Combating the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Role of the SARS Imprint

32 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2020

See all articles by Hong Ru

Hong Ru

Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University

Endong Yang

Faculty of Business Administration, University of Macau

Kunru Zou

Renmin University of China

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 2, 2020

Abstract

This paper documents a strong delayed response to COVID-19, which is caused by the SARS-CoV2 virus in countries that did not encounter the SARS disease in 2003. The SARS outbreak was caused by a similar virus, SARS-CoV-1. Individuals in countries that developed SARS infections in 2003 search more intensively for COVID-19-related information on Google during the first outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, in late January 2020. Governments in countries that have not experienced SARS respond significantly slower in implementing containment measures to combat COVID-19 than countries that have experienced SARS. Furthermore, the timely responses of individuals and governments are more pronounced in countries that reported deaths caused by SARS, which left deeper imprints. Consequently, COVID-19 case numbers and mortalities have been substantially higher in countries that did not experience SARS deaths. Our findings suggest that the imprint of the early experience of similar viruses is a fundamental mechanism underlying timely responses to COVID-19.

Keywords: COVID-19, imprint, early experience, delayed response

JEL Classification: D83, E70, H12, I10

Suggested Citation

Ru, Hong and Yang, Endong and Zou, Kunru, Combating the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Role of the SARS Imprint (July 2, 2020). BOFIT Discussion Paper No. 15/2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3641827

Hong Ru (Contact Author)

Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University ( email )

Singapore, 639798
Singapore
(+65) 67904661 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://hongru.mit.edu/

Endong Yang

Faculty of Business Administration, University of Macau ( email )

Macau

Kunru Zou

Renmin University of China ( email )

Room B906
Xianjin Building
Beijing, Beijing 100872
China

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