8 implications of COVID-19

With the world on hold, there are several changes in progress or ahead of us that came along with the COVID-19 pandemic or as its result. These implications can be divided into three groups:

  • economic
  • social
  • environmental

Having one thing in common – people – they overlap each other on a higher or lower scale.

ECONOMIC

Collapse of economies

At the threat of economic collapse, countries are coming up with strategies to get through the crisis – read here.

But obviously, in the European Union, the economic and financial implications are going to differ from country to country. 

At the start of the coronavirus outbreak in Europe, the EU that was supposed to be Europe’s answer against a crisis of any kind (strength in unity as they say) proved to be useless. Turning it’s back on developing issues in the region and advising the governments to handle everything internally. 

Now continues to struggle with reaching further agreements – read here.

Lack of common vision, limited support between nations, and no unified strategy – all revealed on the spot. Will this cause the end of the European Union as we know it?

The dispute arises also when having a closer look at the WHO contributions by country in the continued debate of helping stop the spread of the pandemic. Recently the US withdrew their funding towards WHO, as US President was unsatisfied with its efforts while handling the coronavirus situation. This puts the WHO under pressure since the United States had been the biggest contributor. It is also interesting how little ‘the rich’ in comparison to ‘the poor’ happen to chip in into this initiative (Netherlands right next to DR Congo, Nigeria above Spain). More you can find on the Financial Times website.

Unemployment rate

The rate of unemployment is on the rise as the business world is being challenged by the new reality. In many countries governments are coming up with plans to help companies like in the UK – companies instead of firing their employees can send them on furlough when the government will pay 80% of their regular wage (up to a certain amount of course) but this is until end of June. 

December 2019
March 2020
***TE Forecast for June/July

ITALY

9,8%

*9,7%

14%

SPAIN

14,4%

13,8%

17,2%

UK

3,8%

4,0%

7%

POLAND

5,2%

5,4%

9,7%

USA

3,5%

4,4,%

15%

CHINA

5,2%

**5,9%

*Data for February 2020
**In Mar 2020 China’s unemployment rate improved vs Feb when it got up to 6,2%
***TE is Trading Economics, a platform that provides information for 196 countries including historical data and forecasts for more than 20 million economic indicators, exchange rates, stock market indexes, government bond yields, and commodity prices. TradingEconomics.com is using official information, not third party data.
For more countries and more indices 

Crops

Another problematic encounter caused by the pandemic is that because of closed borders countries that rely on seasonal workers for harvests will face a shortage in the workforce. Western European countries hire up to 80% of workers from abroad. On the other hand, those who had been making the trip each year and not being able to do it this year – will face a significant decrease in their income.

A similar situation is observed in Asia where the planting season for rice, being the biggest crop, is just around the corner.

Read more:

SOCIAL

Mental health

As long term implications cannot be yet foreseen, we already can predict some of the challenges that will come considering the mental health and well being of the population. All the uncertainties about what’s coming though can only increase the negative effects. Sense of loss is being experienced across society and it can be related to loss of employment but also with being denied social encounters, loss of loved ones or opportunities for educational growth, recreation, and, in fact, broadly understood freedom.

Researchers are highlighting increased anxiety and depression in society. Health workers who are in close contact with COVID-19 are even more exposed to these conditions. Where on one hand we see work overload and increased stress experienced by health care workers, on the other we see people losing their jobs, businesses collapsing and families left with no income – the risk of an increased suicide rate is becoming very real.

Governments will have to work on solutions that can help people take care of their well-being instead of drawing themselves into limbo. More insights on the topic and research on possible solutions and recommendations in this paper.

Domestic abuse

Worldwide the hotlines registering cases of domestic violence had been more active since the lockdowns. 18% increase in Spain, 30% increase in France, 25% increase in the UK…

With tensions rising the longer the isolation continues, some people are finding relief in alcohol and/or abuse of others in their household. Victims with nowhere to hide, receive no help nor have an option of escaping the abusers.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL

Flights

Around the world, countries banned travelers to come into their territories and issued lockdowns trying to contain the virus. As a result, the number of flights had to decrease. Reported by IATA:

Screen Shot 2020-04-26 at 16.13.11

 

The service flightradar24 continues to share not only updates on the decreased number of air traffic but also some positive vibes like below:

For more – follow flightradar24 on Twitter & Instagram!

Air pollution

Less air traffic is contributing to less pollution that is being recorded by the Copernicus Sentinel-5p satellite. The European Space Agency (ESA) recently highlighted that data clearly shows a drop in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) among European cities and in India (check out their Instagram account).

You can check how the pollution was changing on a weekly basis in recent months in your city and compare it to the same periods a year ago here!

For a bigger picture, this is how this NOx had been with us since 1990.
NOx by Country & NOx by sector over time:

Screen Shot 2020-04-26 at 16.29.26

Plastic debate

Throughout 2019 one of the pressing political topics was the environment – raising temperatures, air, and plastic pollution. With growing public awareness we were on a track to make some much-needed green-deals. Now however with the COVID-19 taking the scene and leading the public narrative – we are on environmental pause, if not on a backtrack. Some of the plastic undeniable pros being raised in the fight with the pandemic are its hygienic qualities, flexibility, and high availability. But WHO states that there are more effective ways of fighting the virus, which does not put the environment as a cost of our survival. Good article covering the topic here!

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