Capitalisn’t: Coronavirus—how to make an exit

Apr 14, 2020

Sections Economics Public Policy

Collections COVID-19 Crisis

Many local and national governments are still advising people to stay at home as much as possible to help stem the spread of COVID-19. But eventually, we will have to leave our homes. On this episode of the Capitalisn’t podcast, hosts Kate Waldock and Luigi Zingales debate the economic implications of and strategies for exiting shelter-in-place.

Luigi: Before we enter into the meat of our episode, let me point out one fact. We had several listeners reach out and say that the Payroll Protection Program that was implemented by the CARES program we discussed last week is not working, and they are having major problems reaching out or getting the attention of banks to get their loans through. 

So, we would like you to reach out to us on our Facebook page or, if you follow the ProMarket Twitter, through that channel, to tell us your story and what is working and what is not working in the CARES Act, and in particular the Payroll Protection Program, because this is something that is very dear to us as Capitalisn’t, but also extremely important for the country as a whole.

Kate: How’s it going, Luigi?

Luigi: Overall, fine. I think that it’s getting long.

Kate: I feel you on that front. How’s your daughter doing?

Luigi: That’s great news, I think she’s doing much better. She actually was able to get out and even do a little run, so that was exciting.

Kate: Oh, wow.

Luigi: Yeah.

Kate: OK. That’s fantastic news. So, it looks like you’re starting to see some green shoots.

Luigi: Oh, yes. Tuesday was a fantastic day here in Chicago, it was in the 80s. And some trees actually blossomed. Not only green shoots, but flowers.

Kate: First of all, I assumed that Chicago was always 20 degrees Fahrenheit, just all the time, and so that’s very surprising to me. But I was talking about the pandemic. Don’t you see some green shoots in terms of recovery? In New York, the growth in the number of infected is slowing down and in Washington state, the governor is actually sending back some ventilators, saying that the state doesn’t need them. So, do you see a light at the end of the tunnel?

Luigi: You’re right. Sorry. Some English expressions are not so easy for me sometimes. So, yes, that is definitely true, we see some improvement, at least in the number of infected, that is slowing down. And this is the first step to think about the future. 

Unfortunately, what we see is a decrease only in the rate of increase. We’re not seeing a substantial decline yet. In Italy, there are actual declines in the number of cases, which is a good sign. But I fear that it’s going to be a while before we get out and have a normal life.

Kate: On today’s episode, we’re going to talk about the economic aspect of exiting the coronavirus pandemic. We’re not epidemiologists, so we have nothing to contribute on the medical front of this issue, but we’re going to try to discuss the economic implications of an exit.

Luigi: This is Luigi Zingales at the University of Chicago.

Kate: And this is Kate Waldock from Georgetown University. 

You’re listening to Capitalisn’t, a podcast about what’s working in capitalism today.

Luigi: And, most importantly, what isn’t. In particular, what isn’t working here during the coronavirus epidemic.

Kate: So, Luigi, I think in considering what the right exit strategy is, we should also talk about what the worst-case scenario is.

Luigi: Let’s discuss how difficult it is to continue the shelter-in-place rule for multiple months. OK? And when I talk about multiple months, I think more than two or three. Historically, a quarantine would last for 40 days. Having a quarantine that lasts for 90, 120 days, it starts to, first of all, significantly impact how we can restart the economy. But also, it significantly impacts our way of living and our mental health. How many people will go nuts? And, unfortunately, how many cases of domestic abuse? 

But also, whatever errors we are making in distributing money to support the people who are left behind is going to be exacerbated over this longer period of time. And so, people will become much poorer. The question is, at some point they might not have enough to eat or enough to buy what is required to eat. So, imagine that we—I don’t think that this will ever happen—but imagine that we are stuck like this for a year.

Kate: I mean, if I’m stuck in this apartment for another year, then, yeah, as soon as the doors open I’m going straight to the club, I hate to say. 

But on a more serious note, you talk about people running out of money and running out of food. Going back to last week’s episode, I don’t think that would happen. I think what would happen is, as you said, the government would spend more. There would be a second stimulus package and a third. And I think that spending would be necessary in order to keep people alive and properly nourished. 

But at the same time, we would start to have to seriously consider the costs of all of that bailout. And at some point, the potential costs down the road about the cost of borrowing for the United States and whether we continue to be the global reserve currency, right? If we have so much debt that no one ever really wants to lend to us again, then that becomes incredibly problematic.

