1 big thing ... What Matters 2020: Coronavirus edition
The pandemic's impact will reverberate long beyond today's calamities — lives lost, businesses crushed — to drive generational debates on each of the Axios "What Matters 2020" mega-topics, White House editor Margaret Talev writes.
- The Axios experts narrate these collisions:
Automation: The COVID-19 pandemic and the social distancing policies it demands have made human workers both potential victims and vectors of disease, Bryan Walsh reports.
- S0 we're likely to see an acceleration of the trend towards greater automation in the workplace — with industrial robots and AI agents online.
- Our thought bubble: If this results in human workers losing jobs to machines, as many experts expect, it could worsen an already terrible recession.
Misinformation: The pandemic is driving misinformation research that may serve as a roadmap for other episodes moving forward, Sara Fischer writes.
Health care costs: Millions of people have lost their health insurance as they’ve lost their jobs, health care editor Sam Baker reports.
- And though the government has stepped in to cover the cost of coronavirus care, that’s no help to people with chronic conditions, or who get sick with anything else.
China: The coronavirus has unraveled Washington's bipartisan consensus on China, Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian tells me.
- Until now, there was general agreement among leading Republicans and Democrats that America's policy must address China's hard authoritarian turn. Now they're split over Republicans' efforts to blame China for the pandemic.
Climate change: As the pandemic has overshadowed most other news, climate change has receded from its perch as a rising political topic, per Amy Harder.
- But expect climate change to be a key part of larger arguments Joe Biden makes against President Trump — accusing him of disavowing science of all kinds, and calling for clean energy to drive an economic recovery if he wins in November.
Capitalism: Countries with strong job protections and welfare states have had many fewer struggles than the U.S. when it comes to keeping workers employed, so that they can go immediately back to work when lockdowns are lifted, per Felix Salmon.
Demographics: The virus' widely disparate racial and ethnic impact will have a potentially transformative effect on Generation Z, and lasting implications for immigration policy, per Stef Kight.
- Graduates face a workforce with no jobs or internships for them.
- Immigration could slow because of the economic downturn.
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