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Jakarta Post

How inequality fuels COVID-19 deaths

  • Jeffrey D. Sachs

    Project Syndicate/New York

Project Syndicate/New York   /   Wed, July 1 2020   /  01:00 am

Three countries – the United States, Brazil, and Mexico – account for nearly half (46 percent) of the world’s reported COVID-19 deaths, yet they contain only 8.6 percent of the world’s population. Some 60 percent of Europe’s deaths are concentrated in just three countries – Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom – which account for 38 percent of Europe’s population. There were many fewer deaths and lower death rates in most of Northern and Central Europe. Several factors determine a country’s COVID-19 death rate: the quality of political leadership, the coherence of the government’s response, the availability of hospital beds, the extent of international travel, and the population’s age structure. Yet one deep structural characteristic seems to be shaping the role of these factors: countries’ income and wealth distr...