Luigi: That is a very important point. That’s a distributional cost. There is also the fact that the pie is shrinking. A lot of people are not working. And, yes, they can be supported by public money, but they’re not producing. So, everybody collectively is made worse off. And the longer this lasts, the larger this loss is going to be. We are going to restart again much poorer. It’s a bit like after a war in that a lot of destruction is taking place. And when you restart, you start much poorer.

Kate: So, let’s get back to how we’re going to exit this crisis. First, we should establish some facts. Luigi, what’s the current view?

Luigi: So, I read an interesting paper that was produced by Scott Gottlieb, a former FDA commissioner. He is a medical doctor, so, unlike me, he understands these things. And he’s trying to outline four potential phases. Phase one is where we are now, which is called slow the spread. You need to impose social distancing to slow the spread of the disease, because otherwise it will explode at an exponential rate and will overwhelm our health-care system. Then, once we reach that level—and we’re not there yet, we’re going to discuss what it takes to be there. But once you’re there, then you can think about reopening some states, some facilities, in a very targeted approach. This requires a lot of testing capacity. This requires a lot of behavioral changes. For example, a lot of disinfecting of all the places where we work all the time, et cetera, et cetera. And this will still require some physical distancing.

And then there is phase three, where we lift most of the restrictions. And the question is, does this phase requires some form of therapeutics? I’m not talking about a vaccine, which is many months if not years away, but some sort of medicine that will make coping with a disease less painful and less lethal. And then, of course, there is a fourth phase, which is how we avoid having this happen again in the future. 

But let’s focus, first of all, on the passage between phase one and phase two, what will determine this and what the economic challenges are in this phase.

Kate: Yeah, I mean, to be honest, as I was listening to you describe those phases, my thought was just, OK, I mean, that’s great, right? We slow the spread, we get people tested, we convince people to change their behaviors. We slow transmission, we reopen state by state slowly. 

Each of those things sounds very nice, but I just can’t imagine how we’re going to practically implement them. It still seems like we’re not testing enough people. It still seems like, you know, I go out and I see people not wearing masks, just talking regularly, touching everything, not disinfecting. It seems like the behavioral part, in particular, is going to be very hard to change. How will we know which states to open up? How will we know which areas can safely be reopened? And then, in terms of developing protective vaccines and potentially even treatments, all of this seems years down the road. So, isn’t all of this just too optimistic?

Luigi: As you notice, neither I nor Gottlieb put a timeframe on this. You’re raising an excellent point that for moving from phase one to phase two, we need to have a high level of compliance on the measures that will be maintained in phase two. Because it’s much easier to say, nobody moves, rather than say, you can move, but you have to follow this precaution. What is important is these precautions cannot really be enforced by the government, because there are too many people, it’s not easy to implement. So, you need to have some buy-in of the population. And, as you said, the buy-in seems to be lacking.

Kate: Yeah, I mean, I hate to say this, because I don’t want to sound unpatriotic. And this is just a collection of examples. But we do seem to have a particularly stubborn population when it comes to complying with policies that are best for society overall. 

One story that I think back on, I spent some time in Arizona when I graduated from college. And people were talking a lot about climate change there. Everyone was aware of it. But they were aware of it in the opposite direction, which was that everyone was too concerned with the excessive focus on climate change. And then it was just, like, “liberal snowflakes.” And so, what these guys would do—keep in mind, this is a very small sliver of the population—but they would go out and they would take their trucks into the desert and they would just rev the engines.

They would sit there and rev the engines to pollute more, because that was their way of pushing back against the people who cared too much about climate change. And I’m just worried that there’s going to be stuff like that when it comes to coronavirus, right? People who think that it’s not that dangerous, that you can get it and not get sick. And that we shouldn’t have shut down the economy. And so, they’re going to purposely flout social norms. I’m not very optimistic that we’ll be able to enforce anything and convince people to comply willingly.

Luigi: But there are always a few crazy people everywhere. Probably police or some form of legal enforcement can work against the crazy guys. But the problem is that you need a buy-in from a large fraction of the population to behave differently. So, I don’t think that there is much of that sense in the West. 

And my fear is, to some extent, our economic education has not really helped very much, because we train people to think very much as individualists. All economics is based on the individualistic assumption. You maximize your own utility without taking into consideration any sort of social good. So, the idea of sacrificing for a common good is completely absent in most of our models. And now there are some fringe parts of economics that bring that in, but it is absent from most of economics. And I think that, most importantly, most of the training we do for our students does not take that into consideration. And so, we almost train people to free-ride and to not think about the social good.

