Pandemic: What comes after?

Hewson

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While we're rightly occupied with our health and safety in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, I've been preoccupied to some extent with what the fallout will be for not just us, but society everywhere, the mental and material health of individuals and the economies on which they depend for a living.

The consequences are already with us and unfolding at a pace that none of us was prepared for. Hundreds of thousands of workers here in Ireland are now dependent on government subsidies just a few short weeks after being employed across a wide range of industries and services. Those lucky enough to be able to work from home are doing so. Thousands of others are not as fortunate. The psychological consequences of what's unfolding will be severe for many and the financial consequences even more so. And that's without the emotional trauma of losing somebody you love, often compounded by not being with them in their final moments of life. This is a reality being played out the world over.

The economic impact will be horrific, particularly for states with high debt to GDP ratios. Italy has been hardest hit by Covid-19 and will have to spend tens of billions to try to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, adding to what is the highest debt of any EU state. Germany will enter recession also. Its economy is expected to contract by 5% this year. France likewise. It took two years for the US to lose about 9 million jobs in the wake of the 2008 crash. It took two weeks during this pandemic to lose 10 million jobs.

Around the rest of the world, oil producing states will possibly be dealing with $10 pbl oil, something places like Iran, Iraq, Venezuela, Nigeria, Lybia are in no position to do. What becomes of these societies when the money they depend on dries up?

The arrival of Covid-19 has magnified a problem the world has too long ignored or pretended isn't a problem; Debt. Global GDP is about $90 trillion. Public and private debt stands at about $260 trillion.

We need — all of us around the world — big minds to deal with a big problem. Unfortunately we're too often getting the opposite. The March group of seven meeting couldn't agree on a common statement afterwards because the US refused to sign anything that didn't label the virus the 'Wuhan Virus'. That's the level of intellect we're dealing with in Washington.

While many of the ingredients are there for the collapse of societies around the globe it's not all bleak. There are acts of heroism being performed every hour of every day in the hospitals and care centres around the world. There are hundreds of thousands of people giving their time, their skills and their hearts to help others in their communities. They symbolise what's best in humanity at a time when our faith in it might be sorely tested.

But it's the damage to societies rather than economies that will pose the greatest challenge when this disease has become a bad memory. That's where we all have a role to play. Someone said to me today that we'll never be the same again after this. And maybe that's not a bad thing because the world we lived in, and how we lived in it, was not sustainable. Repeatedly raping the place you call home is never a good idea.

Maybe we'll use this event as an opportunity to reset our priorities. Maybe 80% of the world's wealth being concentrated in the hands of a tiny percentage of its people is no longer acceptable. Maybe now that the planet has had a chance to draw a breath of unpolluted air we might get used to it.

What comes after Covid-19 can be a negative or a positive. It's up to us to decide.
 


RossN

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I'm very cynical about utopianism and I very much doubt we'll see much lasting change anywhere. This will be Spanish Flu 2: Electric Boogaloo. As loud as the cry for 'something different!' will be it will be absolutely, utterly drowned by the cry 'back to normality!'

Then again, as an admitted cynic of utopianism I don't think that is the worst outcome.
 

Dame_Enda

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This could be moment the world becomes more protectionist - at least regarding medical equipment. Our dependence on imports of PPE, ventilators and reagent when we have half the world's ventilators and much of the world's medicine manufactured in this Republic is a wakeup call.
 

owedtojoy

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This could be moment the world becomes more protectionist - at least regarding medical equipment. Our dependence on imports of PPE, ventilators and reagent when we have half the world's ventilators and much of the world's medicine manufactured in this Republic is a wakeup call.
It could be axactly the reverse.

If every country retreats into its own national cocoon, international trade diminishes and everyone's economy gets smaller. More poverty, more unrest. a decline in living standards across every industrial country.

If we are going to build a health service to withstand a pandemic, where will we get the investment to do it without exports? Ireland is a small open economy that profits from international trade. Believe me, the EU single market is looking very attractive right now and we need it to weather the storm.

OTOH, look at Britain, on the cusp of leaving a massive free trade area to look for free trade elsewhere. The Tories have already admitted there will be "economic dislocation" - but do they really need that extra dislocation right now, with their economy collapsing? They are trying to change horses in the middle of a raging torrent, and COVID-19 could not have happened at a worse time for them.

