Since the corona outbreak my news feed has been filled with headlines like
And my Social Media feed has been filled with posts like : Corona virus is hyped by the way we consume data , Heart attack kills more people per day than corona etc
As a Digital Marketer i always like to be on top of major events world wide . with Rapid spread of Corona Virus and the illness it causes 'COVID19' sparking alarms world wide my news feed has been filled with updates on it.
With 40 confirmed cases in India as of 9th march 2020 (numbers are low still a cause of concern ) there has been a wide spread panic and hysteria in India across major cities . with news channels displaying number of confirmed cases in real time , to face masks going out of stock , to our whats app groups flashing texts about do's and don'ts there has been wide spread effort to educate masses about the disease which in turn has created an atmosphere of wide spread panic not only in India but across the world.
With in all these educational posts and whats app forwards about corona virus, i came across couple of contradictory but thought provoking posts from my friends and acquaintances across social media . where they presented some numbers from the previous outbreaks of viruses ( H1N1, Ebola, SARS) and signified how the digital media in particular is causing this wide spread hysteria and while corona virus though a cause of concern is being hyped up by the traditional media and digital media alike to to the proportions where it is doing harm than good .
And being an Digital marketer and an engineer i took it upon myself to investigate the subject whether digital media / easy availability of information on corona virus has caused this wide spread panic or not , the truth lies in the numbers some where . does the numbers add up and make this outbreak worst of all other 3 in the recent past ?
Let's Dive into numbers straight.
To make this analysis simpler we will taking following factors in to consideration
1. How it is Transmitted
2. No of people affected world wide
3. Fatality Rate (No of death / No of affected people)
4. Geographical Spread
|Factors/Out Breaks||Corona Out Break||Ebola Out Break||H1N1 (swine Flu)||SARS|
|Transmission||Spreads from body fluids like saliva , mucus from infected person dispersed in air or surfaces by coughing or sneezing||
Spreads by Direct Contact with the blood or body fluids like vomit, faeces
|Spreads from body fluids like saliva , mucus from infected person dispersed in air or surfaces by coughing or sneezing||Spreads from body fluids like saliva , mucus from infected person dispersed in air or surfaces by coughing or sneezing|
|# People affected||So far 111,262 people affected||28,646 people affected||60.8 Million people were affected||8,117 reported cases|
|Fatality Rate %||
3,874 people have died so far 3.48 % fatality rate
|11,323 people died in the epidemic 39% fatality Rate Source Ebola Virus||
0.02 % fatality rate
8.4% fatality rate
|Spread||109 Countries so far||19 countries||18 countries||26 countries|
To Summarize the above Table
SARS : The mode of transmission for SARS (like H1n1 and Corona) is through air or contact with body fluids like saliva of patient which makes it easily transmissible. However the outbreak was not widespread , even with high fatality rate the number of deaths were relatively less
H1N1 : H1N1 or swine flu had the highest number of registered cases among all the 4 outbreaks but having a minuscule fatality rate the outbreak had a relatively less impact hence there was no cause of mass hysteria or panic
Ebola : with the highest fatality rate among the 4 the virus had caused a ripple effect in african sub-continent , however the mode of transmission being the contact with body fluids resulted in less cases and the spread of disease was also limited to 19 countries
Corona : Corona virus seems to have fatality rate much less than Ebola and SARS , mode of transmission matches that of SARS and H1N1 . however the major cause of concern has been the spread . it has so far spread to 109 countries and counting and we need to keep in mind that fatality rate for corona is increasing every day .
With above Number it is quiet clear that it is the number of countries combined with how easily corona virus can be transmitted which has caused wide spread hysteria and Panic among masses.
Now lets look at the numbers in terms of economy and GDP.
Ebola : If reports are to be believed economy of on Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone alone had suffered losses of estimated at $2.8 billion .
SARS : The 2003 SARS outbreak caused losses of USD 12.3-28.4 billion and an estimated decrease of 1% in GDP in China and 0.5% in Southeast Asia .
H1N1 : World Bank had estimated that the negative impact on GDP in South Asia as a result of the epidemic will be 0.6%, provided, of course, the epidemic is mild .
While the above numbers look huge they are dwarfed when compared to impact of corona virus on world's second largest economy china also the source of outbreak . Currently exports from china amount to ~ 220 USD billion every month and with the outbreak china has been under virtual shutdown breaking the supply chain of the world .
With corona virus break the airline industry alone might suffer loss in revenue to the tune of $113 billion .
Markets in India and USA feel sharply to a tune of 7 - 10 % wiping out nearly 5 lakh crore of investor money from India only.
Conclusion : In conclusion , we can say that the messages that have been circulating on various media channels might have some times caused UN-warranted hysteria and panic . But majorly have done the job of educating people and preparing masses against a potential enemy unlike any other .