As Covid-19 continues to spread, the burden of disease has been asymmetrically distributed, as countries find themselves at different stages of the pandemic. Some nations that succeeded in initial containment in the virus, such as Singapore and Hong Kong, are now witnessing a resurgence. Several Western European countries have either reached a plateau or are registering a decline. On the other hand, some countries are nearing the peak of infection, and are ramping up their health systems.
The crisis has been leading to a severe decline in work hours and employment, with the International Labor Organization (ILO) estimating that globally, industries with a high risk of lay-offs or furloughs employ around 1.25 billion people. Workers at high risk during this time belong to the following sectors: wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, real estate, and accommodation and food services. There has also been growing pressure for governments and central banks to expedite the delivery of programs that either compensate laid-off workers or persuade employers to retain staff. Any failure on either front will result in a deeper recession, or at the very least, a slower recovery that could necessitate additional stimulus.
The world has changed dramatically over the last three months, as the global Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on our daily lives and has caused unprecedented economic backlash. The magnitude and speed of the collapse in economic activity, as the world underwent a lockdown, has given rise to a crisis like no other. Now, countries are facing a trifecta of crises—healthcare, finances, and a collapse in commodity prices. Even as policymakers provide support to households, firms and financial markets to ensure a recovery, there is a considerable amount of uncertainty for the future. Once the lockdown is lifted, how will the economic landscape evolve?
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