The coronavirus pandemic has caused the global economy to contract, affecting the most economically vulnerable from the middle- to low-income families.
A recent study titled "Falling living standards during the COVID-19 crisis: Quantitative evidence from nine developing countries," which was published in Science Advances, takes a closer look at this global problem.
The recent study was conducted by 26 authors from renowned U.S. institutions, including the University of California, Princeton, Stanford, and Harvard. It took 16 samples across nine countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, namely Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Ghana, Kenya, Nepal, the Philippines, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone.
The findings revealed that each of these studies showed significant decreases in income. In fact, up to 70% of households they contacted, including middle- to low-income families, reported a major drop in income.
For sample populations in Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone, about 50% to 80% of the sample population reported losses due to COVID-19 lockdowns. The study warned that if this downward trend continues, millions of already economically vulnerable individuals and middle- to low-income families may be pushed into poverty.
The troubling findings do not end there, as the study showed how the effects of COVID-19 lockdowns transcended "socioeconomic strata within each country, and similar proportions of households at different rungs of the socioeconomic ladder report employment and income decrease," Life Site News reported.
The study, which was conducted between April and June 2020, showed how middle- to low-income families were already struggling to thrive during that time.
In Kenya alone, there was already a 68% increase in children being unable to have meals because of financial or food insecurity. In Sierra Leone, 86% of adults and 68% of children had to reduce their portions as an effect of tightening budgets due to the COVID-19 lockdowns.
The study, which utilized the method of telephone interviews to minimize in-person contact and comply with government social distancing guidelines, also revealed how COVID-19 lockdowns have a dire effect on the economy of countries that already had sufficiently low income.
The COVID-19 lockdowns and other measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in communities were found to "likely to generate excess future morbidity, mortality, and other adverse longer-term consequences," with such effects to be felt for "decades into the future."
Earlier this year, a paper published in the Wiley Online Library written by Eran Bendavid, Christopher Oh, Jay Bhattacharya, and John P. A. Ioannidis from Stanford University revealed that there was "there is no evidence that more restrictive non-pharmaceutical interventions" -COVID-19 lockdowns-"contributed substantially to bending the curve of new cases in England, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, or the United States in early 2020."
The paper also outlined the various effects that could possibly stem from COVID-19 lockdowns, including "hunger, opioid-related overdoses, missed vaccinations, missed health services, domestic abuse, mental health and suicidality, as well as a host of economic consequences with health implications."
The new findings confirm an earlier report revealing how COVID-19 lockdowns posed a threat to people's overall health and livelihoods.