A complete insight into COVID-19 Pandemic and its socio-economic impact

Coronavirus pandemic COVID-19 virus: A curse of the 21st century

An unprecedented malediction of the modern era, the highly contagious COVID-19 or Novel coronavirus pandemic is considered as the greatest challenge to civilization since the Second World War. A global health hazard, it brought the whole world to a standstill, as lockdown and quarantine are the two most effective means to fight this blight on humanity.

WHO has declared it as a global health emergency as the total positive cases across the world is nearing 10 million. It is affecting the physical and mental well-being of everyone, and at the same time, it is hurting the economy of the countries too. The normal daily life, leisure, travel, entertainment, and sports are put on hold. All the major industries are brought to their knees, all thanks to this malady that ails the earth.

In this blog, you will get to know all the necessary information related to the COVID-19 virus outbreak. You will also learn how it is resulting in a long-term negative impact, not only on the health of the mass but also on the financial and socio-cultural status quo.

When you go through the topics like how the pandemic started and spread across continents, to topple the financial condition of the highly affected countries. It will also cover the path to vaccine discovery, changes in the daily lifestyle, and how the economic fallout is affecting the holistic health of the mass. In this way, you can be well-prepared to look after your physical and monetary well-being.

Table of content: What CoVID related topic this blog will cover?

  1. Ways to keep yourself safe from COVID-19 infection
  2. COVID-19: Start of infection
  3. COVID-19: Spread of the pandemic
  4. COVID-19: Phases of spread
  5. COVID-19: Current status
  6. Top 5 affected countries by COVID
  7. Vaccine journey for COVID-19
  8. All other things you should know about COVID?
  9. Economic fallout due to COVID-19
  10. Current economic crisis due to Covid-19 outbreak
  11. Economic crisis due to COVID and its impact in the upcoming recession
  12. Digital payment vulnerabilities during COVID-19:
  13. Cyber-security threats to common people and businesses during COVID-19 Pandemic
  14. Impact of COVID lifestyle and upcoming recession on mental and physical health
  15. What you can do to combat stress

Ways to keep yourself safe from COVID-19 infection

Prevention is always better than cure, and nothing can be truer than this for the case of COVID-19, without a commercial vaccine in the market yet. You need to abide by the following guidelines to keep yourself and the family safe from the pandemic.

Social distancing

To flatten the infection curve, this is considered as the most important tool.

  • Stay at your home as much as you can, do not go out without an emergency.
  • Try to opt for a work-from-home option.
  • Avoid all crowded places like bars, and gatherings.
  • When you do have to go out, try and maintain at least 6 ft. (1.8m) distance from everybody.

Coronavirus prevention infographic showing Social distancing and other steps to prevent COVID-19 spread

Maintain basic hygiene

  • Wash your hands with soap and water in a regular interval for at least 20 seconds.
  • If you are outside and cannot use soap, use a sanitizer with more than 70% alcohol content.
  • Practice good respiratory hygiene, and try to avoid smoking.
  • Cover your face with a tissue while coughing or sneezing, or use the inside of the elbow.
  • Always avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • If you have to go out, use a cloth mask or face covering, which may give some level of protection against the asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic COVID-19 patients.

Basic hygiene steps required to prevent COVID-19 spread

Boosting immunity

This is an indirect yet effective approach to minimize the chance of COVID-19 infection.

  • Take part in physical activities like yoga, which increases the lung capacity, and boosts immunity. Also, try and maintain a proper sleep cycle which is good for both physical and mental health.
  • Modify your diet. Try and avoid oily and cold food. Limit your carb intake.
  • Increase the foods which are needed to maintain gut microbial activity, like curd, cheese, yogurt, sauerkraut, etc.
  • If you can, take Basil leaves, which can be used to treat chronic respiratory problems. Also, it has anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Use food components like garlic, ginger, pepper, lemons, oranges, and strawberries, which are rich in anti-oxidant and boosts immunity.

COVID-19: Start of infection

COVID-19 is a virus with a natural origin, as it is an example of zoonosis i.e. infection from non-human species to humans. Although there is no concrete data-backed proof, the initial confirmed infection trend analysis shows that the first known patient was from China.

