“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” ― Charles Darwin
This is a compilation of what I know so far about the pandemic that is in course. I started writing this post in April 2nd and I keep contributing with content as I learn more about the situation. My goal is to compile knowledge today to be used some time in the future in case a pandemic crisis happens again.
Before continuing, please, be aware that this is a speculative article about my own views of the situation and what I believe will happen next. This is NOT news and it may have inaccurate information that I didn’t have the opportunity to fix yet. For precise information about the situation, please visit the WHO website.
The ongoing pandemic is caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-2, a coronavirus that provokes a viral pneumonia denominated COVID-19. This virus spreads very fast because some people may carry the virus while still be asymptomatic, spreading it without knowing. In addition, it spreads throughout the air in a radius of 2 meters from person to person, or higher if they are in movement. COVID-19 is specially concerning for people with weak immune system, caused by age, medications or sensitive health condition.
The reason why tests are so important is because it allows preparation to what is yet to come. In the case of COVID-19, it is known that 80% of people go through with mild symptoms, 20% need some level of hospitalization, 5% need intensive care, and 2% die. By knowing how many people are sick, we take these percentages of the total, prepare the hospitals for the volume of new patients over time and we also alert the supply chain about the imminent demand. The sooner the tests happen the better because it buys time. The lack of preparation leads to overloaded hospitals, contamination of existing patients, contamination of health professionals, who have to stop working until being tested negative again, among other chaotic situations.
The USA sent 22 cargo airplanes to China to get as much medical supplies as they could. While they were loading their airplanes they realized another airplane with supplies was ready to take off to France. The US buyers offered three times what their French counterparts were paying. That’s one of many attitudes worldwide that may end what is known as global markets, at least for essential items. The global supply chain is congested, governments are compiling lists of what they consider essential and investing in industries willing to reconfigure their production lines to attend the urgent demand. Countries are by their own, differentiated by their creative potential to invent solutions under pressure. The countries that mostly rely on their own resources and manufacturing will be the first ones to get over the crisis, because most of the money distributed by the government tends to stay in the local economy.
The economy is “paused” for a while to minimize the spread of the virus. Non-essential business were forced to close. As a consequence, millions of people lost their jobs and depend on government’s assistance to put food on the table. Those who preserved their jobs are working for essential business or are backed by financially healthy companies. Other business such as supermarkets, industries of essential items, pharmacies, are actually hiring more people. On the other hand, tourism, transport, restaurants and others are in deep crisis. The social impact of financially irresponsible business may induce the creation of a short term fund, promotional to the size of the business, to ensure business continuity in times of crisis.
A lot of people without income are facing the hard choice of paying their bills or putting food on the table. Before the crises the situation was already concerning. Over half (53%) of Canadians were living paycheque to paycheque and one in four (25%) say their debt load is overwhelming. More than one-quarter (27%) don’t have enough for their daily needs. Imagine what these people are facing during this crisis. It may trigger a behavioural change where people may reevaluate their consumption habits in favour of short and long term savings.
Rapid social transformations are increasing the demand for services that were originally designed for low demand. Health insurance claims, government aid programs, online shopping, are some examples of overloaded services.
Healthcare professionals and first responders are considered the new heroes. They are working long shifts to keep up with the overflow in hospitals across the globe.
The difficult access to the healthcare system in the USA has cost countless lives at this pandemic. Millions of people are losing their jobs, together with their health insurance. This situation might push for a universal healthcare system policy, in the model that works in Canada.
Historically, there is a wave of happiness and positivity after large scale wars and pandemics. The Renascence happened after the blank plague, the fashion influence of France started after the french revolution, jazz and blues happened after the Great War and the Spanish Flu. If the positive wave comes after COVID-19, then it will help to overcome the economic burden.
That’s a work in progress. I make contributions every day as I learn more about these hard times.