Socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a larger effect more than the disease itself. As the SARS-CoV-2 virus has spread around the globe, many people have begun to think about the economic effects such as the decreased business and unemployment. The pandemic caused the largest global recession in history, with more than a third of the global population at the time being placed on lockdown.
Supply shortages were expected to affect a number of sectors due to panic buying, increased usage of goods to during the pandemic, and people raising up prices on needed products such as masks, toilet paper, plastic gloves and hand sanitizer. Reports of lack of food or groceries were said. The pandemic also caused many social events to be pushed back such as concert delays and movie release dates. Many movie theaters are being put out of business.
There was an increase in gleaning, meaning people going to farms to pick up food plants left over on the ground after a harvest. Because restaurants and other food businesses canceled their orders, farmers had more extra crops than usual. People formed new organizations to find farmers with extra food, organize people to collect it, and transport it to food banks and other places where people could get to it.
Global stock markets fell on 24 February 2020 due to a significant rise in the number of COVID-19 cases outside mainland China. By 28 February 2020, stock markets worldwide saw their largest single-week declines since the 2008 financial crisis. Global stock markets crashed in March 2020.
It is likely that business money losses are to be in the billions and increasing. By 16 March, news reports emerged indicating that the effect on the United States economy would be worse than previously thought.
According to the World Data Lab, Africa's middle class is at risk because of the coronavirus pandemic. According to one economist from the Africa and the Middle East at Standard Chartered Bank, a middle-class person is someone who is not rich but does have a steady income. In Africa, about 170 million people are middle class and about 8 million of them could lose their businesses or become poor because of COVID-19. This is because one of the industries that has helped Africa's middle class rise over the past 30 years is tourism, and many countries closed borders and encouraged people not to travel. Experts say this is especially bad because a strong middle class lifts the whole country.
Nigeria and other African countries are also affected by low oil prices. Because people all over the world are driving and flying and traveling less, oil costs less. That means oil companies make less money. Many of them have fired some of their employees in Africa. Then those employees do not have money to spend on local businesses.
The coronavirus pandemic increased the amount of money spent through cashless payments, like credit cards and aps, over cash, meaning coins and paper bills. The United Nations and many specific countries, such as Kenya and Sweden, encouraged people to pay for things without using cash. Physical coins and bills can carry germs. Credit cards and aps make it easier for people to pay for things without touching other people. This means that the store or other seller must pay a fee to the credit card company or app company.
Experts say this may cause problems for immigrants, people with disabilities and other people who cannot easily sign up for credit cards or aps.
The pandemic has affected educational systems worldwide causing many schools and universities to close down. According to data released by UNESCO on 25 March, school and university closures due to COVID-19 were caused in 165 countries. Including localized closures, this affects over 1.5 billion students worldwide. Many classes were suspended for the rest of the school year with many tacking online classes.
In the United Kingdom, some schools stayed open and taught the children of essential workers, at-risk children, and children with special education needs. According to the Independent Provider of Special Education Advice organization, British educators unfairly sent special education students home either for no reason or by claiming that they could not wash their hands or keep a safe social distance.
Race and racism
COVID-19 did not affect everyone in each country the same way. As of May 2020, APM Research Lab said the death rate among black Americans was 2.4 times as high as for whites and 2.2 times as high as for Latino and Asian Americans. In July 2020, The New York Times printed data from the Centers for Disease Control showing that black and Latino Americans were three times as likely to become sick and twice as likely to die as white Americans. This showed some difference from place to place, but it was mostly true in both cities and the country, regardless of how old people were. Native Americans were also more likely than whites to become sick and die. Asian Americans were 1.3 times as likely to become sick as whites were. Camara Jones, an epidemiologist who once worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said this was socioeconomic and not because of any natural difference in black and white people's bodies. In the United States, black citizens are more likely to work jobs where they serve the public and to ride on buses and trains rather than take their own cars to work, which makes them more likely to be infected than people who work in private offices or from home. Sharrelle Barber, an epidemiologist and biostatistician from Drexel University, also said black Americans can live in crowded neighborhoods where social distancing is harder to do and healthy food harder to find. Both Barber and Jones blamed the long history of racism in the United States for these things. Three senators, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren, said the federal government should start recording the race of COVID-19 patients so scientists could study this problem.
