Partner Content by T Rowe Price

Why SARS is not a model for Coronavirus

Key insights

  • The potential impact of the COVID‑19 virus on the Chinese economy has been compared with that of the SARS virus in 2003.
  • However, there were external factors weighing on the Chinese economy in 2003 that do not exist today.
  • We believe our approach, based on calculating the impact of lost working days on production, provides a more accurate assessment of the economic impact of COVID‑19.

Commentators seeking to understand the long‑term implications of COVID‑19 (a coronavirus) are frequently comparing it with the 2002–2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak, which had a severe impact on both the Chinese and the global economies.But the 2003 SARS outbreak coincided with slowing global gross domestic product (GDP) growth, the Iraq War, and higher oil prices. So is SARS really a good case study for understanding the likely economic effects of COVID‑19? And if it is not, what other evidence can we turn to?

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