But make no mistake, this is a challenge like no other we have faced before and it is global in character. Like other forms of influenza, it is going to have to be dealt with like all the other varieties of viruses we have had to contend with — develop a cure and a vaccine, heal those infected as best we can, let the thing burn itself out and then clean up the mess when things get back to normal.
Getting our economies back on their feet is another matter. The world is already so heavily in debt that we have only a limited capacity to borrow from each other in trying to repair the economic damage being done to the global system. Virtually every hotel and airline is going to shut down and their staff sent home, demand for everything is going to decline, in many areas so massively that industries will mothball their factories. Global trade is going to shrink and just look at oil as one example — US$25 a barrel! Many producers will simply close production at such prices and getting those resources back into production is not just turning on a tap. I wonder sometimes if the ”cure” in this case is not going to be worse than the disease. It is not that we have not faced a situation like this in the past, history is full of such pandemics that killed millions and changed history.
But we were not as interconnected or interdependent, we have more resources and facilities, but even these are hardly adequate. If Italians, with the sophisticated health system they have in place and one of the largest economies in Europe to back them up, find themselves overwhelmed by the scale of the problem, then what about us? I fear that the full impact in many countries similar to Zimbabwe, will never be known because people will fall ill and survive or die with no one to count them or mark their passing on except their families. Perhaps because we have a young population the impact here will not be as severe as in Europe where a high proportion of the population is over 60 years old.
Stay safe, sit tight and take care.
Eddie Cross is an economist. He writes in his personal capacity.
Credit: Source link