An outbreak of a novel coronavirus named COVID-19, a respiratory virus capable of causing pneumonia, spread outward from its epicenter of Wuhan, China beginning in January 2020. As of February 29th, 85,403 cases and 2,924 deaths had been reported in more than 50 countries. The virus, while not highly deadly, has incited global fear as it is extremely contagious and poses a high risk to certain segments of the population including the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions. Governments and healthcare systems’ primary responses to the novel coronavirus, which lacks established treatments or immunizations, have been widespread quarantines and travel bans.
The outbreak is expected to slow global economic output, most notably in China. Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), anticipates growth will slow worldwide this year by 0.1 percentage points and in China by 0.4 percentage points. Additionally, the Chinese government’s focus on containing the virus is expected to delay work on the anticipated Phase 2 of U.S.-China trade negotiations.