A Prediction of Our Future
In the past 2 weeks, a new virus that causes respiratory illnesses has been discovered in the city of Wuhan, China. It’s been titled the “novel coronavirus”, as a new strain that seems to have been transmitted zoonotically (from animals).
Since it’s new, we have no vaccine available yet. What we do know, however, is that it’s highly contagious and is spreading rapidly through China. Here’s exactly what I think we should be worried about it, particularly if you’re a business traveller, frequent traveller, or run a business that’s vulnerable to the potential disruptions.
If the SARS, MERS and flu epidemics from the past two decades are anything to go by, this is going to be big. It’s something to take seriously. Particularly because this virus is showing ability to rapidly spread between people, and to be contracted with little extended exposure.
What does this mean we can expect in the future with a virus of this nature?
1. Quarantines and travel restrictions.
It’s highly likely that we’re going to be seeing global travel restrictions placed on people that are coming from high risk areas. That’s whether they’re residents, have visited recently, or hold the passport. If the situation deteriorates on a global level. expect broadly implemented travel restrictions on all movement, whether from high risk areas or not.
We highly recommend either postponing or, if you are able to do so, cancelling your travel plans entirely at this stage.
2. Mass expansion with concentrated epicentres
China is the epicentre for Asia at the moment. It’s likely we’ll be seeing epicentres establishing themselves across the continents. Dubai is the obvious choice for the Middle East considering the number of transits and air traffic going through their main airport. France, Italy and/or Spain are strong contenders as the European epicentre, considering their centrality in Europe and their massive numbers of tourists.
If America doesn’t get their response to the situation right, they’ll be a strong contender with China as the global epicenter. More on that later.
3. Mass hysteria
It wouldn’t be surprising if people stock up on obvious products like water, alcohol disinfectants, canned food products, and bread. “Essentials” for either preventing infection or to hold them over if they’re in isolation / fearful of going out the house, depending on rate of expansion. The purchases are likely to be excessive beyond their needs.
This is all going to be fuelled by extensive media coverage. The more we learn about the virus going forward, and if it is as shocking as we’re expecting it to be, the public response will be strong. Should this turn in a pandemic or crisis, the media in particular will be an industry that will take advantage of the situation. Online media has been struggling in recent years thanks to ad-blockers and the desire for free news coverage from the public, so now is the chance for media to really tick up their numbers. Which brings us to…
4. Declining economies and industries – and a global recession
Without a doubt, the hardest hit industries will be the airlines and the tourism industry. The first line of defence for a lot of travellers and countries will be to prevent open movement. There will certainly be mass cancellations of reservations across the tourism, hospitality, and public transport industries. Anything less than 60% cancellations in this situation would be a miracle. Companies in general will be hit hard by quarantines and restrictions, particularly if any one of their employees contracts the illness. Remote working will need to be adopted broadly and quickly. If any single country gets hit as hard as China has been or worse, you’ll see massive ripples throughout the global economy as productivity slows to a halt. The economic consequences will be phenomenal in all the wrong ways. The silver lining? Once the crisis is over, industries will bounce back stronger than ever.
5. Donald Trump – a lot is up to him.
I can see Donald Trump going one of two ways: intense overreaction, or complete dismissal of the situation. Having a contradictory mix of both is not unforeseeable. However, considering his American First focus, it’s likely he’ll take extreme measures to ensure the protection of the American population from exposure. If not, the USA is sure to be the epicentre of the American continents, and potentially the world.
This is also an excellent time for world powers to start soft power and propaganda pushes against one another. Since the virus originated in China, they’re going to be receiving a lot of heat and blame in the coming months if things go the direction we’re expecting them to go. China will likely be countering with their own propaganda pushes.
Only time will tell how this health situation will play out. Our recommendations are to stay aware, keep your eye on the situation, and expect massive disruptions going forward. This is likely going to be worse than we anticipate.
This is also an apt time to note that, should travel restrictions be put in place in the coming weeks or months, that all currently booked Doot Experiences will be fully refunded.
Since Doot is about meeting up with people in public, all Doot services will also be canceled and refunded immediately if social distancing is advised in Japan or Italy. Thank you for your attention, and we appreciate your cooperation.