New report says COVID-19 pandemic has caused historic setbacks Credit: Representational image

Guwahati: The fourth annual Goalkeepers Report published by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation was released on Monday. The report shows how the wheels of progress has turned backwards as the pandemic engulfs the globe. “COVID-19 has killed more than 850,000 people. It has plunged the world into a recession that is likely to get worse. And many countries are bracing for another surge in cases,” stated the report.

The report denotes that the 18 indicators of United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) have regressed after making considerable progress in recent years.

“We’ve been set back about 25 years in about 25 weeks,” declared the fourth edition of the report.

The report presents an imagery of a chain reaction how from one catastrophe- the coronavirus outbreak, led to several other catastrophes. “All these catastrophes are undermining the progress we’ve made—and still need to make—toward equality,” it said.

The report drew parallels from the vaccine coverage to depict how well health systems are functioning during the pandemic. “The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), found that in 2020 coverage is dropping to levels last seen in the 1990s,” mentioned the report.

The annual report also reflects on how women would be more affected by this setback than men. It is argued that most women in low and middle income groups work in the informal sector which does not receive much of government support making them vulnerable. Furthermore, with the increase in the “unpaid care work” with children and men at instead of schools and office the burden on women has increased manifold.

“With children at home instead of school, many men at home instead of at work, and many sick people at home instead of at health clinics, there is much more unpaid care work to be done, and the early evidence suggests that the distribution is growing more lopsided, not less,” cited the report.

Also Read: COVID-19 will likely become seasonal, but not yet, say scientists

Goalkeeper’s Report 2020 advocates collaborative response to overcome this humanitarian crisis that has accompanied the virus. It requests every nation to join hands in tackling with this crisis. “Some governments have been able to contain the disease effectively; some have been able to cushion the economic shock; some have been able to do both. No matter where you live, though, whether your government is rich or poor, your country will never be able to meet this challenge alone,” it said.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation initiative also warned about how mere production of a COVID-19 vaccine would not put an end to this pandemic.”Developing and manufacturing vaccines won’t end the pandemic quickly unless we also deliver them equitably. Some governments that have made bets will win those bets, but if they use all the available vaccine to protect only their people, they will be extending the life of the pandemic everywhere,” informed the report.

Equal and uniform distribution of doses the all over the globe can only free the world from the clutches of this unprecedented calamity.

The report states, cautioning against unequal distribution, “If rich countries buy up the first 2 billion doses of vaccine instead of making sure they are distributed in proportion to the global population, then almost twice as many people could die from COVID-19.”

Also Read: COVID-19 vaccines won’t be available for everyone before 2024: Serum Institute CEO

At the end of this report published by the tech mogul’s foundation, it is suggested that the extent of damage and disparity caused by the pandemic will be ultimately conditioned by human actions.

It refers to the courageous actions of the frontline workers, pioneering innovations and how ordinary people are coping everyday to support their families, friends, neighbours and communities.

Emphasising on the need to join forces, the report said, “Ultimately, businesses and governments must really believe that the future is not a zero-sum contest in which winners win only when losers lose. It is a cooperative endeavor in which we all make progress together.”

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