SEATTLE — Health officials still have some uncertainty about how widely the COVID-19 virus could spread, meanwhile, University of Washington scholars are tackling what damage the virus could cause on a global scale.

Interdisciplinary experts from UW hosted a roundtable to address the economic, historical, legal, medical, political and societal implications of the outbreak of COVID-19. 

"An outbreak of a large infectious disease is never just about the science of medicine, it is always a political, social, cultural, economic event,” said Madeleine Dong, professor of modern Chinese history at UW. 

On Tuesday, community members packed a room where experts provided some insight into how the virus could trickle into more than just hospital rooms. 

”We’re going to start to see delays in orders for cars, for example, increasingly we’ll see slowdowns in the availability of electronic products and consumer goods, so it’s going to have quite a substantial impact,” said political scientist David Bachman. 

Global implications are hitting home on many levels. 

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Locally, apartment complexes and businesses in Seattle are boosting cleaning services. 

Seattle Parks and Recreation announced last week that its increasing cleaning efforts at its facilities, including at community centers and pools. The Parks Department is implementing measures to support basic good cleaning and hygiene care, not in response to a specific exposure risk. 

Meanwhile, health officials and scholars alike continue to discuss how to keep the virus at bay in the U.S. and around the world.  

”At a time like this, what we need is to work together to find out what is really going on and what we can do to hold onto humanity,” said Dong. 

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