Unlike the worst-case scenarios for China which were initially talked about with great interest and, dare I say, hope, in the darker corners of the interwebs, the outbreak of the Wuhan Coronavirus, or Covid-19, seems to have largely subsided in that country. Similarly, South Korea, where the outbreak took a while longer to reach pandemic proportions, seems to also be following a similar curve as China’s, with the number of new cases starting to plateau, an indication that the situation has been controlled rather meticulously.
On the other hand, Covid-19 appears to have taken Europe by storm, with the number of cases having reached in the tens of thousands in Italy & Spain, and Germany, France and the UK well on their way to join them in that league. For an ageing and stagnant Eurozone already teetering on the brink of recession, it is another nail in their financial coffin. Apprehensive of the worst, prospective EU member Serbia’s president has also laid bare the divisions existing within the continent, calling European solidarity a “fairy tale” and in the same breath maintaining that China led by brother Xi is the only country which can help them.
The situation isn’t much better on the other side of the Atlantic, with Wall Street continuing to rapidly bleed most of its gains which had accrued to it since the start of the Trump Presidency, even as Covid-19 cases have reached into the thousands in the country. Even current figures are likely a massive undercount considering the limited preparedness of Uncle Sam for mass testing (not very different from the state of our testing capabilities back home in India).
The impact of the pandemic in the US is likely to be much worse than in China due to the pathetically slow response of the country’s administration to curb the outbreak. Financially, this may be the crisis which puts the US into a fairly long period of depression; the rest of the world may no longer buy the idea that the US is the best country to be the leader of them all, especially when the numbers come out on how many of the country’s elderly were left defenceless to the ravages of the new disease.
One would not be wrong to predict that the time for the Middle Kingdom to build an insurmountable lead may just be upon us.