Staying at Home: The Economic and Social Impact of COVID19

COVID19 is both a social and economic reality that we must deal with, fight and win over by staying at home and listening to the government and experts.

The global COVID19 pandemic has forced governments to implement strict lockdowns to contain the spread of the virus. In effect, this policy has forced citizens to stay put in their respective homes.

In the Philippines, the "Enhanced Community Quarantine" (ECQ) policy has been in effect for over a month now as of this writing. The government has mobilized its resources to provide various social welfare programs to feed the most vulnerable households and assist the middle class who have been mostly hit by the crisis. These are meant to encourage people to stay at home.

Economic Damage

Staying at home may sound easy but it is difficult especially for the poor and the middle class. For breadwinners working as daily paid workers, there is no work-from-home option for them to depend upon for their everyday expenses. For underground economies, the implementation of the ECQ deprives them of the opportunity to sell their trade on the streets. For small and medium business owners, they are forced to shut down operations as only essential businesses can run at this time.

Big businesses such as those in manufacturing, wholesale retail and trade, and transportation, storage and communication have also taken a major hit due to the crisis. Overall, the Philippine economy is bound to lose between Php 276 Billion to Php 2.5 Trillion based on estimates by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies.

The COVID19 crisis has negatively impacted the world economy on a grand scale. Based on estimates, the forecasted global GDP due to COVID19 in 2020 is expected to drop significantly to 2.4%, with monetary GDP losses in a best-case scenario at about USD 77 Billion.

Social Disruption

Staying at home also poses serious mental health repercussions for many. Scientists claim that the crisis could have a "profound and "pervasive impact" on the state of the global mental health today and in the future. During this crisis, many have experienced elevated levels of stress, fear, sadness, anxiety and loneliness. Furthermore, a study by Galea et. al. notes the likelihood of a substantial increase in substance abuse, domestic violence and child abuse due to stay at home policies.

To counter these concerns, the World Health Organization has advised people to: (1) stay connected and maintain social networks; (2) keep personal daily routines or create new ones if circumstances change; (3) engage in healthy activities that are enjoyable and relaxing and; (4) seek information updates and practical guidance at specific times during a day from health professionals and government and avoid listening or following rumors that makes one feel uncomfortable.

Given the unpredictability as to when a vaccine would be discovered and produced massively, the economic and social impact of COVID19 will continue to worsen as the days or months go by. There is also no guarantee that the effects of economic and social restoration will immediately be felt once the global lockdowns are lifted.

COVID19 is both a social and economic reality that we must deal with, fight and win over by staying at home and listening to the government and experts. 

About the Author
Mr. Aaron Benedict De Leon is currently a Business Development Practitioner in a private consulting firm. He has more than six years of professional experience in leading and managing political and non-government organizations, specializing in organizational management, policy development and program management. He has had stints with notable political/socio-civic organizations, serving in various capacities as: Secretary-General of the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines (CDP) [2013-2015], Founding Chairperson of the Centrist Democratic Youth Association of the Philippines (CDYAP) [2012-2014], Philippine Representative to the International Young Democrat Union (IYDU) [2011-2012], Chairperson of the Christian Democratic Youth [2011-2012], Secretary-General of YOUTH Philippines [2010-2011], and Spokesperson/Communications Director of the GT2010 Gilbert Teodoro Presidential Campaign [2009-2010].
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