Since December, the novel coronavirus that began in the Chinese megacity of Wuhan has infected more than 24,000 people and killed almost 500. It is well on its way to becoming a pandemic — defined as an ongoing epidemic that has spread to two or more continents. The World Health Organization has declared a global health emergency, and the United States has temporarily banned entry from most foreign nationals coming from China, according to Khalid Usman, Senior Vice President in Oliver Wyman’s Transportation Practice and Douglas Carlucci, Partner in Oliver Wyman’s Transportation and Digital Practices. Oliver Wyman is an affiliate of Guy Carpenter.
While the 2003 SARS outbreak was still more deadly, this novel version of the coronavirus — 2019-nCoV — has the potential to be far more disruptive to global economies and especially the travel and aviation industries.
The infection is spreading exponentially fast, and in the absence of a vaccine, quarantine and lockdown are among the few strategies available to contain it. In a modern world, much more physically connected than it was in 2003, that means limiting travel and keeping people at home and away from each other, and in turn, a hit to the economy.