According to the experts, the COVID-19 virus has its origin in bats, and then in came to humans as spill-over infection. The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province is where the virus came in contact with humans. This wet market sells wild and banned rare species like bats, pangolins which had similar symptoms like COVID-19 infection. The crowded and unsanitized condition of the market, where wild animals are killed on the spot and sold, were the perfect breeding and spreading ground of the virus.

As per an unofficial Chinese report, the first case was reported back on 17 November 2019 for symptoms similar to COVID-19 infection, although it cannot be told for sure if this was the patient-zero. WHO declared an early symptom onset on 8 December, and by 20th January 2020, the human-to-human transmission was confirmed.

COVID-19: Spread of the pandemic

It went through a few stages from being an unknown fever in a small area to a pandemic in a few months.

  • From the initial stage, the infection rate of the COVID-19 outbreak was high. Even on a domestic scale, the number of cases doubled in almost a week in the Hubei province.
  • In the meantime, the Chinese New Year celebration (25th January 2020) was approaching, resulting in tourism influx. Wuhan was a major transport hub and railway junction, which resulted in a speedy spread of the virus around the country.
  • On 30th January, WHO declared COVID-19 as an international public health emergency, but by the time, infection spread-rate has skyrocketed.
  • Soon, the disease had an international presence, from the tourists traveling in and out of China. At the end of January, the first confirmed case was found in Italy in traveling Chinese tourists.
  • Even with measures like lockdown and social distancing, it spread rapidly, when Italy crosses China with the number of most death in March.
  • The WHO declared Europe as an active pandemic center.
  • From the European travellers, the cases spread in America. The United States of America soon topped the list with the most number of positive COVID-19 cases.

COVID-19 distribution map in 2019

COVID-19: Phases of spread

As per WHO guidelines, there are phases of Pandemic Influenza spreading like COVID, SARS, etc. Phase 1 to 3 are the docile stages of the virus, with very few human interactions. In Phase 4, there is an initial human to human transition. It is followed by phases 5 to 6, which is a complete pandemic.

  • In the case of COVID-19, Phase 1 and 2 were in the wild bats and pangolins of the Wuhan wet market in early November, as they were showing similar influenza-like symptoms for their species.
  • Phase 3 of COVID-19 was in late November when four men and women were confirmed as infected, with ties to the wet market. This was the concrete evidence of zoonosis.
  • Phase 4 of COVID-19 is marked by a verified human-to-human transmission i.e. community outbreak. This was boosted by the Chinese New Year tourism in January 2020 causing national-level spreading.
  • Phase 5 of COVID-19 was the human-to-human virus spreading in two countries under the WHO authority. At the end of January, the confirmed Coronavirus case in Italy marked the beginning of this phase.
  • Phase 6 is the complete pandemic stage, characterized by an outbreak of the virus in two different continent or two WHO regions. The COVID-19 outbreak reached this stage in late February to early March. On March 11, 2020, the WHO officially declared COVID-19 as a pandemic.
  • This phase will be followed by a post-peak phase, where the disease can be controlled but there is a chance of recurrence via a second wave.

COVID-19: Current status

The countries across the globe are taking various steps to control the COVID-19 pandemic while keeping the economy alive. But without an internationally accepted medicine to treat it or commercially available vaccine, the disease is still spreading.

At present, the total number of Coronavirus cases is around 9.4 million, with almost 5 lakh deaths. The high infection rate of the disease is really worrying. The only hope lies in the total recovery case, which is now over 5 million. At present, different countries are trying different combinations of drugs to treat critical patients, from the Hydroxychloroquine, Favilavir to Remdesivir. However, without more clinical trial and side-effect tests, they cannot be branded as safe for public distribution.

Top 5 affected countries

Even though China was the epicentre of the Coronavirus outbreak, it is now not even in the top 20 of the most affected countries. As per the number of total affected patients, the top 5 affected countries at present are-

  1. USA
  2. Brazil
  3. Russia
  4. India
  5. UK

Vaccine journey for COVID-19

More than a hundred countries have come together on the journey to find an effective vaccine for this novel coronavirus. Although trails are underway already for quite a few of them, it will take at least until the first quarter of 2021 for them to be commercially available in the market.

