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Topic in News

Global Impact of COVID-19

Globalisation & Covid-19

  • Global leaders have reached this consensus that the pandemic Covid-19 and the crisis it has generated is a turning point in modern history.
  • The crisis offers the world an opportunity to forge a new human-centric concept of globalization.

South Korea

  • The transmission of the Covid-19 in South Korea is related to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus.
  • This cult facilitated the transmission of the disease from Wuhan to South Korea because of frequent travel among its followers.

Iran

  • The coronavirus was introduced in Iran through globalization-triggered international alignment and incubated through political and religious processes.
  • The economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. dominated western countries compelled Iran to develop ties with China.
  • This, in turn, made the traders act as the carriers of the viruses.
  • The initial hub of disease transmission in Iran was Qom, a popular pilgrimage centre for Shiite Muslims from where it reached the Iranian Parliament, having strong ties with Qom.

Sri Lanka & India

  • Here the onset of the Covid-19 has a lot to do with tourism and labour migration, processes intimately connected with globalization.
  • Both in Sri Lanka and India, the first cases were reported among foreign tourists from China and Italy respectively.
  • The tour guides became the first set of local people exposed to the disease triggering local transmissions.
  • Both Sri Lanka and Kerala in India have large portions of their labour force employed overseas.
  • Returnees from these overseas destinations have contributed to the upsurge in the Covid-19 epidemic in South Asian countries.

Covid-19 Impact on Digital Media

  • The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the internet giant’s Google, Facebook as well as media houses.

Details

  • The media sector is facing deep cutbacks (reduction in expenditure) resulting due to an intense economic slump and a reduction in advertising revenues that many news outlets depend on because of lockdowns.
  • The New York Times has estimated that news outlets have cut 28,000 jobs as a result of the health crisis and subsequent economic impact.
  • Assistance to Media Sector
  • Google has announced that it would launch an emergency fund.
  • To help local news outlets struggling to maintain operations in the face of Covid-19.
  • Earlier Facebook also announced a donation of $100 million to support news organizations globally hurting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Impact on Advertising Business

  • Google and Facebook’s advertising businesses, which have roughly tripled in combined size over the past five years, maybe headed for a rare fall owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Once-abundant travel and entertainment ads have all but disappeared from Google search.
  • The prices for Facebook advertisements are at record lows
    • The prices of Facebook ads have declined 35% to 50% on average in recent weeks.
    • Wall Street analysts have estimated that annual revenues would decline for the first time in the history of the two companies.

Steps taken by Google and Facebook to address challenges arising out of Covid-19

  • Google had started a “sensitive events” policy last month, which restricts ads on coronavirus content.
  • On March 9, 2020, it also placed a temporary ban on ads selling masks, citing a supply shortage for medical professionals.
  • Facebook banned the placement of predatory ads for masks, sanitizers, and other personal protective gear, and it eliminated nearly all mask ads across the social network.

Gender Disparity and Covid-19

  • Recently, Global Health 50/50 suggested that the gender-split of Covid-19 cases in all countries is roughly 50-50, barring two exceptions- India and Pakistan.

Details

  • Men in India are more likely to test positive for COVID-19.
  • Another unusual exception was South Korea — the country that has conducted the maximum number of tests as a proportion of the population — in that more women tested positive than men.
  • Global Health 50/50 is an independent research initiative that tracks gender and health. It compiled data from almost 40 countries on Covid-19 cases.
  • Many countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States, do not have sex-segregated national data while publicizing data on cases and death rates.

Data Analysis (% of men out of total cases)

  • Greece- 55%
  • Italy- 53%
  • China- almost 51% (February data).
  • India- 76%
  • Pakistan- 72%
  • Germany- 50%
  • South Korea- 40% (more women positive)
  • India has not shared national figures on Covid-19 mortality rates in men and women yet. However, on April 6, 2020, the Health Ministry said 76% of the confirmed cases in India were men.

Reasons

  • Epidemiologists have highlighted that in most countries men and women equally travelled internationally.
  • The Indian case is reflective of employment trends also. There are less working women and very less are likely to travel internationally for work.
  • Global research on coronavirus so far has shown that men are more likely to be harbouring additional ailments like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and more likely to smoke.
  • These conditions make men even more vulnerable to the severe infection.
  • India’s wide disparity is more likely due to sociological factors.

Social Recession due to Covid-19

  • As the coronavirus pandemic threatens to cause an economic recession, it may also cause a “social recession”.
  • Social Recession: It is a collapse in social contacts.
  • Social distancing and self-isolation
  • The decline in our social interactions
  • Change in mental and physical health.

Possible Impact of social recession

  • Human beings thrive on social engagements and are wired to stay connected. When these connections are threatened or unavailable, the nervous system may go out of order and many negative effects on the body follow.
  • Both loneliness (the feeling of being alone) and social isolation (physical state of being alone) can trigger a cascade of stress hormones that produce physiological changes like increased heart rate, increased muscle tension, and thickening of the blood. Together, these physiological changes are called the fight-or-flight response.
  • Fight-or-flight response: In response to stress, the body’s sympathetic nervous system is activated and it stimulates the adrenal glands triggering the release of adrenaline and noradrenaline.
  • These hormones, together with direct actions of autonomic nerves, cause the heart to beat faster, respiration rate to increase blood vessels in the arms and legs to dilate, the digestive process to change and glucose levels in the bloodstream to increase to deal with the emergency.
  • Fight-or-flight response has evolved as a survival mechanism enabling us to cope with physical and psychological threats.

