Coronavirus Update: COVID-19 Likely To Cost Economy $1 Trillion In 2020, U.N. Trade Agency

Isheka N. Harrison
Written by Isheka N. Harrison
According to UNCTAD, the economic uncertainty COVID-19 coronavirus has sparked will likely cost the global economy $1 trillion in 2020. In this photo, a man walks by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. Asian shares were mostly higher Wednesday after record highs on Wall Street amid investor optimism about an interim U.S.-China trade deal announced last week. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 Coronavirus a global pandemic Wednesday – and getting sick isn’t the only thing people are concerned about. According to the United Nations Conference On Trade and Development (UNCTAD), “the economic uncertainty it has sparked will likely cost the global economy $1 trillion in 2020.”

“We envisage a slowdown in the global economy to under two per cent for this year, and that will probably cost in the order of $1 trillion, compared with what people were forecasting back in September,” said Richard Kozul-Wright, Director of UNCTAD’s Division on Globalization and Development Strategies.

Kozul-Wright cited supply shortages due to interruptions in Chinese manufacturing, tumbling oil prices and already fragile economies, according to UN News.

With the stock market crashing and daily life being disrupted by a rise in global infections, institutional shutdowns and quarantines, many have wondered if they will be able to recover from the economic pummeling the virus has caused.

The potential damage is intensified as many U.S. workers live paycheck to paycheck – some whom do not have the option or means to work remotely. Talks of global recessions and enormous economic fallout are causing increased panic among workers across the global market.

“There’s a degree of anxiety now that’s well beyond the health scares which are very serious and concerning,” Kozul-Wright said.

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That concern is magnified for small business owners, hourly employees and gig economy workers. The aforementioned will be hit hardest as their income depend on interacting with people.

In the U.S. – for Black workers and other people of color – the old adage “When America catches a cold, Black America catches the flu” applies 100-fold. With Black people and other people of color being among the more vulnerable when it comes to economic stability, they will be hit harder by the economic downturn Coronavirus causes.

For example, studies show over 60 percent of Black women are the breadwinners for their families. Black women are also starting small businesses at a record pace.

This means institutional shutdowns and quarantines will impact Black families in greater numbers. Some Black small business owners, entrepreneurs and gig economy workers have voiced their fears via social media.

“Our challenge is not only to contain the spread of Coronavirus, but having a plan for the aftermath. How will we recoup losses from Black and brown small business owners when the dust clears?” tweeted Rashad Robinson, president of Color Of Change.

“Chile my engagements are being cancelled left and right….. y’all pray for us entrepreneurs and hourly workers! We’ll die from poverty before the damn disease even gets to us,” entrepreneur and actor Benjamin Evans wrote on Facebook.