Kate: So, this point about individual utility maximization is interesting, because usually, to maximize your individual utility, you don’t need to think about the collective utility, right? Those two issues are separate. But now, we’re in a situation kind of like a big . . . I don’t know that the prisoner’s dilemma is the right setup, but a big game-theoretic model in which, if we all protect ourselves, if we all wear masks, then we’ll all be better off. If just some of us deviate, then that doesn’t help at all, and it just makes those of us who are complying worse off.

You’re right, I don’t think that we’re trained and have that much experience with situations like this, where we have to be thinking about maximizing the collective utility in order to maximize our individual utilities.

But it does seem like the one place where economics does touch on this is in spillover benefits. And goods that ought to be produced by the state. So, this came up on one of our last episodes, but if we start thinking that we should be maximizing the collective utility, doesn’t this touch or border on the idea that socialism is a better system?

Luigi: I think that the question is, how much of the social-welfare function could we put in people? Now, certainly at least one interpretation of what Marx was saying was that in a true socialist society, people don’t care about individual maximization, they care only about the social good. And then, you can have the true state of communism, in which everybody gives according to his ability and we seize according to his needs. That’s kind of one extreme. 

I’m not so sure that we can reach that extreme any time soon. I’m just saying that we are at the opposite end of the spectrum where people internalize none of the common good. And actually, I have to admit that Appelbaum might have been right. He was a guest here on the podcast. He mentioned the validity of military service. And having done military service, I hate to think that this has any validity. But in fact, it might be a good way to create a more social mentality.

So, if I may, I will tell you a story of what a jerk I was when I was young. Maybe people would say even today, but certainly when I was younger. I did my military service a little bit later, because I went through college. So, I was a bit older than most of the people there, and certainly more educated than most of the people there. One day, when I was still in the training camp, one guy threw an apple or leftover apple from the window of our barracks that ended up in a garden of a neighbor who complained. The captain came and said, if the person who threw the apple doesn’t come forward, everybody on this side of the barracks will be confined to the barracks for the next month. 

Kate: Geez. A month?

Luigi: I was trying to finish my dissertation, my undergraduate dissertation, so I was in a panic.

I said, this cannot be, I cannot be confined here for the next month. And so, I started thinking, and I put on my economist hat. And I said, OK, why don’t we create a pool? Everybody puts a little bit of money in the pool. Whoever puts in the least of this money collects all the money in the pool and reports himself as the guilty person. So, he is going to be punished, but he’s going to receive some money, and everybody else is better off. So, I thought this was a genius mechanism. OK? Unfortunately, the corporal got ahold of this idea and came to me, and he was brutal. 

And, I have to say, and this takes a lot of introspection to say, he was right and I was wrong. Because he made a point that we are here to fight together for a common cause. And you can’t think about a position in battle in which we auction who’s going to charge to take the next hill, because somebody’s going to die, and so, I’m going to pay somebody to go ahead of me. You can’t use the price mechanism. You have to use the authority mechanism in order to achieve a common good. And I think that mentality is very dangerous. It certainly brings, as we’ve seen historically, a lot of terrible extremes. But in an extreme situation like a pandemic, you need a little bit of that.

Kate: I’m just shocked that you tried to introduce a price mechanism into this weird situation where an apple was thrown in the garden and people were going to be locked up for a month. I’m impressed.

Luigi: But you don’t understand how painful . . . Actually, maybe now you do understand, because you’re locked up for more than a month. But there, there was nothing to do inside. It was basically like being in jail. The point I wanted to make is you need to build a common spirit that you do something for the team. This is important in every team. It’s important in every nation. I don’t think that we train people enough today to do that. And maybe the military service is not the right way to do it, but I think that we don’t do any alternative either. If we don’t have more social cohesion, we’re going to pay dearly with a much longer shelter-in-place order.

Let’s try to think more about the timing. What will it take you, Kate, to go out and feel confident?

Kate: That’s a good question. To be honest, I’m sort of hungering to go out pretty badly, right? I’m starting to get cabin fever. Would I go to the club right now? I really want to, but probably not.

Luigi: So, tell me, normally you go to the club. What do you do at the club?

Kate: I dance, Luigi. That’s what you’re supposed to do in the club.

