Weekly Geopolitical Report – On Pandemics (March 9, 2020)

by Bill O’Grady

Since January, the world has been dealing with the COVID-19 virus, a new coronavirus that has been spreading around the world.  Because this situation is still evolving, it is too early to determine the overall impact of this specific virus.  We update our views on COVID-19 regularly in our Daily Comment report.

In this report, we will examine the general geopolitical consequences of pandemics.  We will start with a broad description of pandemics.  From there, we will discuss the key problem facing policymakers, how to create the proper response to such events.  An analysis of the impact on social and economic conditions will follow. As always, we will conclude with market ramifications.

What is a Pandemic?
To define a pandemic, it makes sense to define the stages before a disease reaches that category.

  1. Sporadic: This is a disease that occurs infrequently and irregularly. An occasional case of polio or measles that doesn’t spread would fall into this category.  It usually doesn’t require a policy response.
  2. Endemic: This is a disease that is constant or has usual prevalence within a specific geographic area. Annual influenza would be an example.
  3. Epidemic: This is a disease that shows a sudden and large increase in infections within a specific area.
  4. Pandemic: This is an epidemic disease that spreads to a wider geographic area.

View the full report