UTBT Session 32: The Corona Virus Outbreak

Hello Everyone!

The 32nd session of Policy Discussion Under The Banyan Tree shall take place this Thursday, March 12th, 2019 at 4:30 pm onwards, under the Banyan Tree at the Gokhale Institute Of Politics and Economics. The topic for discussion of this session is “The Corona Virus Outbreak”.

With its birth in Wuhan, Coronavirus has spread across the globe creating a wave of fear and anxiety. The uncertainty associated with its diagnosis, treatment and the rapid spread has caused the world to come to a standstill. The number of people who have been diagnosed with the virus is on the rise and so is the number of fatalities   It is therefore imperative to understand the root of the problems, analyze the situation and evaluate our options.

Through the discussion, we aim to cover the following aspects: –

  • Myths vs Reality- Just like pretty much everything else, there are myths surrounding the entire outbreak and the situation at present. People globally have formed their own sets of notions and ideas about the diagnosis, treatment, preventive measures and policy intervention. In such a situation the reality of the situation tends to get shrouded. We aim to understand what’s the truth behind the illness. Where and how did it exactly start? How does it spread? What are the treatment options available? What are the false rumours being spread about this? Especially through social media platforms? What’s the fatality rate? Is it just another name in the list of many illnesses which can be cured? Or is it on the verge of being a global epidemic?
  • Public Health Initiatives- The second aspect we aim to look at is what has been done from the government’s side? What policies are states adopting? What preventive measures are being taken? What are the treatment options offered from country to country? What are the options available to resource-constrained poorer economies? Is there any public health initiative taken which has worked so far? We aim to cover not only what the states are doing right but also where are they going wrong
  • Overall Impact– The wave of uncertainty comes with its own set of implications. Racial attacks, especially towards Asian communities, has become a common phenomenon in the west. Moreover, there is a wave of travel restrictions which has brought the world to its knees. On the economic front, what do you think would happen? How are the markets going to be affected? Is just another blip in the global growth trajectory or is it going to drag the entire world economy to collapse? What are the forecasted long-term impacts? If any?
  • The Indian Case– To conclude, we aim to understand the problem with the Indian context. While the spread to India has been at relatively lower levels, it is on the rise. The question is an economy as resource constrained as India, does it have the capability to restrict the outbreak and implement the necessary preventive measures? Moreover, what would be the consequences if it turns into a pan-India epidemic?
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