Scientists estimated economic losses related to COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 pandemic just rolled over the world like a train. Millions of people got sick, some died and most of us had to isolate ourselves. This pandemic wasn’t just a public health issue – it also has a huge economic impact. But how huge? Scientists from the University of Sydney attempted to estimate the real impact of COVID-19.

People were pretty much locked at home during the peak of COVID-19 pandemic – it was bound to have a huge economic impact. Image credit: Running4uni via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

An international team of scientists analysed ‘live’ data to 22 May, creating a global and highly detailed model to calculate economic losses that could be tied to this COVID-19 pandemic. 38 regions in the world were analysed, including as much information as possible. And we all know that the economic impact of this pandemic was huge, because people couldn’t travel, go to restaurants and many places of business had to close. Scientists found that the good side of the global pandemic was the biggest-ever drop in greenhouse gas emissions, but the economy suffered greatly.

So what was that impact? Well, 147 millions of people lost their jobs. Those that maintained their jobs were struck by reduced wages and salaries – 2,1 trillion dollars of losses there globally. US and China were affected the most. Of course, commercial aviation and tourism recorded the highest losses. The total loss in consumption is estimated to be US$3.8 trillion – that’s about the whole GDP of Germany. Scientists say that we are experiencing the worst economic shock since the Great Depression. And don’t forget – COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet and we may experience another lockdown in the near future. Again, the silver lining of it all is that less people died from diseases related to air pollution. Scientists say that pandemic-fighting measures resulted in the greatest drop in greenhouse gas emissions since the burning of fossil fuels began.

Dr Arunima Malik, corresponding author of the study, said: “The contrast between the socio-economic and the environmental variables reveals the dilemma of the global socio-economic system – our study highlights the interconnected nature of international supply chains, with observable global spillover effects across a range of industry sectors, such as manufacturing, tourism and transport”. 

Economic impact of COVID-19 is huge, but the benefits of the reduction of greenhouse emissions may open eyes to some. However, in order to control rising temperatures we would have to reduce our emissions even further. Especially having in mind that as people are starting to travel more, emissions are going to increase sharply.

COVID-19 pandemic is not finished yet. Some countries are already experiencing the second wave, others are just preparing for it. Another lockdown could punish even a larger number of businesses and send us into even deeper economic downfall. What you can do to help prevent that is wearing a mask, maintaining good hygiene practices and staying away from mass events of any kind.


Source: University of Sydney

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