The coronavirus pandemic has cost the world's economy an additional $11.7 trillion this year, according to Oxfam. Out of this (global) cost, $9.8 trillion (83%) has been spent by 36 rich nations against just $42 billion (0.4%) by 59 low-income countries to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, the international NGO noted in a release published on Tuesday, December 15.
On additional cash poured specifically into social protection programmes, Oxfam stated that 28 rich nations have spent at the rate of "$695 per person", while, low-income and emerging nations, in contrast, have spent "at a per capita rate of between $28 to as low as $4."
Meanwhile, to make matters worse, the organisation added that rich countries have only increased their aid to developing nations for social protection by $5.8 billion, which is equivalent of less than five cents for every $100 raised to tackle COVID-19.
"The coronavirus united the world in fear but has divided it in response," said Oxfam Executive Director Gabriela Bucher.
"The pandemic sparked a laudable global effort that reached more than a billion more people with social protection support over 2020 but, as of today, more people still have been left behind entirely. That need not be so," she added.
The need for better social protection programmes to help people is huge. Half a billion people are now under-employed or out of work with twice as many women affected as men, Oxfam said, adding that workers in low-income countries have suffered the most, losing 23% of their working hours.
"People are falling into debt, skipping meals, keeping children from school and selling their assets. Remittance flows from migrants to reliant families back home has collapsed. Global poverty and hunger are rocketing," it noted.
Furthermore, Oxfam said that over a third of the world's population - some 2.7 billion people - have not received government aid during the coronavirus pandemic, with gaping differences between rich and poor nations.