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A Coordinated Response to COVID-19

Summary:
Short of a vaccine, international cooperation is our best weapon against a deadly virus like COVID-19 – and our best defense against global economic collapse. As in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis, the G20 should take the lead. NEW YORK – Within just a few months, the COVID-19 coronavirus has enveloped the world, infecting 435,000 people, killing more than 19,000, and overwhelming even advanced economies’ health systems. Once the shock hits vulnerable low-income countries, the already-high human and economic costs will rise further – for the entire world. The only chance we have of limiting the fallout is to work together. Insuring the Survival of Post-Pandemic Economies

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Short of a vaccine, international cooperation is our best weapon against a deadly virus like COVID-19 – and our best defense against global economic collapse. As in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis, the G20 should take the lead.

NEW YORK – Within just a few months, the COVID-19 coronavirus has enveloped the world, infecting 435,000 people, killing more than 19,000, and overwhelming even advanced economies’ health systems. Once the shock hits vulnerable low-income countries, the already-high human and economic costs will rise further – for the entire world. The only chance we have of limiting the fallout is to work together.

When the news first broke that a novel coronavirus had emerged in China, many assumed that the outbreak’s trajectory would resemble that of the last China-born coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome. But the 2002-03 SARS outbreak lasted only six months, and affected just 26 countries.

As such, that outbreak’s economic consequences – borne primarily by the services sector – were short-lived and concentrated largely in China, though neighboring economies were affected through trade and finance. When the outbreak ended, the Chinese economy recovered rapidly, with fiscal and monetary expansion supporting a rebound in consumption and investment.

By contrast, COVID-19 has already spread to more than 170 countries, disrupting value chains, impeding worker mobility, increasing production costs, and weakening demand. In China, fixed investment, industrial output, and retail sales declined at a double-digit annual rate in the first two months of the year. The United States and many European economies are also suffering. The US stock market just faced its worst week since 2008; indeed, market turmoil worldwide evokes the...

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