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COVID-19 Pandemic – The State of the World One Year In

Illustration Credit: Eva DiNino

It is often said that everyone is on the same boat regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, but this is not a valid statement. Everyone is riding the same storm, but some people have better-suited boats than others; some barely have maintained their rafts. On both domestic and international levels, this virus has had disproportionate effects. This article will discuss the pandemic’s consequences while keeping in mind that the world was and continues to be affected differently and to varying degrees.

It has been roughly a year since the beginning of this crisis, and it is now clear to distinguish which countries have dealt with it in the most and least effective ways. Australia and New Zealand are good examples of countries that have been successful in containing the effects of Coronavirus. As of March 17th, 2021, they both have less than 0.53 daily reported cases per million people. Policies such as restricting travel, businesses, and social gatherings were imposed by their respective governments, which is why they were both able to slow the spread of the virus. 

On the other end of the spectrum, big countries like the United States and Brazil have struggled to contain the pandemic’s effects. The former currently has 165.94 daily confirmed cases per million people. The same number for the latter is 330.35. Weaker government policies in both countries can explain this. Some smaller nations with high daily numbers are Czechia (1,011.11); Estonia (1,115.47); Hungary (764.8); Serbia (689.91). These are all in Eastern Europe, an area that has historically been struggling with poverty and inequality. This inequality directly impacts the effects of COVID on a population because it has fewer resources to implement policies that can contain the virus. 

In the African continent, there has been an increase in infection and death rates. At the beginning of the pandemic, the numbers in most African countries were relatively low. However, since July 2020, the fatality rate has risen around 1.6% and is now higher than the global average. Within the continent itself, different countries have seen other numbers and effects. South Africa is by far the most impacted one. As of March 8th, 2021, the total number of cases in the country is 1,521,706, while the second highest number is Morocco’s, at 486,325.

On a domestic level, minority groups have suffered even more. For instance, in Brazil, the populations that live in more impoverished areas do not have access to the same healthcare the rest of the country does. The lack of equal health opportunities results in a wide gap between cases in wealthier and poorer regions. In Latin America as a whole, slums have been greatly affected due to how densely populated they are. Moreover, the people who live in the slums usually do not have the option to work from home, social distance, and follow other guidelines. 

In the US, racial and ethnic minorities’ percentages of cases are higher than the percentage that those groups represent within the total population. Furthermore, the highest death rates are among Indigenous, Black, and Pacific Islander Americans. Different factors can explain this disparity in these groups’ lives. A variety of these factors are related to inequality in wealth, healthcare, and residential conditions. 

Overall, the COVID-19 pandemic has indeed affected the entire world. However, it is essential to keep in mind that those effects have not been the same in every country. Some countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, have been prosperous in controlling the pandemic. Other countries have seen high numbers, such as Brazil, the US, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Serbia, and South Africa. Within the countries, minority groups are disproportionately affected, both case percentages and in fatality rates. For the world to fully recover from this pandemic, these disparities need to be recognized and addressed.