The Corona Virus pandemic struck fast and left us almost helpless with little to none economic responses. Whole cities and countries were forced to close down in order to keep the population as healthy and far from the virus as possible. This decision and action were much needed but influenced negatively all economies of all continents.
Undoubtedly the economic impact is pretty big for all countries, but the most sensitive to “economic lockdown” are the small countries with slow and fragile economies like Bulgaria.
Bulgaria is a country which is one of those, that cannot afford to be locked down for a long time, or the financial crisis afterward will be devastating. At the moment thousands of small and medium enterprises are suffering to stay afloat and hundreds are closing down.
The consequence of that is not only the weakened economy but thousands of unemployed people lining up in front of the Bureau of Labor, hoping to find a way to receive some money after they have been removed from their place of work. The Bureau of Labor receives the money from the State, which therefore weakens the economy even further and limits the
financial instruments which the State can use to escape a financial crisis.
There are a lot of “solutions” proposed, but the one which our cluster finds most appropriate having in mind the economic situation in Bulgaria, is a division between two socio-economic groups. As known Cov-19 is most dangerous to people of 65+ years of age, and to those with the previous history of respiratory or chronic diseases (called “high-risk group” in the text below). When it comes to young, healthy individuals Cov-19 has low to none impact on their health and lives (called “low-risk group” in the text below). Therefore, those two groups should be identified and classified based on their characteristics.
The high-risk group and the low-risk group should be separated as much as possible. If living in the same household, there need to be separate rooms and no contact between the individuals. The mutual rooms – like the kitchen, should be disinfected after every use, so the possibility of transferring the virus from a surface gets limited. Good hygiene and using
disinfectants even masks inside of the house would decrease the spread of the virus between humans even more. The best-case scenario is for the length of the pandemic for the two risk groups to be completely separated and if possible, find a temporary different apartment to live in.
If living in different households the spread of the virus can be limited by having different hours in which the facilities like supermarkets and pharmacies are being visited. Even a further step would be the introduction of services that brings the needed food and medicines to the doorstep of the high-risk group completely limiting their need of going out of their house. In the need of use of public transport, there should be two different types of
vehicles – one for the high-risk group and one for low-risk group, again by separating each individual in the bus/metro/tram etc., in order for the virus to not be transmitted between individuals from the same risk group. Nonetheless, the use of public transport as a whole should be limited as much as possible. The use of parks and outdoor public spaces, shall not be forbidden for people, because of the multiple health benefits a walk in the park can have, but once again there should be specific time slots for the different socio-economic groups, and again people should have in mind their personal hygiene – wearing masks and gloves, keeping a distance from each other, and be cautious to not touch their faces before they go home and wash their hands.
Nonetheless, the use of public transport as a whole should be limited as much as possible. The use of parks and outdoor public spaces, shall not be forbidden for people, because of the multiple health benefits a walk in the park can have, but once again there should be specific time slots for the different socio-economic groups, and again people should have in mind their personal hygiene – wearing masks and gloves, keeping a distance from each other, and be cautious to not touch their faces before they go home and wash their hands.
Of course, the low-risk group again will be somehow limited, because the only places they will have the possibility to visit will be supermarkets, pharmacies, medical centers and their place of work. All of those places should be visited cautiously with the highest possible social distancing and the highest level of hygiene. On the working places the individuals’
mobility should be limited explicitly to his own desk, without the ability to reach or touch any object that is not necessary for his continuation of the work. Not only that but at any other place different than the household of the individual he or she should be using gloves, masks, specified clothes and any other means of protection, at all times. Public places like public transportation, streets, supermarkets, and any place of work should be disinfected every couple of hours to ensure the safety of the place. Other than the above-mentioned places, parks shall be permitted and once again the highest possible restrictions and health rules should be implemented for the safety of everyone.
What can be achieved by dividing successfully the population into two categories is economic stability brought by the low-risk group which now can afford to go back to their places of work and, and low Cov-19 mortality because now the high-risk group is pretty much isolated from the outside world. Because of the continuation of the work of the young healthy population, no more enterprises will be closed, no more jobs will be lost, and the State financial aid will decrease because the unemployment will decrease. Of course, now the working individuals will have the financial capacity to spend on goods and services which can be seen as a financial injection for the economy and bring some kind of equilibrium and push us far from recession.
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