What you need to know about the COVID-19 pandemic on 24 May – World Economic Forum

  • This daily round-up brings you a selection of the latest news updates on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
  • Today’s top stories: How Germany contained coronavirus; South America becomes the new COVID-19 epicenter; global fiscal support during COVID-19, in one chart.

A new strain of Coronavirus, COVID 19, is spreading around the world, causing deaths and major disruption to the global economy.

Responding to this crisis requires global cooperation among governments, international organizations and the business community, which is at the centre of the World Economic Forum’s mission as the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.

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The Forum has created the COVID Action Platform, a global platform to convene the business community for collective action, protect people’s livelihoods and facilitate business continuity, and mobilize support for the COVID-19 response. The platform is created with the support of the World Health Organization and is open to all businesses and industry groups, as well as other stakeholders, aiming to integrate and inform joint action.

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As an organization, the Forum has a track record of supporting efforts to contain epidemics. In 2017, at our Annual Meeting, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched – bringing together experts from government, business, health, academia and civil society to accelerate the development of vaccines. CEPI is currently supporting the race to develop a vaccine against this strand of the coronavirus.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

“Germany is often referred to as a positive example of how to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. We were successful in preventing the overburdening of our health system. The curve of infections is clearly flattening. And the proportion of severe cases and fatalities is lower in Germany than in many other countries. But this makes us humble, rather than overconfident,” writes Jens Spahn, the country’s health minister.

Spahn lists three reasons why he believes Germany has navigated the pandemic relatively well.

“First, the German health-care system was in good shape going into the crisis; everyone has had full access to medical care,” he says.

“Second, Germany was not the first country to be hit by the virus, and thus had time to prepare. While we have always kept a relatively large number of hospital beds available, particularly in intensive-care units, we also took the COVID-19 threat seriously from the beginning.

“Third, Germany is home to many laboratories that can test for the virus, and to many distinguished researchers in the field, which helps to explain why the first rapid COVID-19 test was developed here.”

Governments have put forward swift and significant emergency lifelines to protect people in response to the pandemic.

But just how much, exactly?

“The total is about $9 trillion, or $1 trillion more than the estimates just over a month ago,” write IMF economists Bryn Battersby, W. Raphael Lam and Elif Ture.

“The breakdown looks like this: direct budget support is currently estimated at $4.4 trillion globally, and additional public sector loans and equity injections, guarantees, and other quasi-fiscal operations (such as non-commercial activity of public corporations) amount to another $4.6 trillion.”

Here’s a handy IMF chart which shows just where these financial lifelines have come from.

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If you’re in need of some Sunday reading, take a look at this COVID-19 round-up from the science experts on the World Economic Forum’s Programe Team.

From old antibodies to new vaccines, they’ve selected some of the biggest coronavirus-related science stories you may have missed last week.

And don’t forget to listen to the latest edition of our podcast, World vs Virus, which features an in-depth interview with the IMF’s Chief Economist, Gita Gopinath.

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