Since the emergence of the coronavirus global pandemic, the question many economists have pondered, is the health of the global economy, versus the health of the worldwide population.

Lives versus livelihood.

As the Pandemic continues to increase daily – which has affected around 210 countries around the world, recording over two million cases with 170,439 deaths as of April 21st, 2020, according to worldometer.

The United States has the highest total number of cases (792,913) followed by Spain, Italy, France, Germany, UK, China etc. amidst others.

The Pandemic has led different countries to impose safety precautions to contain the spread of the virus.

Some of the precautions imposed are the use of face mask every time anybody goes out of the house and the strict use of hand sanitizers, while some countries advise that sanitizers are carried around, observing social distancing, and total lockdown.

The entire world is becoming more cautious, some argue, “paranoid” as people are avoiding to travel to places of high infections. Governments are closing borders because of the fear of imported disease.

What Does This Mean for the Global Economy?

The spending of money, diverted from non-essentials to essentials and personal safety, looking to China who has now started to recover from the Pandemic and get their economy back on track,

However, according to Tan Thiam Hock, writing for Malaysian website “The Star”, says we should either:

  1. Lockdown everyone until we have 14 consecutive days of zero new infections across the world. However, this could take months, and the economic costs will be devastating.
  2. Open up the economy, air travel, infect and cross infect, build immunity through herd mentality and soon the general population will not have to worry about being infected. 

The latter could cost several million lives of vulnerable old and diseased people, but this is the reality facing some world leaders.

The lockdown, has imposed by some countries, has not only affected their economy, but it has also caused many families around the world to be displaced due to business failures and unemployment.

In particular, the United States which has seen jobless claims skyrocket, yet due to Trump’s tweets, has seen a form of “liberation” which gravely endanger lives during a Pandemic.

Trump's LIBERATE Tweets

Social problems and criminal activities have also risen due to poverty and helplessness. 

The sharp fall in the health of the population will affect the global community overall.

Weak companies will fall out first, followed by mass unemployment, economy turning into recession and later depression, failure of financial institutions and finally, countries across the globe will become broke.

At both ends, the cost of lives will be so expensive, whether in death or destroying livelihoods beyond comprehension.

Liberation rallies - USA

Now, the only solution to this disease, weighing lives and livelihood is a vaccine. But the only problem is that it will take about 12-18 months for a vaccine to made.

The lives versus livelihood decisions should be a calculated strategy with cooperation from all segments of the world thereby finding an ideal balance equation that would minimize loss of lives and livelihoods such that the world will suffer a less economic misfortune in this Pandemic.