We are moving closer every day to a world Coronavirus pandemic. New cases of Coronavirus are being discovered in more countries. The 1918 influenza that killed 40-50 million people world wide, started in Kansas and moved around the world within 9 months. And that was without the type of air travel we have today.
Governments around the world are scrambling to prevent this from happening. Billions of dollars in new aid is going for surveillance and reporting of new cases as they happen, prevent them from spreading and stockpiling antivirals in the event it does happen. The medical community is working on new vaccines that may be used on a wide scale in the event of an outbreak. But will all this be enough? High volume production and distribution of a pandemic vaccine could take 6 months or more after the start of a pandemic event. Government reporting of new cases could be delayed long enough for preventive aid from doing any good. New cases in rural areas could go undetected for weeks or months.
Containment is the next big hurdle. As millions become ill, the global economy will start to feel the effects. Transportation, travel, tourism, trade, retail, education will all suffer. Panic could wreck havoc with the world financial markets in short order. Hospitals will be overwhelmed. Every hospital in the country will have a shortage of beds, ventilators and staff. In the event of a natural disaster, it is one thing for aid to come from other areas but in the event of a pandemic no one will have the aid or manpower to spare.
The World Bank has estimated that a influenza pandemic lasting a year would cost the global economy $800 billion dollars. How would we recover from that? The economic consequences of a influenza pandemic would be catastrophic. Businesses large and small will be affected by loss of workers, supplies and distribution of goods and services. Some businesses will never recover. Those who do may be missing key employees who died. Economic recovery will be painfully slow.
A flu pandemic would affect some of the world’s poorest people the hardest. They are the ones who don’t have access to proper health care now. They are the ones who are falling through the social services cracks now. Elderly persons who are already homebound, may be forgotten about. In countries in Africa that are already devastated by HIV, poor health care, famine and war, whole nations could be wiped out.
Social unrest and political upheaval are sure to follow. Governments will be blamed for doing too little too late. Conspiracies about how pharmaceutical companies withheld new vaccines or antivirals will be rampant. Price gouging, profit motives and horror stories about how people suffered will fill the news for months to come. A different political landscape will form to make sure this kind of suffering never happens again. A global flu pandemic will affect the lives of everyone with catastrophic results. You need to continue to stay informed on the latest Coronavirus news and how you can prepare for a pandemic.