Global Coronavirus

This pandemic is a crisis, and its impact will be felt by all, regardless of social, economic, or political background. Addressing COVID-19 will be a major fight of our lifetimes, and we should come together as a global community to mitigate the threat this virus poses to society.

“The economic consequences of the pandemic have led some to wonder whether globalization altogether might be under threat, inasmuch as globalization is defined in part by the ease of movement across international borders.”
 

David Staley
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“The European Commission — the EU’s executive arm — claims credit for raising around $18.9 billion since May to help fund Covid-19 vaccines, treatments and tests. It has enlisted celebrities like actor Hugh Jackman, comedian Chris Rock and pop stars Justin Bieber and Shakira, to promote its belief that access to coronavirus care is a global public good, even claiming in a June strategy paper that “the EU will only be safe if the rest of the world is safe.”

In casting itself as a global savior, the EU is drawing a sharp contrast with the United States, which drew international condemnation after announcing its withdrawal from the World Health Organization in June. But seven months after the world first learned about Covid-19, the EU has few concrete results to show for all its talk…

Germany, France, the Netherlands and Italy signed a deal with AstraZeneca in mid-June for 400 million doses of the vaccine it is developing with Oxford University. The four-country alliance later merged its vaccine procurement activities with those of the Commission, which is negotiating deals with vaccine makers on behalf of all 27 EU countries. The Commission said in July it had made a deal with Sanofi and GSK, which are jointly developing a vaccine, to get 300 million doses if it proves effective.

The World Health Organization, which was also involved in the fundraising organized by the Commission, "welcomes the EU's strong and consistently voiced commitment to the equitable allocation of Covid-19 vaccines," Bruce Aylward, senior adviser to the director general, told POLITICO. "WHO is working with CEPI and GAVI through the COVAX Vaccines Facility to develop mechanisms by which the EU could ensure their commitment can translate into enhanced and appropriate quantities of vaccine for the facility," he added.”

Carmen Paun
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 “Everyone wants to know how well their country is tackling the coronavirus pandemic, compared with others.

But there are all sorts of challenges in comparing countries, such as how widely they test for Covid-19 and whether they count deaths from the virus in the same way…

"What you want to know is why one country might be doing better than another, and what you can learn from that," says Prof Jason Oke from the University of Oxford.

"And testing seems to be the most obvious example so far."

But until this outbreak is over it won't be possible to know for sure which countries have dealt with the virus better.”

Chris Morris & Anthony Reuben
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“It is already clear why some countries have done better than others in dealing with the crisis so far, and there is every reason to think those trends will continue. It is not a matter of regime type. Some democracies have performed well, but others have not, and the same is true for autocracies. The factors responsible for successful pandemic responses have been state capacity, social trust, and leadership. Countries with all three—a competent state apparatus, a government that citizens trust and listen to, and effective leaders—have performed impressively, limiting the damage they have suffered. Countries with dysfunctional states, polarized societies, or poor leadership have done badly, leaving their citizens and economies exposed and vulnerable…

The political consequences could be even more significant. Populations can be summoned to heroic acts of collective self-sacrifice for a while, but not forever. A lingering epidemic combined with deep job losses, a prolonged recession, and an unprecedented debt burden will inevitably create tensions that turn into a political backlash—but against whom is as yet unclear.

The global distribution of power will continue to shift eastward, since East Asia has done better at managing the situation than Europe or the United States. Even though the pandemic originated in China and Beijing initially covered it up and allowed it to spread, China will benefit from the crisis, at least in relative terms. As it happened, other governments at first performed poorly and tried to cover it up, too, more visibly and with even deadlier consequences for their citizens. And at least Beijing has been able to regain control of the situation and is moving on to the next challenge, getting its economy back up to speed quickly and sustainably.”

Francis Fukuyama
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“[I]nequality increases the frequency and scale of an epidemic, and it undermines people’s compliance with epidemic containment policies such as social distancing and sheltering in place because people at the low end of the socioeconomic scale cannot afford to stay at home—they must go to work. But strong state and government structures could help offset most of the shortcomings. “State capacity is a bulwark against the occurrence and ill effects of crises and emergencies, while economic inequality exacerbates them,” Guillen wrote.

‘Every infectious disease outbreak is a problem for the entire world, not just for one country, especially when it becomes a pandemic,” said Guillen. “So, it’s extremely unfortunate that right now very few countries are talking to each other. Part of this is because we came from a period of turmoil in the world, not knowing what the role of the U.S. was, for example, and having trade wars and other kinds of frictions in the world. It’s unfortunate that the pandemic came the moment when global cooperation on key issues, such as climate change, was at an all-time low.”

That is unfortunate because in a pandemic, it is essential that governments exchange information about the spread of the disease and about what works and doesn’t work in containing the spread of the virus, he noted. The World Health Organization has been trying to forge international collaborations to try and develop effective therapeutic treatments and a vaccine for COVID-19. ‘It is unfortunate that the one organization that we have that can help coordinate global actions in the midst of a pandemic is under attack.’”

 

The Wharton School and the University of Pennsylvania
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“As governments release their final figures for the second quarter of the year, it’s become clear that, more than anything else, a country’s success or failure combating the pandemic is what is driving economic performance…

Every member of the G7, meanwhile, is now in a deep recession, ranging from Japan’s 7.6 percent contraction in Q2, compared to the previous quarter, to Britain’s 20.1 percent contraction since Q1. The U.S. is about average among the seven countries, contracting by 9.5 percent in the same period compared with the first quarter of 2020…

While China’s global economic influence is growing, the United States economy remains the world’s largest, and its health has the ability to lift up or drag down other national economies.

With the U.S. unable to harness its famous innovation and labor market flexibility to quickly bounce back to growth as it did after the 2008 financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warns the global recovery “is projected to be more gradual than previously forecast,” and bankruptcy rates could triple to 12 percent in 2020 from an average of 4 percent of small and medium enterprises before the pandemic.”

Ryan Heath
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“The pandemic has created a massive economic contraction that will be followed by a financial crisis in many parts of the globe, as nonperforming corporate loans accumulate alongside bankruptcies. Sovereign defaults in the developing world are also poised to spike.

 

This crisis will follow a path similar to the one the last crisis took, except worse, commensurate with the scale and scope of the collapse in global economic activist. And the crisis will hit low-income households and countries harder than their wealthier counterparts. Indeed, the World Bank estimates that as many as 60 million people globally will be pushed into extreme poverty as a result of the pandemic. The global economy can be expected to run differently as a result, as balance sheets in many countries slip deeper into the red and the once inexorable march of globalization grinds to a halt.”

 

Carmen Reinhart and Vincent Reinhart
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“No historical lessons will guide the world this time. The last global pandemic—the Spanish influenza of 1918–19—is not generally regarded as a driver of domestic and international politics over the 1920s and ’30s, likely because the world was already broken by World War I and less integrated than it is now. Never before has a single event upended everyone’s lives simultaneously and so suddenly. The longer the pandemic goes on, the more the world will change.”

Thomas Wright
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