cut off supplies of lifesaving drugs and their precursors on which our own pharmaceutical industries rely. This is a strong argument for reshoring vital American manufacturing capability, and American industrialists such as Frederick Winslow Taylor and Henry Ford addressed the issue of labor costs more than 100 years ago. The same off-the-shelf methods will work equally well today.
Social distancing countermeasures such as postponement and cancellation of conferences, closures of schools and colleges, and curtailment of international travel, meanwhile create opportunities for existing technology for virtual conferencing, distance education, and virtual tourism. These sectors can deliver value for customers (such as conference attendees, students, and tourists) even after coronavirus has been suppressed or defeated.