Praopan Pratoomchat, a University of Wisconsin-Superior associate economics professor, wants her students to be aware of what's going on in the world, and that currently includes the respiratory illness COVID-19.

"If they want to see the economic impact they should read this kind of news to be prepared, not to panic," Pratoomchat said. "We can learn the lesson from the panic that happened in the Asian economy and learn how to manage in this country and local area."

Pratoomchat has incorporated assignments and discussions that center on the economic effect of COVID-19 in her principles of macroeconomics and microeconomics classes, which are mostly made up of first- and second-year students in UW-Superior's School of Business and Economics.

After reading supplementary news articles, students in her macroeconomics class discuss the federal government's reaction to the coronavirus and which U.S. industries will have the hardest times and which could benefit.

Students have also been studying the effect of COVID-19 on stock prices, since a lot of companies have customers in Asian markets.

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"So they see huge loss in their revenue," Pratoomchat said. "That's why the stock market price in the United States gets some effect from that."

Dr. Praopan Pratoomchat, an assistant professor of economics, talks to her Macroeconomics class on Thursday morning, March 5, in Erlanson Hall on the UW-Superior campus. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)
Dr. Praopan Pratoomchat, an assistant professor of economics, talks to her Macroeconomics class on Thursday morning, March 5, in Erlanson Hall on the UW-Superior campus. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

In her microeconomics class, students study a specific market, so Pratoomchat has tied in conversations about the price increases on face masks in Asian countries.

In the case of a possible outbreak of COVID-19 in the area, Pratoomchat said, it's wise to be prepared for an economic slowdown and recession, especially within Duluth's tourism section.

"Create a scenario and say, 'This is the action plan we should do,'" Pratoomchat said.

Pratoomchat said she's urged students to ask themselves if they think they have enough savings to live at least two months if they lose a job, especially those who work in the tourism sector. She does so not to raise alarm, but to increase preparedness.

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