A health epidemic can seem disastrous to a country’s economy. In many ways, it is, but in surprising contrast, a mass health scare may boost sales for specific businesses and industries. There is a positive and negative relationship between mass public health scares and the economy.
The Decline in Travel and Tourism
The most apparent effect of a mass health scare is the decline in tourism. When public health officials warn people of a health epidemic, they tend to focus on its impact in specific countries. However, they avoid using scare tactics and intimidating words that cause people to panic. A significant health epidemic is only made worse by mass hysteria.
Even so, many people voluntarily avoid traveling to countries that are known as “hot spots” for bacterial or viral outbreaks. The government may also block air travel to affected countries. Airline companies have the right to stop flights to countries that the government has declared are “unsafe.” Despite the warnings, many people will ignore the signs and travel freely. However, the rates of travel and tourism will decline in countries that are labeled as “high-risk” zones.
Increase in Fast Scams and Promotions of Health Products
On the one hand, the rates of tourism and immigration will decline in an affected country. On the other hand, the country experiences a boost in its sales industry. Mass health scares can lead to fast scams and increased advertising for people to buy useless products.
As with any epidemic, many people panic and assume that they need to buy an arsenal of health products to protect themselves, such as face masks, gloves, and over-the-counter medications. Scammers use this opportunity to target vulnerable populations, such as very young people and the elderly. They may send out virus update emails that are laced with malware or request donations to fake charities. Fraudulent businesses send out ads to buy their unnecessary products.
A mass public health scare has both good and bad effects on the economy. Travel restrictions that ban travel are detrimental to the nation’s economy. When people take fewer flights, airline companies make less money. However, the healthcare industry experiences an explosion in sales. People are more likely to buy health products to reduce their exposure.
Whether positive or negative, a country’s economy changes dramatically, whenever society experiences a significant health crisis.