Brainstorming the global impact of coronavirus … AKA COVID-19

Japan has shut its schools down for a month. Mobile World Congress, an 80,000 attendee conference, canceled. China imposed travel restrictions and varying levels of quarantine on over half a billion people.

And it’s just beginning.

I wrote one of the first big stories on the potential impact of coronavirus based on a machine learning simulation that said that the virus would infect 2.5 billion and kill 53 million. At the time, I thought that was extreme, so I was super-cautious and got plenty of expert medical opinion on the prognostication … almost all of which was no, that’s very unlikely.

(Journalists live in fear of saying something stupid in a story, or something that is false. That’s why I titled it very cautiously, adding their opinions: AI Predicts Coronavirus Could Infect 2.5 Billion And Kill 53 Million. Doctors Say That’s Not Credible, And Here’s Why.)

Now that estimate looks tame, as stories are coming out that “everyone will get coronavirus” and that it “could infect 60% of global population.”

So now what? What’s the impact?

Here’s a list of things I’m thinking of:

  1. Most importantly, a lot of people are going to die earlier than expected. It could be tens of millions (the flu is almost in that category already), and that means that 10X more will be impacted by the loss of a loved one or colleague or friend.
  2. Massive economic damage as concerts, conferences, school systems, and none-remote-work-capable companies shut down
  3. Overburdened health care systems as millions of people need testing and treatment
  4. Massive increases in remote work
  5. Massive increases in software/services for remote workers
  6. Significantly less travel, especially international
  7. Increase in stranger danger, fear of “the other,” racism, and xenophobia
  8. Significant decrease in C02 emissions as plane travel and commuting decrease
  9. Slowing global population growth, or even a pause for a year (currently, it’s about 83 million per year)
  10. Increase in travel industry bankruptcies
  11. Massive increase in sales personal safety products: air filtration, water purification, masks (of course), gloves, health monitoring and testing kids
  12. Possible shortages of commodities, food, and products as supply chains get damaged and workforce absences kick in
  13. More border walls and/or border controls as governments go into crisis mode
  14. Economic recession (most likely. Could turn into a depression but I think we’re likely to bounce back fairly quickly.)
  15. Increased government debt due to jumps in spending on health/safety/containment
  16. More funerals, burials, and cremations 🙁
  17. ???

I fear that we are in for a really tough time globally.

What else? Hit me up on social … I’m asking my networks, and will add to this list as the wisdom of crowds engages.

 


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