Wednesday, 11 March 2020

The worrying aspects of the Covid-19 outbreak!

I had promised myself that I wouldn't touch or return to this topic after my blog post (An expats thoughts on the coronavirus outbreak), but after a few rounds with myself, the end conclusion was the “why not” type. My reasoning for this is that it's so related to the topic of my blog and that it has such an impact on one of my biggest passions in life that it did feel kinda natural for me to continue with the topic. At the same time and before I continue its important for me to repeat the fact that I have no medical background. If the case is that you are looking for medical advice or answers on any medical-related questions, you should contact appropriate local authorities since this is purely my own opinions and observations.

I have to say that there are a few elements of the ongoing covid-19 outbreak that manages to get me worried and its “surprisingly” not for the most part what most people seem to be focusing on. Of course, I am somewhat worried about the health-related effect it might have on us, but it's not where I see the biggest challenges awaiting us in the coming weeks and months. As I see it the biggest challenges we might be facing are related to the global trade and financial situation. Something I would say we have seen a mild reaction in the petroleum, currency and stock market. Not to be a doomsday preacher of any sort, but the longer the Covid-19 are allowed to stick around the bigger it will become.

Think about this, China has for the last decade or so been the global manufacturing hub for most of our everyday goods. More or less every single consumer products that we are enjoying in our daily life are being produced in China and now it seems as they have shut down the majority of their factories. This is something that will become a huge problem down the road. I know it might not sound like the problem that I am describing for you, but when you calculate that the owners of the brands that use these factories won't be able to produce or ship their products to the market this will end up becoming a major financial hit. Not just when it comes to the classic consumer products, but also when it comes to tourist-related industries.

Think about the effect this will have on the global financial situation? Shops have to shut down, hotels have to close their doors and airliners has to ground their planes. Millions of people worldwide will end up being temporarily unemployed. Think about the effect this will have on the economy of entire nations. I am no doomsday preacher, but from my perspective, things are looking grim and this is even before we take into account the human cost in all of this. We are already seeing the effect of this through semi-massive drops in oil and currency market. For me as a Norwegian guy, I see this “by-product” of the outbreak back home through lower prices on oil and a falling or devaluing of the Norwegian Krone.

The big headlines these days are hotel owners talking about cutting costs and downsizing their staff, national airliners are talking about cutting flights or other companies related to the tourism industry are talking about laying off people. Because face it, if this outbreak goes into summer season there will be no tourists to give service to. As I see it, the outbreak isn't the end of the world, but it will do some serious damage while it sticks around. Especially when it comes to the global economy and the biggest worry as I see it is the fact that it might force a recession or a depression to happen. Last time this happened was in the aftermath of the Spanish flu and we all know how that went.

I don't want to throw any more fuel on the fire, it's bad enough as it is, but as an expat far from home I do get worried about my loved ones back home in Norway and how this will affect them both short and long term. In many ways, this is the perfect storm that actual doomsday preachers have been both talking and warning about. There is another element to this, shortage of consumer goods like food, electronics, medicine and other goods coming out of China. This is also why I have on social media been talking a lot about stocking up on food, water and the more typical flu-related medicine. I am not talking about going full prepper with years of supplies in an underground bunker somewhere. Just enough to get by if the worst-case scenario comes around.

As said, the last thing I want is to be the one that throws more fuel on the fire, but on the other hand, it's important to be as prepared as you can be. For me, it's all about the wellbeing of my family and that's where your state of mind should be too. Anyway, kinda feel that I have been rambling on for way too long and that it's about time for me to wrap this blog post up. So at least I hope you have been “enjoying” my take on the situation and that you might follow my advice on having a small supply of food and such in your pantry. Anyway, if you enjoyed my rambling I hope you share it with your friends and family, get the word out there. You can also support my work through Ko-fi (JackBowler Sr), thank you for your attention!

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