Beyond Health: Impact of COVID-19

COVID-19 is an unparalleled crisis, and could wipe out most of the progress achieved in the past 30 years through the Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals. Here are current authoritative estimates and references on bottom-line impacts.

United Nations University estimates 420-580 million could be pushed into poverty.

Hunger could double as food systems are disrupted and hundreds of millions lack income to buy food.

Despite warnings and commitments to achieve Universal Health Coverage, the global health system was woefully unprepared to fight the pandemic. Africa, for example, has only 10 doctors per 10,000 and COVID-19 could infect many of them.

More than 1.5 billion children are out of school during lockdowns – and many were dependent on school feeding programs for their only nutritious meal.

Violence against women is a “shadow pandemic” – where we have early data, reports of domestic violence has increased 30%. Child marriage expected to spike.

Hand washing is critical – and largely missing.

Lockdown has slashed oil prices, setting back the transition to sustainable energy.

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a catastrophic effect on working hours and earnings, globally – equivalent to losing 195 million jobs.

Industries are laying off millions of workers, and governments have halted infrastructure development.

Inequality is growing dramatically as the poorest workers are laid off, remittances are slashed and migrant laborers return to home communities.

Communities currently lack a fair share of resources to fight COVID-19.

Unsustainable relief policies will attempt to increase consumption.

Climate action – 2020 should be a critical year, but is the crisis giving power to anti-climate authoritarian regimes? This also affects SDG 14 (land) and 15 (seas).

SDG 16

Despite call for cease fire, wars continue and food riots are breaking out.

Instead of partnership and solidarity, many governments are closing borders, sending migrant laborers home, and reducing aid.