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  • We've seen a lot of striking statistics

  • and bold claims about Covid-19 and how it's

  • changed human society forever.

  • But it's not easy to disentangle the things that

  • have changed for good from those that could rebound back

  • to normal or even beyond normal in the months ahead.

  • So I'm going to run through some of the predictions

  • that we've all heard about how Covid-19 is changing the world

  • and talk about which ones do and don't stack up

  • best against the data.

  • This year we've been introduced to V-shaped recoveries, U

  • shaped, Zs, Ls, and even Ws.

  • It's a lot to keep track of.

  • But the consensus for most western economies

  • is that things look pretty grim, and some countries

  • could be facing worst recessions than they had even

  • after the financial crisis.

  • The outlook for the economy is extraordinarily uncertain.

  • It is now, yes, very likely that the UK economy

  • will face a significant recession this year.

  • The picture in the UK, for example,

  • looks particularly bleak with the latest data showing

  • that the British economy may not recover to its pre-Covid levels

  • until sometime in 2023.

  • Now, even with the most creative handwriting,

  • I'm not sure that's a V. But there are other countries where

  • things look more positive.

  • The most striking of all of these is probably China.

  • And if we look at the data there,

  • we see that just 10 months after the country was in crisis,

  • China's economy is estimated to have grown by 1.8 per cent

  • over the year as a whole.

  • And with the economy fully back up and running,

  • including in Wuhan, it's forecast

  • to increase that to a growth of 8 per cent in 2021.

  • It's not just China either.

  • If we move further west to a place like Norway,

  • the economy actually rebounded more in the third quarter

  • than it had lost in the second and is on course only

  • to lose around 1 per cent of its GDP over the year of 2020

  • as a whole.

  • Positive examples like this do offer hope for countries

  • like the UK, suggesting that once the virus is

  • to an extent under control and, crucially, people feel

  • safe, certain sectors as well as the overall economy

  • can begin returning to something approaching normal.

  • When lockdowns brought cities to a standstill

  • the impact on global carbon emissions was profound.

  • In April alone, global emissions dropped by around 17 per cent.

  • And even over the full first half of 2020

  • they were down by around 9 per cent.

  • Since then, politicians have pledged

  • to build back better by bringing forward emissions cuts targets

  • and increasing their adoption of things like electric cars.

  • China has announced net zero emissions.

  • Net zero carbon emissions.

  • Net zero by 2050.

  • The European Green Deal will be our growth strategy.

  • This has raised environmentalists' hopes

  • that 2021 can be the first year of a new green revolution.

  • And the data have certainly provided plenty of examples

  • of what might be possible.

  • As the virus hit Europe and the US hard in March,

  • global commercial air traffic plummeted

  • by 80 per cent and city streets across much of the world

  • fell silent at the same time as stay-at-home orders

  • were rolled out.

  • But these patterns have not held,

  • and as public transport networks worldwide have either

  • been closed or increasingly seen as unsafe,

  • hundreds of thousands have flocked back to their cars.

  • As early as March, road traffic levels were back to normal

  • in many Chinese cities.

  • And even in London levels had returned

  • to their historical averages by September.

  • In the skies, there have actually

  • been signs of overshoot, suggesting

  • that people are responding to months of limited travel

  • options by throwing themselves into this even more

  • than they were before.

  • If we look at China, domestic air travel

  • has been at roughly similar levels

  • to the historical norm for several of the last months.

  • And indeed, in early October levels

  • exceeded what they'd been in 2019.

  • If these patterns that we've seen in China

  • are repeated elsewhere next year,

  • the hope for a flight free future

  • could be as far away as it's ever been.

  • One of the most frequently asked questions about the pandemic's

  • enduring impact is whether this can be the death of the city.

  • We've seen commercial real estate prices plummet.

  • And the millions of commuters, previously

  • the lifeblood coursing through cities' veins,

  • have vanished, putting at risk the many businesses that

  • provide for these people.

  • These temporary shifts will rebound in time, but exactly

  • how much is unclear.

  • Data on visits to leisure locations - cafes, bars,

  • restaurants, shops, and theatres -

  • show that although footfall recovered over the summer,

  • it increased more slowly in city centres than suburbs or rural

  • areas.

  • Even when people were out and about

  • they were near their homes, not their offices.

  • This has really got people thinking

  • about the whole future of commuting

  • and whether some people may indeed

  • make more permanent moves away from the bright lights.

  • But the great Covid-induced urban-to-rural migration

  • has been overstated.

  • And if we look at the data from the US on changes of address

  • this shows that there was only a 2

  • per cent increase in permanent moves in the first half

  • of 2020, and more than half of all moves were only temporary.

  • The figures also show that where people were moving out

  • of city centres, whether permanently or temporarily,

  • they were mainly moving to suburbs of those same cities.

  • Think Manhattan to Brooklyn, for example,

  • or to other major cities.

  • So to the extent that there has been some kind of urban exodus,

  • not only has it been relatively small scale;

  • it's mainly been people who were already

  • planning to move slightly further out,

  • just bringing that move slightly forward.

  • Unlike the threats of economic downturn and urban desolation,

  • one area where a lasting pandemic-induced change

  • would be more welcome is for people like us

  • in the western world to come out of this better prepared

  • for similar threats in the future.

  • A lot has been made of how countries in East Asia

  • learned from their experiences with similar infectious

  • viruses, like SARS or, in the case of South Korea,

  • MERS, about what it that is required to keep

  • a virus like this at bay.

  • It's become increasingly hard to deny

  • that a key factor for these Asian countries'

  • relative success was the fact that they acted quickly,

  • strictly, and early in doing things like ramping up testing

  • and putting on masks, whereas by contrast countries in the west,

  • generally speaking, were more slow to react.

  • But data from YouGov and Facebook

  • shows that mask wearing has been fairly widely adopted

  • almost everywhere in the world and that almost invariably

  • once people got used to wearing masks in public spaces

  • they kept doing so even during the virus's summer remission.

  • Since those figures apply equally

  • to countries east and west, north and south,

  • it suggests that next time the pandemic alarm sounds all of us

  • will be more ready, more prepared

  • to make the kind of quick changes

  • that can turn a months-long ordeal

  • into a short, sharp shock.

  • By its very nature data is backward

  • looking rather than forward, so I'm not

  • going to pretend that the charts, graphs,

  • and stats that I've shared with you today

  • can predict the future.

  • But that's kind of the point I'm making here.

  • As we all look ahead to what we hope

  • will be a much better year than 2020,

  • we should neither be too gloomy about the prospect

  • of further lockdowns or to naively optimistic

  • about this ushering in a new green era.

  • 2020 could be a sea change, or it could just be a blip.

  • And all of us here will play a part in determining which.

We've seen a lot of striking statistics

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新灌病毒(Coronavirus in 2021: what we do and don't know | Crunched)

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    joey joey 發佈於 2021 年 09 月 20 日
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