The spread of what is now called the COVID-19 virus is still picking up steam across the globe. Medically speaking, one doctor says there’s no reason to panic. Economically speaking, however, might be another story.
The Dow Jones has plunged more than 3,000 points in the last week or so with investors fearing a slowing global economy as the coronavirus, or COVID-19, continues to rack up cases and slow commerce with several US trading partners. On Wednesday night, the president tried to calm the nation:
"The risk to the American people remains very low," he asserted. "We have the greatest experts in the world right here. … We're ready to adapt, and we're ready to do whatever we have to as the disease spreads – if it spreads."
What is spreading is confusion about how dangerous the virus is and how fast it can spread. Dr. David Stevens, CEO emeritus of the Christian Medical Association, tells OneNewsNow the country has dealt with more virulent viruses.
"It's not nearly as bad as the other ... viruses we've dealt with," he says. "SARS and MERS had much higher mortality rates -- SARS at ten percent and MERS at close to 30 percent."
But COVID-19 seems to be fairly particular about whom it infects.
"It's mainly affecting people with chronic diseases and those that are very old," Dr. Stevens observes. "Young people, teenagers, and children don't seem to be getting it."
He believes the spread of the virus will likely slow dramatically with the arrival of spring and warmer weather.
"I think we're overreacting," Dr. Stevens submits. "People are very scared about this. So far we've contained it within the US with screening at airports and isolation."
As for the economy, Desmond Lachman, resident fellow for the American Enterprise Institute, sees reason for concern.
"China's economy is now the second largest economy in the world," he notes. “So if China has the equivalent of an economic cardiac arrest in the sense that they're confining 150 million people to their homes -- these people can't go to the workplace, which means that China is not producing goods, which means it's not demanding goods from the rest of the world."
Meanwhile, three other large economies -- South Korea, Japan, and Italy -- are dealing with coronavirus concerns.
"When you add all of those economies together, that has a significant impact," Lachman asserts. "If you have four big economies that are slowing abruptly, that is bound to impact the rest of the global economy."
That, of course, includes the United States.