The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is still spreading and there are now 98,837 confirmed cases of infection and 3,383 deaths linked to it around the world. In many countries, this has resulted in a stark change to everyday life. Schools have been closed, forcing students to study at home. There’s also been a shortage of medical supplies and everyday essentials like toilet paper, due to people hoarding.
People are now travelling less, either because of travel bans or as a precautionary measure, and public events like concerts, art festivals, and conferences have been cancelled.
It’s hard to know just how much the outbreak has affected lives around the world, especially when we’re stuck at home trying to protect ourselves, but data can help us visualise it. Below, are some graphs that help put things in perspective.
Millions of Students Out of School
Governments are taking extraordinary measures to try to contain the coronavirus. China, Italy, Iran, and Japan, have all ordered the temporary suspension of classes in some levels nationwide.
According to UNESCO, school closures have affected a whopping 290.5 million children around the world. Meanwhile, some other countries have implemented localised school closures in areas most vulnerable to the virus, leaving almost 180 million more children potentially at risk of interrupted education.
China has the most children out of school at 233 million, followed by Japan with 16.5 million, then Iran with 14.6 million, and lastly, Italy with around 9 million.
Millions of children’s education have now been interrupted by the outbreak. While there are digital learning portals to serve as alternatives to the classroom, these are not accessible in poorer countries that lack access to technology or fast internet connections.
Major Events Cancelled
In recent weeks, many international trade shows and conferences have been cancelled or postponed, and more will likely follow in the coming months.
In Japan, Nipppombashi Street Festa, a major cosplay event, was cancelled in February. In the Philippines, the annual Wanderland Music Festival, which had international artists headlining this year, will no longer be pushing through this weekend. Miami's Ultra Music Festival was also cancelled.
Many artists, including Green Day, Mac De Marco, and Jimmy Eat World, have also cancelled their Asia tours or postponed shows to later dates.
Here are some major events globally that have recently announced cancellations or postponements.
The Olympics Could Be Cancelled Too
Arguably the biggest event of the year, the 2020 Summer Olympics to be held in Tokyo from July 24 to August 9, is also in danger of cancellation.
Dick Pound, a senior member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has said that the Games will likely be cancelled, not postponed if the coronavirus is not contained. On Tuesday, March 3, IOC spokesperson Mark Adams cleared the air and said that as of now, the Olympics is still pushing through, but that this could change if the crisis worsens.
The Olympics have only been cancelled three times in the past, all due to war. Those were in 1916, 1940, and 1944. Despite the Zika virus outbreak in 2016, the Rio Games still pushed through, although many athletes refused to participate due to the pandemic.
Travel Bans Hit the Aviation Industry
Countries around the world have banned travel to China and other parts of Asia, and airlines have started to feel the impacts of this directive.
The places most affected by flight suspension are Taiwan and Hong Kong, which have had a 90.4 percent and 86.6 percent drop in international flight capacity, respectively, according to Bloomberg.
Travelling is believed to be a big contributor to the spread of the virus, so many people have chosen to cancel their holidays as well. Popular tourist spots like Japan and South Korea have experienced a 74.6 percent and 69.3 percent decline in international flight capacity, respectively.
Countries outside Asia, like Russia and Canada, have also been affected.
A Slump in the World Economy
While it’s too early to tell how bad the coronavirus has affected the economy, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) already cut its growth forecast for the world economy as the virus continues to spread globally.
In its latest Economic Outlook, the organisation expects a 0.5 percentage point downward revision of its forecast for global GDP growth in 2020, which means the world economy will only grow by 2.4 percent this year, down from its November 2019 estimate of 2.9 percent.
This makes it the lowest level of economic expansion since the end of the 2008 financial crisis, depending on how long the pandemic persists and how quickly China’s economy can bounce back.
According to the OECD, China’s forecast has been slashed from 5.7 to 4.9 percent, due to the restrictions on the movement of people, goods, and services, as well as containment measures that have put manufacturing industries out of work.
Business travel and tourism also come into the equation, affecting companies who rely on China to ship products and parts, and the rest of the world.
If the virus persists, the OECD warned that the global growth could drop even lower to 1.5 percent in 2020, nearly half the rate originally projected.