Corona viruses are large family of viruses which cause illness in animals and humans.
Unfortunately, one of the corona viruses, COVID-19 first appeared in China started to create havoc globally. COVID-19 is generally found inside bats or pangolins. Scientists believe that COVID-19 either transmitted from bats to human through pangolins or directly transmitted through pangolins.
COVID-19, the notorious and stubborn virus so far infected over 343,394 people across the globe with a massive casualty of over 14773. As on 23 March 2020 just over 99046 recovered from the infections, which is about 29 percent of the total infected patients.
In absence of any vaccine and US-FDA drugs, the dangerous virus achieved 4.24 percent mortality rate. Italy has the worst mortality rate of 9 percent followed by Iran and Spain with 7.55 percent and 5.42 percent respectively, whereas Germany managed cut down mortality rate as low as 0.38 percent.
Considering long time period and scale of infection in South Koreas, the country was able to contain mortality rate as low as 1.15 percent. Countries where COVID-19 infections spread late can learn from Germany and South Korea. In terms of human causalities, COVID-19 badly affected China, Italy, Iran and Spain, which suffered 85 percent of total human fatalities caused by novel corona virus.
COVID-19 pandemic becomes a global concern, where many nations including US declared emergency to deal with the rising positive cases and public health hazards. Medical experts are strongly recommending for social distancing as a key measure to control rapid spread of the disease. Social distancing serves as the best possible preventive mechanism to avoid transmission of the virus. Self- quarantine and home-quarantine offer plausible options to minimize spread of deadly virus. Home quarantine seems to be a challenge in overcrowded homes in some of the European countries and India.
Impact of COVID-19 is far more complicated than visible to naked eyes. It has already created sufficient social, economic and trade disturbances at the global label. With a noble intention of curbing spread and import of infections most of the countries have banned international flights. Such actions are not only desirable but also required to safeguard interest of humanity. However, in the short-term the airlines, tourism, and hospitality industries are at the receiving end. IATA estimated revenue loss of over US $113 owing to COVID-19 and international flying restrictions placed by various countries. Consequent to the developments, Delta Airlines decided to ground over 600 aircrafts --50 percent of its operational fleet capacity.
Air Transport contributes about US$2.7 trillion in economic activity globally. Slowdown in the airline transport will adversely impact profitability of many airlines and operational viability of some struggling airlines. IATA economic analysis suggests that there is a long tail of non-performing airlines, which could face serious test of survival due to “Corona Effect’. Generally, the airlines had two months cash at the beginning of the year. With severity of COVID-19 rising, infections expanding exponentially, and continued active travel bans on the longer horizon—cash crunch airlines will face litmus test. Probably Darwin’s theory of “natural selection” or in Hebert Spencer’s term “survival of the fittest” will be perfectly applicable to airlines industry. How many would survive?
If recession sets in early, airline industry may face the fatality and mortality rate may be higher than expected. Hopefully, various federal governments are ready to provide stimulus package for survival of airlines industry. Else, enough ventilators should be kept ready for airlines!
COVID-19 has weakened demand of crude oil, price has already nosedived. Current crude oil price range $20-30/barrel will seriously dent exploration and production industry. Lowe crude oil price will make importing nations comfortable, whereas exporting countries will struggle to keep their economies floating.
A foreseeable global slowdown and a potential recession may result in enormous pay cuts and job losses across industries. At this juncture of health emergency, nations are fully committed to protect human life. That doesn’t mean economy will take back seat. Heads of the states across globe already announced or indicated economic packages to keep economy healthy and recession proof.
In multiple affected nations healthcare systems have been put on stern test. Advanced and developed nations which believed to have superior tertiary healthcare system are struggling to cope with enormous challenges thrown by COVID-19. In several countries testing facilities are found wanting to provide quick and timely test results for detection of COVID-19. South Korea was quick enough to build sufficient testing center to provide timely and accurate results for early action on treatment.
