The spread of COVID-19 has taken the world off guard as the people infected and killed by the virus increases everyday. It has also affected more than 110 countries with no sign of stopping as a vaccine has yet to be discovered and developed.
With it spreading in the United States and Europe at an alarming rate, many are wondering as to what impacts it can bring to the world once it is contained.
On an economic level, the outbreak’s impacts are immense. The United Nations Trade and Development Agency estimated that around $1 trillion will be lost in the global economy because of the uncertainty the virus brings. Growth is expected to slow down as many industries are forced to close or shut down temporarily until the virus is contained.
On a lower level, families – especially those from low to middle-income countries – may find it hard to go back to normal because they had been forced out of their jobs because of the virus. Some may even have to use their healthcare benefits to recover from the disease.
If they are under lockdown, the longer it is, the more they have to dip into their savings just to get by every day while they are out of work. Even those who are earning high wages are affected by the virus as they too are forced to work at home until a vaccine is developed.
Considering its economic impacts, what can be done to reduce it? Here are some ways that can be done by governments from all levels to reduce the virus’s economic impact:
Stopping the pandemic
Most of the economic impacts brought by the virus is brought by the uncertainty it brings.
As a result, industries that are affected by the virus such as travel and transportation, are greatly seen as a high risk and force many to pause their operations until the virus is contained.
Many people are currently unwilling to support these industries because of the potential risk they may catch the virus while they are travelling or taking public transportation.
If countries want to reduce the economic impact of the virus, they must begin efforts to contain the pandemic’s movement. They can start sanitizing public transport and enforce measures to ensure the virus won’t spread through travel.
Once it is contained in select areas and preventive measures are applied, the number of cases can drop and help relieve the public from their fears.
Widening support for low to middle wage workers
Those earning low to middle wages are at high risk of being greatly affected by the virus economically, especially as some of these workers are under a “no work, no pay” scheme. If they miss one day or work, they will have no pay for that day and will be at risk of getting fired from the job.
They are also unable to work from home because the type of jobs they have are those that require them to be on the ground. They also do not have a lot of savings to help them during these times because of their unstable work hours and salary.
Governments must make special allotments to help these families to help them get by during the crisis. Some of the safety protections they can give these families include sick leave, cash transfers, food aid, and health coverage.
They should also be given work guarantees especially now that the virus has shut down several businesses.
Governments can also show to their people that they should not be afraid of the virus by not being afraid to spend more to fight it. Spending more money to reduce the virus’ impacts will prevent economies from crashing and help contain the virus.
Failure to do so may cause economies to go under meltdown even before the crisis is over.
Create new policy responses
For countries or regions that are reliant on commodity exports, there must be a review of current laws to prevent further economic meltdown.
By establishing policy responses that will be activated during a crisis, such as price freezes, it can prevent local problems that can affect industries from succumbing to economic loss because people are anxious about the products coming out from these industries or being unable to buy them because of its increasing price.
Understand the impact
As the virus continues to spread panic and uncertainty, it is becoming clear which areas need assistance and how preventive measures can be improved to reduce its impacts.
Countries must take time to review the data they are getting regarding the virus everyday and see if current measures used in the country are improving the situation or if measures from other countries can be used.
Checking the data available will also highlight which areas need to get more attention and which groups to approach for further aid. It will also help governments remove counterproductive measures and find more ways to help its citizens.
Don’t let the virus drive away action
While it is now considered a global epidemic, the virus should not be a reason for inaction.
Yes, it is true that it is currently infecting thousands of people and killing those who are vulnerable in the process. But, immediate action has ensured that it does not spread at a larger and faster rate. The WHO itself has said that the virus can be controlled if countries work together to contain it and its impacts.
As a result, governments must see the virus as a controllable threat and use every opportunity available to contain it.
The impact of COVID-19 is immense in every aspect of society and with a cure still far from completion, it is still unclear what will happen to the world once it stops. While the future remains unclear, there are ways that can be done now to reduce its impacts from causing a lot of people problems once the pandemic stops.
Action must be done now to lessen the burden for recovery and help people get back on their feet as if the virus never caused problems.
For more Covid related stories, here are some for you to read:
Covid-19: Malaysia Movement Control Order Announcement – Biggest Impact will be Workers
Covid-19: Employees asked to Take Unpaid Leave by Companies
Covid-19 Outbreak: What are Companies doing right by their employees
Best things in life are meant to be shared, start spreading MiddleMe around, after all, sharing is caring.