Welcome to our weekly newsletter highlighting the best of The Economist’s coverage of the pandemic and its effects.
All pandemics end eventually. Covid-19 has started down that path and will gradually become endemic. In that state, circulating and mutating from year to year, the coronavirus will remain a threat to the elderly and infirm. But having settled down, it is highly unlikely to kill on the monstrous scale of the past 20 months.
In a Briefing this week, we examine how the world will eventually learn to live with covid. Though the destination is fixed, the route to endemicity is not and, in a leader, we argue that the difference between a well-planned journey and a chaotic one could be measured in millions of lives. The end of the pandemic is therefore a last chance for governments to show they have learned from the mistakes they made at its start.
Meanwhile, China has decided it does not want to live with the virus. Since the early days of the pandemic, that country’s aim has been to eliminate the coronavirus entirely from within the mainland’s borders. But even as the handful of other countries with “zero-covid” policies, including Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, move to relax them, China is holding out. We ask how long China can maintain such a strict policy.
The pandemic has taken a devastating toll on the physical health of millions of people but new research shows that its mental-health effects could prove even more enduring. Covid-19 has led to a sharp increase in depression and anxiety around the world. Women have fared worse than men.
More than 2.1m people in Latin America and the Caribbean have died of covid-19; the death rate in the region is easily the highest in the world, according to The Economist’s excess-mortality tracker. The economic toll has also been crushing: output dropped by 7% in 2020, the steepest decline of any region. In our Americas section, we argue that Latin America’s economies now have an opportunity to grow but it would help if their governments overcame their protectionist instincts.
More broadly, the IMF warns that the global economic recovery will be grossly uneven—the economic prospects of most poor countries remain far worse than those of rich ones.