As cases for the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19 have begun to steadily rise once again, many anxieties about the future have been put on display. A major fear falls on the ever-increasing death toll that the virus has been responsible for, however in the midst of slow economic recovery, the rise of cases and possible second round of shutdowns puts that recovery in question once again. Without clear indicators of exactly what the future will hold, how is the second wave of COVID-19 affecting the world, and how will the economy respond to it as it inevitably must do?
COVID-19’s Second Wave and Major Milestones
In recent weeks, COVID-19 has seen a major uptick in cases worldwide as the world crossed 40 million total cases, a grim milestone. Europe and the United States continue to trend upward despite the major curbed new daily cases in Europe over the summer. In fact, that upward trajectory has gotten so high that the continent has actually overtaken the United States in cases per million people, a shocking revelation. While the United States currently stands at around 162 new COVID-19 cases per million, Europe has crept up to 187 new cases per million. Even as more effective treatments and possible vaccines continue to make major headway, it is unlikely that they will be widely available to the general public until spring or summer of 2021 at the very earliest. In the meantime, COVID-19 deaths have crossed well over 1 million total globally, another grim milestone.
Economically, the consequences of these drastic increases in daily cases means that there has been another round of partial and complete lockdowns sweeping through many different areas that only recently reopened for business. Places like the United Kingdom, France, and Spain have already partially reimposed stricter rules that had been in place earlier in the year. Major cities within these nations, including Paris and London, have seen even more severe restrictions in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in surging areas. Meanwhile, the global economies have been in major states of flux, with the United States and China representing seriously different economic situations.
How the Economy is Reacting to Surged Cases
In the United States, it appears that even more layoffs are in store for the near future. After 45,000 workers in the airline industry got furloughed following the expiration of the stimulus benefits earlier in October, it appears more are in store unless some sort of resolution in Congress is passed soon. MGM Resorts already laid off 18,000 workers this year, and Allstate Insurance also fired nearly 4,000 employees as well. Even for those who regained employment after being furloughed earlier in the year, the future was not secured. Of those who regained their previous jobs, 27% have lost their jobs once again. An additional 36% have been notified by their employers that they may be laid off again. The current United States unemployment rate sits at around 7.9%.
On the other hand, China has been steadily growing economically after being the first to be hit extraordinarily hard by COVID-19. In fact, in the third quarter of 2020, China has reported economic growth with a 4.9% increase in the GDP in comparison to last year. So, now even with the extremely dire earlier months for China, they currently sit at a .7% GDP growth on the entire year. This incredible recovery from China has been so impressive that the International Monetary Fund had to readjust their expectations for a dwindled global economy from a 5.2% decline to a 4.4% decline.
The world is still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, and economic recovery remains a mixed bag at best. With the United States watching more jobs get lost as the stalemate in Congress continues to keep a stimulus package from being approved and Europe entering a new wave of shutdowns, the economic state of the near future remains uncertain. In contrast, China has finally found itself on a clear path toward economic prosperity again as COVID-19 cases in the nation continue to be mostly under control. As cases continue to tick up in many places, how the world responds in the coming weeks and months will mean quite a lot to global economies.
Tom Price is a writer focusing on Entertainment and Sports Features. He has a degree from NYU in English with a minor in Creative Writing. He has been previously published for Washington Square News, Dignitas, CBR, and Numbers on the Boards.