Disaster Discourse: The Hagerty Blog


FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 2019 AS OF 1:00 PM EST

The coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread, with approximately 137,000 confirmed cases world-wide. The United States (US) is taking a number of measures to slow the spread of the virus, as the number of confirmed cases has risen to over 1,200. Currently, Washington, California, and New York hold the majority of the confirmed cases in the US. During the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Mission Briefing on COVID-19, Director-General Dr. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated, “the number of cases reported outside China has increased almost 13-fold, and the number of affected countries has almost tripled.” Labeling the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic does not mean countries should abstain from responding, “this is a controllable virus,” Dr. Adhanom Ghebreyesus explained. As the WHO continues to offer support to nations globally, countries with confirmed cases are encouraged to double-down on their response. 

The impacts of the COVID-19 response efforts are being felt across the US. On March 11, President Donald Trump announced a ban on travel to and from Europe, not including the United Kingdom (UK). Travel bans have been a common response measure implemented in many countries to curb the spread of COVID-19. Actions are being taken across the US by national, state, and local government entities, to encourage social distancing and reduce the spread of disease by flattening the curve, as seen depicted in the graph below.

Stephanie King, University of Michigan: Source

As Howard Markel, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Michigan explains, “The flatter, lower curve is a much better one – but it will take working together to make it happen.” Markle continued, “Coronavirus is a socially transmitted disease, and we all have a social contract to stop it.”

Broadway, in New York City, will close its doors and halt all productions until April 12. The Disney conglomerate decided to close all of its theme parks in North America (i.e., Disneyworld and Disneyland) from March 16 to then end of the month. Additionally, large sporting events, including the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournaments, are canceled while other games/matches will continue as scheduled with no audience. These types of closures and cancellations are occurring in multiple states across the US to help curb the spread of COVID-19 and ‘flatten the curve’. 

Global markets have recently seen increased volatility, with US stocks plummeting mid-week. At the closing of the US stock markets on March 12, the S&P 500 (a common index for measuring market activity) had the worst day since October 1987, known as “Black Monday.” With a surge in activity at the opening of the markets on Friday morning, markets appear to be showing signs of a rebound, but the volatility has had a noticeable impact and decline in the global economy since the start of the outbreak.  

First Case of COVID-19 In US: Source 

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), China, Iran, South Korea, and most of Europe remain under a Level 3 Travel Notice with widespread, sustained spread of COVID-19. There is a Global Level 2 Travel Notice to encourage limited travel internationally, especially for individuals at high-risk of contracting the virus.  

During this time of uncertainty, organizations and individuals across the US are displaying acts of unity to come together and support one another. For instance, the Seattle Symphony stated, ”[they] will continue sharing performances that provide strength, comfort and joy. The musicians of the Seattle Symphony have generously volunteered to share free broadcasts with everyone during this time of uncertainty.” The National Basketball Association (NBA) star Kevin Love pledged $100,000 to support workers impacted by sporting event closures due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The WHO Guidance on Being Ready for COVID-19: Source

There is a lot of misinformation and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. To stay better informed, the CDC has provided answers for questions frequently asked about the COVID-19 outbreak. As response operations increase in the US, and internationally, the CDC developed a Household Checklist that individuals and families can use to prepare and stay better protected during the outbreak. 

The Hagerty Team encourages our readers to heed advice of international health organizations, government agencies, and local officials when responding to and protecting against COVID-19. The Hagerty Team will continue to provide information and updates on current events and disasters impacting the nation.


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