To deal with emerging scenario, US-FDA issued first emergency use authorization for a point-of-care COVID-19 diagnostic for the Cepheid Xpert Xpress SARS-CoV-2 test. The new test can detect active novel corona virus in approximately 45 minutes. Early detection means timely curative measures could be accessible to the patients.
Italy‘s one of the most advanced public healthcare system has been pushed the extreme, where well trained healthcare professional are feeling helplessness. Many patients are dying in the hospitals because of inadequate facilities to provide desired treatment. Acute shortage of medical gears including ventilators for treatment of COVID-19 has been felt all across the globe. Under the circumstances, countries like Brazil and many more fear collapse of healthcare systems.
Undoubtedly, Corona has exposed underprepared healthcare systems to deal with such unexpected outbreaks. Existing healthcare systems are better suited and designed for treating conventional diseases than sudden flux of infected patients of a disease like COVID-19 where medical community yet to identify right medicines to deal with the disaster.
The US - the most advanced nation on the earth struggles to defeat COVID-19. Panic seems to be all-around the globe including the US. The US President declared that US-FDA approved a combination of medicine to cure COVID-19, whereas the US-FDA official message doesn’t endorse the same.
Corona attack on India seems to be lower than the US and Europe. However, escalating COVID-19 cases puts India on “Corona Global Map”. Active COVID-19 cases reached 359, with 7 death casualties– a mortality rate of 1.94 percent, which is higher than many countries like Germany, South Korea, and Switzerland.
Indian states/Union Territories like Maharashtra (64), Kerala (60), Delhi (28), Uttar Pradesh (27), Karnataka (26), Rajasthan (25), Punjab (21), Gujarat (18), Telangana (15), and Ladakh (13), collectively reported 297 cases—82.7 percent of the total active cases. A slew of measures have been taken by the government to minimize transmission and spread of COVID-19.
While addressing the nation Prime Minister Modi appealed to the nation to come forward and join hands to defeat corona virus. In a historical move, he requested all residents to voluntarily observe “Janata Curfew Day” and stay inside home from 7 am - 9 pm on Sunday, 22 March 2020. Further, he urged to thank all those doctors, paramedical staffs, and persons providing essential/emergency services to fight against COVID-19. As a mark of respect and appreciation citizens stood and clapped/rang bell/clang utensils in their balconies/on top of terrace/in front of doors/windows at 5 pm on “Janata Curfew Day” for five minutes.
People demonstrated amazing level of unity, solidarity, cohesiveness, and support to the Prime Minister. Successful observation of ‘Janata Curfew Day’ serves as a testimony to mental preparedness of the nation to take a path of complete lockdown (if necessary) to deal with menace of COVID-19.
Indian governments have taken extensive measures to control community level spread of the diseases. Many states have announced partial or complete lockdown which includes restricted public transport and local trains. However, essential services will continue to support life of residents.
Private employers and government have already extended flexibility of “work from home” facility till 31st March 2020. Schools and colleges have been directed to suspend classes till 31st of March.
Government directed lockdown of COVID-19 affected districts (75) across the country. As per record there is no evidence of “community level transmission” of COVID-19. The government is prepared to deal with all potential eventualities. COVID-19 testing centers increased across the country and hospitals have been asked to develop sufficient isolation wards. India is better prepared to deal with COVID-19.
Sanjay Kumar Kar and Kashyapi Kar.
Sanjay Kumar Kar holds a Doctorate in Management. He is a Professor at Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology (RGIPT) and Head, Department of Management Studies. Prior to joining RGIPT, he worked at School of Petroleum Management, Gandhi Nagar and IIM Ahmedabad. As a visiting faculty, he is associated with the Chonnam National University (South Korea), National Institute of Fashion Technology, India NTPC School of Business, Noida and other national level management institutes. He has two books namely ‘Natural Gas Markets in India', 2017, Springer and 'Energy Sustainability Through Green Energy', 2015 to his credit. He has written and published several case studies, research papers, book chapters, and conference papers.