The new Coronavirus (COVID-19) has undoubtedly made an indelible mark across all the continents of the world. Coronavirus is known to infect both humans and animals, and in humans it causes a respiratory illness that ranges from common colds to much more serious infections. Though popularly called Coronavirus by the general public, the pathogen that causes the disease is called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV_2).
What started as an epidemic in Wuhan, a city in Eastern China, has now become a pandemic that has brought the world to its knees. The World Health Organization (WHO) China office first reported the previously unknown virus on December 31, 2019, when there was an occurrence of pneumonia cases in the city with a population of over 10 million people and declared it a pandemic in March 11.
Now, as at April 30, there are about 3,170,335 confirmed coronavirus cases and 224,708 deaths and still counting, all over the world according to John Hopkins Unversity COVID-19 dashboard. Though the virus has been found in over 200 countries, Italy, the United States and Spain have suffered the most from outbreaks outside China. The United States is now the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, becoming the first country to surpass China’s total confirmed cases with 1,061,237 confirmed cases and 61,361 deaths as of April 30, 2020.
The disease seems to have originated from a Wuhan seafood market where wild animals, including marmots, birds, rabbits, bats, and snakes, are traded illegally. Coronaviruses are usually transmitted from animals to humans, so it’s thought that the first set of people infected with the disease contracted it from contact with animals. A team of virologists at the Wuhan Institute for Virology released a detailed paper showing that the new coronaviruses’ genetic makeup is 96% identical to that of a coronavirus found in bats, while a study published on March 26 argues that genetic sequences of coronavirus in pangolins are between 88.5 and 92.4 percent similar to the human virus.
Economic Impact of COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on the global economy including the continent of Africa even though Africa has a relatively low number of confirmed cases and deaths. With the rising demand for essential items such as food, medical assistance, medicine, and drugs comes a decreasing demand for non-essential goods such as clothing, electronic gadgets, etc.
Many businesses are coping with the loss of revenue and disruption of supply chains as factory shutdowns. Many jobs are at risk, however, a lot of people have adjusted to working from home. The International Monetary Fund’s Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva issued a statement following the call, in which she outlined the outlook for global growth: “For 2020 it is negative – a recession at least as bad as during the global financial crisis or worse. We expect a recovery in 2021. To get there, it is paramount to prioritize containment and strengthen health systems – everywhere.” The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development warned on 23 March that the shock from the virus is already bigger than the 2007-2009 global financial crisis.
OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) secretary-general Angel Gurría said many countries would fall into recession and countries would be dealing with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic for years to come. The virus has also caused a significant fall in the price of crude oil, taking billions off the stock prices of major oil and gas companies.
Impact of COVID-19 on Education
A lot of schools are affected, countries had to enforce social distancing by closing down schools. About 120 countries have closed schools thereby impacting billions of students over the world. This seems like the only logical way to enforce social distancing. Some students are at a disadvantage because they have fewer opportunities for learning at home. However, some schools have adapted to these changes through the use of the internet for online classes and distance learning. However, not all students have access to the internet. There’s a need for educational interventions during this pandemic that can mitigate the impact on students and learning.
Impact of COVID-19 on Agriculture
This pandemic has caused an unarguable increase in the demand for food, therefore supply also must increase. There is a need for helpful measures to ensure food security for citizens. However, border closures, quarantines, closures of markets and disruption of supply chains threaten the fate of agriculture in the country. However, there is also an increase in demand for spices such as ginger, garlic, and lemon as they have been rumored to help fight or wade off coronavirus even though WHO and NCDC have refuted this claim.
The good news is that with the global funding of coronavirus, come innovations and tech startups that help to combat this coronavirus pandemic. Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba made a considerable donation of essential medical supplies such as face masks and ventilators to combat this disease. Several universities are also working towards research and innovations such as the 3D printed valve turning scuba masks into ventilators. One of the notable ones is Oxford’s rapid testing technology for coronavirus. Also, the struggle to find a vaccine that can kill the virus continues even though the process is tedious and can be time-consuming.
The whole world is working together for the first time to ensure the safety of her citizens and the alleviation of the pandemic, this gives greater hope to the world that the pandemic will be over soon.