It is discomforting that most people still underestimate true impact of #Covid19. Immediate effects are so shocking that we are all caught up in them.But longer-term implications may be more profound still. If we are not careful, they will shake the world order to its foundations
To understand the crisis fully, imagine concentric ripples generated by a stone thrown into a pond.Innermost circle is immediate impact of the virus: fear, illness and death.
The second, larger circle describes Covid-19’s indirect health effects, such as missed cancer screenings. In the 2014 Ebola outbreak, more people died of malaria in west Africa than of the virus itself. It can take years for people to regain trust in health care systems
The third circle, the social and economic impact of rising joblessness & shrinking economies, is larger still. Like every crisis, pandemic will amplify existing social fractures and inequalities. This will have political consequences. Some governments may fall as result Covid-19
Leads to 4th & biggest circle-geopolitics. How world powers choose look after themselves vs rest of world will define global politics over decades. Many governments come to face criticism for their perceived/actual failure protect citizens natural response will be blame others
Still, none of the above ripple effects are inevitable.
Of the first two circles, it is not too late to improve disease-surveillance measures, public health and clinical care measures to reduce the impact of Covid-19’s first wave, and to prepare for potential second waves.
We must invest the $31bn needed in diagnostics, treatments and vaccines & build health systems for all, regardless of ability to pay. This is the only true exit strategy from the pandemic.
Social & political impacts 3rd circle can be mitigated. Most vitally needed responses: debt relief poorer countries; investment help digital transition;support green technologies &a carbon neutral world; better education; anti-corruption fighting; enhanced democratic institutions
There is the 4th circle we also face a choice. We can choose nationalistic routes that blame others for our problems. Or we can work together to forge a better, shared future.
There are historical parallels. International institutions such as UN, WB & WHO that were established after WW2, were born of a moment of enlightened self-interest by leading nations. These institutions have been central to the world’s largely peaceful order of the last 75 years
Today, they require reform. But they are also needed more than ever. Giant social,scientific & technological advances humanity saw during the later half 20thC grew out of global commitment to sharing.This did not happen by chance. It happened as a result of choices that were made
The effects of Covid-19 have been & will continue to be devastating. But infectious disease & pandemics are not only global challenges that we face. We urgently need to address other issues, including climate change, access to clean water, antimicrobial resistance & mental health
Like coronavirus these problems transcend borders. Will not be defeated insular nationalism,blaming others or drifting into more polarised world- this leaves everyone more vulnerable. Rather they can be solved enhancing international co-operation & developing sense shared destiny
Not inevitable #COVID19 ripples out these 4 circles of ruinous effects. But avoiding this requires leaders who lay out honestly challenges that we face & then,equally honestly, how to deal with them.Choices we make today will help define the 21st century…

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