(WSWS) In addition to four million deaths worldwide from COVID-19, between 119-124 million people were pushed back into poverty and chronic hunger and 255 million full-time jobs were lost from the pandemic, according to a United Nations (UN) report published on Tuesday.
The figures come from the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals Report 2021, which said the pandemic had created major setbacks for efforts to eliminate poverty. In releasing the report, UN Under-Secretary-General Liu Zhenmin said, “The pandemic has halted, or reversed, years, or even decades of development progress.”
Prior to the pandemic there were 700 million people going hungry and 2 billion people suffering food insecurity. The UN data shows that an additional 83–132 million people likely experienced hunger during the pandemic in 2020.
Life expectancy, which had been increasing, has also been reduced as the pandemic halted or reversed progress in health care and posed major threats beyond COVID-19. Meanwhile, the mortality figures and true impact of the pandemic remain incomplete due to a lack of accurate data in many parts of the world.