The Economic and Human Costs of the New Coronavirus

In order to keep the coronavirus epidemic in Wuhan from spreading further, the Chinese government has taken drastic steps. The ultimate spread and infectiousness of the new virus will determine the human costs and economic consequences of the outbreak.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global health emergency as the number of sick people continues to rise and evidence of human-to-human transmission has been uncovered in and outside of China.

The Philippines announced the death of the first new coronavirus patient outside of China over the weekend.

The unpalatable fact is that the outbreak in Wuhan is not the first nor the last of its sort in the world. China’s efforts to cut mortality in megacities, on the other hand, are ground-breaking.

Despite improved skills, there are new hazards.

When there was evidence that someone had contracted the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD) from another person, China’s central government issued an order for citizens to remain at home and limited travel, as well as canceling large public events. While this resulted in a significant drop in travel over the Lunar New Year, it is probable that it saved many lives. China has also prolonged the vacation time in order to keep people at home and decrease the possibility of the virus spreading, while allocating several billion dollars to assist control the infection’s spread as well.

While it is too soon to determine the entire extent of the outbreak’s impact on the Chinese and global economies, it is possible to predict the most likely damage scenarios.

Internationally, markets have often reacted to viral outbreaks with dramatic but transient early responses, which last until the transmission of the infection has been slowed or stopped altogether. When it came to the new coronavirus, experts first referred to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2002-3 as a benchmark for making these forecasts. That, however, was a bit premature.

SARS expanded globally in the early 2000s, prompting widespread condemnation of China’s attempts to contain it before the global pandemic was brought under control. Almost a decade later, the Chinese reaction to Avian influenza (H7N9) was substantially quicker, garnered widespread plaudits, and prevented the epidemic from spreading extensively.

China has considerably improved its national and local disease monitoring systems in recent years,

with the goal of preventing and controlling disease outbreaks. The capacity of the laboratory and the hospital has been greatly increased. Local authorities, on the other hand, have a mixed track record when it comes to disaster management. In the instance of the novel coronavirus, Chinese officials notified other organizations, including the World Health Organization, quite soon.

Despite improving Chinese skills, there are now new concerns to consider as a result of increased globalization. In 2003, China’s air, train, and road travel were a fraction of what they are today, and the vast majority of the population resided in rural areas. Currently, China boasts the world’s greatest logistical centers, and 60 percent of the country’s population lives in highly populated urban areas. That is the motivation behind the endeavor to isolate Wuhan and its 11 million inhabitants, as well as Hubei province and other nearby urban areas, for a total population of 56 million people – almost equivalent to the populations of South Korea and South Africa.

In addition, the time is different. This epidemic, unlike the one that occurred before to SARS, took place shortly before the Chinese Lunar New Year, which is accompanied by the biggest human movement on the planet. The government responded by taking unprecedented efforts to decrease the danger of rapid spread, which might establish a precedent for the fight against epidemics in megacities in the future.

Human expenses incurred early in the process

During the SARS epidemic, 8,100 individuals were infected around the globe, with 774 people dying, the majority of whom were on China’s mainland and Hong Kong; this accounted for 10% of the total. Approximately 2-5 persons were infected with the virus, which was assessed by the basic reproduction number (the number of people a newly infected person is likely to spread the virus to).

There are already 14,551 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus throughout the globe as of 12.00 Wuhan time on February 2, with 304 deaths; this represents 2.1 percent of the overall number of verified cases. If the current rate of growth continues, the number of cases will shortly approach 20,000. Early data suggests that the reproduction number ranges between 3.3 and 5.5. Despite the fact that coronavirus and SARS have comparable transmissibility, the fatality rate in coronavirus seems to be one-fifth that of SARS (11 percent) and far lower than that of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) (35 percent ).

Importantly, the mortality rate in Wuhan is among the highest in the country (5.5 percent ). Hubei, with its 58 million inhabitants, is eliminated from the Chinese statistics, and the national death rate drops sharply to 0.3 percent, a huge decrease from the previous 0.6 percent. If Chinese data is removed from the calculation of the worldwide mortality rate, the figure falls below zero (0 percent ). For the time being, no fatalities have been recorded outside of the nation, which is unusual. The outbreak’s storm core is located in Wuhan.

Furthermore, since symptoms may not manifest themselves throughout the 2 to 14-day incubation period, it would seem that conventional containment procedures are being undermined because asymptomatic persons may be transmitting the illness unnoticed. As a result, several analysts underestimated the severity of the crisis in its early stages. If the new virus is discovered only after significant collateral damage has occurred, the situation is likely to deteriorate further, according to Chinese officials.