Luigi: How often did you used to go dancing?

Kate: Like every weekend.

Luigi: Really? Every weekend you would go—

Kate: Yeah.

Luigi: Wow, that’s pretty cool.

Kate: Sorry, maybe I shouldn’t be exposing my inner party-animal self.

Luigi: No, it’s so beautiful to remember a time when this was possible. Hopefully, it’s coming back.

Kate: I know, right? I was thinking about it, and the places where I used to go, I’m wondering if they’re still economically viable if we open everything back up again. There are some places that just won’t attract any customers, won’t attract any clients, because people will be too scared, especially ones that involve large groups of people exercising or getting sweaty within a confined space. 

But, yeah, I went out yesterday. We couldn’t get groceries for a few days because all of the services were completely booked up, and so we were forced to go out in person and get groceries for the first time in two weeks. And I was maintaining the six-foot rule, wearing my mask and gloves. And even that felt absolutely terrifying, because there were people who weren’t complying with those standards. And so, right now, if everything were lifted, would I go to a restaurant? Absolutely not.

Luigi: And you are in the safest category, so you should be at the forefront of the people coming in. So, one idea that has been floated around, which I think has a lot of validity, is if we can start adding a passport of immunity. If it’s true, as most people think, that having had the disease gives you, at least in the short term, some immunity, I think it would be useful, very useful, to have an immunity patent or license.

Kate: I think that this is a great idea. I like the immunity passport, I don’t know, immunity bracelet concept. So, how do you take this logically further? So, there’s a month or so when the only people who can work are people who have already gotten coronavirus, and so they’re immune, while everyone else needs to stay home. And then, eventually, it goes away, because the only people who are actually interacting with others are people who aren’t carriers of the virus. So, that’s the idea, right?

Luigi: Yeah. The idea is to bring the diffusion low enough, then we can insert some tracing mechanisms as have been done in Taiwan or Korea to take care of subsequent re-explosion of the disease. So, the idea that we go to zero, I think, is wishful thinking, at least in the near term. But I think that if we can reduce that to a level that we can contain easily, and future outbreaks can be contained easily, I think that we can have a more normal life. Which does not mean, I’m sorry to report to you, Kate, going to great parties and dancing, unless you’re all immune. I think my daughter can go to the immune party. But—

Kate: Yeah, I’m kind of jealous.

Luigi: The other people will not. And then, we’re not going to go back to our usual life for a little while. The question is, can we go back to a more normal life in the next month or so?

Kate: Maybe I’m just more pessimistic, and I think that what’s going to end up happening is that the investment banks and the hedge funds will be the ones that hire all the immune people so that they can keep their trading operations open. And that there will still be a shortage of grocery-store workers and health-care workers.

Luigi: But you’re raising an excellent point that my military example suggests, which is that we are in a phase where decentralization doesn’t work. I am a strong supporter of competitive markets, but I also know the concept of externality, and in the presence of major externalities, competitive markets don’t deliver a good social outcome. And we are in that phase. We are in a phase in which I, with my behavior, if I am potentially infected, impact you in a major way. And I don’t pay a price for that cost, and so I don’t internalize it. And I think that in that situation, a bit more central organization is very valuable. And one way of centralizing is you require people that are immune to cover roles that are considered high priority from a societal point of view to fight the disease. Because, you’re right, otherwise we will have all the young people who are immune go and be traders, and nobody will be taking care of the elderly or taking care of the food supply, and so on and so forth.

So, one aspect that I’m now seeing very much discussed in all these exit plans, but I think is extremely, extremely important, and as Stigler Center director I’m particularly keen about, is the political economy of reopening. Because clearly there are a lot of interests at play. Businesses that, number one, don’t want to be shut. And, in the future, once we start to open up, there will be a race for every business to say, we are essential, and we want to be open before you. This particular business is more essential than this other business. Unfortunately, we don’t have good theories or good directives for which ones should go first. 

Absent these directives, I think it would be completely a lobbying game. So, earlier you mentioned traders. Traders will say, oh, our function is essential, so we want trading to take place. Now, most trading takes place electronically, so we probably don’t need that. But you get the point. How do we prevent this from becoming a completely political game where a few people gain enormous advantage over others?

Kate: I believe that if Trump were single-handedly in control of which businesses were deemed essential versus nonessential, the first group of people that he would deem essential would be whoever was responsible for making sure that the stock market stayed open. They would be at the very top of his list. And then, after that, it would be the people in the oil industry, and then everything else would be below it. 

