By Arkebe Oqubay

24 April 2020

Originally published on OECD

This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide.

COVID-19 is the greatest global threat the world has faced since the Second World War. It is not the deadliest or most infectious disease recorded, but the level of globalization and interconnectedness of the world render it particularly destructive. The depth of the global economic crisis is exceptional; not only is it worse than the 2008 global recession, it is exacerbated by its occurrence at a point where there is weakened global collaboration and political posturing over COVID-19 at an international level and in many individual countries. The world’s response to the virus was briefly but perfectly expressed in the New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s statement, “This is an enemy that we have underestimated from day one and we have paid the price dearly”.

Heroic sacrifices have been made by health personnel and frontline workers across the world, while the wider public, also affected by tragedy and sacrifice, has demonstrated its readiness to follow measures to curb COVID-19. Many local and national governments, despite the initial delay, have shown exceptional leadership in their efforts to avert disaster and to inspire the public and vulnerable members of society. However, the actions, or lack of them, of some leaders have spread confusion and disruption.

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