What Will Our Post-Coronavirus Society and Economy Look Like?
A new study has predicted that high temperature and humidity significantly reduces the spread of coronavirus. Researchers at Tsinghua University and Beihang University found that coronavirus transmission rates reduced as temperatures rose in 100 Chinese cities. The study, supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation of China, poses that Covid-19’s transmission rates will reduce by the end of March in countries with hot and humid weather, such as Nigeria.
The High Impact of Covid-19
As of March 30, Covid-19 has infected more than over 740,000 wordwide, resulting in more than 35,300 deaths.
Last week, China reported no new cases of the novel coronavirus amid hotter weather temperatures. In Europe and the rest of the world, however, coronavirus cases continue to rise. Over half of the world’s coronavirus death toll has occurred in Italy and Spain, topping global rates.
The study, conducted by Professors of computer science, Jingyuan Wang, Ke Tang, Kai Feng and Weifeng Lv, concludes that: “high temperature and high relative humidity significantly reduce the transmission of COVID-19, respectively, even after controlling for population density and GDP per capita of cities.”
“This result is consistent with the fact that the high temperature and high humidity significantly reduce the transmission of influenza. It indicates that the arrival of summer and rainy season in the northern hemisphere can effectively reduce the transmission of the Covid-19,” the study continues.
“Outbreaks of Covid-19 outside China show a noteworthy phenomenon. In the early dates of the outbreak, countries with relatively lower air temperature and lower humidity (e.g. Korea, Japan and Iran) see severe outbreaks than warmer and more humid countries (e.g. Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand) do.”
In the Southern Hemisphere, however, as cooler weather approaches South America, Australia and parts of Africa, there are fears that the pandemic could worsen.
Global Border Closures
Every person infected with the Covid-19 virus infects between 2 and 2.5 people, according to expert estimate of the virus’ R0 (basic reproduction number). Many nations worldwide have closed their borders to stem the transmission of the virus. In Europe and the United States, xenophobic attacks against people of Asian descent has risen, as global citizens blame China for the outbreak of the virus.
Effective 12:01 a.m. on March 28, China closed its border to foreign nationals, claiming that it wanted to prevent a new outbreak of the virus in the country. Last week, the country reported 54 new cases of coronavirus, all of them imported by foreign nationals.
“The suspension is a temporary measure that China is compelled to take in light of the outbreak situation and the practices of other countries,” China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement released last week.
Earlier in the year, China placed the country under quarantine, as its solution to what was then an epidemic. Mass factory closures disrupted the global manufacturing and financial industries, highlighting the world’s depedence on China’s manufacturing industry. With global supply chains dependent on China’s manufacturing, many global companies experienced financial loss.
Wilbur Ross: Coronavirus Can ‘Accelerate the Return of Jobs to North America’
In January, before the US topped the world’s largest cases of coronavirus, President Trump’s Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, said: “I don’t want to talk about a victory lap over a very unfortunate, very malignant disease, but the fact is, it does give businesses another thing to consider when they go through their review of their supply chain.
″I think [the coronavirus] will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America,” he said. “Some to the US, some to Mexico as well.”
Earlier in the month, Mary Lovely, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, argued that “any reasonable board member would expect a CEO to be responding with greater supply redundancy and be prepared to pay for it. To the extent that this crisis appears to be heading toward a global phenomenon, it is a nudge toward a different, more diversified globalization rather than less globalization.”
Coronavirus Won’t Scrap Globalization and Predatory Capitalism
World finance is too deeply dependent on capitalism for globalization to be abandoned because of the coronavirus. Calls for a “more diversified globalization” are calls for strengthening globalization to avoid another global catastrophe capable of incapacitating global capitalism’s ongoing aim: making increasingly large profits.
Nevertheless, diversified globalization is built upon the hidden fervor of nationalism that keeps nations at odds and working classes chasing fantasies. Like Brexit, nationalism offers the promise of self-autonomy when in reality it is just another route to becoming part of the rapacious economic cycle of the global order. Still, there are some hopeful signs of moderate improvements.
The Social Costs of Covid-19 and Hopeful Signs for Future
Over 156,600 patients have recovered from coronavirus worldwide. The number of cases resulting in death, however, continues to rise daily. In countries badly hit by the virus, such as France and Italy, the social costs of this population loss will be decades-long.
Michael D. Higgins, the President of Ireland, on Friday, called for a “universal basic services” for public health, liking the pandemic’s legacy to other historical moments, such as The Great Depression and The First World War. Speaking on the Pat Kenny Show in Ireland, Higgins argued that Covid-19 has forced us to face our ineffective methods of social governance and public health.
We need “a flow of basic services that will be there to protect us in the future, from which we can depart to be able to live, for people to have a sufficiency for what they need. This is what happened after the war, this is what happened after the Great Recession in 1929,” Higgins said, adding that “when we come out of this we will not be going back to the insecurity of where we have before.”
Irish President: ‘We Have Learned Lessons’
“We have learned lessons in relation to healthcare and equality — in relation to what is necessary in terms of income and the necessities of life. There will be a wonderful opportunity to do things better,” Higgins said, noting that “this crisis will pass but remember that there will be other viruses, so we can’t let ourselves be in the same vulnerable position again, as we are now.”
With experts predicting that 50% -75% of the global population are asymptomatic but contagious — requiring a worldwide vaccine — Covid-19 is likely to be one of the biggest challenges of the century. Like influenza, the virus constantly mutates and is recurring. Universal basic services, therefore, must become the social goal of our globalized capitalist system.
As capitalism exploits the working class to benefit the very few could a new system of diversified globalization successfully co-exist with calls for better social governance and global public health? This is the question of the twenty-first century.