But, look, I don’t think that there is a good way. I completely agree. The government deciding this business can be open and this business can’t is a complete nightmare. That’s just going to lead to a ton of rent extraction by the businesses that are better at lobbying. So, to the extent that we can get out of this situation . . . and of course, right now, who’s considered essential? For the most part it’s groceries and health-care providers. And, to the extent that we can keep it like that, we should. But once we start opening it up to the rest of the economy, then I think we’re screwed.

Luigi: First of all, even that definition is actually difficult to implement now. In Italy, they exempted some industrial sectors from the stay-in-place order because they were considered essential. And clearly people who are producing ventilators, you want them to work, right? And that’s a high-value activity. Now, as it happens, ventilators are produced by assembling parts from a lot of different parts. And so, if I am a factory that produces a small part that goes into a ventilator for one-tenth of my time or one-twentieth of my time, do I get to run at full capacity, or do I get to run for a twentieth of my time? In Italy, when they put in the stay-in-place order, they exempted some sectors and they forgot to put in the restriction. So, basically, every factory that has among its SIC code or NAICS code, which is the definition of the industrial sector, in the set stays open 100 percent. So, they take advantage very easily.

But there you can see this happening in the United States, too. And we economists should actually think about what is inefficient allocation. There should be an index of how risky, from the point of view of spreading, your job is. So, if you run a disco, for example, that’s clearly a very high risk of spreading. If you are fixing houses and you work alone, probably you’re not really risking a lot. So, that’s in the dimension of risk of spread. 

And then, there must be some measure of essentiality that is important in this situation. And, of course, you need input-output metrics, because there’s all this complicated interrelation in the economy. But out of that, you could have some guidelines. It would be highly imperfect. However, I think the advantage is that it at least is not completely driven by political pressure.

Kate: I’m sure there is some sort of guideline right now. Don’t you think so? I mean, it might just be an implicit guideline of some agency people who decided that this industry is important, this industry is not. But in the back of their minds, they were probably doing an analysis that involved risk of spread as well as need for sustenance. You’re just saying that we should do a better job of that.

Luigi: I think that you’re probably right that in the back of their minds there are these two considerations. I think there is a value in formalizing this, because in the back of our minds, whatever we do is essential. So, as you said, if you are a trader, you think that trading is the most essential thing. And sometimes it is a crucial aspect, in the sense that, if we did not have good prices for commodities, for example, maybe a lot of agriculture will not work in the same way, or a lot of production of food supply will not work out in the same way. And so, that could be disruptive. So, we need to think about this. The problem is that everybody thinks that what they’re doing is essential and it needs to be highly prioritized. So, we need some more objective ways to sort this out.

Kate: Yeah, look, I mean if it has to be done, then it should be done objectively and transparently. I agree with that. I just hope that it’s not too long before we get back to an economy where this doesn’t have to be done, where the government doesn’t have to decide who gets to open and who has to close.

Luigi: Oh, that is my wish, too. But I’m afraid that we are months away from that. So, there’s plenty of time for us economists to work on the project and come up with a decent solution. It is not something that is going to go away by the end of this month.

One of the steps that Israel, for example, has made and other countries, Korea, I think, and Taiwan have made as well, is to trace people electronically. And there are two ways. One, if you want the mildest one, is if you are quarantined, I follow your phone. That’s a way to reduce the cost of enforcement. But that is limited to people who are quarantined, so that’s only hit a limited part of society. A more massive plan, which is what the Israeli internal security forces used to have, and now they apply to the entire country, is that I trace you every minute of your life through your phone. So that if I discover that you are infected, I can go back and instantaneously trace everybody you’ve been in contact with for the last X number of days. Because we live constantly with our phones, that enables a very efficient tracing system. Now, it’s also a major loss of privacy for everybody. 

So, Kate, how do you feel about this trade-off?

Kate: Well, I mean, I think there’s legal hurdles that I am probably not equipped to fully explain. But I imagine that, let’s say, Apple or Google or Facebook would bring the standard objections to sharing that data with the government. And the government would say, we’re using special wartime powers to collect this data from you. And then, they would say, you can’t do that, we’re not in a war. And then it would go to the Supreme Court, and then it would take a while for this to all be worked out as to whether we could even get the data. And so, there’s just the practical issue of whether it’s even possible or enforceable in the United States.

