Corona Virus: A pandemic that shook the world
Japan was preparing to host the biggest sports event in the world, Tokyo Olympics 2020. Dubai was almost done with the preparations of the biggest expo in the world, Dubai Expo 2020. Donald Trump was getting ready to secure his second term at Oval Office in Washington, USA. Liverpool was leading the table against Manchester City for the race of the English Premier League in England. The protesters were on the streets of Hong Kong against Chinese Influence. Morrison was dealing with one of the deadliest bushfires in Australia. The World was normal until news arrived from the city of Wuhan in the Hubei Province of the People’s Republic of China and it changed the whole world.
In December 2019, hospitals in Wuhan started receiving patients with symptoms the same as of pneumonia. In the first 99 patients, 50 percent of the cases were linked to the Huanan Seafood wholesale market. The Chinese authorities acted rapidly and Wuhan with a population of 11 million was placed into a complete lockdown. The world welcomed the year 2020 with great enthusiasm but no one knew what lie ahead. The cases started increasing and on January 7th the Chinese authorities announced that they have identified a new virus and named it 2019-nCOV of the coronavirus family. China reported its first death on 11th January and cases started to emerge in the other cities of China. Province of Hubei with a population of 55 million was placed into complete lockdown as China started its battle against the new virus.
City of Wuhan during the pandemic
In the midst of January, the human to human transfer was officially confirmed and a disaster was feared as millions traveled for the Lunar new year Holiday. By the end of January, cases started to emerge from Thailand, South Korea, and Australia and the World Health Organization declared a global emergency. On 10th Feb China had its 1000 cases, WHO named this new form of coronavirus as COVID-19. By the end of Feb the cases emerged from the majority of the countries and Iran and South Korea were declared the most affected countries after China. As the situation worsened and the number of cases increased rapidly with over 82,000 cases and 2800 deaths worldwide by the end of February it was time for the world to take this pandemic seriously. The pandemic tightened its grip in Europe by affecting Italy and Spain. The Italians hospitals got stormed by the virus patients and strict lockdown was imposed. The death toll in Italy outnumbered China and Iran’s and on 11th March 2020, the WHO declared the novel coronavirus as the Global Pandemic.
Italy’s response to the COVID-19
March turned out to be the deadly month as the number of cases stood at 600,000 with 28000 deaths worldwide by the end of March and Europe and the United States were declared the new epicenters of the COVID-19.
While things were getting out of control in Europe and the US. The president of United States Donald Trump started blaming China for hiding facts and not alerting the world for the great disaster. China and WHO rejected the claims and blamed the US for not having the necessary measures for the prevention of the virus. The blame game worsened and the cases got out of control in both Europe and the US. Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi imposed the biggest lockdown of the world with imposing restrictions on 1.4 billion people. The lockdown was also imposed in Middle Eastern countries and Pakistan. China announced that they have won the war against the virus and their number of cases has declined.
The world faced two problems one of health and the other was economic. The strict lockdown in the majority of the countries turned out to be a disaster for economic activities, the unemployment rate triggered all around the world and economies shattered and faced recession for the first time after World War 2. By the end of April, the United States alone had 1 million cases with 57,000 deaths and declared the worst affected country by the pandemic. The battle against coronavirus in Europe and its consequences on the economy hardened. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also contracted the virus and fought for his life on the ventilator. The death tolls increased and Europe mourns.
London (left) and Paris (right) during the lockdown
In the mid of May the strict lockdown in Europe turned out to be a key factor in winning the war against COVID-19. The number of cases decreased and lockdowns were partially lifted in various cities. The situation remained the same in the US as number cases and deaths kept on rising. Russia, India, and the US were the new epicenters as the fight against the virus continued. Russia and Brazil saw a rapid increase in their cases.
Currently, the United States is leading the table with over 2 million cases and more than 115,000 deaths followed by Brazil with almost 900,000 cases and 45,000 deaths and Russia with 600,000 cases and 8000 deaths. India and Pakistan have also seen a boost in its cases as India passed 300,000 cases and Pakistan with almost 150,000 cases. The death rate in Subcontinent is far less as compared to that in Europe and the US. While these countries are fighting against the virus they are also fighting against hunger. Mumbai the densely populated city of India is facing problems fighting against the virus as its majority of the population lives in slums. The global infected cases stand at 8 million-plus with almost 440,000 deaths. Pakistan has also seen a spike in its cases as it eased the lockdown before Eid and the health system is about to get choked.
Karachi (left) and Mumbai (right) during lockdown
COVID-19 turned out to be a disaster for the world’s economy as the World Bank has predicted the worst recession since the 19th century. The unemployment rate has surged all over the globe and economies have suffered huge losses. The countries have introduced economic stimulus packages for their citizens. The world’s largest stimulus package was announced by President of US Donald Trump of about 2.2 trillion dollars to strengthen its economy. Japan and Germany also announced an economic stimulus of 1 trillion dollars. The aviation and tourism industry has suffered the most as global tourism has declined by 80 percent and air travel by 90 percent. The companies have also laid off its staff. The situation in Europe is now under control and the US has also seen a decline in its death and new cases. South America and Sub-continent keep on fighting against the pandemic with its already poor economies. The IMF and G20 have also announced debt relief for poor countries so they can fight against the virus.
The race of Vaccination production is also in its final stage. University of Oxford’s AZD 1222 vaccine is being produced by AstraZeneca a pharmaceutical company. Moderna and J&J are also working on the vaccine. China and Russia have also announced that they are in the final stages. Europe and the US have signed the contract with Pharma Giants for the vaccine and it is expected by the end of 2020.
The post-COVID scenario is still very unclear. The global economies will fight for a few years to revive their economy. Tourism and Aviation industry will also take time for its revival. The unemployment rate will also trigger and more people would fall under the poverty line especially in third world countries.