In the United Kingdom, twice as many black COVID-19 patients died as white COVID-19 patients. Other non-white people, like people from India and Bangledesh, were also more likely to die of COVID-19 than whites. Britain's Office of National Statistics said that the differences in money and education explained some of this difference but not all of it. They also said they did not know whether non-white patients caught COVID-19 more often or whether they caught more severe cases. Only female Chinese Britons were less likely to die of COVID-19 than white Britons.
Native Americans in the United States have shown more deaths from COVID-19 than the rest of the U.S. As of May, the Navajo Nation had 88 deaths and 2,757 cases, and the money they had been promised by the government arrived weeks late. Only 30% of the people in the Navajo Nation have pipes with running water, which made it difficult for people to wash their hands.
Scientists from Chapman University made a plan to protect the Tsimane people in Bolivia from COVID-19 and said this plan would also work for other indigenous peoples living on their own land. The scientists said that many indigenous peoples have problems that make COVID-19 more dangerous for them, like poverty, less clean water, and other lung diseases. Hospitals may be a long distance away, and racism can affect the way doctors and nurses react. But they also sometimes have things that help, like traditions of making decisions together and the ability to grow food nearby. The scientists found people who spoke the Tsimane language as a first language and made teams to go to Tsimane towns to warn them about COVID-19. They also used radio stations. They said the best strategy was for whole communities to decide to isolate. They found this worked well because the Tsimane already usually made their big decisions together as a community in special meetings and already had a tradition of quarantining new mothers. The Chapman scientists said their plan would also work for other indigenous peoples who also make decisions together, like the Tsimane. The Waswanipi Cree in Canada, the Mapoon people in Australia, and many groups in South America already tried plans like these on their own.
George Floyd protests
In April 2020, police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the United States killed an unarmed black man called George Floyd while they were arresting him. There were months of protests all over the world against police racism. Many people said that the reason the protests were so big was not only because of racism but also because COVID-19 hurt more non-white people than other people, both by making them sick and by costing them their jobs.
Scholar Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith of the Yale School of Medicine said, "They are protesting against police brutality and excessive force, no question, but they're also protesting for the ability to live their lives fully and completely, and to not have their lives cut short, either by force or preventable diseases."
Job losses also meant people had more time to protest. On The Daily Show, athlete Anquan Boldin said he thought all the cancelled sports events were also making the protests bigger and more focused: "The one thing I'm happy that is not happening right now is that sports isn't being played." He then named many tournaments and other events that had been cancelled. "...and everybody could be distracted by those things that are going on, but because you don't have sports, everybody's attention is focused on this one thing. And I think, for us, this is the opportunity to really create change."
The pandemic has had a large impact on aviation business due to Travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as a decrease in demand among travelers. Many reductions in passenger numbers has caused in planes flying empty between airports and the cancellation of flights.
The cruise ship business has also been affected by a decrease, with the share prices of the major cruise lines down 70-80%.
On 18 March 2020, the World Health Organization issued a report about mental health and psychosocial issues during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Due to doubts if pets or other livestock can pass on coronavirus to humans, many people did not want to keep their pets as they were scared of getting the disease. In the Arab World, celebrities were telling people to keep and protect their pets. Meanwhile, people in the U.K. bought more pets during the coronavirus lockdown to not be lonely.
Many countries have reported an increase in domestic violence and intimate partner violence because of lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 and sleep
Most of the time, people who work during the week sleep and wake earlier on weekdays than they do on weekends. This is called social jetlag and it leads to poor sleep. Scientists from the University of Basel said the lockdowns made people sleep longer and at healthier times, so there was less social jetlag. They said this was because even people who still worked did so from home, so they did not have to get up early to travel to work. They also found that people did not sleep as well because they were worried.
The pandemic affected families. In a study from Vanderbilt University, 27% of American parents said their mental health had gotten worse and 14% of parents reported their children's mental health had gotten worse. Many families lost child care and health insurance. Many families found it more difficult to get enough food. Families with younger children were more affected because they were more likely to miss child care.