The year 2020 began with World War III threats, wildfires, and an alarming outbreak in Wuhan, China. This outbreak, characterized by fevers and coughs, originated from a wet market in China where a bat first transmitted the disease to animals and then to humans. The disease is extremely infectious and can spread through respiratory droplets. The virus can survive on surfaces for weeks and transmitted through touch.
In China, there are over 80,000 confirmed cases and over 3,000 deaths. Due to travel, the virus has spread across the globe. These numbers led to the World Health Organization’sOrganization’s declaration that COVID-19 has become a pandemic. The only comparable outbreak is the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s. Similar to COVID-19, SARS also originated in a wet market in China. However, it was not as easily transmittable. Thus, our society is met with unique changes due to COVID-19.
In the United States, the Senate already approved of a $2 trillion stimulus bill to fight the impending recession. Despite this stimulus bill, the stock market is on track for its worst month since the October 1987 crash. According to the Washington Post, over 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits as the virus continues to shutdown employment agencies. However, the economic impacts are not exclusive to the United States; the global economy is experiencing a downturn.
Due to travel bans, airlines and travel agencies undergo a significant decline in demand. China and Europe face economic downturns as city lockdowns decrease economic productivity. According to the CSIS, China’sChina’s manufacturing sectors plunged to record lows. However, I am not listing these statistics to incite panic, but rather, to spread awareness. Many individuals still do not take this pandemic seriously, but its impacts are profound. To cushion the economic decline in this time of crisis, the people have to unite together, follow the health guidelines and the lockdown procedures, and remind others to do the same. The best way to protect the global economy is to flatten the curve, not to overwhelm the medical facilities, and curb the number of infections.
COVID-19 has brought new meaning for the digital era. As schools close, a traditional classroom transforms into a digital classroom. Work offices become work-at-home computerized versions. Social interactive activities convert to online interactive activities. During this pandemic, society is finding new ways to explore what technology can offer. New social media chains and trends emerge as students find alternative approaches to interactive, fun activities.
However, this pandemic has also revealed the vast digital divide in society. While some students rejoice about the school’s cancellation, other students distress about how they will get their meal, how will they cope with their home lives, and how they will access an education. As the digital platform becomes more important, it is paramount that they become easily accessible. Economic status should not determine one’s success. A computer should not define one’s success.
The impacts of COVID-19 are felt globally. To ensure that this pandemic is short-lived, we must follow the rules of social-distancing, sanitation, and self-quarantining. Let’s enjoy our summers not locked up in the house. Don’t panic. Prepare.