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Commuters in masks at a metro station in Taipei. Taiwan has 13 cases of coronavirus. Commuters wearing masks at a metro station in Taipei, Taiwan, which has recorded 13 cases of coronavirus, Jan. 28, 2020 (AP photo by Chiang Ying-ying).

The Coronavirus Will Send Political and Economic Shockwaves Far Beyond China

Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020

The fast-spreading new coronavirus that originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan is, at its most immediate level, a public health crisis. But it is also much more than that. As governments struggle to contain the epidemic, the virus is already having economic ramifications in China and around the world. That’s the second level of its impact. And as the epidemic threatens to become a pandemic, and the speed of the contagion exceeds the number of cases of the 2003 SARS outbreak, there is a third level of consequences that has received far less attention: This coronavirus could leave a lasting political mark far beyond China that could ultimately be its most profound legacy.

Much will depend on how long this health crisis lasts, which, in turn, depends on how fast the virus continues to spread and how effective public health measures prove to be. Although the virus remains largely confined to China two months after it was first detected in Wuhan, it is all but certain that it will send shockwaves to every corner of the world, even if there isn’t a single new case outside of mainland China. ...

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