Unforeseen effects of Coronavirus

16 APRIL 2020

Thinking past the news headlines of infection statistics, lockdown, and social distancing, there are unforeseen effects brought about either by the virus or by the drastic measures taken to prevent the infection from spreading through the world. There will be both happy and sad consequences of this crisis.

What will the future be like?

Online shopping ever more popular

As would be expected, online shopping got a huge boost from people both bored and in needs at home. But this time, there will be significant growth in online shopping after the crisis because a lot of the shopping boost came from people who had never shopped online before and they are now engaged and accustomed to it, so they will continue to do so. Shopping malls already declining in popularity for a few years will not recover well unless they change their purpose to become more of a social center than a shipping destination.

Flying Premium Economy

This is an odd one: it will take some time for people to become tolerant of crowding in airplanes. Nobody ever liked to be in the middle seat and now more than ever people will be uneasy to be seating so close to strangers for a long period of time. For many, the extra cost of Premium Economy will be well worth it to not have to rub shoulders with their neighbor. It is a good value choice compared to the much steeper price of business class.

Economic disparity to get worse

Most affected in job loss are people in the service industry; restaurants, hotels, etc. who are already in the lower part of the economic ladder. Least affected are people in the upper echelons. Consequently, the gap increases as the crisis drag on without a compensating boost in the post-crisis recovery.

Poverty kills, and depression, and suicides

There is no question that the virus crisis is already causing a world-wide recession which could turn into a depression if the crisis drag on. In the USA alone, 133,000 people died of poverty in the year 2000 [1][2]. Many more people will become poor, could that kill more people than the virus itself? Economic downturns also affect mental health with sharp increases in suicides as well.

The death rate will not be statistically significant!

Because the majority of victims were either old or in poor health, or both, their life expectancy was much lower than the general population. So, statistically speaking, most victims would have died within a short span of time in months or years, thus a demographic graph of say 10 years might only show a blip in the line in 2020.

The lockdown saves lives in Thailand

Thailand has the sad reputation of being among the countries with the most road fatalities in the world with about 50 casualties every day [3]. With shutdown and lockdown in some provinces, road traffic has experienced a steep decline, and consequently a steep drop in the number of accidents and road casualties. As Thailand has had a very low death rate caused by the virus, less than five each day, while experiencing a larger reduction in road casualties, it can be said that the net sum of casualties has actually decreased because of the virus!


  1. “How Many U.S. Deaths are Caused by Poverty, Lack of Education, and Other Social Factors?”, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, Community Health 5 July 2011
  2. “Poverty Kills. Better Policy, Not Better Medicine, Is the Solution”, Kristen Lewis, Contributor, Huffpost, 25 September. 2011
  3. “Thailand’s Roads Are Deadly. Especially if You’re Poor.”, Hannah Beech, The New York Times, 19 August 2019.

The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It

Robert B. Reich
Picador (August 6, 2020) - Political Science - 225 pages

With the characteristic clarity and passion that has made him a central civil voice, Robert B. Reich shows how wealth and power have interacted to install an elite oligarchy, eviscerate the middle class, and undermine democracy. Using Jamie Dimon, the chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase as an example, Reich exposes how those at the top propagate myths about meritocracy, national competitiveness, corporate social responsibility, and the "free market" to distract most Americans from their accumulation of extraordinary wealth, and power over the system.