Covid-19, from Alpha to Omicron

Hope for a global post-Covid recovery was short-lived, with the number of infections quickly soaring to over 800 000 infections per day globally.

covid-19-variantAt the end of January 2021, a daily record of 17 544 deaths was reached as the death toll increased with the arrival of the Delta variant and the reluctant start of vaccination campaigns.

At the end of 2021, the global health toll is grim as Covid-19 has already claimed the lives of 5.4 million people, including 3.5 million in 2021 alone.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the real death toll from Covid-19 is two to three times higher than that announced by the authorities; it is, in fact, poised to reach 15 million deaths.

Covid-19 is, therefore, standing among the deadliest pandemics of modern times.

Covid-19: evolution of the number of deaths and contaminations (2020-2021)

Number of deaths1 952 0005 454 000
Number of people infected83 952 000290 618 000

The economic impact of Covid-19

The sanitary restriction measures in force in 2021 had incurred further financial costs for the economic actors. Already weakened by the previous waves, the latter have continued to suffer especially during the first half of the year with the appearance of the Delta variant.

In this context of uncertainty, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced last December that it was lowering its global economic growth forecasts for 2021 and 2022.

Another finding is that the gap between advanced economies and emerging countries has widened in 2021. While the former are experiencing the beginning of an economic recovery, the latter continue to face shortages of vaccines and a near-total shutdown of their activities.

According to the IMF, the economically advanced countries are expected to return to their pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022, while other countries would need many years to recover from the crisis.

In addition to the direct economic impact, the pandemic has also caused:

  • inflation that has eroded household purchasing power as it has continued its upward curve in 2021. In the United States, experts were expecting in January 2021 a 2% price increase for the year, whereas the year ended with a 7% increase.
  • a rise in tensions and social movements. With incomes not keeping pace with inflation, the impoverishment of a large portion of the world's population has gathered momentum, fueling discontent and fostering protest movements, as is the case in South Africa, Nigeria, France, …
  • supply difficulties. With the tightening of sanitary measures and the disruption of supply chains, delivery times are becoming longer. This makes meeting budgeted costs problematic for companies.
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