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Report: Coronavirus Drove 31 Million Into Extreme Poverty

Coronavirus Testing
UCSF infectious disease researchers and The Latino Task Force for COVID19 in partnership with the San Francisco Department of Public Health (DPH) and the City and County of San Francisco launched an effort to provide comprehensive, voluntary COVID-19 testing to all residents of a densely populated and highly Latin neighborhood of San Francisco’s Mission District. Katie Machado, RN, UCSF Nurse Practitioner Student, collects a nasal sample from a local resident at the Parque Ninos Unidos site.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has been found to have pushed more than thirty million people globally into extreme poverty, according to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s fifth annual Goalkeepers Report.

The eye-opening sixty-three-page report also revealed that the year-and-half-long pandemic led to major declines in routine childhood vaccination rates, increased health-care inequities, and further widened the education gap between poor and rich countries. It added that 90 percent of advanced economies will regain pre-pandemic per capita income levels by 2022, but only one-third of low- and middle-income economies are expected to do likewise.

“(The past year) has reinforced our belief that progress is possible but not inevitable,” Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates, co-chairs of the foundation, wrote.

“If we can expand upon the best of what we’ve seen these past eighteen months, we can finally put the pandemic behind us and once again accelerate progress in addressing fundamental issues like health, hunger, and climate change,” they added.

Challenges for Women

The disproportionate economic impact on women across the world was also highlighted.

“Women face structural barriers in every corner of the world, leaving them more vulnerable to the impacts of the pandemic,” Melinda French Gates noted.

“By investing in women now and addressing these inequities, governments can spur a more equitable recovery while strengthening their economies against future crises. It’s not just the right thing to do—but smart policy that will benefit everyone,” she continued.

Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman shared similar sentiments on a conference call with reporters: “Of the jobs that have been lost (during the pandemic), thirteen million more jobs globally have been lost to women than men. Women also bear the brunt of caregiving responsibilities across rich and poor world alike.”

Vaccine Inequities

The report also illustrated how today’s available coronavirus vaccines are currently deployed in mostly wealthy countries.

“The lack of equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines is a public health tragedy,” Bill Gates contends.

“We face the very real risk that in the future, wealthy countries and communities will begin treating COVID-19 as yet another disease of poverty. We can’t put the pandemic behind us until everyone, regardless of where they live, has access to vaccines,” he added.

According to the World Health Organization, about 5.5 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide, but roughly 80 percent of them have gone to upper-middle or high-income nations.

“Less than 2 percent of adults are fully vaccinated in most low-income countries compared to almost 50 percent in high income countries,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recently wrote. “This crisis of vaccine inequity is driving a dangerous divergence in COVID-19 survival rates and in the global economy.”

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.

Written By

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Mike Constitution

    September 15, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    The Covid-19 virus did NOT drive people into poverty.

    Governments, with their extreme overreaction to Covid, drove people into poverty.

    Lockdowns destroyed livelihoods, delayed treatments for life-threatening illnesses, caused despair that increased the rates of addiction and suicide, and damaged educational prospects for a generation of children.

    The few sane leaders that still exist, in places like Florida, Texas, and Sweden, have weathered Covid as well or better than most of the places that still have lockdowns in place, without destroying their economies.

    The virus is going to spread and all the lockdowns do is delay the inevitable while destroying lives unnecessarily.

    The government cure is clearly worse than the disease.

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