Daily Mail– The global death toll from coronavirus could reach as high as 15million even in the best-case pandemic scenario, a new study says.
The research by the Australian National University also found that global GDP could shrink by as much as $2.3trillion even in what they call a ‘low-end’ pandemic.
In the most disastrous scenario, the death toll could reach a staggering 68million including hundreds of thousands of deaths in Britain and the United States.
In that worst-case pandemic, some countries’ economies would shrink by as much as eight per cent in a global meltdown.
A man wearing a protective mask walks in front of a display board at the Shanghai Stock Exchange, amid warnings of a global meltdown because of coronavirus
The two researchers who published the paper, Warwick McKibbon and Roshen Fernando, warn that ‘even a contained outbreak could significantly impact the global economy in the short run’.
In the so-called ‘low-severity’ case, the death rate in China is estimated at around two per cent and adjusted for other countries.
The global death rate has been drifting higher than that in recent weeks, currently hovering around 3.4 per cent.
In that ‘low-end’ pandemic, the study estimates that more than 15million people would die within the first year of the outbreak, which started in China last December.
The estimates suggest that India and China would each lose millions of people, with more than 230,000 people killed in the United States.
Britain – which has only seen one death so far – could expect to see 64,000 fatalities, with 79,000 in Germany and 60,000 in France.
South Korea and Italy, which have suffered particularly widespread outbreaks in recent weeks, would also be bracing for tens of thousands of deaths, the study says.
In that scenario, Britain’s GDP would drop by around 1.5 per cent, with America’s economy shrinking by 2.0 per cent.
The global economy would take a $2.3billion hit, the researchers estimate, with Australia and Germany also forecast to slide into severe recessions.
In the ‘high-severity’ forecast, the coronavirus outbreak would cause a catastrophic death toll of more than 68million people around the world, researchers say.
The dead would include more than 12million people in China alone, as well as 1.1million in the United States.
Britain’s death toll would be a catastrophic 290,000, with Germany and France likewise losing hundreds of thousands of people.
Russia’s fatality count would also be approaching a million in that scenario, the researchers’ data shows.
In that disastrous outcome, the global economy would take a $9.2trillion hit with many countries facing very deep recessions.
Medical staff in protective suits check information on sheets of paper at a hospital in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the outbreak began
The British economy would shrink by 6.0 per cent in 2020 in that scenario – worse than the 4.2 per cent drop it suffered at the depths of the global financial crisis in 2009.
Meanwhile the U.S. economy would suffer an 8.4 per cent drop in a recession which would reverberate around the world.
There is also a ‘mid-severity’ estimate, in which the global death toll would be around 38million and the global economic hit around $5.3trillion.
Researchers say that the probablity of any of their projected outcomes are ‘highly uncertain’.
‘The goal is not to be definitive about the virus outbreak but to provide important information about a range of possible economic costs of the disease,’ they say.
They add: ‘Amidst the slowing down of the Chinese economy with interruptions to production, the functioning of global supply chains has been disrupted.’
‘Companies across the world, irrespective of size, dependent upon inputs from China have started experiencing contractions in production.
‘Transport being limited and even restricted among countries has further slowed down global economic activities.
‘Most importantly, some panic among consumers and firms has distorted usual consumption patterns and created market anomalies.
‘Global financial markets have also been responsive to the changes and global stock indices have plunged.
‘Amidst the global turbulence, in an initial assessment, the International Monetary Fund expects China to slow down by 0.4 percentage points compared to its initial growth target to 5.6 per cent, also slowing down global growth by 0.1 percentage points.’
The researchers say that a ‘range of policy responses will be required’ to prevent disaster.
The current global death toll is 3,383 out of 98,703 confirmed cases.
Most of them are in China, but the virus has been spreading faster in other hotspots such as Italy, Iran and South Korea in recent weeks.
Tokyo stocks ended the morning session more than three percent lower on Friday, as worries over the spread of the new coronavirus intensified.
Some countries have already announced an economic stimulus, with Italy yesterday unveiling plans to loosen its budgetary rules.