World coronavirus dispatch: Global economies to lose $5 trn in two years

Topics Global economy | USA | Coronavirus

Travellers wearing protective gear are seen at a check-in counter at the Wuhan Tianhe International Airport. Photo: Reuters
The coronavirus pandemic has had grave human cost that cannot be put in numbers and figures. But the economic cost can.  That’s the estimate coming in from the Wall Street banks, the first such figures on the impact of Covid-19 on global economies.

"The coronavirus pandemic is set to rob the global economy of more than $5 trillion of growth over the next two years, greater than the annual output of Japan." Even with unprecedented levels of monetary and fiscal stimulus, global GDP is unlikely to return to its pre-crisis trend until at least 2022.

Let’s look at the global statistics:

Total confirmed cases: 1,490,790

Change over the previous day: 44,548

Total deaths: 99,982

Total recovered: 332,486

Nations hit with most cases: US (432,438), Spain (148,220), Italy (139,422), Germany (113,296), and France (33,080).


Second US relief package at $2.2 trillion: The Federal Reserve has announced $2.3 trillion in new support to the US economy, which includes $600 billion in loans to small businesses and a municipal debt facility.

Bangladesh locks down Rohingya district: Bangladesh has imposed a lockdown on a southern district, home to refugee camps housing more than a million Rohingya Muslims fleeing from Myanmar. No cases are confirmed in the camps yet, but aid agencies fear an outbreak could overwhelm poor medical facilities.

US runs out of protective gear: The country’s Strategic National Stockpile is nearly out of N95 respirators, surgical masks, face, shields, gowns and other medical supplies, according to The Department of Health and Human Services. About 90 per cent of the personal protective equipment has been distributed to state and local governments, and more stock is sought.

Global stocks gain on hopes of recovery: Global shares rose on Thursday on hopes the Covid-19 pandemic was nearing its peak and that governments would roll out more stimulus to help their economies. European stock markets gained for a fourth straight day, US stock futures were up 1 per cent, S&P 500 gained 3.41 per cent on Wednesday, and Australian shares were up 2.54 per cent.

EU relief package in a fix: European leaders have failed to agree on a 500-billion-euro ($543 billion) package for the region, prolonging a paralysis that casts a doubt over the bloc’s ability to weather the crisis. In an emergency teleconference that lasted more than 16 hours, finance chiefs could not reconcile their contrasting visions for the steps needed. Europe is the most affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Australia’s infectious cruise liner: About 2,700 passengers disembarked from the ship on March 19 in Sydney and it has since become the largest source of coronavirus infections in Australia. More than 600 cases and 15 deaths are linked to the ship. Its 1,040-strong crew is now undergoing medical assessments.

Dubai allows home delivery of alcohol: Dubai has allowed home delivery of alcohol, amid a stringent lockdown in the city. It is done on, a website created by Maritime and Mercantile International, a subsidiary of the government-owned Emirates, and African & Eastern — the distributors in this case.


The pandemic’s racial divide: The coronavirus pandemic has proved to be an even bigger burden on the black community in the US. To find out racial disparity, AP analysed 52,000 cases and 4,450 deaths across US. The finding was that the impact of Covid-19 on non-white, especially black communities, is outsized. Even President Donald Trump and top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci acknowledged the higher death rate among African Americans at Tuesday’s White House briefing.


How to lift a lockdown: Noted epidemiologist and dean of medicine at the University of Hong Kong, Gabriel Leung argues that a formal framework, with an explicit rationale grounded in science, is needed for determining when and how and based on what factors to relax restrictions. Also, he says, it is important to know how to reapply some or all of them, should another epidemic wave hit again. There is a need for robust data and effective targeting before one even begins to think about lifting the lockdown.

Christine Lagarde bats for stronger fiscal response: The president of the European Central Bank, formerly the head of the IMF, Lagarde said the governments should put their differences behind and create policies targeted at those most exposed to this crisis. She said the ECB had provided European banks 3 trillion euros ($3.7 trillion) to provide loans to firms and individuals. As one of the measures, the lending is meant to be targeted at smaller businesses, self-employed and private individuals.

Long Reads

Everything you want to know about Zoom, the video conferring platform that has zoomed into prominence as people the world over work from home and collaborate with colleagues over video conferencing.


A visual guide to tracking the pandemic: Here’s a compilation of all essential charts covering deaths and recoveries, most-hit nations, death charts and more.

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