April 18, 2024

Virtues of the COVID-19 crisis

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Everything happens for good. Unfortunately, when the topic is COVID-19 we struggle to grasp the bright side of all the events that occurred in the 2020-2022 period. With a cumulative mortality figure of over 6 million, many became sceptical about the existence of GOD while others became staunch believers. The horrific pandemic only allows us to conclude that we are truly blessed to have survived it and to be living safely with our loved ones, discussing it.

The advent of COVID-19 saw the global GDP growth rate decline to -3.07 percent in 2020 from 2.59 percent in 2019, a decline of 5.67 percent from 2019. While 2019 was already witnessing sluggish demand and a massive downscale of industrial production, the global lockdown in 2020 brought everything to a standstill. COVID-19 came at a time when the world healthcare system was already burdened by lifestyle and age-related diseases. Today, over 10 percent of the world population is over 65 years old and more than 70 percent are suffering from non-communicable diseases, mostly lifestyle-related. 

COVID-19 brought some of the most advanced healthcare infrastructure to its knees. Its effect on the under-resourced countries led to several ‘excess deaths’ that proved to be the real tragedy of the pandemic. Making matters worse was the high rate of morbidity and mortality among healthcare workers. Around 80,000 to 180,000 as per WHO estimates. As per reports, more than 130,000 children have missed their essential vaccination doses due to the pandemic across the globe. Some countries have even recorded more than 250 fewer vaccinations per 1000 births. COVID-19 also flashed a big spotlight on the mental well-being of the population. Several screening tests like that of Cancer and HIV were reduced or even halted at some places, leading to anxiety and stress-related complications. Maternal health services including C-sections, prenatal care and pregnancy check-ups were disrupted. The recent spike in heart attacks among the young population is attributed to the increased sedentary lifestyle, leading to diabetes and hypertension. 

Surprises in times of crisis

Apart from the healthcare sector, another sector where the COVID-19 pandemic caused huge disruptions was in education and in the workplace. People were forced to bring their offices home and made ‘work from home’ the new norm. Since children were forbidden to go to school, schools had to come to their homes. At a time when parents started realising the value of the teachers and the tuition fees they were paying to schools, smart electronic devices became the symbol of hope and respite. 

COVID-19

We have similar stories from the healthcare sector where smartphone apps and live-streaming sessions with doctors became a safer and more viable option so much so that the telehealth and telemedicine market is expected to become over USD 250 billion market by 2027, growing at an impressive CAGR of 26.6 percent.

Rise of the Digital Economy

As per reports, the global PC market witnessed growth for the first time in 2019 only. With more than 250 million units shipped, there was a growth of 2.7 percent from 2018. The same market that was prognosticated for a slow decline with the rising popularity of smartphones and tablets saw 297 million units shipped in 2020, a staggering 11 percent jump from 2019. The value of the global laptop market grew to USD 168.6 billion in 2021. However, in the immediate post-covid period of 2022, the laptop and the desktop global sales crashed by about 16 percent. This was mainly due to the supply chain constraints from the global shutdown, leading to higher inflation, leading to higher interest rates and lower buying power and thus, shortage of resources.

COVID-19

The laptops and smartphones industry are just the small beneficiaries of the larger disruption that occurred in the education and entertainment industry. Due to a forced sedentary lifestyle and transit restrictions, we saw many innovations that brought entertainment, education, productivity, shopping and even food & groceries to the palm of our hand or in a few mouse clicks. What seemed like a short periodic boom for the online e-commerce industry turned out to be an ever-evolving boon for many of the startups across the world. 

The online education sector has seen growth in sales and competition, like no other sector. With a reported global revenue of USD 198.2 billion in 2022, market pundits are predicting this market to grow to a revenue of USD 602 billion by 2030. This is further substantiated by advancements in Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence technology.

The new age of Coronnials

Another Coronnial that quickly matured into a Quaranteen is the online streaming market. As per reports, the global video streaming market was valued at USD 455.45 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow from USD 554.33 billion in 2023 to USD 1902.68 billion by 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 19.3 percent during the forecast period. This growth is largely attributed to the growing penetration of 4G networks and high-speed internet access across the globe. With the live streaming traffic growing exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the top players in the sector have engaged or are looking into high stake mergers and acquisitions. This, in turn, means huge resources for the development of more advanced networking, computing, streaming and even video production technology; justifying the mega budgets of some of the shows on OTTs today. There is a similar situation in the global video conferencing market that is projected to grow from USD 7.76 billion in 2023 to USD 17.05 billion by 2030.

COVID-19

All this makes the laptop and the smartphone market even more enchanting for investments. Reports suggest that the laptop market could grow up to USD 227.5 billion by 2030 and the smartphone market could grow from 1.45 billion units in 2023 to 1.78 billion units by 2028. 

Pharmacy Made Breezy

Famous Greek physician, Hippocrates once said, ‘Desperate times call for desperate measures’. Scientists and researchers have been struggling with a robust mRNA technology that could train the human body cells to produce an immune system specific for certain pathogens. The severity of the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the entire science community into a ‘Warp’ mode. Thus, we saw the development of the vaccine for COVID-19 using mRNA technology in a record period. Due to this marvellous breakthrough, we received our first COVID-19 vaccine dose within a year of the outbreak instead of waiting for years for a breakthrough through traditional methods. Today, this technology is being incorporated for the mitigation of other chronic diseases.

COVID-19

It has been historically proven that actions in times of crisis have repercussions for decades to come. The world needs to build a universal conscience at an individual level and be responsible for collective action for a stable and peaceful economy. We should take positive reforms from these two years of the pandemic. Countries that survived the COVID-19 pandemic gracefully were the ones with a robust healthcare structure and steadfast governance. Many global leaders, some from the developed regions and many from the developing areas of the world showcased their staunch and consistent resolve to safeguard their economy and citizens. With steadfast governance becoming the new norm for prolonged political stability, citizens are happy to receive this new transformation in this new era post the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Blog Article by Ujal Nair

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