Azerbaijan. New Zealand. Brazil. Kuwait. These are just a few of the countries with confirmed cases of the novel COVID-19 virus, formally known as coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection as of Saturday, Feb. 29.
An article by the Wall Street Journal on Feb. 27 recorded 82,300 cases of the virus and 2,804 deaths.
The economy has taken a hit, museums and cultural sites have been deserted, and even 38 percent of Americans said they wouldn’t buy Corona beer because of the outbreak.
Some view the disease with skepticism, suggesting the media may be overhyping it or giving the situation more attention than is warranted. But everything the media is doing is being conducted in a fair and calculated manner.
Though many hope that the winter months will bring out the worst of the disease, looking to time outdoors where contagion may not be as likely, the virus has spread fast and far beyond its epicenter of Wuhan, China.
One of the most interesting aspects of a global pandemic is that it truly highlights just how globalized our civilization has become. And despite efforts by politicians to close borders, like in the U.S. or the U.K., the virus won’t abide by policy.
Globalization has caused the spread of the coronavirus, and its impact can be felt in everyday life. You can fly anywhere, from any location around the world. The economy is intertwined, and what happens in China could easily affect business in the U.S.
Even students who left to study in Italy, thinking they would have a few months of their dream abroad program, have now been told they have to come back to the U.S., with no plan of how to go about finishing classes.
The most terrifying aspect of the virus, however, is not the lasting impact on travel, the economy and our everyday lives. It’s that the reported number of people infected could be higher than it actually is, given the infinite amount of interactions people have with each other.
Many of the top stories on the Associated Press website relate in some capacity to the spread of the coronavirus. That’s not to say that the media is hyping up the situation too much, but rather highlighting the different ways it has impacted life. Politics to religion, travel to business. American schools, French museums and Chinese airports.
Life seems to have slowed down as the world faces all these various halts to the daily routine. It’s important to empathize with those who have fallen ill, or who have faced serious inconveniences such as extended quarantines or city-wide lockdowns.
When people talk about the response from the international community, that doesn’t just refer to politicians and lawmakers who take the necessary steps to respond to the pandemic. It also points to the community as a whole, when ordinary people take action to prevent and prepare for the spread of the virus.
Our society will be remembered for how we respond to the coronavirus. We can’t be xenophobic, and we can’t treat the virus like a joke. Lives and livelihood hangs in the balance. The world has been disrupted, and it’s uncertain how long it will last and whether or not it will get worse. With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on the horizon, big decisions will have to be made.
But one thing the coronavirus has taught the world is that we are far more globalized and interconnected than we may have previously thought. Fighting the pandemic must be done as an international community.