As to whether it’s the correct thing to do, look, we know that tracing is effective in preventing the spread of the virus. But an additional concern that I have living or spending a lot of my time in New York City is that there are just public places where, so what if you trace? It just means that you were in contact with, like, 50 people. And so as soon as there is another hotspot or another outbreak, it just means that everyone’s going to have it. Because as long as you’re somebody who takes public transportation, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve been traced, it’s just that everyone’s constantly exposed to one another. 

So, I think that the tracing mechanism of shutting down the virus or the spread of the virus works in places where you have a car and you have a house, and there’s isolated atoms that are interacting with one another. But in very dense places like New York City, where the virus has been particularly problematic, it’s not even clear to me that tracing would help at all.

Luigi: If you were offered a trade-off, we lift the shelter-in-place order two weeks earlier if you’re willing to be traced for the next three months, would you take that bargain?

Kate: I just assume the government’s tracing me anyway, through some other means. Of course, I would take the bargain. I mean, I think that millennials are used to this world in which we have no idea who has access to our data, and we always run a very small probability that all of our data gets exposed, but we’re willing to do it anyway. And so, I don’t feel any particular sense of protection over my privacy. It’s just that I don’t think that it would really help in a big city like the one that I live in.

Luigi: It’s funny, because I actually am on the opposite end of the spectrum in the sense that I am very worried about, number one, my loss of privacy, but also the precedent that this sets. Because once a mechanism like this in place, it is difficult to go back. Now, I might subscribe to your view that this mechanism might already be in place. It’s just, we don’t know. It’s a bit like the NSA. We didn’t know that they were following so many people. And so, if that’s the case, you at least were getting something out of it rather than nothing. So, in that sense, it’s a net improvement. 

But in spite of my worry, I would be willing to make that trade-off, because I think it can be effective. And my only source of hope is that Seoul or Taipei or even the city of Singapore are very dense. So, it’s not that this has been tried in Sweden, where in Northern Sweden you have to drive for two hours to meet a neighbor. It has been experienced in places that are very, very highly densely populated, and it still seems to be working.

Kate: But Luigi, in normal times, how often do you use public transportation?

Luigi: In Chicago, I would say never. But in New York, very often.

Kate: Right. And so, you know how it is in New York that, when I’m here, I usually ride the subway twice a day. I think that’s pretty standard for most New Yorkers. Would tracing really help?

Luigi: Yeah, if you start from a sufficiently low number. I agree with you, at the current level of the disease, no F way that tracing can function. Right? Because you start with too high a number, so you have to trace the entire population of New York, and end of story. So, that’s the reason why we have the shelter-in-place. 

But imagine we go down to 1,000 cases in New York. Then, I think that would be possible. And at least it is worth trying. Before keeping this for another three months, that seems like a reasonable strategy to try.

Kate: So, we want to end on a positive note, or, remains to be seen, but try to think optimistically about how we can get out of this. So, let’s make a bet. Luigi, when do you think that things will start to go back to normal? And I guess I should be more specific about that. So, when do you think that shelter-in-place orders in the major cities will be lifted? And when do you think that everything will be completely back to normal such that the coronavirus is just a distant memory?

Luigi: Wow. If you want to make a serious bet, we need to be more precise than that. Back to normal, exactly the copy of what it was before? Probably never. But we don’t want to move backward, we want to move forward. So, let’s do this. When do you think that we can have a dinner in a restaurant in New York?

Kate: Are we going to do this? Is this going to be the stakes of our bet?

Luigi: It is the stake but also the criterion. And so, it’s self-enforcing because you cannot collect until you’re proven right.

Kate: That’s a good point. OK. Well, so, I think that it will be possible to go to a restaurant and have a meal by June 15. But I think that the restaurants will be severely limited in how many people they are going to be able to let in. I think it’s going to be a third of their prior capacity. Everyone’s going to have to sit super far apart. And so, it might not be worth it for restaurants to open up. And so, there might not be that many restaurants open. But that would be my prediction. What about you?

Luigi: That’s too bad, because I was thinking about around the same time, at the beginning of June. So, we agree on that. And I think that life will be more normal in July. Perfectly normal? I don’t know. But more normal in July. We need to disagree on some things. So, what else could . . . When are classes restarting? High school classes, which we both know nothing about.

Kate: Here, I’ll take an extreme view. I think that they’re still going to be virtual in the fall. What about you?

Luigi: I think high school classes will be back in the fall.