Home >News >World >Global economy to lose around US$12 tn by 2021 as health systems suffer: report
Economic damage from covid-19 is reinforcing inequalities according to the fourth annual Goalkeepers Report released by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (AP)
Economic damage from covid-19 is reinforcing inequalities according to the fourth annual Goalkeepers Report released by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (AP)

Global economy to lose around US$12 tn by 2021 as health systems suffer: report

  • Covid-19's ripple effects have stopped 20 years of progress toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals, according to data in a report by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • The pandemic has led to a 7% increase in extreme poverty and drop in vaccine coverage to levels last seen in the 1990s

NEW DELHI: The International Monetary Fund projects that despite the $18 trillion already spent to stimulate economies around the world the global economy will lose $12 trillion or more by the end of 2021—the biggest global GDP loss since the end of World War II, according to the fourth annual Goalkeepers Report released by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Tuesday. The report features new data showing how the ripple effects of covid-19 have stopped 20 years of progress toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals).

The report provides the most current global dataset for how the pandemic is affecting progress toward the global goals. It shows that by nearly every indicator, the world has regressed. Because of covid-19, extreme poverty has increased by 7%. Vaccine coverage, a good proxy measure for how health systems are functioning, is dropping to levels last seen in the 1990s, setting the world back about 25 years in 25 weeks, it said.

Economic damage from covid-19 is reinforcing inequalities. The pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on women, racial and ethnic minority communities, and people living in extreme poverty, the report highlighted adding that around the world, women are facing an increased burden from rising demands in total unpaid care work and experiencing the majority of job losses.

More candidates for vaccines and therapeutics are being developed faster than ever. Developing and manufacturing vaccines will not end the pandemic quickly unless they are delivered equitably, the report said. According to modelling from Northeastern University, if rich countries buy up the first 2 billion doses of vaccine instead of making sure they are distributed equitably, then almost twice as many people could die from covid-19, the report said.

“One of the most troubling things about this pandemic is that by disrupting health systems and the global economy, it’s starting to erase the progress people have made toward living healthier, more productive lives," said Melinda Gates.

“Our report highlights actions the world can take to turn things around. Researchers are very close to developing safe, effective coronavirus vaccines, but breakthrough science must be met by breakthrough generosity. We need leaders in government and the pharmaceutical industry to ensure that everyone, regardless of where they live, can access these vaccines," he said.

Despite the bleak projections, Bill and Melinda Gates describe a path to ending the pandemic and resuming progress toward the global goals. In the report, which they co-author every year, they call on the world to collaborate on the development of diagnostics, vaccines, and treatment; manufacture tests and doses as quickly as possible; and deliver these tools equitably based on need rather than the ability to pay. There are currently several viable strategies to help achieve an equitable outcome, including the Access to covid-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, the most serious collaborative effort to end the pandemic, which brings together proven organizations like Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

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