In the last few months, the whole world has been going through a horrifyingly deadly pandemic, infecting those with a weak immune system. Many countries are in lockdown for an indefinite period and are looking for a cure. Because of that, this pandemic is not only affecting public health, but it is also impacting the economic system and politics. Companies and small businesses are going bankrupt, concerts and sports events have been postponed, schools, parks, and beaches had to close, thousands of people have lost their jobs, and hospitals are at their max capacity. Moreover, the current situation worsens the relationships between countries since each government is interested in nationalizing its financial and medical resources. Some countries have been impacted more, some less, nevertheless, it is still vital for everyone to complete all the requirements to solve the problems brought by the virus. The three countries that have been influenced by the situation the most are the U.S., Spain, and Italy. Therefore, the following essay will discuss the economic, healthcare, and political influences of COVID-19 on these countries.
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First of all, while the U.S. was not affected much by the virus in February, it is confirmed that COVID-19 profoundly impacts the population and the economy at the moment. As indicated by Fetzer et al., the U.S. reported only 176 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the beginning of March. However, by March 16, “this number had shot up to 4,576 – an increase by a factor of 26” (Fetzer et al.). This considerable increase has also contributed to a dramatic escalation in perceptions of American citizens concerning the severity of the pandemic (Fetzer et al.) While, at the beginning of the outbreak, 55% of Americans feared to be affected, now, the number is 78% (Fetzer et al.) In addition to people becoming afraid of the outbreak, since the U.S. is one of the world’s most significant economies, coronavirus puts the country in an unfavorable position. Vinelli et al. stated that a severe problem caused by COVID-19 is the disruption of global supply chains. As a consequence of this interruption, the U.S. companies cannot finish the manufacturing and, thus, deliver products to their customers (Vinelli et al.) This heightened the inability to operate the influences of “businesses, households, and market participants” (Vinelli et al.) Therefore, the economic anxiety brought by the coronavirus affects international businesses, and the U.S. market is not an exception.
Despite its small territory compared to the size of the U.S., Spain is the second country that has been affected by the coronavirus the most, and its healthcare system is currently suffering. In just a few weeks, Spain has shifted from being one of the world’s liveliest countries with thousands of tourists arriving and leaving every day, to a state in a quarantine mode. As noted by Arango, because of the rise in the level of coronavirus patients, Spanish hospitals have been completely transformed in two weeks (p. 2). In regular times, each hospital has around 20 intensive care units in operation, but at this moment, the number exceeds 115 (Arango,p. 2). There are already more than 4,000 victims of coronavirus only in the city of Madrid (Arango, p. 2). Due to the physical inability of doctors to take care of all the coronavirus patients, only those who are suffering from pneumonia are admitted to medical institutions (Arango, p. 2). Healthcare specialists face a hard decision of treating only those who are in pressing need. Therefore, while the statistics are growing, the population will be engaged in the system of natural selection – people who survived and individuals who did not.
Finally, Italy was the first European country to be severely hit by the coronavirus, and this issue significantly deepens political fragmentation in the country. “How Italy’s Economic Heartland Became Ground Zero to the Deadliest Coronavirus Outbreak in Europe” mentioned that “Italy’s first homegrown case was recorded on 21 Feb”. At that time, the WHO still ensured that the virus is containable and not as infectious as the flu (“How Italy’s Economic Heartland Became Ground Zero”). However, a continually worsening situation in Italy proved the opposite. In addition to overwhelming the healthcare system of the country, COVID-19 has also caused a problem in politics. As indicated by Amaro, the novel virus pressured Italy to ask for financial support from other European countries. Nevertheless, the states did not want to be helpful to the Italian government, which resulted in a serious political debate in Rome (Amaro). The political fragmentation in the country is currently intensifying since the COVID-19 pandemic gives an opportunity for an appearance of anti-establishment parties and questions Italy’s future European membership (Amaro). Consequently, the pandemic is not only destructive for countries’ healthcare systems and economies but also for their relationships with other governments.
To summarize, COVID-19 is one of the most crucial and discussed issues in the contemporary world. During the period of four months, the pandemic has affected millions of individuals all over the globe and has created debates on the international level. People are required to stay at home, postpone their travel and life plans, and shift to the remote format of work and studies in order to secure the physical well-being of their families. Furthermore, quarantine did not only bring changes to the daily lives of people but also caused many issues for the governments. For instance, countries’ economies are going into recession with global supply chains not operating. Healthcare systems lack financial resources to provide everyone with effective medical treatment. Political discussions cause the deterioration of a positive environment on an international level. Thus, the presented paper explored the influences of coronavirus on the three most affected countries, such as The U.S. Spain, and Italy.
- Amaro, Silvia. “Coronavirus Deepens Political Fragmentation in Italy as Anti-EU Sentiment Rises.” CNBC, 2020. Web.
- Arango, Celso. “Lessons Learned from the Coronavirus Health Crisis in Madrid, Spain: How COVID-19 has Changed Our Lives in the Last Two Weeks.” Biological Psychiatry, 2020, pp. 1-5.
- Fetzer, Thiemo, et al. “Coronavirus Perceptions and, Economic Anxiety.” VOX CERP Policy Portal, 2020. Web.
- Vinelli, Andres, et al. “The Economic Impact of Coronavirus in the U.S. and Possible Economic Policy Responses.” Center for American Progress, 2020. Web.