Stories 28 Mar, 2020

COVID-19: What would happen after 6 months?

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According to researchers at the UW's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), they took social distancing into account for their forecast. They predicted that due to the coronavirus pandemic, more than 80,000 Americans would die over the next four months. So, what about Malaysia? JP Morgan believes that Malaysia has already entered the "acceleration phase" where COVID-19 infections could reach the peak by the middle of next month. They stated that they expect approximately 6300 confirmed cases during the middle of April, what a shock! 

The COVID-19 hit us hard, heavily impact our lifestyle, many nonessential businesses, educational institutions and large-scale gathering in any form have all been shuttered until further notice. No one dares to think about it, no comments, everything depends on the spreading rate, death rate, mortality rate and confirmed cases. At this point, we could never stop this virus as we do not have a cure. However, practicing self-isolation, quarantines and social distancing protocols could help in slowing down the spread and transmission of the virus, giving doctors and nurses a break, buying scientists some time to find and work for a cure. 

The COVID-19 impacts us in many other ways, other than sicknesses. 

IMPACT ON ECONOMY

Nowadays, due to the multiple waves of COVID-19, many countries took safety precautions such as lockdowns, while Malaysia also introduced the Movement Control Order (MCO). Due to the MCO, employers couldn't continue their business, employees couldn't work and now there is a slowdown in the economy. This COVID-19 outbreak has generated both demand and supply shocks reverberating across the global economy. There is no demand for any other things except food, mask and daily essentials. Non-essential business are facing a downward sloping economy,  and could even face a trough. Of course, on the other hand, this would be an expansion for mask, hand sanitizers, food and daily essentials business, and perhaps the peak as well. 

Early indications of COVID-19's effect on the Chinese economy are more awful than at first conjecture. China's overviews on the manufacturing and services sectors plunged to record lows in February, vehicle deals sank a record 80 percent, and China's fares fell 17.2 percent in January and February. Now, the same goes to Malaysia and other countries out there. 

IMPACT ON DAILY LIFE

Although currently scientists and doctors all around the world are looking for a cure, everyone is working on a vaccine, but it still seems far far away, likely more than a year away. So, since the COVID-19 is pandemic right now, there is no cure either, we shall adapt ourselves and change our lifestyle. Firstly, most of the activities could be carried indoor such as e-learning, working remotely, and online web-based shopping. Next, we should get used to social distancing protocol, self-isolation protocol, wearing masks and continue using hand sanitizers all the time. If everyone stayed indoors, practice qurantines, self-isolation, social distancing protocols and a vaccine is found, perhaps the pandemic would end. 

 

IMPACT ON NATURE

Even though there were pretty bad news previously, however, there's still a sliver of good news right here. The spread of this COVID-19 virus had decreased the global air pollution rate due to fewer people outdoors, fewer vehicles on the road, fewer industrial activities and fewer people smoking. According to an Associate Professor of Environmental Health Engineering at Johns Hopkins Unversity, Peter DeCarlo, he stated that there were drastic improvements in the air pollution levels in many areas. Both China and Italy industrial areas are showing strong drops in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) corresponding to reductions in industrial activity and vehicular traffic. Also, there's a sharp fall in the number of airline passengers, resulting in better air quality. 

Same goes to our country, Malaysia, where the Air Pollution Index (API) reduced tremendously while the Air Quality Index (AQI) increased to a satisfactory quality. Previously, our API falls under the Orange-coloured category which is known as "unhealthy for sensitive categories". Right now, due to COVID-19, reduced vehicles were used, including buses as well, where most areas' API went to the Yellow-coloured category (Moderate) and some even the Green (GOOD) category. 

IMPACT ON WORK

In the wake of the coronavirus, everyone estimates that there would be a significant rise in unemployment, as well as underemployment. Due to the lockdown, non-essential businesses aren't allowed to continue, where revenue and income aren't generated, therefore lack of money to pay employees. However, on the other hand, due to quarantine and lockdown measures, it causes a fall in economic activity which as well declines the labor supply. This impacts large income losses for workers as no matter what, they would be affected. Now, here comes the effect related to the economy. Due to losses in labor income, there would be lower consumption of goods and services, purchasing power declines, which is a niche and detrimental to the continuity of businesses and ensuring that economies are resilient. 

Besides unemployment, there would be underemployment as well due to the COVID-19. No one wants to risk their lives for some pay at this moment. If there is no vaccine within these 6 months which means there is no cure for the COVID-19, everyone has to practice self-isolation and stay indoors. There wouldn't be employees working at this moment. 

Luckily the Malaysian Prime Minister Tan Sri Dato' Muhyiddin Yassin took control by announcing the MCO right on time, enforced it strictly as well.

IMPACT ON POLITICS

The COVID-19 brings political impact as substantial as economic impacts. The leaders from each and every country that has serious COVID-19 outbreak such as South Korea President Moon Jae-in, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, and U.S. President Donald Trump have been constantly criticized for mishandling the virus and allowing cases to increase.  Luckily the Malaysian Prime Minister Tan Sri Dato' Muhyiddin Yassin took control by announcing the MCO right on time, enforced it strictly as well. Now that the COVID-19 led to an economic slowdown, there were speculations that Prime Minister Abe may be forced to leave the office earlier than expected;  reduced chances that President Trump would be reelected; while President Moon faces a petition signed by hundreds of thousands of citizens wanting to remove him.  

References : CSIS, ILO, FreeMalaysiaToday, FPRI, API

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