The U.N.’s International Labor Organization estimates that fallout from the novel coronavirus pandemic could cause nearly 25 million job losses worldwide and drain up to $3.4 trillion worth of income by the end of this year.
The Geneva-based agency said “an internationally coordinated policy response” could help mitigate such losses through worker protections, fiscal stimulus, and support for jobs and wages. Governments around the world are pushing drastic countermeasures to help workers, particularly those who live paycheck to paycheck.
Streets and sidewalks in major cities around the world have been left empty amid restrictions to prevent the spread of the disease. Many of those wandering outside have done so with caution, wearing facemasks — sometimes makeshift — and taking extreme measures to decontaminate themselves.
The virus has infected more than 200,000 people worldwide and killed over 8,700. In a grim illustration of the epidemic’s shifting center of gravity, the death toll in Italy was close to overtaking China’s.
Scientists have no doubt the true number of people infected is higher than reported because of the possibility that many mild cases have gone unrecognized or unrecorded, and because of the lag in large-scale testing in the U.S.