One year on: How we’re grappling with a world changed by COVID

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Kate Whiting, Senior Writer, Formative Content & Joe Myers, Writer, Formative Content

  • 11 March marks one year since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic.
  • As the vaccine roll-out picks up pace, there have been more than twice as many doses of COVID-19 vaccines given as there have been cases globally.
  • The disease has impacted on all aspects of life, from work to education.
  • Here are some of recent World Economic Forum’s articles which show how much COVID-19 has changed the world – and how much more it could.

“Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death.”

These were the words World Health Organization Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus used at a press briefing on 11 March 2020 to announce the WHO had characterized the outbreak of COVID-19 as a global pandemic.

At the time, there were more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 people had died.

Dr Tedros warned: “In the days and weeks ahead, we expect to see the number of cases, the number of deaths, and the number of affected countries climb even higher.”

Global impact

In the past 12 months, those figures have risen to more than 118 million cases across the globe, with more than 2.6 million deaths.

COVID-19 has also had an impact on livelihoods and education, as lockdowns have led to economic recession and job losses, while schools have also been closed – shining a spotlight on inequalities from gender to digital access. coronavirus, health, COVID19, pandemic

What is the World Economic Forum doing to manage emerging risks from COVID-19?

The first global pandemic in more than 100 years, COVID-19 has spread throughout the world at an unprecedented speed. At the time of writing, 4.5 million cases have been confirmed and more than 300,000 people have died due to the virus.

As countries seek to recover, some of the more long-term economic, business, environmental, societal and technological challenges and opportunities are just beginning to become visible.

To help all stakeholders – communities, governments, businesses and individuals understand the emerging risks and follow-on effects generated by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with Marsh and McLennan and Zurich Insurance Group, has launched its COVID-19 Risks Outlook: A Preliminary Mapping and its Implications – a companion for decision-makers, building on the Forum’s annual Global Risks Report.

Companies are invited to join the Forum’s work to help manage the identified emerging risks of COVID-19 across industries to shape a better future. Read the full COVID-19 Risks Outlook: A Preliminary Mapping and its Implications report here, and our impact story with further information.

While the pandemic is not over, there is hope that the ongoing vaccine roll-out, combined with continued testing and COVID-19 safety measures, may bring it to an end.

More than 319 million vaccine doses have been administered worldwide – the vast majority in the US, China, the European Union and the UK. And since February 24, COVAX has shipped 17.8 million doses to countries where they’re most needed.

Cumulative COVID-19 vaccination doses administered per 100 people.
How the vaccine roll-out has grown since January. Image: Our World in Data

As the world marks a year since the pandemic was declared, here are 10 recent pieces we’ve published that show how COVID-19 has changed the world, how we’re dealing with those changes – and what shifts could still be ahead.

Historic shifts in global healthcare

To learn more on what’s happening now:

Public-private alliance drives historic vaccination programme

After vaccines were developed in record time, a new challenge remains: how to distribute it equitably. AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot, CEPI CEO Richard Hatchett and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance CEO Seth Berkley gave a recent update on the latest vaccine roll-out figures for the historic COVAX initiative – and explain how it brings together the public and private sectors to ensure everyone, regardless of wealth, has access to a safe and effective vaccine.

Breaking the glass vial: Women at the forefront of COVID-19 vaccine

Much of this global health security effort is being run by women, writes Susan Brown, Director of Public Policy Engagement, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and Roopa Dhatt, Founder, Women in Global Health. The global initiative for this is COVAX, and for the design, development and initial operational phase, the women in charge were the Chair of the Gavi Alliance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the Chair of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness, Jane Halton. Dr Okonjo-Iweala has moved on to head up the World Trade Organization, but you can bet she will continue to have a keen interest in vaccine equity.

Highlighting – and widening – equality gaps

To learn more on current research and insights:

‘Shecession’: What COVID-19 has meant for women and work

PwC’s annual Women in Work Index finds that, on average, women were more likely to lose their jobs in the pandemic and did more unpaid childcare last year, forcing some to quit their jobs altogether. Progress towards gender equality at work will not begin to recover until 2022, it concludes.

4 ways to deliver social justice during the COVID-19 recovery

With the pandemic threatening the biggest rise in inequality since records began, this piece highlights four key takeaways from world leaders at our Davos Agenda session ‘Delivering Social Justice in the Recovery‘, looking at the policies, practices and partnerships needed to ensure a just recovery in the decade of delivery.

Tackling an historic global recession

To learn more on how leaders plan to navigate the economy:

IMF Head: How governments can prevent widening inequality

COVID-19 has caused the worst global recession in peacetime, since the Great Depression, writes IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva. Richer nations with access to vaccines are expected to recover fastest, which could cause a ‘Great Divergence’. Georgieva outlines three main priorities for the global response, to avoid further economic inequality.

How a ‘fourth-sector economic strategy’ can help us build a better future for all

By carefully crafting the right incentives and policies, governments can expand the fourth sector – which combines elements of the public, private and social sectors – and its positive impacts rapidly and exponentially, write three experts. Doing so will both help to rebuild the economy and reinvent it, with an updated structure that will facilitate sustainable growth, improve resilience and strengthen resistance to future shocks.

Grappling with the ‘new normal’ of remote work

To learn more on how the workday could evolve further:

Is it time remote workers are given the ‘right to disconnect’ while at home?

