It has been a year since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The virus, which is microscopic in size, has somehow changed the lives of 7.8 billion people on Earth.
While the long-term impact of this global health crisis may take years to understand, its immediate effect has already changed the world as we know it. In the following set of infographics, we break down the latest figures and reports available to help you understand the global impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
For each topic, we have linked the most comprehensive and reliable datasets available globally. These are often presented as the average across the country. It is important to remember that averages can mask inequalities, especially when it comes to underreported areas or populations at risk.
Main causes of death
At least 2.7 million people around the world have died from COVID-19. While the world’s leading causes of death for 2020 have yet to be released, compared to 2019, the coronavirus ranks among the top five killers.
In 2019, 55.4 million people died across the world. Heart disease killed the most people with 8.9 million, followed by stroke (6.2 million) and lung disease (3.2 million). Collectively, these diseases are known as noncommunicable diseases, which means that they are not transmitted between people. In contrast, the coronavirus is highly contagious and is therefore classified as a communicable disease.
The graph below shows how one year of coronavirus death compares to the leading causes of death in 2019.
In the United States, the country with the highest number of deaths from COVID-19, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the coronavirus has killed more Americans in a year (540,000) than the flu in the past 10 years combined (368,000), for which data is available.
The World Health Organization estimates that nearly one billion people around the world live with a mental disorder. In 2019, 703,000 people died because of suicide, making it the 17th most common cause of death in the world. Despite this, countries spend on average two percent of their national health budgets on mental health.
The United Nations has warned that the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to cause a long-term increase in the number and severity of mental health problems. Evidence regarding the mental health consequences of lockdowns and social distancing is still being investigated. Although no large-scale data is available on the effect of COVID-19 on mental health worldwide, several small studies reported higher rates of anxiety and depression.
Here are five tips from Dr Devora Kestel, director of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction at the World Health Organization, on how we can protect our mental health.
By definition, a pandemic is a worldwide spread of a new disease. One way or another, COVID-19 has affected the lives of 7.8 billion people on Earth. It is valued that more than two-thirds of the world’s population have suffered lockdowns, which last from weeks to months.
According to the data compiled By the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker, more than 100 countries and territories in 2021 reintroduced stay-at-home controls that require residents not to leave home, with a few exceptions, such as for essential travel, daily exercise or shopping.
The graph below summarizes the duration of lockdowns nationwide over 12 months (January 16, 2020 to January 15, 2021).
Billions wiped out
According to the estimates of world Bank, the global economy shrank 4.3% in 2020, wiping out trillions of dollars. Countries already facing economic difficulties have taken on more debt. A report of Oxfam International estimates that it would take more than a decade for the world’s poorest people to recover from the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the upside, the World Bank expects the global economy to grow 4% in 2021, with vaccine deployments and investments leading to the recovery.
The graph below shows the effect of COVID-19 on the global economy. All major economies except China shrank during 2020. Other countries that have seen their gross domestic product (GDP) grow are Bangladesh (2%), Benin (2%), Burundi (0.3%), Egypt (3.6%), Ethiopia (6.1%), Ghana (1.1%), Guinea (5.2%), Guyana (23.2%), Côte d’Ivoire (1.8%), Myanmar (1.7%), Nepal (0.2%), Niger (1%), South Sudan (9.3%), Tajikistan (2.2%), Tanzania (2.5%), Turkey (0.5%), Uzbekistan (0.6%) and Vietnam (2.8%).
This in no way suggests that these countries were better off after the coronavirus. Rather, several of these countries were predicted to experience even higher growth before the pandemic, and several more relied on loans to support their economies.
Poverty and unemployment in the world
The coronavirus has disproportionately affected the poor. For the first time in 20 years, global poverty is likely to increase dramatically. The World Bank estimates that the coronavirus has pushed an additional 119 to 124 million people into extreme poverty. This brings the total number of people living on less than $ 1.90 per day to 730 million, or about 10% of the world’s population.
In 2020, 114 million people lost their jobs, according to the latest unemployment figures of the International Labor Organization (ILO). But looking only at official unemployment figures is not enough to measure unemployment. As the ILO points out, many more workers have fallen into “economic inactivity”. This means that they had to withdraw from the labor market. Many others may still be employed but work with reduced working hours or reduced pay.
Women and young workers have been among the hardest hit, raising concerns about widening gender inequality and a lost generation of workers.
In addition, the The United Nations Development Program has warned that nearly half of all jobs in Africa could be cut due to the pandemic.
The rich got richer
A report published by Oxfam International, a UK-based charity, said the pandemic had hurt people living in poverty much more than the wealthy. Most seriously affected are women, blacks, African descendants, indigenous peoples and historically marginalized and oppressed communities around the world, according to the report.
To put this income inequality into perspective, a Swiss bank UBS report, found that the richest people in the world saw their wealth increase by $ 3.9 trillion between March and December 2020. The richest 10 billionaires increased their wealth by $ 540 billion during this period.
Many of the world’s richest men, including Elon Musk (US), Zhong Shanshan (China) and Mukesh Ambani (India), have seen their wealth more than double since the pandemic was declared.
1.7 billion out of school students
In 2020, school and university closures severely disrupted the education of more than 1.7 billion students in 188 countries around the world. This represents about 99% of the global student population according to UNESCO.
Today, nearly 900 million students, more than half of the world’s student population, continue to face serious disruptions in their education, ranging from complete school closures in 29 countries to classes. reduced or part-time in 68 other countries, whichever is later UNESCO data.
While online education has played an important role in allowing lessons to continue virtually, the UN estimates that nearly 500 million children, especially in poorer countries or rural areas, have been excluded from distance learning due to a lack of technology or learning policies.
Oxfam believes the pandemic will reverse the gains of the past 20 years of global progress in girls’ education, further increasing poverty and inequality.
Worst year for air travel
In 2019, more than 4.5 billion passengers traveled on 38 million worldwide flights. With lockdowns and quarantines in full force for most of 2020, many have chosen to cancel or postpone their travel plans.
While some planes continued to take off, international passenger demand in 2020 fell 75.6% from 2019, according to the International Air Transport Association.
Global Flight Tracking Service Flightradar24 also saw a 42% drop in commercial flights in 2019 compared to 2020. Many commercial airlines were forced to operate cargo-only flights, helping to ensure supermarket shelves remained stocked and that online orders are fulfilled.
Locks from space
Before and after satellite images taken in March 2020 show the effect of the coronavirus on cities around the world. Unprecedented lockdowns have emptied streets, disrupted travel and slowed economic activity – all while temporarily reducing air pollution.
The images below show how Mecca, Wuhan and Venice all saw a sharp drop in visitor numbers a few weeks after the start of the pandemic. Display satellite images of more cities here.
In the first few weeks after the COVID-19 lockdown, several reports and stories have revealed how clearer and less polluted the skies are. For example, residents of Venice, Italy, said they saw clear running water through its normally busy canals for the first time in years.
However, this reduction appears to have been short-lived. A recently released report by the International Energy Agency found that while global energy-related CO2 emissions fell 5.8% overall in 2020 – the largest annual percentage drop since World War II – the latest data shows that global CO2 pollution has rebounded to pre-COVID levels.
To understand what this means, it helps to read what Professor Ralph Keeling, head of the Scripps CO2 program, said in May 2020:
“People might be surprised to learn that the response to the coronavirus outbreak has not done more to influence CO2 levels. The build-up of CO2 is much like garbage in a landfill. As we broadcast it just keeps piling up. “