More to Coronavirus Than Just Illness



Fear of coronavirus has shot around the globe, but there’s more to worry about than just the symptoms of the illness.


With the sudden emergence of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease 2019), people around the world are panicking. Originating in Wuhan, the capital of the province Hubei in China, the virus has already taken the lives of over 1,000 people and has infected over 50,000. In the United States, there have been 15 reported cases of the virus. All seven of the individuals tested for the virus in New York City came back negative, so it appears that the virus has not taken a foothold in the city. New York City’s health commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot and Mayor Bill de Blasio continue to monitor and test patients for the virus.

While concerns about the human toll of a lethal virus may be warranted, it is also important, especially when the virus has not yet affected our country in the ways that it has others, to worry about the secondary global problems it has caused, which include both health concerns and economic concerns.

One of those side effects is the global economy. According to Beijing’s official statistics agency, the Chinese economy grew by 6% last year. Over the last 10 years, this has been the lowest growth rate, but the Chinese government hopes that their economy will recover in 2020. Now, the virus seems to have dashed China’s hopes of recovery. Zhang Ming, an official in the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, has predicted that GDP growth will likely topple off at 5% or lower. Other, more skeptical economists seem to believe that the Chinese economy will head straight into a recession. Certain industries in China are already feeling the brunt of the virus. The first two industries to take a hit were travel and tourism, which is very detrimental since China predicted that there were going to be 3 billion trips to and from the country during the Lunar New Year. The United States Travel Advisory has placed and sustained a “Do Not Travel” warning for China. The travel and tourism industry contributed to an increase of 80 million jobs, and it accounts for 11% of the total GDP.

Because of China’s global outreach, U.S. companies like Apple, Qualcomm and Intel are seeing revenue declines in their first quarter. Wuhan is also a crucial part of the global supply chain, as the city is home to more than 500 car parts manufacturers. Companies like Tesla, Volkswagen and Ford have shut down all of their stores in China. These recent closings have also extended to South Korea where there was a shortage of parts. With an economy the same size as Sweden’s, the city of Wuhan is most definitely going to affect the world economy if it continues to be plagued by this virus.  

Now, it might seem more practical to be concerned about the people dying from the virus or the risk of contamination over fewer cars or fewer iPhones hitting the market, but the loss of revenue and closing of stores has a far greater effect on the worldwide economy. The virus can take a toll on people in ways that do not result in their contamination. Decline in GDP can correlate with job losses that can affect millions of people. To put it in perspective, the virus has infected over 50,000 people worldwide. Yet, if the economy continues to be affected by the virus, then the number of people losing their jobs could be in the millions. While job loss seems like a much better position to be in than being contaminated with a life-threatening virus, it might not be the case for a lot of people, especially when the chances of them getting the virus is far less than the chances of them losing their jobs. Most of the jobs that will be affected will be manufacturing jobs, which are often given to low-income workers who need the job to provide for themselves or their families.

As citizens of a country that has been widely unaffected by the virus, it is our duty to look objectively at all the effects of the virus. The virus does not seem to be easing up as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has predicted that it could last past the winter season and continue on for the rest of 2020. Obviously, it is not wrong to be alarmed by the dangers posed by the virus. In fact, you should take precautions to prevent yourself from getting the virus. Locally, Fordham students have expressed concern about the virus. 

“I think the coronavirus is definitely something the world needs to continue to monitor and research,” said Justin Raclaw, Fordham College Lincoln Center ’21. He added “the virus should continue to be a top public health emergency that needs to be covered and have massive attention…in science and research.”