“The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we work and we must update our rules to catch up with the new reality,” said the Maltese MEP Alex Agius Saliba in December, when European lawmakers voted in favour of the right to disconnect from work-related technology after hours. “After months of teleworking, many workers are now suffering from negative side effects such as isolation, fatigue, depression [and] burnout.”

How COVID could democratize commutes

Mouchka Heller, the World Economic Forum’s Project Lead, Automotive and Autonomous Mobility, writes about a historic shift: COVID has removed employees’ needs for self-funded commutes, democratizing access to work. Now stakeholders must ask where the responsibility lies in terms of making commutes affordable, and therefore jobs accessible.

Rethinking the typical school day

To learn more on what experts think might be next for education:

How COVID-19 has changed the way we educate children

School closures affected 94% of students at their peak in April 2020, writes Cathy Li, the Forum’s Head of Media, Entertainment and Sport Industries, and Farah Lalani, Community Curator, Media, Entertainment and Information Industries. Almost a year on, it’s clear that blended learning formats, including the enhanced use of technology, are here to stay.

Kids learn better in class than when studying from home, finds teacher survey

Children have fallen behind in COVID-19 lockdowns that forced schools to close – and those from poorer households are the worst affected, according to a McKinsey report based on data from eight countries. In schools where 80% or more of students come from households that are below the poverty line, there was an average of 2.5 months of learning loss. Remote schooling scored just five out of 10 for effectiveness.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Art has the power to change the world, says this renowned Iranian muralist

European Commission welcomes the positive assessment about how it has managed the EU budget

New seat projections for the next European Parliament EU28

FROM THE FIELD: Liberia boosts efforts to guard against rising seas

3 ways to protect your mental health during – and after – COVID-19

Protecting the ocean is key to fighting climate change

MEPs call for binding 2030 targets for materials use and consumption footprint

More than one million sexually transmitted infections occur every day: WHO

Brexit: visa-free access to the EU for UK nationals and to the UK for Europeans

‘Good enough’ global cooperation is key to our survival

5 key themes for reforming the EU, as elections loom

Mental Health: Role of the individual for their well-being in the pandemic

EU leaders prepare timetable and structure for EU budget negotiations

Whale populations are slowly recovering – this is why

EU’s VAT system further equipped to tackle fraud in e-commerce and to help small businesses grow

State aid: Commission approves €380 million German rescue aid to Condor

Member States agree to Commission proposal to support Irish beef producers impacted by market uncertainty

Got the blues? Head for some green spaces

This is how Copenhagen plans to go carbon-neutral by 2025

Meet Cipta: the comic book hero using her powers to tackle bullying in schools

Further reforms will promote a stronger and more inclusive Hungarian economy

UN chief appeals for calm as Mali presidential election draws to a close

Hatred ‘a threat to everyone’, urges Guterres calling for global effort to end xenophobia and ‘loathsome rhetoric’

Health inequalities in the 21st century

Here’s why infrastructure will make or break our response to climate change

Autonomous weapons that kill must be banned, insists UN chief

Mobile Technology saving lives, the way forward

Sassoli to EU institutions: “Be brave on EU recovery plan”

Rule of law in Hungary: Parliament calls on the EU to act

Mental health: fighting the hidden pandemic

5 key concepts for blockchain newbies

Do doctors need to know their patients’ sexual orientation and gender identity?

On World Health Day, new report says the world needs 6 million more nurses

More women than ever before are running for political office in the US

Climate change: cutting the good by the root?

Creative Europe: 30 years of support to European films and cultural and creative media works

Commission proposes to purchase up to 300 million additional doses of BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine

What can the military teach us about keeping the lights on?

Venezuela migrant crisis begs a ‘coherent, predictable and harmonized’ response: UNHCR

Young people are not a nameless, faceless mass. So why do we treat them as such?

Commission presents far-reaching anti-tax evasion measures

Getting people with disabilities into work requires data

Why cybersecurity should be standard due diligence for investors

UN chief hails Libyan leaders’ agreement to hold general election

UN chief appeals to G7 leaders for ‘strong commitment’ and political will to tackle climate emergency

Illegal fishing: EU lifts Taiwan’s yellow card following reforms

Vulnerable children face ‘dire and dangerous’ situation on Greek island reception centres, UNICEF warns

To win combat against HIV worldwide, ‘knowledge is power’, says UNAIDS report

Antitrust: Commission consults stakeholders on guidance for national courts when handling disclosure information

How digital is your country? Europe needs Digital Single Market to boost its digital performance

New neighbours: Could Venus really be home to alien life?

Coronavirus: Commission proposes €4.5 million to support over 5,000 dismissed tourism workers or self-employed in Estonia

Moving from a promise made in Sweden towards hope for peace in Yemen

An alternative to the future of antimicrobial therapy

Here’s how the EU is doing on gender equality

FROM THE FIELD: Enslaved Guatemalan indigenous women wait for reparations

UN boosts humanitarian appeal to help tackle Zimbabwe’s ‘worst-ever’ hunger crisis

Norway is returning Easter Island artefacts to Chile (Will Britain ever return the marbles to Greece?)

As the year closes out, UN political chief talks the art of diplomacy – and crises to watch in 2019.

Refugees in Greece: MEPs demand solidarity, warn about impact of health crisis

More Stings?


Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s