KAMPALA 10th March 2020: reports indicate that more than 4,031 people have died of COVID-19 world-wide and over 110,000 infected with the virus as of today 10th March. China, where the virus was first reported in the Wuhan district, has recorded the most causalities followed by South Korea and Italy, which has now declared a lockdown in form of travel restrictions across the country. The virus is spreading faster across the world, see Map.
Two cases have been reported in Africa, and no confirmed death yet.
“In Africa, most people’s immune system is always ‘exercising’ as it fights air pollution, poor diet and contaminated water to mention but three.” This is the layman’s explanation of why the current novel coronavirus outbreak in the year 2019 (COVID-19) is yet to ravage Africa considering lack of disaster preparedness, general poor health facilities, and high population growth.
However, Scientists say it is just a question of time. Africa has close ties with China, which increases the continent’s exposure to the virus. The theory that the hot climate predominantly in sub-Saharan countries would ward off or even kill the virus has not yet been scientifically proved. Be it as it is, Africa is being spared for the time being.
It should stay so.The Covid-19 is becoming a pandemic. The online dictionary defines a ‘pandemic’ as “(of a disease) prevalent over a whole country or the world.” With over 45 countries in the world affected by the COVID-19, we can say it has reached… Click To Tweet
The world has survived so many pandemics and disasters. The COVID-19 shall old end. But at what cost?
The virus has tremendously changed our lifestyle and disrupted the global economy and ecosystem. Key global industries like aviation, tourism, education, health, entertainment, and manufacturing have been significantly affected. Any outbreak that leads to total country lockdown is not a joke.
Although the cost in terms of money may never be known, below is the estimated cost of the virus to the world.
The free movement of people has been halted. Many global conferences that bring together thinkers have been suspended. Conferences travels are the leading driver of business travels the world over. When one travels, they use hotel facilities, buy meals, pay for cabs, visit new places and generally spend money. Vox, an online news blog, reports that the cost to the global economy in canceled tech events like Facebooks F8 and Mobile World Congress, among several others is at the US $1billion, and counting.
Italy is a country with an estimated 60 million people. As I write this, the country is in total lockdown – meaning no one is free to travel to and out of the city, without official permission, and major gatherings are not allowed. If each person spends at least US $1 in moving from one place to another, the Italian economy could be losing the US $60 million per day as a result of the lock-down. This kind of cost to the economy is extremely high. Imagine money lost by businesses because people are afraid to patronize them. Hotels, shops, car rentals, transporters, stadiums, cinemas, religious institutions, and schools! The cost is unimaginable.
Now imagine the cost to the world due to restrictions in China – which has affected manufacturing and the global supply chain. For how long can the world continue with the current restrictions?
According to the United Nations, in addition to the unfortunate loss of human life, which is increasing by the day, the world economy is estimated to lose the US $1 trillion.
And that is not the bad news, the same story makes a Doomsday scenario, “in which the world economy grew at only 0.5 percent, would involve “a $2 trillion hit” to gross domestic product, adding that collapsing oil prices had been “a contributing factor to that growing sense of unease and panic”.”
We now live in a more connected world than ever before.
What happens in China, affects all of us regardless of where we live. The world has been shaken by the Covid-19. World leaders must join hands and prioritize spending in research and development, as well as financial support to other affected nations to improve their readiness to respond to manage the outbreak.
We are all shaken. It is these kinds of challenges that make the world great.
The cost increases every day the infection rate raises. All measures must be taken to bring it down. And it starts with you, the individual. Take all precautions not to spread the virus.
Speak out. Stay alive. Help is on the way.
Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.