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Research Last Updated: Mar 6, 2020 - 1:35:10 PM

Social, Cultural and Economic Impacts of Covid-19 Outbreak
By E. Kalair, N. Abas, N. Khan, Comsats 5/3/20
Mar 6, 2020 - 1:28:58 PM

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Coronavirus epidemic stokes fear of sustained pandemic by spreading to more than 90 countries. Statistical analysis of rising cases, mortalities and recoveries.
Rapid expansion of Covid-19 epidemic has started affecting social events, cultural festivals, religious ceremonies and business activities worldwide. People fear hand shaking, hugging and touching surfaces in transport vehicles, shopping centers and public places. Consumers refuse receiving online deliveries from the coronavirus hit countries. Coronavirus fear is severely affecting trade, tourism, hotel and even online business industries [Rosamond 2020].

Fast spread of Covid-19, from China to 90 countries, shows how deeply we are connected in global village. Our deep connections range from politics, economy and culture to technology and business [Humphrey 2020]. Our global interconnections, under globalization theory, have global effects and responses. Covid-19 has wiped $50 billion off global exports in February 2020 alone. World Bank allocated $12 billion and IMF injecting $50 billion to vulnerable countries [IMF 2020]. G-7 Economies announced strengthening efforts to expand health services and fiscal measures to aid in response to the coronavirus and support the economy during outbreak [BBC 2020].

Coronavirus epidemic has affected 98,422 people in 90 countries out of which 3,386 died and 55,632 recovered from 23 January to 6 March 2020, 03:00 GMT. Covid-19 cases are in tens of thousands in China, several thousands in South Korea, a few thousands in Italy and Iran, and in hundreds in Japan, France, Germany, Spain and USA. Proportion of coronavirus cases is falling in China and rising in rest of the world.  According to worldometers currently coronavirus cases are 84% in China and 16% in other countries. It is noted more than 91 % deaths occurred in China and less than 9% in rest of 90 countries. New cases are declining in China and rising in South Korea, Italy and Iran. Statistical analysis of total Covid-19 cases, deaths and recoveries from 23 January to 6 March is shown here.


See live updates on https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

Health experts fear from escalating covid-19 epidemic into pandemic whilst political pundits regard it a matter of Public Health concern, at the moment, there is no real pandemic outside Mainland China. We need to know who is behind this false pandemic [Michel 2020]. Prof Michel Chossudovsky calls it “quite the opposite: A “Fear Pandemic” rather than a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) was launched”. It is like 2009 H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic that was actually a local epidemic. Philip Giraldi claims, “It might be possible that Washington has created and unleashed the virus in a bid to bring Beijing’s growing economy and military might down a few notches”. He argues that most affected countries are China and Iran both hostile to America and Israel [Philip 2020]. Many theorized Covid-19 to be Chinese DNA specific bioweapon that proved wrong, when this virus spread to more than 90 countries. It is affecting everybody like Chinese [Peter 2020]. No matter who is master mind out of USA, Israel or China, whoever digs trench for others, certainly falls in it.

Rising number of cases and countries is a matter of concern, no matter, where you live. No doubt coronavirus is a big epidemic of our times - causing huge economic losses – however, some blogs focus politics instead of discussing precautionary measures [Lucas 2020]. Coronavirus has killed so far 3,400 and seasonal flu took lives of more than 66,142 in this year. There are 5 million flue cases annually out of which 650,000 die worldwide, but instead of more deadly flu the novel coronavirus is under discussion everywhere due to its rampant rise in cases [Tom 2020]. The flu pandemic of 1918 killed more people in one year than four years long World War 1 [Sebastien 2020]. Covid-19 epidemic has accelerated race among researchers and drugs manufacturers to develop vaccines against Covid-19. Mask industries are unable to meet high demands of face and surgical masks. We all live in a deeply connected global village where good and bad news affect all of equally.

