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New Models Show Dramatic Impact of Proper Safety Protocols on COVID-19 Death Rate

Source: Goldenson Center at the University of Connecticut

Wearing a mask, along with other basic precautions, results in a significant drop in the number of coronavirus cases and number of deaths, according to a new simulator from the Goldenson Center for Actuarial Research. The simulation shows how individuals’ actions can directly impact how long the pandemic will last and comes at a time when the U.S. is reaching a record high in case numbers.

The graphic above show a hypothetical model of events after 100 people out of 1,000 become infected with the virus. When only 10% of the population wears masks, observes social distancing and sanitizes, there is a dramatic increase in case numbers and deaths.

The other hypothetical model below shows case results when 80% of the population follows safety protocols. In the second instance, after two months, almost zero percent are infected. It also shows that if a state follows proper safety measures for at least three months after reopening, COVID-19 could be eliminated from the area. 

Brazil Falls Further Behind Other Countries in Recovery Efforts

Source: Morning Consult

Economic conditions in Brazil are worse now than during the first wave of the pandemic. Consumer confidence also continued declining in April 2021, according to Morning Consult. While other countries are reporting a rebound in their economies, Brazil is falling further behind. 

The global demand for Brazilian goods rose as two of Brazil’s largest importers — the U.S. and China — saw growth in their economic activity, resulting in increased costs for Brazilian goods. However, these price increases are making it more difficult for Brazilians to pay for basic necessities, such as food. In March, the country reported a surge in food shortages and insecurity. “If price pressures continue,” wrote Morning Consult, “the 9.8% of Brazilians who lacked adequate food to eat could rapidly suffer from frequent hunger.”

COVID-related deaths in Brazil reached an average of 3,000 a day, as of April 17, and hospitals are running out of critical medical supplies. Complicating the country’s response to COVID, vaccine distribution rollouts remain slow, and a more contagious strain has begun to circulate across the country.

Low-Income Countries Need Billions for COVID Recovery

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook as of March 3, 2021

Note: All spending assumed to be broken down into 50% public consumption and 50% public investment

Low-income countries need around $200 billion between now and 2025 to sufficiently respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The IMF estimates that these countries — especially in the Middle East, Central Asia and sub-Saharan Africa — would need an additional $250 billion to catch up to the advanced-economy level of response — with another $100 billion set aside for any unplanned risks.

The pandemic took a heavy toll on low-income countries because of already limited access to financial resources, lack of monetary policy support, heavy reliance on specific sectors and escalated debt levels. The $550 billion would allow these countries to distribute vaccines more widely, respond to financial distress and better manage productivity performance.

The international community provided short-term assistance to these countries by supporting banking systems on debt-service relief. For low-income countries to have a shot at recovery, however, the IMF states that “there will need to be a coordinated, multifaceted, strong response” to help support these countries with vaccine distribution, technological advancements and climate risks.

COVID Became the Leading Cause of Death in Parts of Europe and US

Source: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME)

COVID-19 has become the fourth-leading cause of death in the world. The virus accounted for one in 20 deaths, or 4.4% of all deaths since mid-March 2020, according to IHME. Ischemic heart disease led with the highest mortality rate at 15.5%, followed by stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

However, COVID was the leading cause of death in France, Spain, England and parts of the U.S. This is due to the majority of these populations being older and having a higher likelihood of developing chronic health conditions. 

Countries with low COVID mortality rates had quick and effective responses from their governments, international coordination, a younger population and lower rates of chronic diseases. As new virus strains threaten vaccination efforts, the global death toll surpassed 3 million in April — and the WHO warns that this number could continue to grow. 

Gen Z Faces Long-Term Setbacks in the Job Market

Source: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

The unemployment rate for Generation Z more than doubled in most OECD countries between February 2020 and March 2021. Spain saw the highest Gen Z unemployment: 38% of 15- to 24-year-olds, compared to the 14% of workers between ages 25-74. Gen Z — born between 1997 and 2009 — will represent about 27% of the workforce by 2025.

Young people in Spain suffered concerning levels of unemployment prior to the pandemic, due to an outdated education system, low wages and a lack of economic diversity — all issues exacerbated by COVID-19. Tourism and construction, also significantly impacted by the pandemic, include a higher percentage of young Spaniards as well. Already in 2019, 17.3% of young Spaniards were leaving to pursue opportunities in neighboring European countries.

Experts state that the pandemic will be “scarring” for Gen Z due to immediate risks to education and job opportunities, as well as “long-term harm to income levels, access to training, career prospects and even mental well-being.” Gen Z is, however, identified as being more “risk averse” and “financially conscious” than other generations. 

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