Summary of COVID-19

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COVID-19 summary

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The COVID-19 pandemic, which killed millions and created worldwide economic havoc, was entirely preventable, according to the independent World Health Organization Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response. The Rt. Hon. Helen Clark, former prime minister of New Zealand, and Nobelist Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia, headed the panel. A virus caused the illness, but poor planning and weak decision-making caused the crisis, the panel found. The panel’s report explains how society can and must act now to prevent the next virus that emerges from wreaking similar havoc.

About the Authors

Rt. Hon. Helen Clark is former prime minister of New Zealand, and H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is former president of Liberia and a Nobel laureate. They are co-chairs of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response.

Summary

The devastating COVID-19 pandemic was preventable.

At the time of this report, COVID-19 had sickened more than 148 million people and killed more than three million people [as of October 2021, five million] in 223 nations. A minimum of 17,000 health care workers died from COVID-19 in the first year of the pandemic. COVID-19 caused the most severe shock to the global economy since World War II, and pushed 115­ to 125 million people worldwide into extreme poverty. The total loss of output is expected to exceed $10 trillion by the end of 2021 and $20 trillion by 2025. This constitutes the greatest concurrent contraction of national economies since the Great Depression (1930–1932).

In 2020, at height of the pandemic, 90% of schoolchildren could not go to school. Gender-based violence increased by a factor of five.

Society can and must use the lessons learned to end this pandemic and to prevent the next one – and there will be a next one.

The world’s primary task is to end the current pandemic.

Major constraints to ending COVID-19 include insufficient vaccine funding, vaccine nationalism and vaccine ...


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