Coronavirus symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. To protect against Covid-19, World Health Organization (WHO) advises to clean hands with soup and water or alcohol-based hand rub. Cover nose and mouth with tissues or inside of elbow when coughing or sneezing. Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms. Thoroughly cook meat and eggs and avoid unprotected contact with live wild or farm animals. Covid-19 has no cure, therefore, take care. Covid-19 morality rate (3%) is much higher than Swine Flu (0.02%), but much lesser than SARS (9.6%) and MERS (34%) [Chen 2020]. Recovery rate was found to be 94% in 56,926 closed cases on 5 March 2020.

Covid-19 fear hovers everywhere. Doctors, nurses and paramedics are the real soldiers fighting against the Covid-19 epidemic, others protect themselves by taking precautionary measures. Governments are closing flights to the most affected countries and health authorities quarantining the affected people. Many countries have stopped flights to China and Iran. Saudi Arabia has temporarily banned pilgrim’s entry in Mecca and Medina to contain spread of coronavirus. Experts advise to refrain from collective religious, political and social gatherings as precautionary measure. Face mask manufacturers are unable to cope with high demands. Oil and gas prices declined due to low business activities [AJ 2020].

Experts say open sneeze vapors may reach from 3 to 6 feet. Do not touch hands on nose, eyes and mouth after contact with open public places. Avoid travel with infected people in closed transports like airplane, trains and ships. Global travel opens new roads for outbreaks, like coronavirus and the flu. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, they shed droplets of saliva, mucus, or other bodily fluids. If any of those droplets fall on you and you touch them - and then touch your face - you can become infected [Amy 2020]. Good news is the Covid-19 death rates are decreasing and recoveries increasing.

Face masks filter 95% airborne particle and surgical masks protect against fluids. However, pollutants may pass through edges of loosely worn masks. Before putting on a mask, remember to clean hands with soap and water. Coronavirus may take 14 to 28 days to show signs of fever and cough. It is long time during which Covid-19 affects 50% lungs. It is advised to breathe deep in fresh air and hold your breath for ten seconds without cough. If you feel cough or difficulty then see the doctor. Covid-19 enters into lungs through mouth so keep your throat wet by taking tea/coffee/water/juices periodically to divert it into stomach where acidity kills it.


According coronavirus timeline - on December 31, 2019 - China alerted WHO to several cases of unusual pneumonia (later named Covid-19) in Wuhan, a port city of 11 million people in the central Hubei province. This virus was declared unknown. Several of those infected worked at the city's Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which was shut down on January 1, 2020. The number of coronavirus cases had risen to 40 in early days of first week of January 2020 [NA 2020].

China ruled out possibility of SARS on 5 January 2020 and named it 2019-nCoV on 7 January 2020. The Coronaviruses are common and spread through being in proximity to an infected person and inhaling droplets generated when they cough or sneeze, or touching a surface where these droplets land and then touching one's face or nose. Experts believe China disclosed the epidemic a bit late. China reported first coronavirus death on 11 January 2020 and first case outside China was reported in Thailand on January 13, 2020. Covid-19 had spread to Thailand at 172 km/day average speed.

This virus had reached to United States, Nepal, France, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam and Taiwan by 17 January 2020. Covid-19 had reached Pakistan via Iran by 26 February 2020. Four coronavirus victims have been reported in Karachi and Islamabad [Imtiaz 2020]. One patient has been quarantined in Agha Khan Hospital in Karachi the second in PIMS Hospital Islamabad. Media raises fingers on authorities who did not screen coronavirus victims in time on airport. Authorities are trying to search others who travelled with these two victims. By 2March 2020, the Covid-19 had spread to 71 countries in several continents and one international conveyance “Diamond Princess” in sea. Pakistan was the last country affected by coronavirus in South Asia.

Viruses and bacteria enter human body through air, food, water and touch of infected things. Breath of patient is major cause of person to person transfer of coronavirus. Breathing and coughing in close spaces like trains, vehicles and airplanes mediates transfer of infectious diseases. Infectious diseases are caused by invisible microbes. Two major types of microbes are bacteria and virus. Bacteria are tiny microorganisms that are made up of a single cell. They require living cells or tissues to grow and prosper. Viruses can invade the cells of your body, using the components of your cells to grow and multiply. Some viruses even kill host cells as part of their life cycle.


