• In this daily round-up, we'll bring you a selection of the latest news updates on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
  • Today's big stories: The US announces plan to reopen the country; the economy could face a double recession.

What is the World Economic Forum doing about the coronavirus outbreak?

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic requires global cooperation among governments, international organizations and the business community, which is at the centre of the World Economic Forum’s mission as the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.

Since its launch on 11 March, the Forum’s COVID Action Platform has brought together 1,667 stakeholders from 1,106 businesses and organizations to mitigate the risk and impact of the unprecedented global health emergency that is COVID-19.

The platform is created with the support of the World Health Organization and is open to all businesses and industry groups, as well as other stakeholders, aiming to integrate and inform joint action.

As an organization, the Forum has a track record of supporting efforts to contain epidemics. In 2017, at our Annual Meeting, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched – bringing together experts from government, business, health, academia and civil society to accelerate the development of vaccines. CEPI is currently supporting the race to develop a vaccine against this strand of the coronavirus.

1. How COVID-19 is impacting the globe

  • Confirmed cases of COVID-19 approach 2.1 million, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University. Over 146,000 people are known to have died from the virus, while roughly 550,000 have recovered.
  • President Trump announced that the US would be reopened in phases.
  • Canada develops safe drugs programme for street users.
  • The global economy could experience a double recession: Economist Intelligence Unit

2. Why some argue for suspended debt payments for emerging economies during the pandemic
The pandemic is no time to expect emerging economies to meet their debt payments, either to private or official creditors, say economists Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen M. Reinhart in a piece for Project Syndicate. The worst of the pandemic has not yet hit most of the developing world and when it does the humanitarian and economic impact will come on top of COVID-19s effects on global trade and commodity prices.

"Leaders of the world’s largest economies must recognize that a return to “normal” in our globalized world is not possible so long as the pandemic continues its grim march," the economists write. "It is myopic for creditors, official and private, to expect debt repayments from countries where those resources would have to be diverted from the fight against COVID-19."

COVID-19 could tip our fragile economic system into a depression, says Guy Standing, a Research Professor in Development Studies at the University of London. He advocates a basic income paid monthly for the duration of the pandemic and recession, in an recent for Agenda. Basic income, correctly structured, could provide psychological safety as well as economic resilience, allowing more people to put their time into caring for their loved ones and communities.

A review of the global health system, the Global Health 50/50 report, found that 70% of leaders in the health sector are men. More than 80% of these leaders were nationals of high-income countries and 90% were educated in high-income countries. Drawing from a diverse range of geographies, genders and experiences is important, the researchers say, because leaders drive global health priorities and could drive health inequities.

The current global health system is failing to achieve gender equality
The current global health system is failing to achieve gender equality
Image: The Global Health Report.

5. Psychologist Adam Grant shares tips for lockdown in this week's World Vs Virus podcast
Bestselling author and organizational psychologist Adam Grant shared tips for surviving lockdown on this week's World Vs Virus podcast. Instead of stressing about what how the world has changed and you're missing out on, focus on what you're glad you get to do now. "I actually made a list of all the things I'm thrilled that I don't have to do, and that includes changing out of sweatpants [and] having to commute," Grant told WVV.

"This is a practice that's pretty useful for people. We have a lot of evidence that marking moments of joy can actually create those moments of joy because we're more likely to notice them. We're more likely to savour and share them. Being able to capture a few things that are really joyful about getting to stay home seems like a productive step."

World Vs Virus is available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts where it features on its Essential Listening collection.