The Lancet COVID-19 Commission
The COVID-19 pandemic confronts the world with urgent and unsolved challenges. The pandemic marks the third deadly outbreak due to a coronavirus after severe acute respiratory syndrome in 2003 and Middle East respiratory syndrome in 2012.1, 2 In the absence of effective testing and contact tracing systems in many countries, COVID-19 has claimed more than 500 000 lives and disrupted the entire world, sparing no region.3
In April, 2020, more than half of the world's population resided in countries enforcing a lockdown, resulting in hugely disruptive impacts on individuals, businesses, and entire sectors of society, such as global tourism and travel.4 Even countries that have suppressed the pandemic are experiencing harsh economic spillover effects from the rest of the world. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) downgraded the decline in global gross domestic product from –3% in April, 2020, to –4·9% in June, 2020.5 Although everyone has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, poor and vulnerable populations, including low-skilled workers and refugees, are suffering far more than the rich in terms of lost lives, vulnerability to infection, declining incomes, and unemployment.6 Effective COVID-19 treatments and vaccines are still many months away at the minimum.3, 7, 8
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