Viruses are much smaller in size than bacterium. Virus life span is much shorter than bacteria outside the host. Antibiotics treat bacterial infections, not viral infections as they can't kill viruses. Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) originated from food market in Wuhan. Chinese disease control and prevention authority connected dots of coronavirus outbreak to wild animals. Bats were claimed to host this virus which can transfer to humans through snakes, animals and birds. Once the virus reaches humans the person to person spread occurs. China decides to shutdown wild animal market during coronavirus outbreak.

Coronavirus spreading rate (reproductive number Ro) has been estimated to be 2.4 that was 1.3 for common flue and 2 for SARS in 2003 [Shi 2020]. Outbreak disappears gradually when reproductive number is less than 1. Worldometers reported fatality rate for coronavirus to be 2.4% that was 10% for SARS in 2003 and 34% for MERS in 2012. Incubation period for coronavirus varies from 2 to 14 days. The virus is contagious in this period and patient shows no symptoms of disease (asymptomatic transmission). Coronavirus seriously affects old people with diabetes, asthma and heart problems. According to NHC 80% of those who died were over age of 60 and 75% had diabetes or heart problems. However, the coronavirus can affect people of all ages.

According to New York Times, “Wuhan coronavirus outbreak spreading from China is now likely to become a pandemic that circles the globe, according to many of the world’s leading infectious disease experts. Scientists do not yet know how lethal the new coronavirus is, however, so there is uncertainty about how much damage a pandemic might cause, but there is growing consensus that the pathogen is readily transmitted between humans. But various epidemiological models estimate that the real number of cases is 100,000 or even more. While that expansion is not as rapid as that of flu or measles, it is an enormous leap beyond what virologists saw when SARS and MERS emerged.” [Donald 2020]. WHO has declared coronavirus a public health emergency, however, coronavirus outbreak is not yet pandemic as this description is reserved for an infectious disease threatening lots of people all over the world simultaneously [Michelle 2020]. Experts think coronavirus might soon become pandemic [Bill 2020].


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) first seen in KSA in 2012 then Korea in 2015 and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in China from 2002 to 2003. SARS caused 774 deaths and 8,098 cases in 17 countries. Earlier MERS breakout reported 628 deaths and 1733 cases in 24 countries from 2012 to 2015 [Huizhong 2020]. On February 2, 2020 the Guardian reported 306 deaths and 14,380 cases of coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China.  On February 3, 2020 CNN reported 362 deaths, 523 recoveries and 17,300 cases [Joshua 2020]. On February 4, 2020 worldometer reported 492 deaths, 907 recoveries and 24,552 cases [Worldometer 2020]. By February 5 the number of deaths increased to 565, recoveries to 1,173 and total cases to 28, 276. Media reports daily a few dozen more deaths and a few thousand more cases [Jessie 2020]. There are thousands people under observation, experts think the total cases might increase to 75,000 [Kieran 2020].

WHO has declared Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV) a global emergency [WHO 2020].  There are thirteen types of coronaviruses out of which only seven attack humans. Symptoms of coronavirus may appear in 2 to 14 days and more patients recover than die with corona virus. Current death rate is 1 out of every 50 cases. These seven sisters of coronavirus family are human coronavirus 229E (HCoV-229E), human coronavirus OC43 (HCoV-OC43), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), human coronavirus NL63 (HCoV-NL63), human coronavirus HKU1, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) also known as Wuhan coronavirus. Chinese Government has released $9 billion to disease control and prevention department to contain the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) [Reuters 2020]. Coronavirus is likely to peak by 6 February 2020 that proved wrong [Huaxia 2020].


There is race among drug companies to develop vaccine for coronavirus patients. Experts see a long road ahead to invent, test and market vaccines for coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in future [Carl 2020]. Outbreak to treatment period is niche window in which conspiracies theories spread in social media. The United States is expanding screening of arrivals from China from 5 to 20 airports and would consider imposing further travel curbs. There are more than 23,000 Pakistani students and 5000 traders in China. There are 500 students in Wuhan out of which four have been reported infected with coronavirus. According to a student from the Wuhan University of Science and Technology, there are about 200 Pakistani students in the institute, and a total of 2,000 in other universities of the city. There are 50,000 Pakistani students studying abroad. Chinese government has quarantined more than 60 million people in 31 cities to contain the spread of coronavirus [Tony 2020; Emily 2020].

