18 May 2020

ISA Coronavirus Update (18th of May)

Daily Summary

The number of new coronavirus cases around the world has begun to rise at a faster pace in recent days as the number of cases in places such as Russia, Brazil and India continues increase.  The total number of coronavirus cases worldwide now stands at more than 4.8 million, while the number of fatalities is now nearly 317,000.

A recent study in Spain, one of the hardest-hit countries by the coronavirus pandemic, showed that just 5% of the two million people that were tested for the coronavirus in that country had been infected by the virus.  This dashed many of the hopes that countries that had experienced major outbreaks of the coronavirus would be able to develop herd immunity in the near-future.

The number of new cases of the coronavirus in Brazil continued to soar in recent days, with the number of cases in that country now standing at more than 241,000.  The same held true for the number of fatalities in Brazil, with that number reaching more than 16,000 this week.  While Sao Paulo has the largest number of cases, the pandemic has spread throughout Brazil in recent weeks.

While the number of new cases of the coronavirus in the United States has continued to trend downwards, much of this decline is due to the sharp fall in the number of cases in the hard-hit northeastern part of the US.  In other areas of the US, the number of new cases has plateaued, but has yet to begin falling.


Key Developments

Japan Falls Into a Recession: In the first quarter of 2020, the Japanese economy contracted by 3.4% on an annualized basis, although this was not as large of a decline as had been expected by most economists.  Japan’s economy shrank even more in late 2019 due to a sales tax hike.

European Economies Battered: Germany, Europe’s largest economy, shrank by 2.3% year-on-year in the first quarter, while the United Kingdom, the region’s second-largest economy, shrank by 1.6% year-on-year.  Most other economies in Europe also recorded contractions in the first quarter.


Trend to Watch

Warm weather has resulted in larger-than-expected numbers of people going to shops, parks, beaches and other public places as lockdown measures are being eased in many parts of the United States and Europe, a development that worries many health experts.

The Coming Days

Health officials in Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paulo, have warned that they have reached 90% capacity for the city’s intensive care units (ICUs) as the number of coronavirus cases in that city continues to rise at a dangerously fast pace.