The Spanish flu that spread close to the end of World War-I wiped out almost a tenth of the population at that time. The world had not done dealing with the aftermath of the World War and it was hit hard with another crisis.A hospital in Kansas during the Spanish flu epidemic in 1918. Image source: Otis Historical Archives, National Museum of Health and Medicine
It is believed that the world war had caused a loss of twenty million lives while the flu took a toll of more than fifty million lives.
Epidemics and Pandemics can be that brutal and devastating, more than what a war can inflict.
The Spanish flu was believed to have spread from the army containment camps. The cruciality of social distancing in dealing with epidemics surfaced just about the same time. The city of Pennsylvania had around 10,000 casualties from the flu while Saint Louis managed to keep it below a thousand. Saint Louis could have had the same fate had it not taken proactive measures to stop people from gathering. This had a lesson to teach the governments of the world. In light of the same incident, governments around the world have now imposed strict lockdown norms and quarantine measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. The epidemiology of the pandemic suggests that it will continue to spread and that there is still time for the vaccine to arrive. The only solution that remains is prevention and precaution.
The lockdown might as well help in flattening the curve of COVID spread, but it is causing a severe blow to the economy with each passing second. The COVID has become not just a global health crisis, but also a global economic crisis. And this surely did not happen in the blink of an eye. It was gradual. With each passing day of lockdown, the economy is getting impacted massively, making it harder to revive, each time.
The general strategy employed by any government to deal with a crisis is to spend and keep spending until the people can start to add to the economy again. But this is not a general crisis, and unprecedented situations require unprecedented measures.
It is to be acknowledged that while lockdown could be a strong weapon to deal with pandemic-spread, extending it is definitely not going to bring the economy on the ‘recovery’ track. After we are done with inventing vaccines, medicines, or antibodies for COVID, we’ll surely require one for the economy too.
The coronavirus might give the world economies a totally different shape. The post COVID world may see a major shift in the structure of the global economic powers as the US might lose its spot as the World’s biggest economy. The governments have already spent millions into dealing with this crisis. The SAARC nations have planned to infuse trillions so as to save the crippling world economy. Post-COVID time will see governments and economists adopt meticulous measures to revive the economy. The world is going to see a global economic recession after the pandemic. The Indian economy has been harmed on account of the disruption of the supply chain. As the World is not happy with China recovering from the crisis so soon after having put others into a more disastrous one. It is expected that many companies and firms from China will now begin to shift in India gradually.
As far as the general population is concerned, practicing personal hygiene, making most payments online, and restricting their outdoor time will become the new normal. The e-commerce industry is already flourishing as it sees an overwhelmingly large number of orders for groceries and staples and it will continue to grow after the corona crisis is over. Online video streaming has spiked ever since people quarantined themselves in their homes. Online education has seen a boost it had never seen in decades. Online education had never been imparted on such a scale ever before. Companies have seen a surge in the use of their VPNs as people use them to work from home.
Online conferencing software such as Microsoft Teams, Google Classroom, and Zoom has had a major boost to their growth. Online payments have spiked too, causing UPI and payment gateway companies to grow even in these times when businesses are finding it hard to even stand. Businesses, however, have absorbed the maximum impact as it sees widespread unemployment, stores shutting down, and retailers getting to streets. Corona seems to have caused almost everything that is online to prosper and dealt a severe blow to all others. The current COVID situation has brought fortunes to PPE manufacturers, mask manufacturers, and the pharmaceutical sector. However, hitherto, it appears that mostly the manufacturers in China have benefitted as it boasts of having the major supply chain of raw products required to manufacture medicines and PPE equipment. People are prone to vulnerability even after the Corona. So, the life after corona may witness people spending more time online, seldomly visiting marketplaces, and canceling most of their world-tour plans.
Governments worldwide have also learned that healthcare, though expensive, is something worth investing in and not something to spend cautiously in by making cuts. The scenario in India is such that the government spends a little over 1% of the GDP on healthcare which is the lowest globally.Source: National Health profile 2019
The COVID has brought to knees, even the countries with the most efficient, advanced, and best-in-class health care facility and infrastructure such as- the USA and Italy. Countries have come to realize that upgrading the health care is not the only way out.
They need strict norms and measures also. The post COVID situation could see the Indian political command improve the obsolete health care facility and infrastructure. This much-needed up-gradation is the need of the hour.
These trends would stick around for a long time even after the corona crisis is over and are set to become the new normal for the people in general and the countries as well.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Eastern Herald.