According to health correspondent James Gallagher, “Many low and middle income countries simply lack the tools to spot or contain it. The fear is it could spread uncontrollably and that it may go unnoticed for some time. Remember this is a disease which emerged only last month - and yet there are already almost 80,000 confirmed cases in China…The 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa - the largest in human history - showed how easily poorer countries can be overwhelmed by such outbreaks….Ebola, 2014 - The first emergency over the virus lasted from August 2014 to March 2016 as almost 30,000 people were infected and more than 11,000 died in West Africa. Swine flu, 2009 -The H1N1 virus spread across the world in 2009, killing more than 200,000 people.” [James 2020].

According to medical news today, “Coronaviruses can spread by coughing and sneezing without covering the mouth can disperse droplets into the air, spreading the virus, touching or shaking hands with a person that has the virus can pass the virus from one person to another, making contact with a surface or object that has the virus and then touching your nose, eyes, or mouth, on rare occasions, a coronavirus may spread through contact with feces… To prevent transmission, be sure to stay at home and rest while experiencing symptoms and avoid close contact with other people.” [MNT 2020].


There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:


Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Stay home when you are sick.

Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses.

People infected with 2019-nCoV should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions. People who think they may have been exposed to 2019-nCoV should contact your healthcare provider immediately.” [CDC 2020]. Evacuation of infected people to their countries worldwide is not good idea. Experts may help China by inventing treatment. Honey, olive oil, ginger and turmeric are natural foods increasing internal immunity. A dramatic increase in face mask sale was observed in last week. Experts hold face masks spread virus if not worn properly. A Canadian scientist claims that salty masks can kill corona virus [Ben 2020]. These preventive measures are better than doing nothing, waiting for lighting to strike.

Prevention is better than treatment, therefore, take all possible precautionary measures. Wash hands with soap and avoid touching surfaces outside. Tissue papers used by patient be disposed properly. There is no injection against coronavirus (2019-nCoV) at the moment. Doctors can use fever reducing medicines against high fever. This virus affects lungs that causes short breath. In worst case artificial breathing might be required. In case of cough put two spoons honey and little black pepper in warm water to drink. In case of infection put one spoon of turmeric, one spoon olive and one spoon honey in one cup of warm milk to drink. Dr. Asif Mahmood Jah proposes to take mint, fennel seed, cinnamon, and turmeric tea for running nose and throat infection [Asif 2020].

You may take honey and little black pepper in warm water to treat the cough, and use turmeric, olive and honey in warm milk to treat infected persons. Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a real global emergency that needs to be dealt with accordingly. Many countries are evacuating their citizens. Chinese government has allocated lot of funds to control and contain coronavirus. They are building coronavirus (2019-nCoV) hospital in Wuhan in ten days as they built SARS hospital in seven days in Beijing in 2003. China is fighting back to contain the deadly virus but globalization, human rights and activists decelerating her efforts. Evacuation of American, British and Japanese nationals in China has increased chances of global spreading of this deadly virus to more people half-a-world away.

New virus news started coming in early December in China. Chinese officials wasted golden window from 15-12-2019 to 15-1-2020 to control and contain the virus. Politicians often ignore technocrats until a visible disaster starts prevailing. Professor Pei says, “I would think first about how it will reflect upon me, then I just kick the ball upstairs. I just keep kicking it upstairs, and wait for decision-making.” According to media reports, “On the first day of 2020, authorities interrogated eight Wuhan doctors and accused them of “rumormongering” for simply posting about the virus.” [Lenora 2020].

Coronavirus spread through ground is much slower than by air travel. Covid-19 horror is badly affecting stock markets, airlines, tourism, and hotel industries. Crude oil prices have declined and economic activities slowed down worldwide. Oil prices have declined from $68/barrel to $54/barrel in last 30 days [Ben 2020]. China’s president Xi Jinping warned at the weekend that the coronavirus would have a “relatively big impact on the economy and society”. New data to show steep fall in Chinese factory output as outbreak in Italy ramps up eurozone fears [Richard 2020].




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Source:Ocnus.net 2020

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