Coronavirus Impacts Spread

March 26, 2020

Pandemic pessimism has kept pace with preparedness in the United States—continuing a trend we noted last week—and southern states have come into focus as the next potential hotspot. At the same time, Predata alerted customers to broader macroeconomic and geopolitical risks exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

United States: Pessimism Lingers and Spotlight on the South

Since we noted this trend on March 20, Predata’s English-language Pandemic Pessimism Index has continued to track the Preparedness Index.

Attention focused heavily on regions facing the most severe outbreaks. Mid-Atlantic states, including New York, led the country over the past week with 40% of the total views on Predata’s collection of pages on U.S. public health authorities and hospitals. But other potential hotspots are starting to receive greater attention as well. During the same time period, attention to health systems in Southern and South-Atlantic states, where there have not been as many reported cases, reached its highest level since at least 2015. Interest in the Florida Department of Health and the state’s hospitals was particularly strong. Despite more than 1,600 confirmed cases, Florida has not yet issued a state-wide stay-home order.

Pressure on Global Trade and Industrial Production

Beyond the immediate public health impacts, Predata has kept customers informed of the broader macroeconomic risks exacerbated by coronavirus. Most recently, Predata Signal Alerts showed how the coronavirus pandemic has reawakened concerns over slowing global trade and industrial production to levels last seen at the height of U.S.-China trade tensions late last year. Global attention to protectionism has surged as countries restrict exports to stockpile medical supplies and staple crops. In a similar warning of increased fears of an economic downturn, attention to base metals such as nickel, iron, and copper essential to heavy industry has also surged, leading the downward slide in prices for industrial metals on commodity futures markets.

Emerging Geopolitical Risks

Predata will continue to provide customers with early warning for the geopolitical risks likely to be exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. Yesterday, Predata alerts highlighted emerging threats in Venezuela and India:

  • Coronavirus and the concurrent oil market price war have put pressure on the Venezuelan government, which has driven attention to Venezuela’s ongoing political, social, and economic crises upwards. Attention to the Brazil-Venezuela border is also rising, suggesting the pandemic could impose further migration pressure on already struggling Venezuelans.
  • Though India imposed a nationwide lockdown and is preparing a massive economic stimulus package to mitigate the impacts of coronavirus, structural risks still loom large online. Attention to India’s IT industry is at its highest level in more than a year as remote work will test the country’s information infrastructure. Meanwhile, long-standing risks persist as online audiences remain focused on the threat posed by India’s territorial disputes and domestic insurgencies despite coronavirus dominating the headlines.

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