confirmed cases (as of 1 August 2021)
deaths (as of 1 August 2021)
shrinkage in global economy in 2020
rise in food prices from May 2020 to May 2021
But the impact of human behaviour did not end here: what makes COVID-19 particularly destructive is the unprecedented speed with which it spreads around the world. Despite the declaration of a Public Health Emergency by WHO in January 2020, governments did not implement effective containment measures for months; meanwhile humanity, in an age of globalization, moved faster. This allowed COVID-19 to become a disaster ‘multiplier’, which effectively amplifies the risk of current and future disasters. COVID-19 weakened the response capacity to any other disasters that took place simultaneously, and it is leaving behind people who are more vulnerable than before, be it because they are now poorer, have less food security, even greater gender inequality, or more. It is estimated that less than 0.1 per cent of the zoonotic viral risk has been discovered so far, hence there is great potential for future occurrences of zoonoses.
This is the second outbreak of a SARS virus in the last 20 years − the first was successfully prevented (because people weren’t infectious until they showed symptoms).
The risk of a new emergence of zoonoses is increasing, as livestock farming and encroachment increases. Their development into pandemics will also become more likely due to increased global mobility and interconnectedness.
If humans continue to destroy biodiversity, keep increasing livestock farming and come closer to wild animals by intruding into habitats, the international community needs to better prepare, or COVID-19 will not be the last global pandemic in our lifetime.