It would be too much to see them cave in on Brexit, but it is a time for prgamatism and realism, not ideology and magical thinking.
 

joe sod

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because the US refused to sign anything that didn't label the virus the 'Wuhan Virus'. That's the level of intellect we're dealing with in Washington.
thousands of people have died worldwide because of this with many more to come. It wont be just the US that will be pointing the finger at China, Britain and Italy are equally enraged that their economies have been destroyed by this. It cannot simply be glossed over that the origins of this virus along with Sars before it was China.
One of the big casualties of this pandemic will be globalisation, it was probably the case anyway that this was cyclical trend that has coming to its end and that the virus has just hastened this.
 

Dame_Enda

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owedtojoy said:
OTOH, look at Britain, on the cusp of leaving a massive free trade area to look for free trade elsewhere. The Tories have already admitted there will be "economic dislocation" - but do they really need that extra dislocation right now, with their economy collapsing? They are trying to change horses in the middle of a raging torrent, and COVID-19 could not have happened at a worse time for them.

It would be too much to see them cave in on Brexit, but it is a time for prgamatism and realism, not ideology and magical thinking.
That seems to make sense, but Boris is sky high in the polls right now, which seems to be part of a global trend where frightened populations rally behind their governments, deserved or not.
 

owedtojoy

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That seems to make sense, but Boris is sky high in the polls right now, which seems to be part of a global trend where frightened populations rally behind their governments, deserved or not.
The rally does not always last, as Jimmy Carter and George W Bush found out during the Iran Hostage Crisis and the Iraq War, respectively.

And it is still early days.

I think the pandemic calls into question discredits the abiity of the Reagan-Thatcher freemarket economic model to deliver for real citizens. Reagan's and Thatcher's successors are both in office, and both are signing off massive state intervention in their economies, the like of which has never been seen.

What price Reagan's famous quip "Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem." ? How is Government the problem after the 2008 Bailouts and the 2020 economic rescue packages?
 

owedtojoy

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thousands of people have died worldwide because of this with many more to come. It wont be just the US that will be pointing the finger at China, Britain and Italy are equally enraged that their economies have been destroyed by this. It cannot simply be glossed over that the origins of this virus along with Sars before it was China.
One of the big casualties of this pandemic will be globalisation, it was probably the case anyway that this was cyclical trend that has coming to its end and that the virus has just hastened this.
Too early to say. One of the expectations of democratic electorate will be to return to the living standards they enjoyed pre-pandemic, and for that countires will have to earn money. The way to earn it is through international trade.
 

JCR

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After the Spainsh flu the world had the roaring twenties. How that happened I haven't read about but I'd guess a lot of it would have been down to sentiment, in particular in the wake of WWI. Yes there was not globalisation like we have now but it will interesting to see if the world pays heed to what happened back then.

That assumes that we will see a return to normal life of course. You'd assume a vaccine will be found of course, an effective treatment etc but how does the planet deal with these viruses appearing as relatively regularly as they do now?

You'd expect trade and travel with China to slow down no matter what the outcome of this. And the whole world has to have a plan for future lockdowns that's for sure.
 

midlander12

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While we're rightly occupied with our health and safety in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, I've been preoccupied to some extent with what the fallout will be for not just us, but society everywhere, the mental and material health of individuals and the economies on which they depend for a living.

The consequences are already with us and unfolding at a pace that none of us was prepared for. Hundreds of thousands of workers here in Ireland are now dependent on government subsidies just a few short weeks after being employed across a wide range of industries and services. Those lucky enough to be able to work from home are doing so. Thousands of others are not as fortunate. The psychological consequences of what's unfolding will be severe for many and the financial consequences even more so. And that's without the emotional trauma of losing somebody you love, often compounded by not being with them in their final moments of life. This is a reality being played out the world over.

The economic impact will be horrific, particularly for states with high debt to GDP ratios. Italy has been hardest hit by Covid-19 and will have to spend tens of billions to try to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, adding to what is the highest debt of any EU state. Germany will enter recession also. Its economy is expected to contract by 5% this year. France likewise. It took two years for the US to lose about 9 million jobs in the wake of the 2008 crash. It took two weeks during this pandemic to lose 10 million jobs.

