Pandemic forced 37m more people into poverty
Bill and Melinda Gates have said that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is the biggest catastrophe that has spread to every part of the world causing severe economic damage.
According to the philanthropic couple, the global economy loses $500 billion every month to the pandemic, adding that countries have already committed $18 trillion to economic stimulus to treat the symptoms.
In the fourth annual Goalkeepers Report by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the world’s second richest man with a net worth of $100 billion disclosed that the ripple effect of COVID-19 reversed 20 years of progress made towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He added that the severe economic damage caused by the pandemic reinforced inequities and derailed achievement of the SDGs.
The report showed that the COVID-19 crisis forced about 37 million more people into extreme poverty, while people living just above the extreme poverty line fell below it.
To this end, BMGF called for global response to end the pandemic, urging the world to collaborate on the development of diagnostics, vaccines and treatment; manufacture tests and doses as quickly as possible; and deliver them equitably based on need rather than the ability to pay.
It revealed that by nearly every indicator, the world regressed, and because of COVID-19, extreme poverty increased by seven per cent, while vaccine coverage – a good proxy measure to how health systems are functioning – dropped to levels last seen in the 1990s, setting the world back about 25 years in 25 weeks.
“The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects that, even with the $18 trillion that has already been spent to stimulate economies around the world, the global economy will lose $12 trillion or more by the end of 2021. That amount of money is impossible to fathom.
“To end the pandemic, the world should, as quickly as possible, collaborate to develop diagnostics and treatments to the pandemic in the short term and vaccines to end it in the medium term, as well as manufacture as many tests and doses as we can and deliver the tools equitably to those who need them most, no matter where they live or how much money they have,” it added.
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