“Wall Street was down 30%, the 30% decline took place over 18 trading days. Historically, during recessions, that’s happened over 15 months. This is the fastest fall the markets have had since 1929. Coronavirus has changed economic history!“
– Ruchir Sharma, chief global strategist and head of emerging markets at Morgan Stanley Investment Management.
This will not be the first time that we are dealing with a crisis – the ever-increasing global pollution, rampant forest fires, dwindling landscapes for animals leading to their extinction – are just some examples of the mammoth issues that we have been facing for a while now. Then what is new with COVID19? This time, it is affecting us directly. This time the picture is wider and clearer and maybe gloomier because it’s the human race at stake. We face the brunt this time and it’s more lethal and exponential than any other times. It is a war we face – with our immune system as the weapon, one bad or one extra move would take it all away from us.
With heart-wrenching stories pouring in from around the world, the loss is unbearable. Relentless efforts being made in the identification, isolation, treatment and follow-ups for the victims is unmatched. For every person is dying, there are hundreds being saved. For every ruckus that is being created, there are thousands that are making unending efforts to save and treat lives. While all this is taking place, it becomes extremely important to realize the quintessential social distancing norms that are being discussed as the first line of defence.
A couple of months ago, nobody would have even thought that the world we live in today would change so drastically. Our daily routine would no longer exist. The race would break even at a point which was not even a finishing line. Our plans of getting that new house, investing in those skyrocketing shares, travelling to a new country, throwing a party, travelling home or away from home – all these and many more, would just lay there in a corner. We forgot that life generally plays on an inversely proportional ground.
To say the least, we need to seize this moment and only have gratitude in our hearts and awareness on our minds.
Saving an enormous population of 1.3 billion, with about 21% people still living below the poverty line and with India being home to Dharavi (Asia’s largest slum), the government and the health analysts have always maintained their stand regarding the strict measures that need to be taken up to spread the rampant spread of the deadly virus in the country, which, if left unchecked would march its way into the community spreading it to a larger population, thus taking the reign in its hand. The wreckage caused would be inexplicable.
To display all Corona related information, the GOI has launched #IndiaFightsCorona.
GOI has also adopted rapid actions to limit travel by suspending visas and quarantining all incoming travellers, thus, further limiting the entry of the virus. Indian citizens have been advised to avoid all non-essential travel abroad and locally, and citizens have been evacuated from Iran, Italy, China and Japan.
Apart from ensuring the safe return of hundreds of Indians from other countries, the Indian government has taken decisive measures to contain community spread by lock-downs being introduced at various state as well as district levels. While these measures will have short-term economic impact, they will ensure the safety and welfare of Indians.
With private laboratories now authorized to test for the virus, it has lead to the freeing up of more capacity for diagnosis and detection.
India is marching in the right direction, re-instating the fact that though we are socially distanced, we are in this together.
Hopefully a corona free world or a world that has contained its spread. Vaccination and treatment are what we need the most.
Having said that, to look at it economically, we are only at the tip of the iceberg right now. The relief work is always the most challenging task and this time it will not just be the physical relief that would be required but economic relief as well. The economy is definitely going down and it will take some time to improve it and bring it back to normal. There might be other economic crisis, deficits in market may lead to a total crash down, with the travel and supply chain industries being affected the most amongst the big money makers while the farmers and daily wage earners would be affected the most when it comes to the low-income groups.
The disease has turned the global economy around, let’s be optimistic and believe that this won’t be as bad as the Great Depression of 1929 since that was based on bad economic policies that permitted stock purchase for a fraction of their claimed value. However, this has been caused by a global pandemic.
The key to getting the economy and stocks to recover will be “flattening the curve” of the virus and reducing infections in the next few weeks as well as making sure we don’t see a repeat outbreak anytime soon.
And then there is another theory to it that the Earth is healing, initially, this argument was countered and called a hoax but we can all feel it in the air, it’s all there in front of us. The global temperatures have gone for a shift from the time lockdowns have been introduced, leading to absolute zero or bare minimum usage of vehicles on a daily basis. Waking up every morning with the sounds of birds chirping, winds gushing, we know that something has definitely changed. Maybe not the best ways to introduce a healing event for the Earth but we cannot ignore the fact that even this was due for a long time now.
The world which was running at a fast pace, came to a screeching halt. Surprisingly, no religion, no parties, no politics not even a terrorist, all but a small virus did the craft.
All are forced to be inside, suddenly no professional competition, no wanderlust, companies are shutting down while markets are going bust.
Hopes and spirits are high, with all the bruises that COVID19 will leave us with, I also vehemently believe that it will make us realize the importance of one’s family. The power that lies within us is what ignites us the most to deal with challenges. Maybe right now, we won’t be able to gauge the magnitude of positive changes that are happening in and around but once this is over, we will see that there was always a silver lining which we missed then but which shines brightest now!
In the words of Adam Weishaupt, “The human race will then become one family, and the world will be the dwelling of Rational Men.”