The Politics of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Donna M. Nickitas, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, CNE, FAAN


Nurs Econ. 2020;38(4):222-223. 

In This Article

Economy and Costs to Human Suffering

The economic effects of COVID-19 include an unemployment rate of 14.7% with projections as high as 25%, roughly equal to the highest in American history, at the height of the Great Depression in 1933. Job losses for more than 40 million Americans disproportionately impact their social determinants of health, causing increasing levels of poverty, hunger, homelessness, and health inequities.

The spread of the pandemic is also leading to numbers and deaths that are quite asymmetric across countries (Wood et al., 2020). Noy and colleagues (2020) reported a low impact of COVID-19 in terms of case numbers and deaths does not necessarily translate into a low economic impact. Countries may experience a recession, even though COVID-19 has not had a serious effect on them in terms of health. Even minor public health events can severely affect lower-income countries due to their poor socio-economic conditions (vulnerability) and their weak capacity to respond to crises (resilience). Moreover, in a globalized world, countries are suffering indirect consequences from value chain disruptions and lower international demand for goods due to widespread recession.