Surfing the Second Wave

As COVID-19 has spread from its origins to almost every corner of the world over the past six months, it has engendered major changes around the globe. The virus has caused a global slowdown due to lockdowns, supply chain disruptions, and reduced production levels, while also stimulating a vaccine race among pharmaceuticals and biotech companies. The total damage of the virus is projected at around $4.1 trillion, and it keeps growing as long as the pandemic is still with us. Through numerous efforts and prevention protocols, many countries successfully tamed the virus as they drove the number of new cases close to zero. However, the fear of the second wave is still looming over the global market.

Asian countries, especially China, were among the first to deal with this virus. Through lockdowns, rapid testing, and source tracking, China, South Korea, and Japan successfully stopped, or at least severely curtailed, the outbreak. However, as countries reopen, the specter of the coronavirus comes back as a second wave. By definition, the second wave refers to a resurgence of infection in a different part of the population after the first wave has passed. After these countries reopened their business and schools, some areas have once again been forced to shut down their operations in just a few days. The Hokkaido region in Japan was the first to lift the state of emergency in April. However, less than a month later, the state of emergency had to be re-imposed due to a second wave. South Korea is also experiencing the same situation as the latest cluster at a logistics center forced the closures of more than 200 schools outside Seoul, only a couple of days after they were reopened. Similarly, China had to reintroduce the strict lockdown in several cities, including Wuhan and Shulan. Recently, even Beijing had another lockdown as a resurgence is growing in the city that had enjoyed almost two months without a new case.

The US is also experiencing this resurgence in June as new cases rise abruptly in several states such as Texas, Florida, and California. However, some experts have argued that this not a second wave as the US never reached a clear-cut drop in cases that would mark the end of the first wave. They assert that an area qualifies as having passed the first wave only when it does not show signs of community spread for one to two weeks. Instead of a second wave, the US seems to be having continuous small spikes throughout the months, which is still considered as the first wave.

Regardless of what we call it – a second wave, resurgence, or continuing small spikes – the virus is here to stay as long as the vaccine has not been discovered. Given the time required to develop, test, and mass produce a vaccine, the global population has to be ready to go through multiple reopenings, resurgences, and lockdowns, at least until next year. All industries will certainly be impacted as countries are surfing through waves of infection. On the bright side, governments will surely be more capable of containing the virus compared to the first wave. Healthcare systems and prevention protocols will already be in place to tackle the resurgence. Therefore, the damage of the second wave should be less significant than the first. As the global market is adjusting through these waves, the life sciences market will continue to thrive, driven by COVID-19 related research and diagnosis. Despite the decreasing demand due to the global slowdown, several research and diagnostics-related technologies are also experiencing a surge of demand amidst this pandemic.  The second wave will also bring another spike of demand for clinical diagnosis applications for some analytical instruments. Therefore, the instrumentation market will have a complex dynamic during this pandemic.

A re-evaluation of this analytical instrument market can be found in SDi’s latest update towards its Global Assessment Report 2020. This update takes into account the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the market, as it readjusts growth forecasts for all technologies. Some technologies will receive a significant boost in 2020 due to COVID-19 applications, while others have to suffer the damage of the global slowdown.