Socio-Economic Impact Of A Pandemic


With the corona virus classified as a pandemic officially, we see that many countries are effectively putting their citizens into preventative quarantine, or actual quarantine in some cases. With panic, misinformation from the general panic and a great deal of steadfastness and almost heroic displays of stamina from the medical professionals, today we will discuss on the impacts of a global pandemic.

Though our main focus will be the current outbreak, we feel that most, if not all, of the socio-economic effects can be applied to any similar situation, and indeed, it does show similar effects to similar pandemics in world history. Do not worry folks, we will try to keep this as short as possible, for your reading convenience.

Impact on the Economy

Perhaps the easiest and most immediate effects of a pandemic, the economic impact is worrisome and its not hard to see why. With many outlets covering the economic impact, BBC online in their article gives a robust synopsis of the economic issue so far. It is surprising to see that, despite all the charts showing significant decline in the economic sector, from an ecological perspective, it seems that the emissions have gone down a significant amount. Which is, lets face it, something we should perhaps consider.

Charts aside, the economic damage the current virus, and all pandemics would cause, is something that should not be taken lightly. Anti-corporate feelings some people may have aside, a pandemic affects everyone. From all avenues of entertainment and major events postponing, the damage this will have on the people that organize such events is significant, and does put a dent in the entertainment industry. From events such as E3 being canceled, who's story is aptly covered by Ars Technica's article.

One could argue, that the costs of such venues shutting down or rescheduling is not as major an issue as people make it up to be. And from one point of view, they are right, those mega corporations do make enough money that those "costs" are insignificant in the long run. However, we should all consider what this means for the pockets of the people that originally were meant to go there. From tickets to travel plans, whether or not people will get refunded for some events remains to be seen.

That is only the tip of the iceberg however, with many small companies and offices shutting down amid the crisis, this means a number of things that may have lasting impact on the global economy. BBC online reports on the multiple levels in which this will hit the economy. All those companies and small businesses employ people, and require people to function, and with more and more non-essential industries slowly shifting to adjust to the pandemic, we see everything grind into a halt.

And if you think I am overreacting when I say everything, I mean -everything-. As the article reads: "A second round of Brexit talks between negotiating teams of around 100 were due in London in the coming week, and Brussels a fortnight after that. But they've been cancelled, and the two sides are looking to the possibility of video-negotiating."

With every nation scrambling to deal with the pandemic, and any form of social gathering putting people into various levels of risk, it is not surprising to see things slow down and in some cases that may be alarming.

Impact on Entertainment

The impact of a pandemic on the entertainment industry is actually pretty evenly split, with not much to say.

On one hand, you have venues, museums, concerts and games cancelled, with even the Olympics postponed according to CNET with our current outbreak as Bleacherreport writes. However, considering how the entertainment industry has close ties to the artistic community, a pandemic has a few more "pleasant" side effects.
With a pandemic limiting people in their homes, many people have a lot of spare time on their hands, and more often than not, they use this time to be creative. Without a doubt, the greatest works of art have been birthed by adversity and I am sure that our current situation will give birth to some great works of art.

On one hand, we see theaters, movies, art galleries, museums and the production of shows stop, but on the other hand, the free time people have gives them opportunity to either get creative, or explore their favorite form of entertainment. With Deadline reporting on media events and shows being cancelled, we see that unlike the venues mentioned above, the digital venues of entertainment have been blooming like never before. With many people quarantined taking the time to catch up with their favorite medium and a surprising amount of outlets offering digital means to be enjoyed, I feel that the entertainment industry is not as heavily impacted as some make it out to be. It is very interesting to note that some museums have in fact opened up "digital" tours, as seen in this article by Timeout, with even national parks offering their own digital tours as we see cbsnews reporting.

Sure, there is a significant loss in earnings for both artists and venues that house them, but on the plus side this is an opportunity for artists to expand their audiences and for people to get more informed on the happenings of the world of Entertainment. But sadly, I feel that despite a positive side on the matter, as Variety reports about 120.000 people will lose their jobs due to the outbreak, and that is a significant blow for people, the economy and the sector.