Among them, these vaccines show quite some promise to effectively fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

  1. China: As China was the first victim of the coronavirus pandemic, they began searching for the cure the earliest. Among them, CanSino Biologics went through a vector-based vaccine approach in their vaccine ‘Ad5-nCoV’. It uses an engineered Adenovirus which is quite successful. At present, phase II of the clinical trial is underway for it. At the same time, Sinovac Biotech from Beijing has developed two strains of successful vaccine test on monkeys, and now in talks to start phase III of the clinical trial.
  2. France: French drug-maker Sanofi SA, is developing a vaccine in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline of the UK. They stated that they are hopeful to get approval for their product in the first half of 2021.
  3. UK: Among many, the most famous is the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, developed by the University of Oxford, in Jenner Institute. It came with a huge promise and started with more than five hundred volunteers, but there is still confusion if the animal trial for this was successful or not.
  4. India: In collaboration with international universities, the development of more than 30 vaccines is underway in India. Major Pharma companies like Codagenix, Zydus Cadila, etc are working with Griffith University, Thomas Jefferson University, etc. to find a working vaccine.

All other things you should know about COVID?

  • What is the recovery time for the coronavirus disease?
    It actually depends on the physical condition of the patient and the severity of the attack. In a mild case, the recovery time is around 2 weeks. In severe cases, it varies from three to seven weeks.
  • How dangerous is COVID-19?
    In general, COVID-19 does not cause very severe symptoms in most patients if they are treated at an early stage or follow the proper guidelines. However, in the cases of people with co-morbidity issues, like with old people or someone with a pre-existing medical condition like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problem, or old age, it can be really fatal.
  • Is a headache a symptom of the coronavirus disease?
    COVID-19 causes a number of symptoms, from a classic fever to severe pneumonia. Headache does fall in this spectrum, but should never be taken as a conclusive diagnosis, as there is a gazillion of other reasons why you may have a headache.
  • Does drinking lots of water help flush out COVID-19?
    Drinking water is a good habit for maintaining good health and prevent dehydration. However, there is no conclusive evidence that drinking water may flush down the virus and kill it, contrary to popular belief and hoaxes.
  • Can coronavirus disease spread through food?
    There have been no reports on the transmission of the virus through cooked food. However, you should stay aware while handling uncooked food materials.

Economic fallout due to COVID-19

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres has branded the coronavirus pandemic as the most challenging crisis since World War II. At the same time, Kristalina Georgieva, the chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), stated that they are anticipating the worst economic fallout since the Great Depression.

According to the IMF, the COVID-19 pandemic has set the world economy on a downward trend. As a result, the global economic growth trend will turn ‘sharply negative’ in 2020, with a forecast of a partial recovery only in 2021.

The developing countries and the emerging markets are going to face a very tough time and will be dependent on foreign aid a lot. According to the projection, more than 170 countries are going to experience negative per capita income growth in 2020.

Current economic crisis due to Covid-19 outbreak

To contain the coronavirus pandemic, governments across the world have to take a number of drastic steps, like lockdown and quarantining whole cities. The steps were deemed as ‘necessary evil’, as they succeeded to control the growth curve of COVID-19 infection to some extent. Yet, the impact on the macro and microeconomic levels was devastating.

As a direct impact of the lockdown, many companies were forced to close the office and sack a major part of their workforce to cut costs. The self-employed people and small businesses took a big hit, without their supplies and regular customers, especially in the red zone areas.

As per a recent survey, over eighty percent of the world’s workforce had a full or partial closure of their livelihood, during this outbreak. Even when the factories and offices are re-opening, the migrant workforce are stuck in their homes. They cannot come to their workplace at a lack of a properly functioning public transport. Consequently, developing countries are facing a major economic crisis.

Economic crisis due to COVID and its impact in the upcoming recession

The production and share market index was already down, even before the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, with issues like BREXIT in Europe and political unrest in the USA with the presidential impeachment proceedings. Now, a majority of the national budget and other resources are going to fight the pandemic, which is inhibiting any and all chance of economic growth. As a result, the upcoming recession is going to be one of the worst in history.