Study in Perspectives on Psychological Science

  • Lack of social connection and living alone can be detrimental to a person’s health, respectively increasing mortality risk by 29% and 32%.
  • Social isolation can lead to several chronic conditions like hypertension, increased heart rate, increased levels of stress hormones, and even accelerated aging.

Coping with isolation

  • Usually, when things get tough, people tend to lean towards personal relationships to seek their advice and support.
  • But, this cannot be done during the lockdown.
  • There are no quick solutions to deal with increasing anxiety due to social isolation.
  • People have to begin by acknowledging that these are situations unlike what they have seen before and it is quite normal to feel anxious and lonely.
  • It is important to know that the whole world is in the same state as them, and everyone is together.
  • People have to use this time to establish forgotten connections via technology and catch up with friends and family.
  • Most importantly, they should put the focus back on self-care, eat well, exercise regularly, find ways to calm, and focus on themselves.

The threat of Food Shortage: UN, FAO, and WTO

  • Recently, global agencies like the United Nations (UN), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have warned the world of food shortage risk worldwide.
  • If authorities fail to manage the Covid-19 pandemic properly.

Major Reasons

  • Lockdowns: severe slow-downs in international trade and food supply chains.
  • Travel restrictions: unavailability of agricultural labour and the inability to get food to markets.
  • Spoilage of perishables and increasing food waste.
  • Food Availability: Uncertainty about food availability can create a shortage in the global market.
  • Fragile Supply Chains: Panic buying by people for social isolation has already demonstrated the fragility of supply chains.

Suggestions

  • Ensure free trade flows amidst this crisis to avoid food shortage(s) from developing.
  • Ensure that any trade-related measures do not disrupt the food supply chain.
  • Protect employees engaged in food production, processing, and distribution, both for their own health and that of others, as well as to maintain food supply chains.
  • Betterment of international cooperation.

World Economic Outlook Report: IMF

  • Recently, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has released its World Economic Outlook (WEO) report.

Details

  • The Covid-19 pandemic is having a severe effect on the world economy.
  • It is expected to cause a -3% change (i.e., a contraction) in global output in 2020, which is much worse than the 2008-09 financial crises.
  • Case of India
    • India’s growth is expected to dip to 1.9% in 2020 and rebound to 7.4% in 2021.
    • India’s growth projection for 2020 is 3.9% less than what was projected for the country in the January update to the WEO while its rebound in 2021 is 0.9 % higher than the January projection.

Growth Projections

  • Emerging Asia
    • Emerging Asia is projected to be the only region that grows in 2020, at a rate of 1.0% – still more than 5 percentage points below the previous decade’s average.
    • In China, where the coronavirus’s impacts were first recorded this year, first-quarter economic activity could have contracted by 8% year on year. China is projected to grow at 1.2% in 2020 and 9.2% in 2021.
    • Apart from India’s modest 1.9% in 2020, Indonesia is expected to grow at 0.5%, while others in the region experience contractions.

Advanced economies

  • Advanced economies will have an output change of -6.1% (i.e., a contraction) in 2020 followed by 4.5% in 2021.
  • The U.S. is projected to contract by 5.9% in 2020 and grow by 4.7% in 2021.
  • The Euro area, will contract by 7.5% in 2020 and grow by 4.7% in 2021.

Impact on Global GDP

  • The cumulative loss to global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over 2020 and 2021 from the pandemic crisis could be around 9 trillion dollars.
  • Assuming that the pandemic fades in the second half of this year, with containment efforts gradually easing up, the world economy is projected to grow at 5.8% in 2020 as economic activity normalizes, aided by the policy.
  • If the pandemic does not recede in the second half of 2020, global GDP would fall an additional 3% in 2020.

Measures to combat the impact

  • Policymakers have to make targeted fiscal, monetary, and financial sector interventions to support impacted households and businesses.
  • Fiscal measures should be two-fold
    • Cushioning the impact on the most-exposed households and businesses
    • Reducing firm closures, i.e., preserving economic relationships.
    • Monetary stimulus by large central banks and liquidity facilities to reduce systemic stress
  • Strong multilateral cooperation
  • Helping financially constrained countries facing twin health and funding shocks, and for channeling aid to countries with weak healthcare systems.

World Economic Outlook

  • WEO is a survey by the IMF that is usually published twice a year in the months of April and October.
  • It analyzes and predicts global economic developments during the near and medium-term.

Way ahead

  • Think beyond social distancing and quarantining the affected people and places.
  • Broader and deeper issues like fallout from globalization need to be analyzed and questioned.
  • In the recent G20 video conference, the Indian Prime Minister stressed the world leaders to look at humanitarian aspects to global challenges like pandemics, climate change, and terrorism, not just economic ones.
  • Redefine the definition of globalization and make it more human-centric instead of market and profit-oriented.
  • Devote special attention to the needs of less developed countries as they might not contribute to the causes but face the severity of the situation far worse.