President Donald Trump famously warned in March, shortly after various levels of coronavirus shutdowns were imposed across the country, that the United States “cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself.”
That admonition is proving more prescient every day, and despite initial criticism over his concerns, Trump’s outlook is now shared by both a top United Nations official as well as the International Monetary Fund, both of whom are now warning of the potentially fatal consequences of the global economic lockdowns, TheBlaze reported.
Officials warn of “hunger pandemic”
On Tuesday, during a virtual session of the U.N. Security Council, the head of the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP), David Beasley, issued a stark warning that the world was “on the brink of a hunger pandemic” worldwide brought about not by the virus, but rather by the reactions to the virus of governments all around the globe.
After recounting some of the major problems the world was already facing prior to the global outbreak of COVID-19, Beasley said, “I want to stress that we are not only facing a global health pandemic but also a global humanitarian catastrophe. Millions of civilians living in conflict-scarred nations, including many women and children, face being pushed to the brink of starvation, with the spectre of famine a very real and dangerous possibility.”
He noted that there were already roughly 821 million people worldwide dealing with chronic hunger, with about another 135 million “facing crisis levels of hunger or worse,” such as imminent starvation. He estimated, based on WFP analysis, that the number of those in “crisis level” hunger would more than double to a total of around 265 million people “pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of 2020.”
Lockdowns leading to starvation
While Beasley praised the already ongoing efforts to feed the hungry worldwide by the U.N., he cautioned that it wouldn’t be nearly enough, especially in light of the economic lockdowns that would only exacerbate the existing problems caused by wars and famines.
“Lockdowns and economic recession are expected to lead to a major loss of income among the working poor,” Beasley said and pointed to an expected sharp drop in overseas remittances, a loss of tourism revenue, the collapsed oil market, and, of course, a decrease in foreign aid from rich donor countries that would be struggling economically, as all being of significant concern.
He proceeded to offer some potential strategies to ease the expected burden, but cautioned, “I must warn you that if we don’t prepare and act now — to secure access, avoid funding shortfalls and disruptions to trade — we could be facing multiple famines of biblical proportions within a short few months.”
IMF: Impact could rival Great Depression
Nor is Beasley alone in sounding the same alarm that Trump raised in March, as the New York Times reported that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced earlier in April that it expected “the worst economic fallout since the Great Depression” due to the lockdowns enacted in response to the virus.
And, just as Beasley warned, the IMF predicted that the impact of that economic impact would hit hardest with regard to the world’s poor, who are already suffering from “weak health systems” and “face the dreadful challenge of fighting the virus in densely populated cities and poverty-stricken slums, where social distancing is hardly an option.”
To be sure, nobody is suggesting that measures shouldn’t be taken to mitigate the risks posed by the new coronavirus, which in and of itself is deadly and requires vigorous efforts to control and eventually defeat it.
That said, those techniques of dealing with the virus, well-meaning as they may be, simply must take into account the incredible collateral economic damage being done around the globe that truly could end up proving to be more deadly and destructive than the virus could ever be on its own.