At the same time, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development issued a warning from their indicators as the world economy is in a state of a ‘sharp slowdown.’ On the other hand, the forecast of the World Trade Organization says of a double-digit decline in the trade this year, where North America and Asia will lose the most.

In Europe, the United Kingdom is set to suffer the most. With hard-Brexit on the shoulder, the economy may drop at least 5 to 10 percent in the UK, where even the prime minister and members of the royal family were affected by the pandemic.

Digital payment vulnerabilities during COVID-19

At the time of the Coronavirus pandemic, the mobile banking vulnerabilities are coming to the surface more frequently. As people are trying to minimize the physical interaction, they are using the digital payment method more and more. While this is a good thing for digital currency, there lie some major problems too.

  • A major part of the people who are using digital payment methods is first-time users. The chance of error among them is quite high.
  • There are a number of cases, with fraudulent activity, that is rising with the rise of digital payment methods. Internet banking fraud with pins, passwords, card details is on the rise.
  • As there are fewer employees available at any given time period due to the lockdown, it is taking longer to resolve problems.
  • A huge increase in the number of users in digital payment is putting pressure on the merchant servers, resulting in payment failure.

Cyber-security threats to common people and businesses during COVID-19 Pandemic

As Coronavirus pandemic brought forth a work-from-home trend it also made the mass vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Below are a few of the instances in how the common people, as well as business, may fall prey to cyber-security threats

  • As the company employees are working from home, the proprietary corporate data will be used and accessed from home networks. Statistically, the firewall and other kinds of security in a home are not as secure as an MNC office, hence piggybacking through any worm will be comparatively easier. To counter this, the data should be handled, monitored, and distributed with care, only on a need-to basis.
  • The hackers and fraudsters often use the fear related to coronavirus pandemic to organize email-based ransomware scams, and unsafe links from third party software to take control of the system. It can lead to data and financial loss of the individual and institution both.
  • At the same time, spoofing, phishing, or cloning of card and account details are often used for financial gain. It is often overlooked and steps are taken late result in not getting back the amount. For countering this, not opening any suspicious emails, links, etc. are the best option.

Impact of COVID lifestyle and upcoming recession on mental and physical health

As a measure to control the COVID-19 infection, governments around the globe have taken resort to lockdown and quarantine. While it was somewhat an effective method, the impact on the economy was quite evident. As the countries came to a standstill, it also beckoned the beginning of an economic meltdown, with an imminent recession in the toe. Besides, it affected human health too, in a number of ways, which are:

  • The unemployment hike, economic devastation, and the upcoming recession have an adverse effect, just like the previous one from 2007-08. It gave rise to insecurity, depression, anxiety, etc. People are often taking resort to alcohol and drug abuse to cope with it.
  • Getting stuck at home, with a break from the daily routine from months, has an adverse effect on the body too. People are getting out of shape, with a rise in diabetes, obesity, and related disorders.
  • The mass fear from the pandemic, collective grief from prolonged social isolation, lack of entertainment options, etc. are also affecting the mass psyche. As a result, there is an uptick in suicidal tendencies around the world.
  • The lack of sports, games, and physical activities are creating a negative impact on not only the body and fitness but also on the mind of students and professional players alike.

What you can do to combat stress

  • To overcome it, people need to follow a fixed routine with changes in their sedentary lifestyle
  • Introducing physical activities at the home, compound, roof, etc. can be a good alternative.
  • For mental health, pursuing a hobby or meditating in a fixed time can do wonders.
  • Also, if you have the chance, opt for the work-from-home option. Getting engaged in work may help to take your mind off the negative vibes.
  • If the work-related stress is high, take regular breaks, workout during intervals, or listen to music.
  • Do follow a sleep routine for getting ample sleep, which is a must.
  • However, even after following these, if your physical or mental health decline, hurry and opt for professional medical help. It may come as a lifesaver to you.

COVID-19 is a bane to the modern human world and civilisation. It brought the world to its knees and may cause more trouble in future. Still, with grit, determination and a unified approach, we can overcome this to a new dawn of freedom and success.

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