Impact on Travel

One of the things mentioned in a previous article another thing that got a heavy hit from the current pandemic, is off course, transportation. From transportation measures in the EU to travel restrictions all around the globe, the effects ripple in almost every other aspect of our lives. With social distancing almost mandatory in most countries in the world, it is hard to say what exactly will the effects of such a global lockdown have will have until its a few months after we recover, but speculations are possible.

With non-essential good transportation grinding to almost a halt due to W.H.O (not the band) giving very clear instructions on travel, the world feels like it is now moving at a much slower pace.  The short version is: "Unless you do essential work or you/someone is DYING, dont", and although many seem to ignore the seriousness of the situation, generally speaking most people have taken the advice to heart.

In truth, this is very damaging to trade relations, as the transport of none essential material is almost stopped, not to mention that many business executives have been grounded by the new measures, and with venues such as the Olympics around the corner, one can wonder what will happen to those things, as mentioned above.

But this particular effect of the coronavirus is not necessarily a bad thing. With an amazing article by citylab it gives us great insight on the pros and cons of the world standing still.
If you are like me however you will have most likely rejoiced with the very positive ecological effects this standstill has had.

NBC news has an article on the subject matter, leading one to question whether or not we should probably take the time to reconfigure and reconsider certain transportation practices.

Social Impact

Panic, fear mongering and missinformation are something we have to deal with at all times, especially when something bad happens. Instead we will focus on the things that differ from any other crisis, on things that seem to be unique in a pandemic. For starters, we will start with the effects of a quarantine.

Many outlets have reported on this, however the most interesting article I read, was one from the Conversation in which it expands on the psychological and social impacts of the preventative measures that are either prior, or during a quarantine. "Many in isolation experience a sense of “cabin fever”. This often involves feeling dissatisfied, restless, irritable and bored when confined. For people who are feeling well, being isolated may initially provide a novel respite from daily responsibilities. However, this can quickly become stressful and anxiety-provoking." the article reads. As you noticed, they also were awesome enough to provide with links to other interesting articles on the subject matter.

Furthermore the article also mentions that we should keep an eye out on the abuse of alcohol and other potentially damaging substances. In Greece we have a saying from the ancient times, which roughly translates as "idleness is the mother of all evil" and true enough: "Images from Wuhan, China, are providing a snapshot of the social disharmony that can emerge from forced isolation. One retired police officer, Wan Fei, allegedly told Sixth Tone domestic violence reports had nearly doubled since China’s cities went into lockdown. He claimed as of late February, the police station in Jingzhou’s Jianli County had received 162 reports of domestic violence for that month, more than triple the number reported in February last year", the article reads, adding a nice extra link for good measure!

In my opinion, the most important and serious threat that we face in the events of a pandemic (and one that we are facing in this one as well) is racism. As with 99% of racism, it does not seem to make sense to tie race with a pandemic, and yet the fact that there is a Wikipedia page on the matter would suggest otherwise. The idea, sadly, is that whichever place happens to be ground 0 for whatever pandemic, starts to get a lot of negative attention socially. reports on this with their article on the Wuhan virus.

"Since the outbreak of coronavirus, which was first officially reported to the World Health Organization by Chinese authorities in Wuhan on Dec. 31, several accounts of racism and xenophobia have been reported and documented on social media" the article reads. Sadly, as you read on you see that this is not an isolated incident. From Scapegoats to targets of senseless fear, it seems that in events such as these, there are always going to be groups of people that are going to turn this into a racial issue.

Thankfully, there are still multitudes of organizations and people that speak out against such racial aggression, and as the most cliche Mediterranean loveable grandma said: "Remember, Corona Virus goes away, discrimination stays".

Final Thoughts

Pandemics throughout history have toppled empires, broke systems and caused pure chaos and system wide collapse. However throughout the years humanity has developed means to safeguard our civilization from threats from the natural world, such as pandemics.

With a system-wide collapse the only way society as we know it would crumble, a pandemic is never something to be taken lightly. Thankfully, this is not the first time a global pandemic has threatened our society and all signs seem to point towards relative safety for tomorrow.

As an added bonus I will list this very interesting article by Vox regarding how our current pandemic of the coronavirus might cause a global wide recession. Fun stuff!
I hope you all stayed safe during the outbreak, and lets all remember to be calm and take all necessary precautions!

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