Covid-19: what you need to know about the second wave | The Economist

published on July 2, 2020

the covert 19 pandemic has shaped the

lives of people around the world the

global lockdown is the single biggest

experiment in human history The

Economist has been reporting on the way

in which it's affecting everything from

the global economy to the way people

work travel and interact the fear for

many in countries emerging from lockdown

is that a second wave is just around the

corner I think the reality is that until

we have a vaccine and until that vaccine

is widely distributed we are going to

have more waves you submitted your

questions about a possible second wave

to Zanny Minton Beddoes our

editor-in-chief and Slava Chang cover a

healthcare correspondent here are their

answers in what ways will the second

wave be different to the first wave I

think the main way in which the second

wave is likely to be different to the

first wave is that it will be with luck

less Universal and more isolated

outbreaks and so focused on people and

places that are vulnerable that's right

and what will happen is that we'll see

outbreak outbreaks it may be easier to

contain especially in places that have

well-functioning testing and tracing

systems so they can quickly catch

outbreaks before they swell into a

second wave I think one thing that's

important to add though is that some

places have not yet finished the first

wave and so it's too early to talk about

a second wave but in those places where

we have seen the the rate of infection

come down where the our number has come

down the hope will be that any future

wave can be more controlled in two

particular places assuming a second wave

happens what is the likelihood that

people will comply with another lockdown

that's a very difficult question we are

already seeing that people have been

tired of lock downs they're not

following the rules they're letting

their guard down so it will be a

difficult task for governments to

convince them to comply with any further

restrictions that may be needed and of

course we'll probably see things vary

from country to country sound depends on


some places may be more compliant than

others I think we'll also see

government's much more reluctant to try

and put in a wholesale lockdown because

they will have seen the economic

consequences in the economic costs of

that so I think they will try and be

much more targeted with any lockdowns

any shut bans and then whether people

comply or not depends on awful lot also

and whether they trust their government

can we expect further waves until we

reach herd immunity this is a you know a

disease that no one knew about six

months ago but the world is working the

world scientists are working incredibly

hard to find that vaccine until then we

are going to keep seeing it recurring I

think we probably see second waves in in

some places and it is of course the

government responsibility to watch out

for second waves starting to do what it

takes to prevent them to institute the

right measures but it's a joint

responsibility with their citizens in

making sure that those waves don't

happen and we as citizens must comply

with requests to stay home if you've

been exposed to someone known to be

infected that will be crucial to

containing the second wave the

quarantine of people who may be

infectious how can the world collaborate

to stop the spread of kovat 19 we are

already seeing an incredible degree of

collaboration on the science side there

are hundreds of hospitals around the

world which are gathering data in

real-time on what works best to treat

patients who are very sick with carbon

19 we are also seeing collaboration on

the vaccine development side with

outfits in several countries working

together to develop new vaccines so on

the science side it's really an

unprecedented collaboration right now

I'm impressed by the scientific

cooperation which is happening often

sort of behind the headlines but I'm

struck by how little multilateralism

there is beyond that I think going

forward one of the most important things

is how a country is going to be able to

coordinate travel for example safe

travel at the moment

have you know countries effectively

having shut their borders most countries

how are we going to be able to maintain

the flow of goods and services get back

to a normal that allows people to move

between countries and we haven't seen

that yet and I guess the other element

is how and and are richer country is

going to give more assistance and assist

more poorer countries that have been hit

in many ways by this what impact is

covered 19 having on elections in the

Democratic world well certainly would be

authoritarians have taken advantage of

curve in 19 and I think you see that

very much in Hungary ver where Viktor

Orban has passed a law had Parliament

passed a law which essentially allows

him to rule as a dictator and in many

other countries where you have not all

that democratic governments kind of

authoritarian regimes have been using

this to clamp down tamp down on press

freedom using much greater ability to

survey people are with the excuse that

you need to do that for for kind of

controlling the disease I think in in

democracies the real question one of the

most important questions is how

elections are going to be run and that's

obviously a huge question hanging over

the United States which has probably the

single most important election in the

world coming up in November and I think

there the question will be is the

country going to be in other states

going to be able to organize themselves

to hold an election that may be taking

place certainly at a time when people

still have to social distance but

possibly where there are in parts of the

country second waves it can be done the

question for me is whether the electoral

sort of machinery of the US can sort of

be got together in time to do that and

and I do worry that it not enough

attention is being focused on that what

will happen if another virus comes up

before we find a vaccine for covert 19

that's one for severe we are in trouble

we already seeing about the virus which

is quite deadly bite by the standards of

the flu and viruses we already have

circulating but it is possible that the

new one comes up at any time really

and it could be deadlier it may spread

more easily so it is upon the world to

learn the lesson from covet 19 very

quickly and do what it takes to prevent

another one from emerging and spreading

will the stock market decline again with

the second wave what is striking right

now is the extraordinary bounce-back

we've had particularly in us stock

markets and the dissonance between that

and the sort of degree to which the

economy has been harmed now stock

markets are clearly forward looking

they're anticipating more stimulus and

they are anticipating a very rapid

recovery my own view is that we are

going to see a recovery but I think it's

not going to be to where we were before

the new normal if you will is going to

be a diminished economy and an economy

that needs a lot of restructuring as

some sectors whether it's tourism or

hospitality are less strong much less

strong than they were and take longer to

come back and others you know

particularly big tech companies for

example are doing extraordinarily well

so that restructuring I think means that

there's a lot more economic turmoil

ahead what do you think of the positive

effects of the pandemic one positive

thing that I think will come out of this

when it's all done and dusted is create

there flexibility in how people work and

that in turn will lead to a lot more

work-life balance balance heavier on the

life side I think for those people who

can work from home service sector

workers creative workers that work that

can be done from home that's absolutely

true but I think there are many jobs

that cannot be done from home and I

think this is going to in many ways to

increase the inequality of the labor

market between those people and often

that's low-skilled jobs where you have

to be at your job and people who can can

do their job from home and I think it's

also quite possibly going to be a lot

harder for entrance into the workforce I

mean I've noticed that you know the

economists it's amazing how Slava and

all of our other colleagues have have

been able to work incredibly

productively from her

and we're producing everything this film

is being produced completely remotely

but I think that there is a risk over

the long term that we lose something in

terms of sort of innovation and even

productivity because you don't have that

kind of serendipitous sharing of ideas

bumping into people in the office can

countries afford another long term

lockdown I think that's a really good

question and I think the answer probably

is no I think we've learnt that there

are huge economic costs that come from

complete lock downs and in general those

are costs that are even harder to bear

for less developed countries if you are

a an advanced economy it's possible to

do the huge amount of support fiscal

support monetary support that's needed

it's much harder if you're an emerging

economy both because social distancing

is harder and there isn't it's not as

easy to for the government to provide

the scale of support that's needed so I

would be very surprised if government's

tried again to do long full-scale lock

downs since the start of the pandemic we

at the economists have been trying hard

to keep you up to date with all aspects

of the pandemic and where it's going

from the economic risks to the health

risks you could read all of our coverage

by clicking the link opposite thanks for

all your questions and thanks for


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