In late 2019, a new virus similar to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) was discovered in Wuhan. The city is located in central China and is the center of Hubei province. The name of the virus is Novel coronavirus or COVID-19.
According to reports, the COVID-19 virus was traced from a local wet market in the city. And since then, it took the whole world by storm, causing chaos from everything including the financial market.
However, if you look at it, the coronavirus isn’t the deadliest virus or disease that’s been unleashed upon us.
The mortality rate of the virus is relatively low compared to other viruses or diseases. It’s been reported that the virus’ mortality rate for all age groups is around 3.6%, compared to the SARS with a rate of 9.6%.
Why and how did the virus cause a global panic?
Recession concerns continue to loom over the market. The financial market took a detrimental hit and stocks were sent crashing down by the virus.
Looking at it, behemoths in the industry weren’t spared by the pandemic. See, Tesla, before the virus broke out, its stock prices were off the roof and investors were speculating about the possibility of a stock split. But as the virus kicks in, stock prices collapsed to even below the $500 mark as its sales and production face a major hurdle.
In fact, only major pharmaceutical companies are able to thrive in the virus-struck stock market.
Even Netflix and other streaming or internet servicing firms suffered great losses thanks, not really, to the virus. Actually, some companies are applying social corporate responsibility strategies to help people get through this tough time.
Internet providers removing data caps to help the people cope up with the damage. Other servicing companies are adjusting their payment deadlines to support those who are struggling and are greatly affected by the virus.
Major and minor currencies weren’t also immune from the virus as major central banks across the globe release stimulus packages to support their respective economies.
The commodity market collapsed as oil prices drop to almost half as demand concerns continue to weigh on the producers. The list goes on and on, so, to shorten things up, COVID-19 gave the world a gut-wrenching punch.
The lives of millions are affected. Families are struggling. And the problem goes beyond the financial market and have affected microeconomics of various sectors and regions.
So, what gave the virus’ impact a boost? Well, the answer is simple: Technology.
The age of smartphones
Digital technology brought us social media. It also brought us mobile devices and fast 4G networks that grant us access to information wherever and whenever we want.
And just like the cliché quote that came from Spider-man, with great power comes great responsibility. The same goes for technology. In fact, it’s a powerful tool that could help for the greater good or add fuel to already raging fires.
Well, misinformation and disinformation helped caused panic. The rampant and out of control usage of people and how they share information helped stir bearishness in the market. But what are the main reasons why fake news spreads rapidly these days?
Here are some obvious ones:
- Clickbait – site owners willing to generate some traffic from catchy titles and scandalous news. In fact, there are a lot of websites that use clickbait to attract more readers or even watchers. Look at it, even on streaming sites, click baiting is a common problem. Websites or content creators use provocative and attractive headlines or titles that are misleading for some audiences.
- Just for fun – some people just love laughing over something; right or wrong? This is why and how popular ‘meme’ culture rose. Who doesn’t love a bit of humor? Don’t get me wrong, by the way. Sometimes it’s actually inappropriate.
- Manipulation – since the news has a great impact on everything, including the economy, dishonest people can manipulate the perception of people for their own benefits, such as to lower share prices or to spared panic.
Wait, this doesn’t mean that the virus isn’t deadly. No. Not at all. This suggests that there are deadlier viruses and diseases out there. However, panic over the coronavirus dominated the headlines.
Aside from that, posts and fake articles about cures and measures to counter the virus have been proliferating online. This is making it difficult for those who lack proper media education or media literacy to point out which is fake, and which is true.
Social media made the impact of COVID-19 significantly different from SARS back in the early 2000s. But taking a step back from it all, it’s not just technology. Us humans also have a key role in the panic and intensifying fear of the virus.
We are the one controlling technology and we are that helps spread legitimate and fake news.
SARS vs COVID-19
The SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome) virus belongs to the same family as the COVID-19. Infections from animals to humans, transmitted through direct contact or airborne commonly cause coronaviruses.
SARS is an airborne virus that travels exactly the same way as the common cold and flu. It had its outbreak back from 2002 to 2004 and it originated from Foshan, China.
In terms of the number of confirmed cases and deaths, the COVID-19 has well outstripped SARS. The volume of people infected and have died are significantly greater from each other.
During the said SARS outbreak, hundreds of people reportedly died from it. And now, the Novel coronavirus has taken more than thousands of lives.
COVID-19’s impact is on another level as it’s been magnified by optic fiber networks. Still, it’s crucial to keep in mind that panicking isn’t the solution.
Pandemics and finances
A virus or disease is declared as a pandemic once it spreads through a huge region or even across the globe. The World Health Organization declares this whenever it infects multiple continents at a given time.
Of course, such an event will definitely stir fear and cause widespread panic in various industries including the financial sector.
What happens in the financial market shouldn’t also be reflected in your personal finance. Spend your resources wisely during times of crisis and always access and recalibrate before acting. Of course, you may overlook your spending and set new priorities. You may save money that you planned to spend traveling and buy new plasma instead. But turning all you’re your savings into thousands of toilet paper roles is not the wisest thing you can do.
Also, keep yourself updated with the latest news and choose websites that bring you credible information. Try to learn how to filter fake news, fake news and panic may be as harmful to society as pandemics.
Last but not least: stay positive because as Chuck Norris said: “A lot of times people look at the negative side of what they feel they can’t do. I always look at the positive side of what I can do.”