What will be the economic impact of COVID-19 (and should we care)?

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Mass layoffs and prolonged unemployment are associated with income inequality growth—which correlates with increases in suicide rates.

Data from studies show income inequality maps closely to the rate of suicides among working-age adults. Not only do mental and substance use disorders stem from economic hardship, they are also known drivers of lower productivity, increased healthcare costs, and higher mortality.

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There'll likely be a clinically relevant increase in numbers of people with anxiety, depression, and engaging in harmful behaviours.

The 2003 SARS epidemic (involving an illness similar to the 2019 coronavirus) was associated with a 30% increase in suicide in those aged 65 years and older; around 50% of recovered patients remained anxious; and 29% of healthcare workers experienced probable emotional distress.

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Past catastrophes that have led to huge unemployment have consequently led to increases in suicide.

In 2008, the Great Recession ushered in a 13 percent increase in suicides attributable to unemployment with over 46,000 lives lost due to unemployment and income inequality in that year alone.

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The world economy is facing its most severe challenge of the post-war period.

Unlike the 2008-09 global financial crisis, during which a few emerging markets (like China and India continued high growth and pulled the world economy along), the coronavirus pandemic is damaging worldwide— eliminating the option of an export-driven recovery for any country.

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