That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, here is one excerpt:
Most of all, there will be an exodus of elderly residents. New York City will become even more the province of young people, assuming the role that Berlin has long played in Germany. That will be good for the city’s long-run vitality. [TC: No, I am not saying this is a good thing overall.]
Rents and land prices are likely to fall. This is not necessarily because of a high number of deaths, a ghoulish and difficult detail to predict. Nonetheless many businesses will think twice about locating their headquarters in New York City, if only because senior managers tend to be relatively old. The net effect will be to make the city less attractive for businesses but more affordable for residents, most of all young people. It will be more like the New York of the 1970s and 1980s, with fear of infection replacing the fear of crime.
If Covid-19 survivors have immunity, as is the case with many viruses, the city’s social life may become very segregated. Survivors will have time-stamped immunity certificates and lead relatively active social lives. Those who have not had the virus will be far more Puritan — spending more time online, refusing to shake hands, biking rather than taking the subway. Different bars and even different parts of town will have reputations as better for one group or the other.
This kind of segregation is not an especially appealing prospect. Yet New York City, with its incredible choice and diversity, will be better suited to deal with it than will rural or suburban America. Of course if you haven’t been infected yet, and cannot prove immunity and get into the safe clubs and bars, you will be all the more scared to visit the riskier outlets available to you.
In fact many people, especially the young, may actually expose themselves to the virus deliberately, to join what is ostensibly the more fun-seeking crowd. Maybe there will be bars and parties for people in the “actively infected” phase.
I hope to return to the broader topic of our future in subsequent posts. And here is a new NBER piece that the coronavirus curve already is flattening in NYC.