How COVID-19 is changing the world: A statistical perspective

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Beyond the death toll of this fast-spreading disease, expansive data collection is needed to understand how the pandemic is reshaping society.

by Tala Ramadan -Source: Annahar

BEIRUT: COVID-19 is affecting different aspects of public and private life including individual incomes, employment, the well-being of women and children, and access to public services. Beyond the death toll of this fast-spreading disease, expansive data collection is needed to understand how the pandemic is reshaping society.

In this context, and under the aegis of the Committee for the Coordination of Statistical Activities (CCSA), thirty-six international organizations have launched, a report titled “How COVID-19 is Changing the World: a statistical perspective.”

The report presents a snapshot of some of the latest information available on how COVID-19 is affecting people’s lives and highlights its impact on specific population groups and geographical regions. Here are some highlights from the report:

Sufficient food

In many developing countries, the lack of a public safety net means those who have recently lost their jobs may not be able to afford sufficient food. In developed countries, on the other hand, people are likely to face disruptions in the food supply, given that agricultural production in these countries relies on disrupted global supply chains.

Infectious diseases

The current interruptions to immunization services will result in a rise in child deaths. Moreover, nearly three-quarters of the population in sub-Saharan Africa lack necessary handwashing facilities at home, a fundamental way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses.

Educational disruption

By mid-February 2020, 300 million learners were affected by nationwide closures of schools and universities. Two months later, this number grew to nearly 1.6 billion students in 192 countries, representing 90% of all students. Only a small number of countries have not closed any schools.

Unemployment skyrockets

ILO reports a huge drop in the global workforce in countries because of workplace closures, with a decline of almost 10.5 percent in total working hours, or the equivalent to 305 million full-time workers. In many cases, this is propelling people into poverty.

Access to Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) is more important than ever

Many individuals and households are using Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) to minimize the effect of COVID-19 on their daily lives, including working and learning from home, shopping online, and more. Nonetheless, there is inequality in access to ICT within and across countries. For example, the average fixed broadband internet subscription rate is over 20 times higher in the OECD countries than in the least developed nations.

Travel and communication became more difficult

Border closures travel bans and quarantine measures have hit the tourism sector very hard, with a predicted decline of 60% to 80% in international tourism for the year. There are massive disruptions in the global postal supply chain. Almost one in two international mail items is stranded. Customs clearance times have increased by a factor of 32.

 

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