The coronavirus pandemic has toppled modern society, closing schools, restaurants, and most non-essential businesses as hospitals, doctors, and researchers work feverishly to identify the best treatments for this brand new disease.
In response, the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called coronavirus “the greatest test that we have faced together since the formation of the United Nations” after World War II.
“We are facing a global health crisis unlike any in the 75-year history of the United Nations — one that is killing people, spreading human suffering and upending people’s lives,” he said. “But this is much more than a health crisis. It is a human crisis. The coronavirus disease is attacking societies at their core.”
Coordinated Health Response is Essential
Above and beyond everything else, the entire world is focused on stopping the spread of COVID-19. According to the UN, “the strongest support must be provided to the multilateral effort to suppress transmission and stop the pandemic, led by the WHO.”
It goes on to make the following recommendations to all nations:
- Act decisively and early to prevent further spread of COVID-19
- Strengthen resilience of health systems
- Provide support to developing countries with weaker health systems
- Allow free and immediate access to research results
- Ensure vaccines and medicines are accessible to all
- Encourage corporations and private sector organizations to contribute to immediate pandemic response and long-term resilience
- Call on philanthropies to join the fight with research and resources
This type of organized collaboration between states and countries can make all the difference in preventing any additional devastation from COVID-19.
Worldwide Economic Concerns
In his address to the world in New York on April 1, Guterres made his concerns about the world economy clear, stating that coronavirus may bring a recession “that probably has no parallel in the recent past.”
The UN’s 26-page document Shared Responsibility, Global Solidarity: Responding to the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 elaborates on this: “The IMF has just reassessed the prospect for growth for 2020 and 2021, declaring that we have entered a recession- as bad or worse than in 2009. The IMF projects recovery in 2021 only if the world succeeds in containing the virus and takes the necessary economic measures.”
The UN cites a number of causes for the recession and impending economic devastation:
- Travel restrictions
- City lockdowns
- Shutdown of leisure, hospitality, recreation
- Plunging stock markets
- Weak local currencies that constrain some governments’ abilities for fiscal stimulus
Given all of this, it’s no wonder that Guterres is calling for “an immediate coordinated health response to suppress transmission and end the pandemic.” The sooner the threat of coronavirus can be neutralized, the faster the economy can recover.
The UN’s Recommendations for Recovery
There’s no doubt that the potential impacts of the coronavirus pandemic are frightening, concerning, and unprecedented. But there’s also hope to consider as well.
In its recent publication, the UN shares, “In responding to the crisis today, we must learn the lessons of yesterday, so countries are better prepared for the days to come. It is clear the world needs a quantum shift in the approach and architecture in pandemic preparedness.”
By using everything we’ve learned and experienced during the COVID-19 outbreak, the U.S and other countries around the world can better anticipate the future.