IMF Working Paper
A Global Strategy to Manage the Long-Term Risks of COVID-19
Authors/Editors: Ruchir Agarwal ; Gita Gopinath ; Jeremy Farrar ; Richard Hatchett ; Peter Sands
Publication Date: April 5, 2022 :: 26 pages
Electronic Access: Free Download.
The pandemic is not over, and the health and economic losses continue to grow. It is now evident that COVID-19 will be with us for the long term, and there are very different scenarios for how it could evolve, from a mild endemic scenario to a dangerous variant scenario. This realization calls for a new strategy that manages both the uncertainty and the long-term risks of COVID-19. There are four key policy implications of such as strategy.
First, we need to achieve equitable access beyond vaccines to encompass a comprehensive toolkit.
Second, we must monitor the evolving virus and dynamically upgrade the toolkit.
Third, we must transition from the acute response to a sustainable strategy toward COVID-19, balanced and integrated with other health and social priorities.
Fourth, we need a unified risk-mitigation approach to future infectious disease threats beyond COVID-19.
Infectious diseases with pandemic potential are a threat to global economic and health security. The international community should recognize that its pandemic financing addresses a systemic risk to the global economy, not just the development need of a particular country. Accordingly, it should allocate additional funding to fight pandemics and strengthen health systems both domestically and overseas. This will require about $15 billion in grants this year and $10 billion annually after that.
Series: Working Paper No. 2022/068
Disclaimer: IMF Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to encourage debate. The views expressed in IMF Working Papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF, its Executive Board, or IMF management.
New IMF Staff Paper Strategy to Manage the Long-Term Risks of COVID-19
April 5, 2022
Washington, DC: The International Monetary Fund, in partnership with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the Global Fund, and Wellcome Trust published today “A Global Strategy to Manage the Long-term Risks of COVID-19” working paper, which calls for a more comprehensive and integrated pandemic response from the international community.
In the joint paper, the four global organizations assert that ending the pandemic everywhere remains an urgent economic, health, and moral priority for the world—advocating for the following:
Gita Gopinath, First Deputy Managing Director, IMF:
“It is now clear that COVID-19 is likely to be with us for the long-term. Given the many possible scenarios for the evolution of COVID-19 (from benign to severe scenarios), and given the limited resources countries have, we need a new strategy.
“Countries need a more comprehensive COVID-19 toolkit for fighting the pandemic that includes vaccines, tests, treatments – and bolstering the resilience of health systems so they are in a better position to tackle both COVID-19 and other deadly diseases in a sustainable, effective way.
“Overall, health security is economic security. As recently as our January World Economic Outlook Update, we’d estimated the cumulative losses from the pandemic to reach $13.8 trillion. The international community should recognize that its pandemic financing addresses a systemic risk to the global economy. Thus, we are calling for additional funding to fight pandemics and to strengthen health systems. This will require about $15 billion in grants this year and $10 billion annually after that. The cost of inaction – for all of us – is very high. We need to act – now.
“Together with our partners on the Multilateral Leaders Taskforce and with the ACT Accelerator, the IMF stands ready to help countries meet the challenges of the pandemic and their financing needs—including through a Resilience and Sustainability Trust (RST).”
Richard Hatchett, CEO, CEPI:
“In many ways COVID-19 has shown us the potential of human ingenuity and innovation when we direct out energy and resources in fighting a common enemy. It has also tragically thrown into sharp focus a global failure to work multilaterally to ensure equal access to life saving vaccines.
“Vaccines are, and will continue to be, at the forefront of how modern societies counter infectious disease threats. They are one of our most potent tools against pandemic risks and will be critical to any future response. But if they are to truly fulfill their potential in preventing future pandemics their development must also go alongside investments in global surveillance, R&D, manufacturing, and health systems.
“During the course of this pandemic we have seen scientific advances that may well have taken decades to make in ‘peacetime’. Now, more than ever, the world now has the tools, the platforms, the concepts, and the experience to build a system that can more effectively meet the threat of future viruses.
“A future in which we are to respond to the next Disease X with new vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics in just 100 days is possible—but it will take vision, political will, and commensurate financial investments from governments around the world. We estimate that it will cost the world around $10 billion a year to ensure adequate global pandemic preparedness: this price tag is substantial, but failure to invest now—and build on the gains made in the response to COVID-19—will result in human and economic costs that will reverberate for generations.”
Peter Sands, Executive Director, Global Fund:
“The next phase of the fight against COVID-19 will be different. We are in for a long fight against a virus that continues to evolve. So we must shift to a more sustainable response that recognizes the linkages between responding to COVID-19, tackling the earlier pandemics of HIV, TB and malaria, and preparing for future pandemic threats. We should step up investment in systems for health, intentionally maximizing the synergies between interventions against existing infectious diseases and initiatives to prevent, detect and respond to future infectious disease outbreaks. Stronger and more resilient systems for health, including community systems, will enable us to protect everyone, everywhere from the deadliest infectious diseases.”
Jeremy Farrar, Director, Wellcome Trust:
“These last two years have shown that remarkable progress is possible when the world comes together and supports science boldly at scale, across borders. This approach gave us lifesaving Covid-19 vaccines and treatments in record time. Now is not the time to ease up – the virus’s next move is anything but certain and the risk of new variants high. We all desperately want this pandemic to be over. But simply wishing for the most optimistic scenario won’t make it so.
“We need to set our sights on developing next generation vaccines that can block transmission and won’t require endless boosters, strengthening genomic surveillance globally so we can identify and track new variants and improving global access to vaccines, treatments and tests. Leaving any countries unprotected, puts us all at risk.
“Most importantly, the response must be built on international co-operation. Only by working together can leaders achieve long-lasting and sustainable recovery from Covid-19 and prepare for the epidemic and pandemic threats of tomorrow.”