As parts of the world restart economic activities, it is becoming clear that the worst plunge in modern history would need a vaccine or cure before things can revert to normal.
In response to the exogenous shock that is the Covid-19 pandemic, leaders, researchers, analysts, and experts have sought methods, options, – anything to reduce the negative impact of what many now regard as the worst slump since the 1930s. So far, different parts of the world have put systems and structures in place to allow a level of economic activity to continue as it became increasingly clear that full social welfare was simply unsustainable. This is, however, not without the existence of relevant restrictions like temperature checks, social distancing rules, and the latest fashion accessories – masks and gloves.
While this is an admittedly better development than the enforced total lockdown – at least for the economy, this too has its limitations. Economic activities have taken on a sluggish growth pace and while production might continue, global demand remains hamstrung. Industries like tourism and travel with social distancing rules in place will only scramble for the little they can get. Sports stadiums, entertainment hot-spots, etc., will remain closed. Even with the increased dependence of delivery services, restaurants will struggle to make what they used to before. Jobs have been cut and even more will. In essence, the partial reopening of the economy isn’t also sustainable. Yet, it is impossible to ignore the virus itself especially given the risks of a resurgence of the virus in already treated patients and the increasing cases in many parts of the world.
Data obtained from Bloomberg revealed that people infected around the world reached 5 million with a death toll of over 330,000. With the pandemic still on our tails, finding a vaccine is our best bet – and nothing else might be able to beat that. Stephen Jen, CEO of Eurizon SLJ Capital – hedge fund and advisory firm in London told Bloomberg News that there’s some sort of bounty on the virus globally.
In his words, “I don’t see how it is wiser for investors to bet on the virus than to bet on science, technology, and unlimited political and financial capital in the world to contain and defeat the virus.”
Also, the shares of American drug maker based in Massachusetts, Moderna Inc., hit a record high early in the week, as a result of its early data from a small trial of the company’s Covid-19 vaccine. It, however, gave up some of those gains days after stock traders scrutinized the early nature of the vaccine data.
Bloomberg Economics predicts that the restriction and shutdown of businesses triggered a plunge in economic activities of about 30% and their findings found that the first steps to relax controls will have a good impact on activity than later ones. Yet, our optimism is palpable. Anita Zaidi, Director of Vaccine Development and Surveillance at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have advised that the process of creating an effective immunity could take years, and even then it will have to solve the issue of logistics that is making the vaccine readily available globally.
Today, the world waits in hope that this too passes like many of its predecessors. While it will indeed pass, there still is no saying how long it will take before life reverts to a new but sustainable normal.