Around the rest of the world, oil producing states will possibly be dealing with $10 pbl oil, something places like Iran, Iraq, Venezuela, Nigeria, Lybia are in no position to do. What becomes of these societies when the money they depend on dries up?

The arrival of Covid-19 has magnified a problem the world has too long ignored or pretended isn't a problem; Debt. Global GDP is about $90 trillion. Public and private debt stands at about $260 trillion.

We need — all of us around the world — big minds to deal with a big problem. Unfortunately we're too often getting the opposite. The March group of seven meeting couldn't agree on a common statement afterwards because the US refused to sign anything that didn't label the virus the 'Wuhan Virus'. That's the level of intellect we're dealing with in Washington.

While many of the ingredients are there for the collapse of societies around the globe it's not all bleak. There are acts of heroism being performed every hour of every day in the hospitals and care centres around the world. There are hundreds of thousands of people giving their time, their skills and their hearts to help others in their communities. They symbolise what's best in humanity at a time when our faith in it might be sorely tested.

But it's the damage to societies rather than economies that will pose the greatest challenge when this disease has become a bad memory. That's where we all have a role to play. Someone said to me today that we'll never be the same again after this. And maybe that's not a bad thing because the world we lived in, and how we lived in it, was not sustainable. Repeatedly raping the place you call home is never a good idea.

Maybe we'll use this event as an opportunity to reset our priorities. Maybe 80% of the world's wealth being concentrated in the hands of a tiny percentage of its people is no longer acceptable. Maybe now that the planet has had a chance to draw a breath of unpolluted air we might get used to it.

What comes after Covid-19 can be a negative or a positive. It's up to us to decide.
There's the problem though - who gets to decide? We are at the mercy of forces outside our control. But I'm glad you started the thread because other threads people are being denounced for even mentioning the fact that all this has an economic and psychological aspect to it as well as just an immediate reaction to a health risk.

I agree nothing will ever be the same again, and that's probably no bad thing. But we still have to get the basics of the economy and society back functioning, and as soon as possible. At present we have empty schools and workplaces, a health service that has ceased to function except in relation to this virus (and one can debate how it functions it that regard), and a near-total absence of forums for people to meaningfully (as opposed to virtually) interact and express themselves. A society cannot function for long is such a vacuum, without a serious breakdown.
 

Dame_Enda

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After the Spainsh flu the world had the roaring twenties. How that happened I haven't read about but I'd guess a lot of it would have been down to sentiment, in particular in the wake of WWI. Yes there was not globalisation like we have now but it will interesting to see if the world pays heed to what happened back then.
It was censored in the press during WW1 for fear of hurting morale. The public for a while didn't know the scale of it. It became known as the "Spanish flu" because the press was free to report on it there as Spain was neutral.
 
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making waves

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It was censored in the press during WW1 for fear oh hurting morale.
The Spanish flu also had an impact on the wave of revolutions that swept across Europe and further afield after the Russian Revolution.
 

former wesleyan

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The Dutch will have a billion kilo spud pile because the chippers of Europe are shut by and large. So sez Reuters.
 

Hewson

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thousands of people have died worldwide because of this with many more to come. It wont be just the US that will be pointing the finger at China, Britain and Italy are equally enraged that their economies have been destroyed by this. It cannot simply be glossed over that the origins of this virus along with Sars before it was China.
One of the big casualties of this pandemic will be globalisation, it was probably the case anyway that this was cyclical trend that has coming to its end and that the virus has just hastened this.
This article might go some way to shedding more light on the origins of the virus, but as yet there's nothing conclusive, other than that China is definitely the source.



Richard Ebright, a Rutgers microbiologist and biosafety expert, told me in an email that “the first human infection could have occurred as a natural accident,” with the virus passing from bat to human, possibly through another animal. But Ebright cautioned that it “also could have occurred as a laboratory accident, with, for example, an accidental infection of a laboratory worker.” He noted that bat coronaviruses were studied in Wuhan at Biosafety Level 2, “which provides only minimal protection,” compared with the top BSL-4.

