by Scott Ronalds

My niece Facetimed us the other day to show off her 2020 Covid-19 Time Capsule. It was an elementary school project that showcased her coronavirus experience to date. The capsule included writing exercises, drawings, and lists to illustrate how she’s feeling, what activities are keeping her busy, and the things she’s doing to help stay connected. It also listed what she’s most excited to do when the isolation is over. The first page included a bold reminder from the teacher on why this wasn’t just any old make-work project: “YOU ARE LIVING THROUGH HISTORY RIGHT NOW”.


Spring 2020 will be one for the books. With much of the globe on lockdown, there’s no shortage of articles, blogs, op-eds, tweets, and Instagram posts to keep us informed, curious, engaged and enraged in this time capsule making period. If I were tasked with rounding up 10 articles that provide some colour for future generations on what the world was like in April 2020, with an eye on business and culture, here would be a few suggestions.

Making sense of a stock market that doesn’t make any sense. Stocks saw a precipitous drop in March yet rallied handsomely in April, even as the virus was wreaking havoc on the economy. Ritholtz Wealth Management’s Ben Carlson provides some context on why the stock market can be “one of the most confusing places on earth.”

Who pays for this? The U.S. Federal government will run a $3.8 trillion deficit this year, much of which is in the form of stimulus to help fight the impacts of the coronavirus. The final number will likely be much larger. Collaborative Fund’s Morgan Housel opines on how it will be paid off.

Bill Gates on how to fight future pandemics. Bill Gates gave a Ted Talk five years ago about global pandemics and how the world wasn’t prepared to take one on. In this piece in The Economist, he weighs in on three medical breakthroughs that are in the works, and what life may look like over the next year.

Kneading to relax? How coronavirus prompted a surge in stress baking. With much of the world confined to their homes, bread making has emerged as the baking project of choice. Everyone and their dog is working on a sourdough starter, and the trend has led to yeast and flour shortages in many countries. Katharine Gammon elaborates in The Guardian.

Coronavirus could trigger a second coming of the retail apocalypse. The retail industry — department stores and apparel companies in particular — is being hit especially hard. This Business Insider piece provides some colour on the nightmare that retail CEOs are living.

Too much oil: How a barrel came to be worth less than nothing. This New York Times article explains a bizarre situation that happened in the oil markets recently — negative prices.

Analyzing the legal hurdles of bringing back sports. Professional sports teams are losing millions of dollars, and the economic trickle-down effects of the stoppage in play are enormous. Sports Illustrated looks at the myriad of issues impacting the world of sport and the logistics of a return to the field/arena.

What if colleges don’t reopen until 2021? Universities shut down en masse this spring, moving classes online and cancelling all social and sporting events. With many schools facing both a public health and financial crisis, the college experience is sure to look much different next year. Adam Harris explains in The Atlantic.

A coronavirus fix that passes the smell test? Michael Lewis (of Moneyball, Liar’s Poker, and The Big Short fame) walks through a former Wall Street risk officer’s novel idea to help ‘sniff out’ the virus and slow its spread in this Bloomberg article.

For whiskey collectors, it’s unicorn season. For collectors and imbibers, the secondary whiskey market is hot, as restaurants and bars turn to selling rare and coveted bottles to stay afloat. Punch’s Aaron Goldfarb tells the story of around-the-block lineups and $40,000 bottles.

What would go in your capsule?