The Inequality Virus: Reuniting a World Torn Apart by the Coronavirus (Report - French)

Publication language
Date published
25 Jan 2021
Research, reports and studies
Disaster risk reduction, COVID-19, Epidemics & pandemics, Gender, Health, Response and recovery

In just nine months, the richest 1,000 people in the world have already managed to make up for the losses they suffered as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. At the same time, it will take more than ten years for the poorest people to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic, according to the new Oxfam report. The inequality virus is published on the opening day of the “ Davos Agenda ” organized by the World Economic Forum.

This report shows that COVID-19 could increase economic inequality simultaneously in almost every country in the world, a first since this type of data began to be recorded more than a century ago. Globally, it could take humanity at least 14 times longer for the number of people living in poverty to return to the pre-pandemic levels it took for the richest 1,000 billionaires, most of whom are white men, to recover the fortune they had lost.

A new Oxfam survey of 295 economists in 79 countries finds that 87% of those surveyed, including Jeffrey Sachs, Jayati Ghosh and Gabriel Zucman, expect income inequality in their country to worsen or s 'are intensifying sharply as a result of the pandemic.

Oxfam report shows how our skewed economic system is enabling an elite of the ultra-rich to amass massive wealth during the most dramatic recession we have seen since the Great Depression, when billions of people struggle to make ends meet. It highlights the harmful effect of the pandemic on economic, racial and gender inequalities that have long been entrenched in our societies.

  • For the richest, the recession is over. The ten richest men in the world have seen their total fortunes increase by more than $ 500 billion since the start of the pandemic, an amount that would be more than enough to finance the COVID-19 vaccine for all and prevent anyone who does not fall into poverty because of the pandemic. At the same time, the pandemic led to the most severe jobs crisis in more than 90 years, with hundreds of millions of people now unemployed or in precarious jobs.
  • Once again, women are the hardest hit. Globally, women are over-represented in the insecure and low-paid occupations hardest hit by the pandemic. If the representation rate of women were the same as that of men in these sectors, 112 million women would no longer risk losing their income or their jobs. Globally, women also make up around 70% of the health and social sector workforce, essential but often low-paid occupations that make them more vulnerable to coronavirus infection.
  • Inequalities kill. In Brazil, Afro-descendant people are 40% more likely to die from COVID-19 than white people. In the United States, black and Hispanic populations would have deplored nearly 22,000 fewer deaths if their death rates from COVID-19 had been the same as those of white people. Infection and death rates are higher in some smaller areas, for example in France, India and Spain. In England, COVID-19 death rates in the poorest regions are twice as high as those in the richest regions.
  • Without fairer economies, we cannot hope for a rapid economic recovery from this pandemic. A temporary tax on the excess profits made by the 32 multinationals that made the most during the pandemic could have generated 104 billion dollars in 2020. This sum would be enough to provide unemployment benefits to all workers, as well as to '' financial support for all children and older people in low- and middle-income countries.