It's hard to overstate the negative impact the pandemic will have over the next few years.
In the short term, death is on the rise and not slowing down. And, it's plain to see the financial hardship on local businesses along with the people who depend on them for their livelihoods.
Beyond that there are those deemed essential workers who are unable to isolate themselves in the middle of a pandemic; the front-line health care workers who don't have the protection they need; those who need to work because their employer doesn't offer paid sick leave and they need the cash to survive; the record number of unemployed people who depended on their jobs for healthcare coverage; the undocumented workers who are critical to our society, but who aren't receiving any federal support.
These are all compounding issues and will only make it that much harder to flatten the curve, particularly in the US.
Then, more hardship awaits us down the road. There will be second and third-order effects and externalities, along with the weakening–if not the outright collapse–of systems and industries we've long assumed were stable. We're already seeing those effects in the collapse of once-heralded gig economy and any industry designed around a physical presence.
Politically, there's never been a better time to enact authoritarian measures of control under the guise of fighting a pandemic.
Everything is bad, and it's pretty clear we're not going to just go back to where we were. There's no question that something like proposed solutions like Universal Basic Income will be needed (not one that would replace existing, critical social safety net services).
But I think it's important to recognize that it's a stop gap for a broken system, not a feature add. It shouldn't be a permanent societal fixture.
If anything, it's a buffer for violent revolution, a mere release valve on a pressure cooker. As a policy, by itself it doesn't require anyone else–or the system itself–to change. There's no doubt about the practicality of it, but we're going to need much more, and we're going to need it sooner than later.