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In early 2020, a deadly virus emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Within weeks, the new pathogen — known colloquially as coronavirus — had caused tens of millions of Chinese citizens to be quarantined in their homes. By March, the virus was beginning to establish itself worldwide, causing great distress to individuals around the world.
In this article, we’ll run a PEST analysis of coronavirus, looking at the Political, Economic, Sociocultural, and Technological consequences it might have. With any luck, this will help both individuals and businesses know what to expect in the face of this new virus, which should help them to prepare for it.
Here are two Political consequences of the coronavirus outbreak:
Already, many of the world’s governments are being scrutinized for their slow and unenthusiastic responses to the coronavirus outbreaks. Especially in countries with more authoritarian government structures — such as China — the effects of coronavirus may lead to widespread political dissatisfaction among citizens. This scrutiny is likely to have few consequences in many of the world’s countries, but it may lead to change in others.
Changes in trade
Coronavirus may also lead to changes in trade, for numerous reasons. For example, as coronavirus continues to sweep the world, many countries will realize the dependence of their supply chains on others’. Particular supply chains that have been disrupted include those of medical-grade facial masks; in the future, some countries may wish to begin to manufacture masks internally so as to be better prepared for new disease outbreaks.
Here are two Economic consequences of the coronavirus outbreak:
Poor market performance
A major Economic consequence of the coronavirus outbreak is poor market performance. This has already been observed in many of the world’s biggest financial markets — such as those of China and the United States — and is only expected to continue as the outbreak matures. There are fears that this poor market performance may lead to a multi-year recession, as investors pull their money out of traditional financial instruments to hedge themselves against market volatility.
Lack of workers
As more individuals fall ill, coronavirus is likely to lead to a temporary lack of workers. Whether this is due to quarantines or workers making the decision to stay home, the end result is the same: companies and governments will be pressed to find laborers. This is likely to result in reduced Economic output, as business grinds to a halt for many.
Here are four Sociocultural consequences of the coronavirus outbreak:
As with any worldwide outbreak of disease, coronavirus is very likely to (and already has, in some places) result in panic. This panic is visible on many levels. For example, with citizens anticipating a need to stay home for extended periods of time, they may rush to supermarkets to stock up on home goods such as food, water, and toilet paper. This will exacerbate the temporary disruption of many supply chains. Panic may also cause individuals to stock up on fuel for their vehicles, or take other anticipatory measures.
Perhaps an unexpected Sociocultural consequence of the coronavirus outbreak is unusual amounts of racism. Since coronavirus was believed to have originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, some individuals became prejudiced to Chinese or Asian-looking individuals in their local areas. In fact, this even resulted in some physical assaults. As the disease crosses new borders, it’s likely that this will fade. However, some individuals may continue to carry prejudices for the initial spread of the virus.
Coronavirus has already discouraged many individuals from travel, especially air travel. With the risk of being quarantined away from home and the even bigger risk of catching the virus, this should come as no surprise. While this is a Sociocultural phenomenon, it’s having serious Economic impacts; airline companies, for example, are facing a serious lack of customers and seeing record losses.
Since many individuals will be unable to go to work during the coronavirus outbreak, some companies may choose to encourage remote work, if applicable to their line of work. For example, some office workers might be able to fulfill their duties from home, without the need to travel to and work at an office everyday (which carries the risk of further spreading coronavirus). While this is a short-term change, it may encourage companies to allow remote work in the future, if the concept proves itself.
Here is a Technological consequence of the coronavirus outbreak:
Advances in virology
Coronavirus is sure to result in numerous advances in virology — the study of viruses. The nature and spread of the virus will prove invaluable information to scientists looking to better understand how this pathogen — and others like it — can be contained and treated. With any luck, the coronavirus outbreak will spur the world’s many great minds to find new ways to manage pandemic situations. An existing example of this is the creation of drive-thru testing centers, which enable citizens to test themselves for the virus without exposing themselves to a hospital full of patients.
Coronavirus is bound to affect our world in a whole variety of ways. Politically, the virus is bound to cause the scrutinization of some governments and may also impact international trade. Economically, the virus has already resulted in suboptimal market performance. There is also a temporary lack of workers, directly causing reduced economic output (which may be one of the reasons for suboptimal performance). Socioculturally, the virus has multiple consequences: panic, racism, an aversion to travel, and an opportunity for remote work to shine. Finally, the primary Technological consequence of coronavirus is a collection of advances in virology.
All in all, coronavirus is affecting the world in many negative ways. Causing Political, Economic, and Sociocultural distress, the deadly pathogen will call for careful management to minimize these issues. The only real positives of the situation, however, are the rise in medical technology — and possibly the popularity of working from home.
Image by Arek Socha