By: Parker Meredith
At this point, everyone has heard of Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. The virus that is believed to have started in an open-air market in Wuhan, China, has begun to spread rapidly. Scientists are unsure of the total damage this disease could bring, however some people have drawn comparisons between it and the Bubonic Plague.
Just about three months after it was first discovered, the deadly virus has reached most corners of the world. Coronavirus has spread through Asia and Europe, and multiple cases have been confirmed in the United States. The spread has caused pandemonium, with the stock market crashing, thousands of flights being cancelled everyday and even rumors of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan being cancelled.
Only a few weeks after the virus began to spread, the streets of Wuhan were empty. And I don’t mean there weren’t very many people on the street. No, there wasn’t a single person in sight. Flights were immediately grounded, with barely any flights going in or out of China. This travel scare hasn’t reached many other places, however the worldwide economy has also felt the impact.
In the past week, Coronavirus has also infected the stock market. After production centers were put to a halt in China, businesses are struggling to hold on. The S&P 500 has dropped more than 10% this week, and continues to plummet every day. On February 27, the company dropped 4.4%, the single greatest crash in one day since 2011. This drop put fear on many traders’ faces. President Trump assured us that the woes about jet company Boeing and strikes at GM were of larger economic concern than Coronavirus at the moment.
With the scare spreading, there are even rumors of the Olympic Games being cancelled. The monumental event is expected to greatly benefit Japan’s economy, specifically boosting tourism and construction investment. A whopping 920,000 visitors are expected to visit Tokyo every day during the games. However, recently fear of cancelling the games have risen. Despite this fear, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach told Japanese media that the IOC is “fully committed” to holding the Olympics. The committee is in frequent contact with the World Health Organization, and continues to evaluate the escalating circumstances daily. If the games were to be cancelled, the Japanese economy would be hit hardest. Japan has invested about $9 trillion into the games, a number that would be hard to bounce back from. Additionally, thousands of hotels have been built, adding to the investment.
If Coronavirus continues to spread, a global catastrophe is imminent. However, right now the uncertainty of the virus is perhaps the most troubling.