Coronavirus pandemic has shaken the world economy in a way no one could have ever fathomed, putting them on the brink of worst economic contraction. The global public health emergency has posed high social and economic costs as countries are adopting social distancing and lockdown measures all over the world to prevent the spread of the disease. Global trade, tourism, commerce, investment and supply are in a mess with cities in lockdowns and restrictions in place.
The coronavirus that originated in Wuhan district of China has affected 212 countries and territories around the world, infecting more than 3.5 million people and taking away more than 200,000 lives worldwide with cases still rising in few countries, at the time of writing. The final toll is expected to be far higher than the present numbers.
While the US continues to lead with more 1.1 million cases, European countries have been hardest hit with Italy, Spain, UK and France being the worst affected.
Let’s have a look at some global coronavirus scenario.
Coronavirus released from a lab in Wuhan?
Chinese biosafety lab has become the subject of US claims that it might be the holder of the coronavirus pandemic. US National Intelligence officers are investigating if the virus surfaced through contact with animals or through a release from a laboratory accidentally.
Also, the report obtained from diplomat cables indicated that almost two years ago in 2018, the United States science diplomats were told to pay a visit to the research lab in China. The diplomats sent two warnings to Washington about the lab as they were concerned about the safety and management weakness within the lab for its research on bat coronavirus. Officials suspected that the study could result in a new-Sars like pandemic.
The intelligence is still in the process to figure out if the outbreak started through an accident in the lab or contact with infected animals.
Italy starts reopening its economy
Italy has been the worst affected countries where the virus infected more than 2 lakh people with 28,884 deaths, second-highest death toll after the US. But as new infections and deaths have slowed down, PM Giuseppe Conte adopted an ease towards the lockdown slowly, which was based on the lower contagion level, noted last week.
Italians will be able to travel within regions to see relatives only if they wear masks, but schools, gyms and other commercial activities will be closed. Cafes and restaurants will be accessible for takeaways, while all travel between regions will be banned except for work, health or any emergency situations.
As the country enters phase 2 of the virus, more testing will be done as the risk of new coronavirus wave still remains in the country which led the government to reopen the economy with restrictions.
Cases in Russia still on a surge
While some European countries were looking to slow down restrictions, Russia urged its residents to stay at home. President Vladimir Putin warned that the country has still not crossed the peak.
Russia has reported 134,687 coronavirus cases so far and 1280 deaths. On 3 May, the country reported 10,633 new cases marking a new 1-day record surge. The country is preparing to set up temporary field hospitals in Moscow if infections continued to increase and also measures to tighten the restrictions can be taken up in the country.
The UK and Boris Johnson COVID-19 recovery
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was diagnosed with COVID-19 on 26 March but asserted that he had only mild symptoms. He failed to drive away symptoms after remaining in self-isolation for more than a week.
He was admitted to the hospital on 5 April for further testing, but he had to be moved to ICU within 24 hours period due to his worsening condition. The British Premier spent 3 days receiving oxygen support and was discharged on 12 April. Johnson’s situation was not getting better, but reality struck when doctors had to choose whether to put a tube in his windpipe or put him on a ventilator.
The minister confirmed that contingency plans were already put in place to announce his death and a strategy was ready to deal with a ‘death of Stalin’-type scenario in case he died. He paid tribute to the staff of state-run National Health Service who took care of him. He and his fiancée Carrie Symonds named their son after their grandfathers and two doctors that saved Johnson.
The British government has been slow in taking up preventive measures like closing schools, shutting businesses and restricting people’s movement than many other European nations but changed course when projections revealed that close to quarter of a million are at risk of death.
UK’s death toll reached to 28,446, as recorded on 4 May. The country is over with the peak phase, but the threat of a second wave still prevails. The UK still remains in a lockdown with PM Johnson to provide a possible way to get back the country to work.
Warren buffet promises US revival
Coronavirus has killed more than 67,000 people in US, highest death toll by far of any country.
On 2 May, Berkshire Hathaway held an AGM virtually from CHI Health Center in Omaha stating that the coronavirus is affecting human psychology, giving people stress and anxiety and causing them to lose directions. However, the billionaire investor stays convinced that America would recover from the pandemic, and nothing can stop the US.
Warren Buffett stated “Nothing can stop America. We can get through this.”
He started the meeting by discussing prior hard times he has witnessed and how America recovered from those eventually. Buffett also revealed that Berkshire Hathaway had sold its entire stake in the 4 airline stocks, namely Delta, Southwest, United and American, stating that it will take years for the airline industry to recover.
Coronavirus remains a threat to the global economy with the extent of destruction depending on the length and duration of the virus.