I guess COVID-19 wasn’t the “Great Equalizer” after all? In March 2020, speaking to the world from a bath full of rose petals, Madonna (whose net worth is estimated at over half-a-billion dollars) assured us that COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate between rich and poor. Two years later, the World Bank estimates that “more than half a billion people [have been] pushed or pushed further into extreme poverty” because of the pandemic. In addition, there is evidence that “People living in more socio-economically disadvantaged neighbourhoods and minority ethnic groups have higher rates of almost all of the known underlying clinical risk factors that increase the severity and mortality of COVID-19.

What do our readers think? We had a comment sent in from Ana, who argues that “all crises hit the poorest hardest”, and wonders whether the wealthiest will contribute more as we think about economic recovery. Has the pandemic widened the gap between rich and poor nations?

We also had a comment come in from Selby accusing rich countries of “vaccine hoarding”, and arguing that vaccine equity should be a priority going forwards. Is he right?

Finally, Jthk sent us in a comment arguing that “only through international cooperation [can we] stop [the] pandemic”. Has there been enough international cooperation in response to COVID-19?

To get a response, we put these questions to Iwama Nozomi, Senior Director and Head of Office for Global Issues and Development Partnership, Operations Strategy Department, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). For another perspective, we also put the same comments to Brandon Locke, EU Policy and Advocacy Manager, at the ONE Campaign, a global movement campaigning to end extreme poverty and preventable disease by 2030.

You can see the responses in the video at the top of this post.

Has the pandemic widened the gap between rich and poor nations? Is the rich world hoarding vaccines? Should vaccine equity be a global priority? Has there been enough international cooperation in response to COVID-19? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: Photo by GR Stocks on Unsplash
Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

2 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar

    Yes, it did. The rich got richer and the poor got poorer.

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