First encountered in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, the new coronavirus disease COVID-19 has spread rapidly within China and reached many other countries as well. COVID-19 is highly transmissible, with no vaccine or treatment currently available, and on January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Will the coronavirus lead to an unprecedented global pandemic, as some experts predict? Or are warnings over the dangers of COVID-19 just fearmongering?
Coronavirus will cause irreparable harmShow moreShow less
The COVID-19 pandemic will wreak havoc on the global population and devastate the economy.
There is a long and well-established history of disease outbreaks leading to deeper cultural and social divisions. The fear and anxiety of facing a dangerous contagion can prompt negative feelings that are irrationally directed at others, entrenching personal prejudices and raising the intensity of ongoing disputes. Simply because the coronavirus originated in China, and even before a large number of cases had occurred in the United States, racially motivated attacks on ethnically Chinese and Asian residents of the U.S. increased in frequency following the outbreak.
Under normal circumstances, public events such as celebrations and athletic contests can serve as opportunities for diverse people to come together and set aside their differences in common appreciation of their shared interests. Disease outbreaks limit these opportunities by mandating the cancellation of large public gatherings. By February 2020, the coronavirus outbreak had already caused numerous major events to be cancelled, including the 2020 Tokyo Marathon.