This week, Pfizer provided the first interim analysis of their Phase 3 vaccine study. It found their vaccine candidate to be more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in participants without evidence of prior infection. This promising news means the vaccine will likely be the fastest-developed ever.
And speed matters. From a public health standpoint, over 50mn cases and 1.25mn deaths have been officially recorded. The virus will be the second-largest cause of death this year (behind heart disease) and is 20th on the list of the world’s deadliest pandemics (Chart 1).
Containment measures crucial in halting the virus’ spread have created large short-term economic costs. During Q2 2020, the World Bank estimates that average global GDP (SA) fell 7.8% QoQ, with developed economies recording a 10% drop-off. A seminal IMF working paper also found a 15% decline in industrial production within 30 days of national lockdowns.
With several developed countries returning to national lockdowns and new daily global cases and deaths reaching record levels, economies are again set for a squeeze. Although the economic impact of second and third waves will likely be less than those of wave one, certain sectors will nevertheless continue to struggle.
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