COVID-19: Could no-one really have predicted the impact of the Coronavirus?

In the beginning most people saw the COVID-19 outbreak as a geographically and temporarily limited phenomenon, just like the SARS outbreak which started in November 2002 and ended half a year later in July 2003. Some politicians did not take the threat serious and played it down.

It’s just a little bit more than two weeks ago that U.S. president Donald Trump tried to cast the global outbreak of the coronavirus as a liberal conspiracy intended to undermine his first term and called it “their new hoax”. Therefore, many ordinary people and business leaders did not prepare for the consequences of a pandemic.

The brewing industry like most other industries were caught by surprise by the rigid measures taken in the last weeks and days. However, hardly anybody is really to blame since the last severe pandemic took place in 1918 and almost anyone is still around to remember it. At the beginning of the last century the so-called 'Spanish' influenza claimed worldwide about 20 million lives and had about the same death toll as the medieval plague. Later pandemics could be mostly controlled or were restricted to risk groups like with the HIV-virus since 1980 and to certain areas like with Ebola since 2014 in parts of Africa.

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