By ATTY. GREGORIO LARRAZABAL
Atty. Gregorio Larrazabal
Earlier this year, the world was gripped with the news of the COVID-19 virus which started in China. The Philippines was the first country to have a COVID-19 death outside China. People were worried, you could see the number of people in the malls drop, and many were wary on going out in public places.
But it seems the attention span of the vast number of Filipinos is quite short. Now, it seems there’s an air of complacency. People seem to forget about the real dangers of the COVID-19, especially with some patients who were previously infected with the COVID-19, but were cleared, and are now infected again after recovery.
And that is very worrisome. As of last week, the virus has spread to over 40 countries. Several countries have locked down cities where the COVID-19 has spread. In the world of sports, several athletic events have been cancelled or postponed. There are currently discussions on whether to cancel the 2020 Olympics in Japan, because of the threat of COVID-19. Japanese Prime Minister Abe has requested schools to not have classes in the month of March, in the hope of arresting the spread of the coronavirus.
In the US, the CDC has all but admitted that a pandemic is almost inevitable. Despite the seriousness of the problem of COVID-19 in the US, there is a concern that the Trump administration is trying to downplay the seriousness of the problem, because he fears it might affect his chances in the upcoming November Presidential elections.
Although the World Health Organization (WHO) recently stepped up in its warnings about COVID-19, just last Friday, WHO, which has shied away from formally declaring the pathogen a pandemic, issued a dire warning that “global level” risks were growing. I have to add though, that the WHO has likewise declared that it’s too early to call it a pandemic. What that means, however, is that: even if it’s premature to declare it a pandemic, NOW is the time to prepare for it. And when we say prepare, it means to get things ready.
When I say to get ready, it also means you need to get ready for the impact it will have on the financial world. Last week, we saw the US stock market’s Goldman Sachs predict that if the coronavirus continues, there will be ZERO percent growth for the US in 2020. That’s a pretty sobering assessment of how bad the economy, not only that of the US, but also those of other countries, will also suffer if the US economy suffers. Proof of how bas things can get is that last week, the US stock markets had a seven-day losing streak — the worst since the 2008 financial crisis — with major benchmarks plummeting in panic selling related to the worsening coronavirus outbreak.
The Philippines is only one of nine countries which have not yet reported any case of local transmission of COVID-19. Something which has been commended by the World Health Organization. I hope Filipinos are constantly reminded to be vigilant. The global threat of the COVID-19 outbreak is not going away anytime soon, although China has already having developed and produced a vaccine for it. We need to be regularly reminded to take precautions in the everyday things we do.
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