ROB ROSE: An unlikely tale of 1918
In predicting what a post-corona SA economy will look like, the Spanish flu suggests the recovery can begin in the most unlikely places
The Covid-19 outbreak, if history is any solace and if President Cyril Ramaphosa’s lockdown gets traction, will hopefully begin ebbing within a few weeks. In that (best case) scenario, we will emerge from our houses to see a devastated economy. With SA’s economy estimated to be set for a 23.5% contraction in the second quarter and a number of our 2.3-million small businesses on their knees, you can expect unemployment — already at 38% — to have soared to an even more frightening level.
Nor, in fact, are we entirely clear what a "post-corona" economy will look like. In terms of post-pandemic economies, we have the example of the 1918 Spanish flu, which swept through SA like a biblical plague, killing 300,000 people within two months, roughly 4.3% of the 6.8-million population at the time...