Apr 27, 2021

Corona inequality

The vaccination rollout is like an X-ray of how wealth and power are distributed in the world:

On Sunday, the world’s seven-day average of new cases hit 774,404, higher than the peak average during the last global surge, in January. Despite the number of shots given around the world, far too few of the global population of nearly eight billion have been vaccinated to slow the virus’s steady spread.

Vaccinations have been highly concentrated in wealthy nations: Eighty-two percent of shots worldwide have been given in high- and upper-middle-income countries, according to data compiled by the Our World in Data project. Only 0.2 percent of doses have been administered in low-income countries.

Meanwhile corporate lobbyists fight to protect the private “intellectual property” and profits that were lubricated by more than $100 billion in public investments:

Newly filed disclosure forms from the first quarter of 2021 show that over 100 lobbyists have been mobilized to contact lawmakers and members of the Biden administration, urging them to oppose a proposed temporary waiver on intellectual property rights by the World Trade Organization that would allow generic vaccines to be produced globally.

Joe Stiglitz and Lori Wallach nail the dysfunctionality of putting greed before need:

Waiving intellectual property rights so developing countries could produce more vaccines would make a big difference in reaching global herd immunity. Otherwise, the pandemic will rage largely unmitigated among a significant share of the world’s population, resulting in increased deaths and a greater risk that a vaccine-resistant variant puts the world back on lockdown.

Read more here and here and here.