Source: World Economic Forum Global Risks Perception Survey 2019-2020
The raging COVID-19, earlier called the novel coronavirus, outbreak is a daunting challenge to public health systems in all affected countries. As it turned into a pandemic, worldwide the associated economic, social, political and environmental risks are also increasing. What are some of the most interconnected risks with this type of rapid and massive spread of infectious diseases? The World Economic Forum’s recent Global Risks Perception Survey 2019-2020, conducted in 2019, can shed some lights on this important question. The WEF defines rapid and massive spread of infectious diseases as “bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi that cause uncontrolled spread of infectious diseases leading to widespread fatalities and economic disruption”.
While the respondents ranked infectious disease among the top 10 global risk in view of its impacts, it was also perceived to be the fourth least likely to happen. Survey respondents were also asked to select pairs of global risks they believe to be most interconnected. The above graph shows that global governance failure and social instability are among the top three global risks connected to infectious disease. This black swan, while still evolving, is leading to existential and systemic risk globally. More details of this chart and the WEF’s Global Risk Report 2020 can be found here.