COVID-19 - The Global Pandemic

COVID-19 - The Global Pandemic

While most patients diagnosed with COVID-19 develop only mild to moderate disease, approximately 25% will progress to severe/critical disease state requiring medical intervention and mechanical ventilation with poor prognosis for disease resolution in severe or critical cases. These sorts of outcomes are particularly seen in the elderly and those with co-morbidities(4).

Infections and deaths continue to rise – high human and economic costs

COVID-19 has accounted for over 756 million cases and almost 6.8 million deaths globally(5).

In addition to its immediate negative health effects, the pandemic will also lead to a number of long-term health problems such as persistent pulmonary damage, post-viral fatigue, and chronic cardiac complications. Furthermore, researchers have already connected policies aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19 through social isolation to other negative outcomes.

Economic costs

In addition to the human costs, COVID-19 has also taken a significant toll on the global economy. The COVID-19 global recession was the deepest since the end of World War II with the global economy contracting by 3.5 percent in 2020 according to the April 2021 World Economic Outlook Report published by the IMF, a 7 percent loss, relative to the 3.4 percent growth forecast back in October 2019 particularly due to severe travel restrictions and lockdown measures aimed at reducing its spread(6).

A significant number of workers across various sectors lost their jobs. Moreover, some sectors of the economy have been particularly hard hit including higher education, creative arts, transport, tourism, restaurant, food services, sports industry, and agriculture, and disrupted international trade relationships. 

While these impacts have largely been addressed now the result has been crippling levels of Central Bank debt.

Lingering costs of long COVID

A study at Harvard in July 2022 estimated the economic cost of long COVID to be over $3.7 trillion per year for the United States alone(7). Coinciding with this update in July 2021, long COVID was recognised as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. While this recognition is important it is imperative that we find better ways to treat and control COVID infections – including long COVID – as it continues to take an economic toll.