They say that charity starts at home and we agree. But, should it end there? At least currently, we beg to differ!
We hope that you are safe, practicing self-isolation and praying that the world is soon our recovered home. The novel coronavirus, COVID 19 continues to spew its terror, demonstrating how vulnerable homo-sapiens can be to a virus.
As on 7 April 2020, there were 1.21 million confirmed cases in 211 countries with 67k confirmed deaths due to COVID 19. These figures are undeniably worrisome, making control and eradication of the pandemic the utmost priority for governments, organisations and even individuals, as they are in this together and can only succeed together. The silver lining is the fact that with an all-of-society approach, with everyone playing their part, the war can be won.
In his latest media briefing, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that the pandemic continues to take a toll on every aspect of life but has given rise to incredible acts of generosity, solidarity and cooperation.
You may ask- why does the world need so much financial help to overcome this virus? The answer is that funding needs have been on the rise- to accelerate medicine trails, to ensure hospital supplies and patient care, buying and shipping protective essentials for frontline workers and producing evidence-based guidelines and advice.
Contributions to WHO for COVID-19 appeal (Source: WHO)
Now that we understand that financial help is the need of the hour, the next question in line will be- are acts of generosity, solidarity and cooperation taking place? If yes, where from?
Let us find out-
Government Donations- Stimulus Packages Worldwide
The first ray of hope during times where enormous aid is required is the government, which can be looked upon as the economy’s chief bodyguard. Governments across the world have been injecting stimulus packages into their respective economies to help respond to the global outbreak. Three are listed under-
The APAC country has ~5.7k confirmed virus cases and has increasingly tightened social distancing measures. At the Commonwealth level, three economic stimulus packages were deployed, with revenue measures and total expenditure worth $194 billion. The parliament authorized an advance $40 billion for unpredicted events. Besides this, loan guarantees between participating banks and the Commonwealth government for up to $20 billion (to cover the immediate cash flow needs of SMEs) were launched. The government is allotting up to $15 billion for investments in asset backed securities and residential mortgage backed securities.
One of top the 10 affected regions with over 52k confirmed cases, the region is locked down at the order of PM Boris Johnson (who reportedly has been recently admitted in an intensive case as his corona virus symptoms escalate!). To support the global response, the government has offered £150 million to the IMF. Measures to support businesses, additional funding for public services, increasing payments under the Universal Credit scheme are some fiscal steps taken. On the monetary and macro-financial fund, reducing Bank Rate by 65 basis points and expanding the central bank’s holding of UK government bonds and non-financial corporate bonds by £200 billion have been undertaken, to name a few.
United States of America
Topping the list of virus cases with a staggering 368k figure of confirmed cases, the US has implemented a range of safety measures to combat the pandemic. USD 2.3 trillion was launched as Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economy Security Act which accounts for ~11% of the GDP. Federal funds rate was shunned by 150 basis points to 0-0.25 basis points. Moreover, regulatory agencies offered help to banking organizations for lending and other actions to support homes and businesses.
Philanthropists on the Rise
The first iteration of the World Health Organization’s Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan quoted a resource requirement worth USD 675 million. From this, USD 61.5 million were to be deployed for the organization’s response activities and urgent preparedness (February to April 2020). This plan will be updated in April and will recognize substantially greater resource needs.
The COVID 19 situation is deemed to be so serious that government funding alone cannot help to fight this black swan event, it calls for participation of people from every walks of life. At most, each one of us can ensure that we maintain social distance and take all the necessary precautions.
We are reminded of a quote made famous by South-African human rights activist Desmund Tutu-
One of the world’s richest man, Bill Gates believes that the world needs to save lives now while also improving the way it acts in response to outbreaks in general. Adhering to the same, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has joined forces with Wellcome and Mastercard and announced COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator.
Backed by USD 125 million in both new funding and money already earmarked to tackle the situation, the aim is to detect treatments for the disease, speed up development, and prepare for the production of millions of doses for global use.
Interestingly, Mr Gates was one of the firsts to voice out the need for a US shutdown.
Let us look at a few individuals from across the world (who make it to the rich-lists of their economies and the world too), who have offered towards the much-needed COVID 19 funds-
(Few images sourced from Forbes)
It is unquestionably true that philanthropists will play a catalytic role in accelerating and evaluating measures that are a must to combat the pandemic. With donors stepping up from all corners of the world, optimism and the confidence to undertake necessary steps seem to embark a ray of hope.
As Dr Tedros states-
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