The COVID-19 pandemic and its economic and societal impacts will continue to be felt for years to come, warns the World Economic Forum.
In its Global Risks Report 2021, the 16th edition of the report, the WEF warned that economic fragility and societal divisions are set to increase, with underlying disparities in health care, education, financial stability and technology leading to disproportionate impacts on some economies.
COVID-19 demonstrated the "catastrophic" effects of ignoring long-term risks, such as pandemics, the report said. The WEF said it has been warning about the dangers of pandemics for the last 15 years.
As well as the more than 2 million deaths recorded around the globe, "the economic and long-term health impacts will continue to have devastating consequences," the report said. Working hours equivalent to 495 million jobs were lost in the second quarter of last year, while only 28 economies are expected to have grown last year.
The report said France, Germany, India, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. all experienced negative GDP growth in the second and third quarters, ranging from India taking a -23.5% hit in the second quarter to the U.S. contracting by 2.9% in the third quarter. In its representative sample, only China grew in both the second and third quarters, by 3.2% and 4.9%, respectively.