Ebright described a December video from the Wuhan CDC that shows staffers “collecting bat coronaviruses with inadequate [personal protective equipment] and unsafe operational practices.” Separately, I reviewed two Chinese articles, from 2017 and 2019, describing the heroics of Wuhan CDC researcher Tian Junhua, who while capturing bats in a cave “forgot to take protective measures” so that “bat urine dripped from the top of his head like raindrops.”



It's to be hoped that this calamity would result in a change in some eating practises in China and other SE Asian countries. So called 'wet markets', where hygiene standards are virtually non-existent and wild animals are consumed with little or no thought of the consequences, need to be outlawed. A tall order in China, but it has to be done.

A clampdown on the illegal import of endangered species parts would also curb the demand for things like rhino horn and elephant ivory for expensive trinkets ordered by wealthy Chinese.

There was documentary on TV some years ago about how wild bears are kept in narrow cages in China, with no room to move either left or right, just enough to lie down in, and which are drained of their bile regularly for use in 'medicine'. The bears filmed were obviously so seriously psychologically damaged — swinging their heads incessantly black and forth — that euthanasia would have been the kindest way out.

The wide scale abuse of the natural world is not without consequences, as we're finding out the hard way.
 

McTell

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OP

//

What comes after Covid-19 can be a negative or a positive. It's up to us to decide.

What comes after?

Herd immunity of course. Vaccinations. War stories.
 

joe sod

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It's to be hoped that this calamity would result in a change in some eating practises in China and other SE Asian countries. So called 'wet markets', where hygiene standards are virtually non-existent and wild animals are consumed with little or no thought of the consequences, need to be outlawed. A tall order in China, but it has to be done.
we were all told of the military style controls the chinese put in place to lockdown the Wuhan province in january, obviously it was not effective as infected people travelled from there to italy and spain and spread the virus worldwide.

Why is a tall order to shut down those "wet markets" also the source of the sars virus? I mean this has caused a global catastrophe like no other and it is a tall order by the Chinese to close down these markets !!!

Why are these deadly viruses all coming from China and not from other populous asian countries like India, Pakistan or Indonesia ?

Lots of countries have laboratories investigating viruses and animals etc, Is it the case that only the Chinese are unable to control these??
 

Lumpy Talbot

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The Chinese have closed and banned all such markets I believe. That doesn't attend to the problem that similar markets exist in Vietnam and other south east Asian countries.

Visa restrictions should be used to prevent travel from cities where such practices as wet-markets are still tolerated. I would say however given the seriousness of the pandemic that it is very unlikely that any Asian country will now tolerate such markets.
 

Lumpy Talbot

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Problem is that in banning such practices it probably fires up surreptitious trading in the shadows where the authorities can't see it. So there will need to be some pretty stern enforcement which could actually have the beneficial effect of hampering the current illegal wildlife trade. With the diminished number of flights and passengers who either want or need to travel for work or social reasons we can expect from here it will be that much more dangerous for smugglers to operate with adequate cover.
 

Hewson

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we were all told of the military style controls the chinese put in place to lockdown the Wuhan province in january, obviously it was not effective as infected people travelled from there to italy and spain and spread the virus worldwide.

Why is a tall order to shut down those "wet markets" also the source of the sars virus? I mean this has caused a global catastrophe like no other and it is a tall order by the Chinese to close down these markets !!

Only because of the way they operate and the people they're operated by, not because I don't believe it should be done. It should, if it hasn't already been. I hope Lumpy Talbot is right.

By coincidence, I came across this piece this morning;


The new coronavirus, which has traversed the globe to infect more than 1 million people, began like so many pandemics and outbreaks before: inside an animal.

The virus’s original host was almost certainly a bat, scientists have said, as was the case with Ebola, SARS, MERS and lesser-known viruses such as Nipah and Marburg. HIV migrated to humans more than a century ago from a chimpanzee. Influenza A has jumped from wild birds to pigs to people. Rodents spread Lassa fever in West Africa.

But the problem is not the animals, according to scientists who study the zoonotic diseases that pass between animals and humans. It’s us.
 


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