State of the Pandemic, Centre for Global Development, World Bank, Peterson Institute for International Economics, Economy, Norway, Sweden

Organisations. Centre for Global Development, World Bank, Peterson Institute for International Economics
Period. 14 – 21 July 2020
  • The Centre for Global Development published a study this week providing a comprehensive taxonomy of direct and indirect costs associated with failure to act proactively in containing the spread of the Coronavirus and mitigating its cascading effects. These can include direct and spill-overs health care costs, such as disruptions and resource diversion (with one study estimating two million additional deaths due to HIV, TB and Malaria alone). The human and economic costs associated with increased poverty have also been unprecedented, with the latest biennial World Bank Global Economic Prospects estimating the biggest collapse in per capita GDP in over 150 years. The two billion informal workers are expected to be impacted most severely, with 80% already affected by pandemic containment measures. Protracted school shutdowns will also generate learning losses estimated at $10 trillion globally, while a study by Oxford highlights the risk of outbreaks across 63 fragile countries, with 13 additional states projected to experience new conflicts over the next two years. Based on present and anticipated human and economic costs, the CGD study argues frontloading responses to COVID-19 and its secondary effects would not only cost exponentially less but would also be more dignified for people globally.
  • The unorthodox approach Sweden initially adopted of virtually ignoring COVID-19 has since become the cautionary tale. Unlike the rest of Europe, the country resisted lockdowns and physical distancing measures for economic reasons, gambling instead on herd immunity. The result three months later has been significantly higher cases as well as 12 times higher mortality rates than neighbouring Norway, while a much slower projected economic recovery. An analysis by Peterson Institute for International Economics affirms Sweden “literally gained nothing” from what they describe as a “self-inflicted wound.”

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